22nd Eigasai Japanese Film Festival Highlights Diversity of Film Genres
This year’s opening film features Samurai Marathon directed by Bernard Rose, based on Akihiro Dobashi's novel Bakumatsu Marathon Samurai about the Ansei Tooashi, known as Japan's first marathon.
Annaka feudal lord Katsuakira Itakura (Hiroki Hasegawa) holds a run across mountain roads to get his samurai warriors into shape. However, the Bakufu central government views it as a rebellion and dispatches assassins to the castle. Meanwhile, Annaka domain accountant Jinnai Karasawa (Takeru Satoh) senses that something is amiss with the Bakufu. Japan’s renowned actor Takeru Satoh gives a subtle and stirring performance as the lead actor, providing action-filled, energetic experience for audiences.
Together with the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (CCP), the Japan Foundation’s continued support towards independent filmmakers brings another Japanese independent film to Manila: Lying to Mom, winner of the Best Film Award at the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival’s Independent Japanese Cinema category. The film is a drama mixed with humor depicting a family attempting to recover from sorrow. Katsumi Nojiri, who worked as an assistant director on The Great Passage and The Lies She Loved, among others, makes his directorial debut with his own original script.
Director Katsumi Nojiri will be present at the Philippine premiere of Lying to Mom on August 3 at CCP during the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, an allied festival of EIGASAI since 2016.
Screening venues are scheduled in Metro Manila, Tacloban, Legazpi, Iloilo, Davao, Pangasinan and Cebu: Red Carpet Cinema, Shangri-La Plaza (July 3-14), Robinsons Place Tacloban (July 18-21), SM City Legazpi (July 18-21), SM City Iloilo (July 25-28), Abreeza Mall Davao (August 1-4), Cultural Center of the Philippines (August 2-11), SM City Rosales, Pangasinan (August 8-11), Cine Adarna, UPFI (August 14-17), Ayala Center Cebu (August 15-18), and Gateway Cineplex, Cubao (August 22-25).
Equally exciting films in the JFF | EIGASAI line-up includes:
The House Where The Mermaid Sleeps (Closing Film)
In this mystery based on the novel by Into The White Night and Suspect X author, Higashino Keigo, a couple is confronted by a tragedy involving their beloved child and ultimately must make a difficult choice. Tsutsumi Yukihiko of Sanada 10 Braves and the TRICK series directs.
Kazumasa (Nishijima Hidetoshi) and Kaoruku (Shinohara Ryoko) are in a troubled marriage and have agreed to divorce once their daughter's elementary school entrance exams are over. However, just before they are to rehearse for the family oral interview, they are informed of their daughter drowning in a pool. Rushing to the hospital, Kazumasa and Kaoruku are met with a heartbreaking situation.
After The Storm
Directed by Kore-eda Hirozaku, internationally renowned for films including Our Little Sister, this film was selected in the Un Certain Regard section at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Abe Hiroshi) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother (Kiki Kilin) and beautiful ex-wife (Maki Yoko) seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son (Yoshizawa Taiyo)—until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.
Film adaptation of the play that has been honoured with numerous theatre awards. Warm portrayal of the joys and sorrows of a Korean family living in Japan, set in the Kansai region when Japan's economy was becoming. Playwright Chong Wishing wrote the screenplay and makes his directorial debut with this film. In 1970, the Kansai region is jubilant over the World Expo in Osaka. Ethnic Korean Yong-gil (Kim Sang-ho) runs a yakiniku barbecue restaurant in a squatter settlement on government property. With a wife, three daughters and one son, he lives with bravado but is gradually bombarded by the tides of the times.
Lying to Mom
A drama mixed with humour depicting a family attempting to recover from sorrow. Nojiri Katsumi, who worked as an assistant director on The Great Passage and The Lies She Loved among others makes his directorial debut from his own original script.
Without warning the Suzuki family's eldest son Koichi (Kase Ryo) one day takes his own life. The mother, Yuko (Hara Hideko), is so shocked she loses her memory. So for her sake, Yuko's husband Sacchio (Kishibe Ittoku) and daughter Fumi (Kiryu Mai) decide to tell a once-in-a-lifetime lie.
The Tears of Malumpati
A heartwarming drama based on a true story of the Pandan Water Pipeline Project where Japanese and Filipinos work together while overcoming various hardships.
Every year more than 1 million children die because they do not have access to clean drinking water. In Pandan, a rural village on the Panay Island, many people were suffering from kidney disease because they did not have access to clean drinking water. The project was started with the aim to solve this problem by building a 10 kilometre pipeline. Asuka (Tsuji Miyu), a college student, joins the project without giving it much thought when asked by a friend. After she arrives she quickly realizes things are worse than she expected. The labor is intense because they have no funds and the local people are hostile toward the Japanese. But amid the hardship, a five year old girl called Amy (Miel Espinoza) welcomes her kindly. The two become good friends through a picture book and Origami.
The 8-Year Engagement
Zeze Takahisa of Six Four directs this film adaptation of the non-fiction book 8 nen goshi hanayome Kimi no me ga sametanara. Satoh Takeru of the Rurouni Kenshin series and Tsuchiya Tao of Orange star as the couple struggling with chronic illness. Hisashi (Satoh) and Mai (Tsuchiya) are engaged to be married and are completely happy, but Mai falls ill three months before their wedding. She has a cardiac arrest and falls into a coma, and Hisashi prays for her recovery. Mai gradually regains consciousness, but then another challenge awaits her.
The Crimes That Bind
Series finale for the feature film The Wings of Kirin and TV drama Shinzanmono. Based on the novel by Higashino Keigo and directed by Fukuzawa Katsuo, who helmed the TV dramas Hanzawa Naoki and Shitamachi Rocket. A strangled female corpse is discovered in an apartment, and the apartment's resident has vanished. The investigation hits rough waters, but soon they learn about female theatre director Asai (Matsushima Nanako). Detective Matsumiya (Mizobata Junpei) forges ahead with the investigation while questioning whether a charred corpse discovered in the vicinity is related to the case, but then Kaga (Abe Hiroshi) learns of a fact that leaves him stunned.
Hyakkaou Private Academy is a common elite school for the rich—except that it has a peculiar tradition: gambling. Skill is all it takes under the rigorous hierarchy and the student council oversees all gambling activities. A transfer student Yumeko Jabami (Hamabe Minami), seemingly graceful but actually a "compulsive gambler" who finds pleasure in taking risks, gets entangled in the most intense gambling battles to win the position of student rep that the whole school is vying for.
Laughing Under The Clouds
Live action adaptation based on Karakarakemuri's popular comic, which has also been adapted as an animated feature film and TV anime series. Directed by Motohiro Katsuyuki of Where The Curtain Rises and Ajin. Lead role played by Fukushi Sota of Strobe Edge and My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday.
Otsu in Shiga Prefecture after the Meiji Restoration. This is the year for the resurrection of the Orochu snake demon that wreaks havoc on mankind, which happens every 300 years. The three Kumo brothers consist of the oldest son Kumo Tenka (Fukushi), who is in charge of the Kumo Shrine, followed by Soramaru (Nakayama Yuma) and Chutaro (Wakayama Kirato), and they rise up to block the snake demon.
Lu Over The Wall
The first, completely original theatrical film by director Yuasa Masaki. This tale of the encounter and separation of a young boy and a young mermaid is composed of careful depictions of life and delicate emotional portrayals rendered through animation bursting with briskness and energy.
Middle school student Kai (voiced by Shimroda Shouta) ends up in a declining fishing town as a result of his parents' divorce. Depressed, he is one day invited by a classmate to join their band. Kai reluctantly goes to the practice site on Mermaid Island where he meets Lu (voiced by Tani Kanon), a young mermaid.
MIRAI is an animated feature film produced by Studio Chizu. The film is originally written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda who also directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children and The Boy and the Beast.
Kun (voiced by Kamishiraishi Moka), a spoiled little boy, has a new baby sister. Ever since her arrival, he misses his parents' affection, and becomes jealous of her. Then one day, he encounters his sister Mirai (voiced by Kuroki Haru) as a teenager, who come from the future, and embarks on a journey to know the story of his family and life.
Popular screenwriter, Kosawa Ryota, writes an original story depicting the rejuvenation of love and life through table tennis which is brought to screen by Ishikawa Junichi, director of April Fools. Tamako (Aragaki Yui), who was once known as a "table tennis girl wonder", was in a relationship with Ejima (Seto Koji), the ace of her company's table tennis club, until another table tennis player, Airi (Nagano Mei), steals him away. Returning to her hometown, Tamako meets the members of the table tennis club her deceased mother operated, including Hagiwara (Eita), and together they begin practicing hard to defeat the pair of Ejima and Airi.
One Cut Of The Dead
Unique horror film produced by ENBU Seminar Cinema Project became a social phenomenal hit when the theatrical run exploded from two theatres in Tokyo to a wide-scale release in response to the peculiar structure including a 37-minute opening cut, despite using a no-name cast. An indie film crew shooting a zombie film in an abandoned building deep in the mountains. The uncompromising director (Hamatsu Takayuki) drives the production relentlessly and gets to 42 takes. Then, real zombies appear and attack the crew, but the director is thrilled and keeps the camera rolling.
The live-action adaptation of Aruga Rie's similarly titled manga depicting the romance between a protagonist left handicapped by an accident and the heroine who cares deeply for him. In the director's chair is Shibayama Kenji of Nagareboshi ga Kienai Uchini. Architect Ayukawa Itsuki (Iwata Takanori) is left paralyzed from the waist down by a sudden accident and is confined to using a wheel chair. Kawana Tsugumi (Sugisaki Hana) works at an interior design company who one day runs into the senior she had a crush on during high school, Itsuki. Tsugumi is charmed by Itsuki and endeavours to optomistically live life together.
The Third Murder
Our Little Sister director Kore-eda Hirokazu turns his own original script into this psychological thriller. Making his first appearance in a Kore-eda film, Yakusho Koji co-stars with Fukuyama Masaharu, who reteams with Kore-eda for the first in four years since Like Father, Like Son.
Misumi (Yakusho), who had been previously convicted of murder, is once again indicted for killing and setting on fire the president of the company which laid him off. His lawyer, Shigemori (Fukuyama), begins investigating Misumi in order to file for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. However, as his investigation continues, an uncomfortable feeling slowly develops within Shigemori.
Drama interweaving emotional ties that transcend family, directed by The Third Murder's Kore-eda Hirokazu. Won the Palme d'Or in competition at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival.
Day-laborer father Shibata Osamu (Lily Franky) and his son Shota (Jyo Kairi) shoplift with brilliant teamwork. On the way home, they can't bear the sight of a girl shivering in the cold on the first floor of an apartment block and they end up taking her home. The Shibatas have been enjoying themselves, but then a certain incident exposes the family's secrets.
The JFF | EIGASAI is open to the public, and is free of charge, with the exception of films to be screened at Shangri-La Plaza Cinema (July 3-14) which will be Php100 per screening. For detailed screening schedules and inquiries, please access the Japan Foundation, Manila website: www.jfmo.org.ph or call at (+632) 811-6155 to 58.