17th Japanese Film Festival Comes to Australia in November 2013
The 17th Japanese Film Festival is proud to present a national program for the first time in festival history. 12 of the latest box office hits plus 5 classics will tour all 5 cities: Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. 11 of these are Australian premieres.
The festival opens in Sydney from 14 – 24 November at Event Cinemas George Street and in Melbourne from 28 November – 8 December at Hoyts Melbourne Central & ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Opening + Closing Films
Opening the festival is a tribute to the world of words. THE GREAT PASSAGE (舟を編む, Fune wo Amu, 2013) is a celebration of a vision to create the best Japanese dictionary starring two of Japan’s leading actors, Ryuhei Matsuda and Aoi Miyazaki. Matsuda plays an unsuccessful salesman whose dedication and love of reading finds him the perfect editor for the task. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, this drama is infused with a touch of romance, won the Japan Bookseller’s Prize last year.
The festival will close with FRUITS OF FAITH (奇跡のリンゴ, Kiseki no Ringo, 2013), a drama encapsulating the Japanese spirit of dedication in the quest for the perfect and near impossible organic apple crop. Based on a true story and best-selling novel, it stars funny man Sadao Abe in a more solemn role, who goes to lengths to follow his dream to secure the livelihood of his family.
The Latest from Japan
From the director of GANTZ comes the live-action movie LIBRARY WARS (図書館戦争, Toshokan Senso, 2013), starring heart-throb Junichi Okada. This adaptation of Hiro Arikawa’s best-selling novel has sold more than 2.8 million copies since its publication in 2006. HOSPITALITY DEPARTMENT (県庁おもてなし課, Kencho Omotenashi Ka, 2013), also written by the same author, is a heart-warming drama demonstrating the love for one’s own hometown.
At last, the 40 year old TV cartoon GATCHAMAN (ガッチャマン, 2013), also known as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS/G-FORCE, comes to Australia. Destined to become one of the biggest Japanese blockbusters this year, the live-action adaptation of Tatsunoko’s classic anime joins forces with screenwriter Yusuke Watanabe (DRAGON BALL Z).
Fans of Japanese thrillers will be excited to see two highly anticipated titles. Director Hideo Nakata returns with his latest J-horror in almost a decade, THE COMPLEX (クロユリ団地, Kuroyuri Danchi, 2013), which promises to be more frightening than THE RING, and more agonizing than DARK WATER. Kiyoshi Kurosawa blurs the line between subconscious and reality in spine-chiller REAL (リアル〜完全なる首長竜の日, Riaru Kanzen Naru Kubinagaryu no Hi, 2013), which was awarded Special Presentation in the Toronto Film Festival 2013 and has been nominated for Official Selection at the 51st New York Film Festival 2013.
Anime fans will be excited to see DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF GODS (ドラゴンボールZ 神と神, Doragon Booru Zetto: Kami to Kami, 2013) hit the screen, featuring the legendary voice of Masakazu Morita (BLEACH, TIGER & BUNNY, ONE PIECE). For the first time in Dragon Ball history, original creator Akira Toriyama adds his name to the script, story and character design — a must-watch for any anime fans!
Based on a journalist’s reportage, REUNION (遺体 ～明日への十日間, Ashita e no Tooka Kan, 2013) is a sober look into the immediate 10 days following Japan’s Great East Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011. For documentary lovers, THE GOD OF RAMEN (ラーメンより大切なもの, Raamen Yori Taisetsunamono, 2013) tells the story of charismatic noodle shop owner Kazuo Yamagishi, who owns a quaint store in East Ikebukuro. See why customer’s queued regularly for over two hours a day for a bowl of ramen — what is the secret to his success?
A BOY CALLED H (少年H, shonen H, 2013), from Kappa Senoh’s best-selling autobiographical novel, a movie capturing the love and truth of a Japanese family in Kobe during WWII. Follow the story of a boy filled with curiosity and a sense of justice in a time when growing up happened all too quickly. This film received Special Prize at the 35th Moscow International Film Festival 2013.
For some light-hearted romance, BLINDLY IN LOVE (箱入り息子の恋, Hakoiri Musuko no Koi, 2013) is an innocent take on two outcast individuals who fall madly in love with each other despite opposition.
Silver screen enthusiasts will enjoy the line-up from the Japanese masters. LIGHTNING (稲妻, Inazuma, 1952) by director Mikio Naruse and THE ELEGANT BEAST (しとやかな獣, Shitoyakana Kedamono, 1962) by director Yuzo Kawashima are both historical titles about Japanese cinema’s principal post-war themes: the breakdown of the Japanese family and the difficult living conditions. THE GRAND MASTER (王将, Osho, 1948) by director Daisuke Ito is based on the true story of Sakata Sankichi, a shogi genius, and his real rival, Sekine Kinjiro, also a shogi master.
CHILDREN HAND IN HAND (手をつなぐ子等, Te o Tsunagu Kora, 1963), directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, who until 1948 was a sword-drama specialist, shows a story of young school student coping with a learning disability. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ICHI THE MASSEUR (座頭市物語, Zatooichi Monogatari, 1962), also known as TALE OF ZATOICHI brings samurai to the screen with the adventures of Ichi, a blind and humble masseur who is a master swordsman.
All classic titles will be free admission and will be on the website from Tuesday, 17th September.
A free abridged program traveling to regional cities Broome (17 – 18 September), Townsville (26 October), Hobart (13, 14 & 16 October), Cairns (3 November) and Darwin (TBC) include titles from the 2012 major city line-up including ARRIETTY (借りぐらしのアリエッティ, Karigurashi no Arrietty, 2010), A GHOST OF A CHANCE (ステキな金縛り, Suteki na Kanashibari, 2011) and A BOY AND HIS SAMURAI (ちょんまげぷりん, Chonmage Purin, 2010).
Japanese Film Festival’s official channels!
Major city festival dates and locations
BRISBANE: 16 – 20 October Events Cinema Brisbane Myer Centre
PERTH: 23 – 27 October Hoyts Westfield Carousel & State Library Theatre
CANBERRA: 30 October – 3 November Capital Cinema Manuka
SYDNEY: 14 – 24 November Event Cinemas George Street
MELBOURNE: 28 November – 8 December Hoyts Melbourne Central & ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image
ABOUT THE JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL
The Japanese Film Festival started in 1997 with three free film screenings by Festival Director Masafumi Konomi. Last year, the festival celebrated its 16th year with an audience of approximately 25,000 nation-wide, quickly taking its place as one of the largest Japanese Film Festivals outside of Japan. The festival has enjoyed great success, with the opportunity to showcase a vast variety of cinematic delights from classics to newly released films currently screening in Japan.
The Japanese Film Festival is presented and run by The Japan Foundation, Sydney.
ABOUT THE JAPAN FOUNDATION
The Japan Foundation aims to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and other nations through a diverse range of programs and events. The Japan Foundation, Sydney runs a gallery space, library and Japanese language courses for all levels catering from beginner to advanced. The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 with a global network of 23 offices in 21 countries. The Australian office was founded in 1977.