After a year-long hiatus, the anticipated Japanese Film Festival (JFF) is finally returning in January with some of the best Japanese films to be screened at selected Golden Screen Cinemas nationwide, from 6th to 23rd January 2022.
From family and drama to animation and comedy, the latest Japanese film screening will surely satisfy the cinematic cravings of movie-goers and and welcome newcomers to experience the charms of the Japanese cinema. The selected 13 Japanese films are presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Find out more here:
“One Summer Story” (子供はわかってあげない)
Sakuta Minami is a second grader who swims for the school team. During her backstroke practice one day, she sees a picture of “Koteko”, the protagonist of a cult TV anime series, “Buffalo Koteko is the Magical Plasterer” which she is a big fan of being drawn by Moji Shohei, another second grader and the youngest son of a calligraphy instructor who is also an avid fan. One day during their summer vacation, she unexpectedly starts a journey to find her missing father with Shohei joining her along the way.
After 30-year-old Takeda Kenichi’s wife Tomoko who passed away, he decides to raise his 2-year old daughter, Miki by himself. He encounters various problems and obstacles but with the kind support from the people around them and the spirit of Tomoko, which he believes still stays in the house, Kenichi strives to get over the problems that come his way.
“Talking the Pictures” (カツベン！)
Sometani Shuntaro is a young man who dreams of becoming a benshi (performer who provides live narration to silent films). 10 years later, Shuntaro is now serving a roving band of thieves as a fake benshi. When his boss is captured, he escapes and finds refuge in a provincial theater, the Aokikan. There, he proves his skills as a benshi but his rapid rise has made a rival benshi envious. He also meets his childhood crush once again but then finds himself on the run once again…
“THE FABLE” (ザ・ファブル)
As his nickname implies, the Fable is an enigmatic assassin who terrorizes the underworld. When he gets an order from his boss to live the life of a normal man for one year, the Fable adopts a new name, “Sato Akira” while his partner is “Yoko”. They start their new lives as a regular brother and sister with a pet parakeet and part-time work. He begins to enjoy a normal life but trouble soon comes looking for him. The Fable must survive a life or-death situation without killing anyone. Can he ever get his peaceful life back?
“We Make Antiques! Kyoto Rendezvous” (嘘八百 京町ロワイヤル)
They have an eye for antiques. They’re competent. And their hearts are (more or less) in the right place. Koike Norio, an antique dealer, and Noda Sasuke, a potter, are reunited in Kyoto for some reason. This “antiques duo” become infatuated with a tragic kimono beauty whose father’s keepsake was swindled from her, and in order to help the damsel in distress, they plan a one-shot, comeback con game on a big shot antiques dealer.
“It’s a Summer Film!” (サマーフィルムにのって)
Barefoot is a high-school girl who adores samurai movies and Japanese costume drama. But she doesn’t stand a chance of making a samurai movie at school, as all the film club members prefer romantic dramas. One day Barefoot meets Rintaro, an ideal actor for the lead samurai role in a movie she wrote. Together with her two best friends, Kickboard and Blue Hawaii, she persuades Rintaro to star in the movie. However, during production, Barefoot finds out that Rintaro is a time-traveller from the future!
“MIO’S COOKBOOK” (みをつくし料理帖)
After a catastrophic flood, a young girl Miho, leaves her hometown of Osaka to work in a restaurant in Edo. She is blessed with great talent, but is troubled by the difference in taste between Osaka and Edo, and toils to find a solution. Meanwhile, she learns that her best friend, Noe, is in Edo but she is rarely allowed to see her because of her lowly status.
Set in Japan about 200 years ago, this entertaining period drama refreshingly portrays the bond between Miho, who stakes her life on cooking, and Noe, who has become a courtesan (high-class geisha) in Yoshiwara, Japan’s largest red-light district. The Edo period (that spanned 200 years from 17th to 19th century) was a time of relative peace and cultural maturity in Japan, and the meticulously prepared dishes in the film seem to represent the “iki” spirit of Japanese culture. It is also said it was not easy back then for even a lord to meet a courtesan of the highest caliber.
“MASKED WARD” (仮⾯病棟)
Hayami, a doctor, takes a midnight shift at a hospital he works at for the first time. Suddenly, a supermarket robber brings in a woman he shot during his getaway. The robber holes himself up in the hospital and prowls inside the building. Hayami tries to find out what the robber wants, but there’s something suspicious about the hospital itself and the director and nurses do not feel trustworthy—it is as if everybody is operating behind a mask. Hiding from the robber, Hayami begins to investigate the hospital and discovers patients that are not on the records and an operating room that should not exist. The revelations eventually lead him to a surprising truth.
A tense mystery film set in the eerie confines of a hospital, where a chilling psychological battle unfolds and eventually leads into a chain of surprising twists. The film is an adaptation of a bestselling book written by a real-life doctor, and features two of Japan’s leading young actors, SAKAGUCHI Kentaro and NAGANO Mei.
“Liar x Liar” (ライアー×ライアー)
Minato is a university student and isn’t interested in looking pretty. She lives with her stepbrother Toru, who is handsome and a player. Minato is uncomfortable with Toru’s ways with women and they have an agreement where they will not approach each when they are outside. One day, Minato puts on make-up and wears her friend’s high school uniform and happens to meet Toru. She lies to him about her identity, but Toru falls in love with her at first sight.
“Poupelle of Chimney Town” (映画えんとつ町のプペル)
“Poupelle of Chimney Town” is the breathtaking story of young Lubicchi and a man made of garbage, Poupelle. Living among the thick smoke from the chimneys of his isolated town, Lubicchi yearns to see the “stars” — to know the truth — his father always told him about. Spectacularly beautiful, Poupelle of Chimney Town is filled with inspiring performances and splendid music and sound effects and produced at Tokyo’s famed Studio 4ºC.
“The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window” (さんかく窓の外側は夜)
At first glance, bookstore employee MIKADO Kosuke appears to be an ordinary young man, but he has in fact been plagued from an early age with the unique ability to see the spirits of the dead. One day, he is visited at work by exorcist HIYAKAWA Rihito, who tells him: “When you’re with me, there’s nothing to fear.”
Mikado and Hiyakawa begin working together as exorcists for hire. They are soon contacted by police detective Hanzawa, who enlists their help in investigating a spate of serial murders from the year before. Their search eventually leads them to a missing body, which turns out to be cursed. As they delve further into the mystery, they hear the voice of the dead murderer time and time again, who reveals a vital clue: “I was tricked…by HIURA Erika …” Hiyakawa has heard this name several times before during previous exorcisms. Who on earth is this woman? What is she trying to achieve? Can Mikado and Hiyakawa solve this case…?
When the occult detective duo eventually cross paths with Erika, their three destinies are set in motion…
“Moonlight Shadow” (ムーンライト・シャドウ)
Banana Yoshimoto’s “Moonlight Shadow”, which has been translated in more than 30 countries around the world, has been adapted for the screen by Malaysian director, Edmund Yeo. The film depicts how a woman, who suddenly lost her loved one, overcomes her grief and moves on to the future when she learns about the mysterious phenomenon that she may be able to see the dead again.
“Theatre: A Love Story” (劇場)
The film tells a story about Nagata, a clumsy unsellable theater director and his brave lover Saki who purely loves him. Their romance began when Nagata spoke to Saki and noticed that he wore the same sneakers as her. Saki dreams of being an actress, makes her move to Tokyo and pursues a fashion degree. Nagata has no money and decides to live with Saki. Nagata cherishes Saki but devotes himself in theaters to fill the gaps between his ideals and reality leading to Saki’s loneliness.
**Due to the current situation, JFF 2021 will be adhering to the SOPs during its entire run in Malaysia.
Images courtesy of JFF.
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