The Japanese Film Festival is back for 2014 with over 50 titles featuring in the varied programme.
JFF opens its 2014 program with the Australian Premiere of Lady Maiko, a musical comedy directed by Masayuki Suo (Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t; Shall We Dance?) based loosely on the Audrey Hepburn classic My Fair Lady.
Closing out the festival, Yuya Ishii, the director of last year’s award-winning opener The Great Passage, returns with his latest offering, The Vancouver Asahi, set pre-WWII when Japanese immigrants were migrating to Canada. Based on the true story of the Japanese-Canadian baseball team of the same name, this sporting tale of underdogs overcoming racial discrimination, shows that baseball and life are not about winning – it’s about how well you play the game.
Other festival highlights include:
The Light Only Shines There (Mipo O, 2014) – Japan’s entry for the foreign language Academy award, the film details the romance between an unemployed man and his friend’s sister.
Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono, 2014) – the ultra-cool hip-hop musical Tokyo Tribe (pictured) takes you down to the underbelly of Tokyo for a surreal night of turf wars. JFF will also screen Sono’s Why Don’t You Play In Hell, a bizarre showcase of gangster violence taken to comic extremes.
The Snow White Murder Case (Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2014)- a compelling commentary on a media-obsessed world in an atypical who-dunnit mystery.
As well as new release films, the festival also runs an accomapnying programme of Japanese classic films, which include many must-see treasures. This year, JFF Classics 2014’s overarching theme pool the talents of critically acclaimed directors and actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Mikio Naruse, Kon Ichikawa and Kenji Mizoguchi are amongst the current selection of internationally renowned directors, alongside leading actresses of the time, Hideko Takamine, Ayako Wakao and Machiko Kyo.
The Japanese Film Festival tours nationally October-December, as well as visiting Auckland during November. For information about dates for your city, tickets and the full programme, visit the official festival website.
Japanese Film Festival’s official channels