Catch these gems of Japanese cinema while you can, for free! – Manila Bulletin

What to expect from this year’s Online Japanese Film Festival

Cinema is one of the most powerful and complex art forms in the world. To quote Ben Suzuki, Director of the Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM), “Films have intangible impacts on our society. We watch movies to entertain ourselves, to educate ourselves, to get away from the daily routine and to travel beyond space and time.

Films help us understand our own lives, those around us, and how society and culture work. And that’s the heart of the Japanese Film Festival, “sharing glimpses of Japanese culture with everyone, one cinematic experience at a time,” says Ben.

Following the success of the Japanese Film Festival Online in 2020, JFM is bringing the festival back to the comfort of our homes through another virtual iteration, from February 14-27.

“The 2022 Online Japanese Film Festival gives viewers the chance to experience and learn about Japanese customs and culture, as the films shown reflect our contemporary society and document people’s lives in certain periods. Films are indeed powerful vectors of cultural exchanges and bilateral relations”, explains Ben.

From bittersweet coming-of-age stories to thrillers, sci-fi, comedies, documentaries, animation and heartbreaking titles, these are the films screened.

TEENS AND TIME TRAVEL Scene from It’s a summer movie!

In Thisin the summer movie! Barefoot is a girl obsessed with samurai. She and her friends decide to make a samurai movie and show it at their school festival. She discovers that her friend, Rintaro, is a time traveler from the future.

Under the open sky is an award-winning film that tells the story of a former yakuza’s struggles to be accepted by society as he tries to live a serious life. The novel by Naoki Award-winning author Saki Ryuzo Mibuncho forms the basis of this drama.

Films have intangible impacts on our society. We watch movies to entertain ourselves, to educate ourselves, to get away from the daily routine and to travel beyond space and time. —Ben Suzuki

bread of happiness overflowing with kindness. With the backdrop of the four beautiful and harsh seasons of Hokkaido, the film is adorned with a variety of pastries and dishes made with seasonal ingredients that heal the hearts of wounded souls.

Protection’s mask is a disturbing film adaptation of a bestselling book written by a real-life doctor and stars two of Japan’s finest young actors, Kentaro Sakaguchi and Mei Nagano.

PIERROT Mei Nagano from thriller 2020 Protection’s mask

2015 marked the first time shogi game software played against a professional human player. Inspired by a True Story, Awake is a moving learning film about a game between man and machine.

An award-winning drama, Aristocrats questions the state of contemporary life through the eyes of two female protagonists from different backgrounds.

Ito is a fresh and moving story about a young woman coming out of her shell and the preciousness of family ties. Tokyo’s distinctive, contemporary ‘maid café’ culture is juxtaposed with traditional shamisen music from Aomori, providing insight into the uniqueness and breadth of Japanese culture.

Located in Japan about 200 years ago, Mio’s cookbook is an entertaining period drama that depicts the bond between Miho, who stakes her life on cooking, and Noe, who has become a high-class courtesan or geisha in Yoshiwara, Japan’s largest red-light district.

An animation made up of a series of episodes told by customers about their sorrows at being discriminated against is Eve’s Hour: The Movie. The film’s social settings and issues surrounding old robots thrown out as trash provide realistic detail about the world depicted. Originally a six-episode online sci-fi animation, it’s now been re-edited and brought to the big screen with all-new additional scenes.

FOR ANIME LOVERS Eve’s Hour: The Movie

reverse patema is a touching sci-fi animation, written and directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, which creatively depicts the beauty of love, friendship and courage.

Sumodo: the successors is a documentary with rare access to sumo, Japan’s national sport, and behind the scenes of the lives of famous sumo wrestlers.

The God of Ramen is a moving documentary that chronicles the life of Kazuo Yamagishi and his legendary ramen shop called “Taishoken” in Ikebukuro, near central Tokyo.

With a humorous and light touch, Land of Oz conveys the joy of working in an amusement park and draws the audience into the happiness experienced by the protagonist.

ReLIFE is a refreshing and touching love story based on the manga series of the same name by Yayoiso. It’s about how living your youth to the full can influence the direction of your future.

PASSION FOR FOOD Honoka Matsumoto as Miho in Mio’s cookbook

The floating castle is a fascinating historical spectacle about those who defend their dignity as samurai, armed with their wisdom, their courage and their love for their people. Shot on a massive set, it features an epic portrayal of Sengoku (Warring States) period warlord Narita Nagachika, who fought back against an enemy force of 20,000 with an army of 500 in the late 16th century.

A fantasy fantasy adapted from the eponymous novel by award-winning author Naoki Tsujimura Mizuki, Until dawn is a spiritual and humanistic drama that presents the inner conflicts of those who, for various reasons, seek contact with the dead.

His love boils the bath water is about the bonds between a strong-willed and deeply loving mother and her family. Ryōta Nakano’s drama film was selected as the Japanese entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

A TIGHT ON THE HEART STRINGS His love boils the bath water left cast Rie Miyazawa, Hana Sugisaki, Aoi Ito and Joe Odagiri

A classic Japanese comedy film The CHsouth pole ef mixes pathos and humor and follows the bittersweet and enchanted daily life of a group of men living in Antarctica, where their only pleasure is to eat.

Good flight is an ensemble film showing ground crew, flight attendants and pilots in action. Through episodes related to the work involved in operating large commercial passenger flights, the film tells an entertaining story that shows the growth of new staff members with humor and suspense.

by Akira Kurosawa Rashomon is one of the most famous Japanese films in history. A heinous crime is interpreted from the different angles of a bandit, a samurai, the samurai’s wife and a woodcutter. The iconic film wonders if there is such truth in this world.

MURDER MYSTERY Rashomon is known as one of the films that brought Japan to the stage of world cinema

In addition to the online screenings, JFM has prepared a two-part free online webinar titled “Let’s talk about Japanese movies! in which anyone can participate, even outside the Philippines. The first session, aptly titled Your Guide to Japanese Movieswill be moderated by Tito Valiente, who will be joined by panelists Prof. Daisuke Miyao, Prof. Nick Deocampo and director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo.

The second is Inside the world of JFF 2022 films. It will feature five young film critics – Skilty Labastilla, Princess Kinoc, Janus Nolasco and Stepanie Mayo. These prominent and up-and-coming young film professionals will casually discuss the influences of Japanese cinema in the Philippines and around the world and offer tips for watching Japanese films.

There will be online campaigns throughout the festival where viewers will have the chance to win exclusive JFF giveaways.

Watch movies on Follow the Facebook pages and official social media accounts of JFM and JFF Philippines for more information.



Marie A. Evans