It’s that time of year! An exciting time of year where we, the general public, finally become privy to the film list that will feature at this year’s ‘Japanese Film Festival’ held by none other than Australia’s own ‘Japan Foundation’. In past years this film festival has proven to simply be one of the very best and is actually the biggest Japanese film festival outside of the great country itself. That’s quite a description for something homegrown like this and the people behind the scenes could not be more proud.
This year’s ‘JFF’ will kick off in Adelaide on the 10th of October with the musical comedy ‘Lady Maiko’ which tells the tale of a young girl with big dreams of one day becoming a Geisha. Though she’s from the countryside and doesn’t quite posses the proper finesse of a Geisha, she has a great chance at fulfilling her dream thanks to one Professor Kyono, a linguistics specialist and her only way of becoming a proper lady.
The festival will run all the way up until December and will finish up in Melbourne. The closing film for the festival, though one that will NOT be shown in either Melbourne or Sydney, is one for the foodies. ‘A Tale Of Samurai Cooking – A True Love Story’ tells the tale of the Funaki Household, a renowned family of samurai chefs. Sydney and Melbourne’s closing film will be announced at a later date, along with additional titles to their extended line-up.
To fill in the rest of the festival, as usual, there will be plenty of movies both animated and live action to feast your eyes on. They are as follows:
Kiki’s Delivery Service:
This is the story of a young witch, named Kiki who is now thirteen years old. But she is still a little green and plenty headstrong, but also resourceful, imaginative, and determined. With her trusty wisp of a talking cat named Jiji by her side she’s ready to take on the world, or at least the quaintly European seaside village she’s chosen as her new home.
A traveler is confronted by spirits in an abandoned shrine; a story of honor and firefighting in ancient Japan; a white bear defends the royal family from a monstrous red demon; ragtag soldiers battle a robotic force in futuristic Japan.
A world, forever beyond your expectations. In a dark, cramped, underground world of endless tunnels and shafts, people wear protective suits and live out their modest hard and yet happy lives.
The story revolves around Yuki Hirano (played by Shota Sometani), who, after failing his university entrance examinations and being left by his girlfriend, decides to join a forestry training program on seeing an attractive female face (Nagasawa) on a promotional leaflet. However, he soon discovers that the job is harder than he expected, working under the hard-working superior played by Hideaki Ito.
Ancient Roman architect Lucius is too serious. His inability to keep up with the fast-moving times costs him his job. When a friend takes the dejected Lucius to the public bathhouse to cheer him up, Lucius accidentally slips through time and resurfaces in a modern-day public bath in Japan. There, he meets aspiring young manga artist Mami, along with others of the “flat-faced clan”. Shocked by the many inventive aspects of Japan’s bathing culture, Lucius returns to ancient Rome and garners tremendous attention when he implements these novel ideas back in Rome. As he time-slips back and forth between ancient Rome and modern-day Japan, Lucius’ reputation as the ingenious, new bath architect begins to grow.
Ask This Of Rikyu:
Sen no Rikyu is the son of a fish shop owner. Sen no Rikyu then studies tea and eventually becomes one of the primary influences upon the Japanese tea ceremony. With his elegant esthetics, Sen no Rikyu is favored by the most powerful man in Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi and becomes one of his closest advisors. Due to conflicts, Toyotomi Hideyoshi then orders Sen no Rikyu to commit seppuku.
The Rurouni Kenshin Movie Trilogy:
Former legendary assassin Kenshin Himura (‘Takeru Sato’) has now become a wandering samurai. Offerring aid and protecting those in need as atonement for his past deeds. During this time Kenshin Himura comes across and aides Kaoru Kamiya (Emi Takei). Her father opened the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu, a kendo school located in Tokyo and Kaoru is now an instructor there. Kaoru then invites Kenshin to stay at her dojo. Their relationship develops further, but Kenshin is still haunted by his violent past.
The God Of Ramen:
There is no secret ingredient. In fact, as most fans of Taishoken believe, it’s the charisma of owner Kazuo Yamagishi that attracted people from all around Japan to his modest shop. His personality and love for his craft, combined with a precise mélange of flavours, combined to create perfection in each ramen bowl. This heart-warming documentary is not just for noodle fans, but for anyone who loves to be inspired by passionate people.