One of the biggest Japanese festivals in the world held outside of Japan, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returns in 2016 for its 20th anniversary. Hosted by the Japan Foundation, the JFF will shine a spotlight on the best of Japanese culture with a national tour of Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne from October 14th to December 4th. The 2016 Festival will present an exciting and diverse range of new films direct from Japan, including comedy, drama, manga adaptations, high school romance, anime, documentaries and much more. 'Like Japan' was fortunate enough to preview three of the films. Here's a taste of what to expect. Enjoy!
Japanese Film Festival: http://japanesefilmfestival.net
What a Wonderful Family! (Kazoku wa Tsurai yo!)
Director: Yoji Yamada
A retiree living with three generations under one roof, Shuzo Hirata (Isao Hashizume) is the type of old crank that depends on his long-suffering wife to put his socks on for him. That is, until she hands him divorce papers. Meanwhile, a broken plate gives daughter Shigeko (Tomoko Nakajima) her own marital troubles to contend with, and Shota (Satoshi Tsumabuki) brings his fiancee (Yu Aoi) home to meet the family amidst the chaos.
This film is a delight, with the broad family comedy in the safe hands of Yoji Yamada, the lauded writer/director responsible for the majority of films in the beloved ‘Otoko wa Tsurai yo’ series. Featuring a great ensemble cast, and a score by veteran Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi, this very funny film is a must-see for fans of Yamada’s work.
The Mohican Comes Home (Mohican Kokyo ni Kaeru)
Director: Shuichi Okita
Sporting the titular ‘Mohican’ hairstyle, Eikichi (Ryuhei Matsuda) is a perennial slacker and lead singer of a failing death metal band in Tokyo. After deciding to make the trip home (a small island near Shikoku) with girlfriend Yuka (Atsuko Maeda), circumstances encourage him to stay and smooth things over with his father Osamu (Akira Emoto). This film has a playful sense of humour and gives irreverent treatment to the father-son relationship genre with a series of absurd and funny scenarios. The main draw here is veteran actor Akira Emoto, who steals the show as the impish Osamu.
The Magnificent Nine (Tono, Risoku de Gozaru!)
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Yoshioka in 1766 is a post-town increasingly abandoned by its residents, due to a steep land tax imposed by the local lord. Tea grower Tokuheiji Sugawaraya (Eita), and sake brewer Juzaburo Kokudaya (Sadao Abe) hatch a scheme to turn the town’s declining fortunes around - collect interest payments by loaning money to the lord himself. If they are caught, they face death by beheading. This is a light-hearted samurai comedy film that draws on an inspiring true story about a town banding together to defy the odds. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura (best known for horror film ‘The Booth’) makes use of a series of elucidating present-day-perspective narrations that add weight to the story and give entertaining insights into life in Edo-period Japan.
Introduced by Greg Corbett
Greg Corbett has been visiting Japan since 1998. He has a keen interest in Japanese language and culture, and helps to organise a number of Japanese cultural events in Adelaide.