Japanese film festival returns online

THE JAPANESE Film Festival (JFF) returns this year with a virtual edition, featuring 20 films depicting Japanese culture from different eras.

The online film festival runs from February 14-27 via its online website, https://watch.jff.jpf.go.jp/.

Last March, the film festival was held in a mixed physical and online configuration. This year, it will take place exclusively online. Formerly known as Eiga Sai, the festival – which has iterations in other Southeast Asian countries, India, Russia and Australia – has been renamed the Japanese Film Festival.

According to the film festival’s website, the first online film festival, called JFF Plus: Online Festival 2020-2021, has recorded more than 220,000 views in 20 countries around the world.

“Films have intangible impacts on our society. We watch movies to entertain ourselves, to educate ourselves, to escape the routines of everyday life, and to travel beyond space and time,” said Ben Suzuki, director of Japan Foundation Manila, during an online press conference on February 8.

Mr. Suzuki added that “films are a powerful vehicle for cultural exchange and bilateral relations” and “strengthen ties between Japan and the Philippines through moving images.”

“We are working to expand our business to the world both physically and online,” Japan Foundation Tokyo’s JFF producer Masafumi Konomi said, speaking through an interpreter.

This year’s film festival lineup includes dramas, comedies, animations, thrillers, documentaries and Japanese classics.

The dramas are: Takafumi Hatano Ozland (2018); by Yuichiro Hirakawa Until dawn (2012); by Yukiko Mishima bread of happiness (2012); Satoko Yokohama Ito (2021); by Takeshi Furusawa ReLIFE (2017); At Yukiko Sodé Aristocrats (2021); by Miwa Nishikawa Under the open sky (2021); At Soushi Matsumoto’s It’s a summer movie! (2021); At Ryota Nakano’s His love boils the bath water (2016); by Shuichi Okita The leader of South Polar (2009); and Atsuhiro Yamada Awake (2020).

The documentaries are by Takashi Innami The God of Ramen (2013) and that of Eiji Sakata SUMODO: the successors of the samurai (2020). the anime the films are by Yasuhiro Yoshiura EVE hour the movie (2010); and reverse patema (2013). Period dramas are Isshin Inudo and Shinji Higuch The floating castle (2012); and Haruki Kadokawa Mio’s cookbook (2020).

The other films are Hisashi Kimura’s thriller Masked room (2020); Comedy by Shinobu Yaguchi Good flight (2008); and Akira Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon (1950).

The films are subtitled in Arabic, Burmese, Central Khmer, English, German, Hungarian, Korean, Indonesian, Italian, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Each film will play for 48 hours after its premiere.

In addition to film screenings, there will be online discussions under the title “Let’s talk about Japanese films!” These will be available to interested participants even outside the Philippines. Film professionals will join the discussion to talk about the influences of Japanese cinema in the Philippines. The first online discussion, “Your Guide to Japanese Films,” will take place on February 14, from 2-4 p.m.; while the second discussion, “Inside the World of JFF 2022 Films,” will take place on February 22, from 5-7 p.m.

Details on the films and registration for the online discussions are available on the JFF+ portal site (https://jff.jpf.go.jp/watch/jffonline2022/philippines/). For more information, visit www.jfmo.org and Facebook. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

Marie A. Evans