MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese Film Festival (JFF), formerly known as Eiga Sai, is holding its second online edition this year which features 20 films. It is currently streaming for free until February 27.
The second online edition of the Japanese Film Festival is enhanced by a classic masterpiece from Akira Kurosawa. The lineup also boasts of visual masterpieces that paint a Japan of different eras and seasons with the added bonus of mouth-watering Japanese culinary dishes.
Jewel of Kurosawa
Any movie buff knows that an Akira Kurosawa movie is hard to find even in the age of streaming. To be able to come across even one of his 30 films in his must-see list will already be a feat.
One of his masterpieces is “Rashomon”, which won the Italian Critics’ Prize and the Golden Lion Award at the 1951 Venice Film Festival. Have you ever heard of “the effect Rashomon”? It is this film that gave its name to popular writing and to the cinematographic device.
“Rashomon” explores how “truth” is seen through the eyes of four witnesses who have different accounts of a woman’s rape and her husband’s murder.
The 1950 classic is considered one of the most important films of all time in various polls. It is one of two Kurosawa films, the other “Seven Samurai” (1954), which has appeared in various editions of the “Sights & Sounds” directors’ poll published by the British Film Institute.
Tantalizing binge-watch session
Japan is also known as a culinary destination. The Japanese are known to eat with their eyes with their careful plating, that it’s almost a shame to destroy a work of art on a plate.
This year’s JFF has two food films and two more that feature delicious food.
Japan Foundation Manila director Ben Suzuki recommends “Bread of Happiness” for its aesthetic. It is located in scenic Hokkaido with its four seasons and offers a variety of breads and dishes made with seasonal ingredients.
If humor and good food are your cup of tea, then “The Chef of South Polar” is the choice. What makes it even more enjoyable is the cheerful group of men living in cold, distant Antarctica who face isolation with good food.
Although primarily a story about the unlikely friendship between two women during the Edo period, “Mio’s Cookbook” features delicious dishes concocted by one of the story’s protagonists as she attempts to survive with her cooking skills and winning dishes.
Those who love their bowl of tsukemen (cold noodles with dip), “The God of Ramen” will help them know their favorite noodle. The 2013 documentary film details the success of Kazuo Yamagishi, often referred to as the “God of Ramen”, who successfully ran a legendary ramen shop in Tokyo.
2D anime reigns supreme
This year, the JFF has chosen to honor screenwriter and director Yasuhiro Yoshiura. Two of his animated films are presented.
“Time of Eve”, the multiple award-winning sci-fi anime set in a future where androids have become commonplace. A boy suddenly discovers that his household android is beginning to act differently and traces his movement leading him to a cafe called Time of Eve.
“Time of Eve” was originally released as a six-episode web animation that aired from 2008 to 2009, but was re-edited and made into a movie with all-new additional scenes in 2010.
Yoshiura’s other sci-fi animation “Patema Inverted” centers on the friendship of two teenagers who literally exist in an “upside down” world after the world’s scientists fail the gravity experiment. earthly.
If it’s ikemen (handsome men), high school and a love story that one is inclined to watch, then “ReLife” is a kawaii choice. This is an adaptation of the popular webtoon/manga about a 27-year-old unemployed man who undergoes an experiment to rejuvenate him and sees himself enrolling in a high school.
Samurai and yakuza
These groups of people will always be a legend when it comes to Japanese pop culture. Often considered larger than life characters, yakuza and samurai have been the subject of countless films and television series, even outside of their native Japan.
This year’s JFF also features films featuring these enduring characters.
“It’s a summer movie!” is a relatable film about a girl obsessed with samurai movies who decides to make one with the help of her friends and a mysterious guy. It’s a coming-of-age movie sprinkled with a bit of sci-fi spiced up with a healthy dose of romance.
“Le Château Flottant” is a historical spectacle that highlights the code and dignity of a samurai. It tells the story 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.
“Under the Open Sky” is a more humanistic take on the yakuza. The film chronicles the struggles of a former yakuza to reintegrate into society after spending most of his life in prison. The film is said to be based on Saki Ryuzo’s Nobel Prize winning “Mibuncho”.
More exciting and varied programming
The lineup also includes a psychological thriller, a workplace comedy, and a film about artificial intelligence and games.
A psychopath wearing a clown mask goes crazy in a hospital one night in “Masked Ward.” The film stars two of Japan’s leading young actors, Kentaro Sakaguchi and Mei Nagano, as an on-call doctor and injured college student who tries to outsmart their deadly masked intruder. The film is an adaptation of a bestselling book written by a real doctor.
For gamers and game enthusiasts, “Awake” is an interesting choice. This is a coming of age movie based on a true story. It tells of a young man’s fixation on shogi (Japanese chess) and how he will eventually create an AI-based shogi computer program.
“Ito” tells the story of the eponymous girl who decides to work in a “maid café” to overcome her shyness. A talented shamisen (three-stringed musical instrument) player, Ito meets new people while discovering herself and pursuing her passion for music.
“SUMODO-The Successors” offers rare access to Japan’s national sport, sumo. This is a documentary that shows behind the scenes of the lives of famous sumo wrestlers.
For those who like their dose of drama, three titles are included in the lineup. “Aristocrats” finds two women – a country girl and a rich girl – navigating life, friendship, and concerns about marriage and major life decisions.
“Her Love Boils Bathwater” is an award-winning family drama about a strong-willed mother trying to keep her family together amidst a missing husband and a young daughter trying to deal with bullying.
Life and death are examined in “Until Dawn”. A young man serves as a “connector” who is able to connect the living with their departed loved ones for the last time. It is based on the novel of the same name by Tsujimura Mizuki.
Two films take place in a workplace with a cheerful group of interesting characters.
“Ozland” is a comedy take on a workplace drama involving a group of people working at an amusement park while “Happy Flight” spotlights ground crew, flight attendants and pilots in action. action told with a pinch of humor and suspense. .
To watch and see the full list of featured movies, visit https://jff.jpf.go.jp/watch/jffonline2022/philippines/. Viewers can watch the movies through their smart TV, computer, mobile phone or similar gadgets with internet access. Follow the Facebook pages and official social media accounts of JFM and JFF Philippines for more information. Films can only be viewed once and within 48 hours.
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