All you film buffs out there it’s time to mark your calendars! The annual Japanese Film Festival is happening in Singapore from August 19-29, 2010 – that’s 31 films over the span of 11 days.
Plus, a mystery film will be on at The Picturehouse on Saturday, 17 July at 1PM as part of the preview to this exciting event! Latest update – this screening has been cancelled.
For now, we’ve got the line up of the best in Nihon’s cinema right here for you.
Adapted from a sex-stuffed cult novel, LALAPIPO (a play on the phrase “A Lot of People”) follows divergent seedy strands of sexual and narrative spaghetti through the sticky Tokyo night. The film features a “talent scout” aka pimp, a semi-reclusive freelance writer, a women who wants to be a voice actress who makes her living with a hidden camera, a female office worker whose morals are being progressively corrupted, a voyeuristic science fiction geek, and a housewife who lives in a disgusting house; these underdog characters face a fight for survival in the seedy sex industry world of porno films. No matter how sordid things get the movie never loses its sense of optimism that maybe tonight things are going to get better and this time around the sex might really mean something.
Based on a shocking true story, a family makes their living by travelling across Japan, throwing their ten-year old son into traffic and faking bruises in order to extort money from unwitting drivers. Amid the intense and desperate struggle for survival and dignity, Boy shows the mixture of love and guilt found in a family as an exploitative trap, and criticises modern Japanese society. As the bruises become real and the prospect of death become too terrifying and sad, the boy questions his “crime”. Shot in scope from Kyushu to Hokkaido, this is one of Oshima’s most beautiful, restrained and accessible films.
In 1975, the punk band Gekirin, led by Shigeki , gear up to record their last song, ‘Fish Story.’ In 1982, university student Masashi , driving home from a disastrous dating party, listens to ‘Fish Story’ on the radio and hears the scream of a woman during an interlude in the song. In 2009, high-school girl Asami is on a ferry when it is seajacked. And in 2012, only five hours remain before the Earth will be destroyed. In a rundown record shop, the owner puts ‘Fish Story’ on the turntable, muttering “The righteous apostle will save the world.” Are all of these events connected?
In this offbeat documentary filmed in one single 74-minute take, JFF 2008 guest MATSUE Tetsuaki follows around singer songwriter MAENO Kenta’s guerrilla show along the streets of Kichijoji – Tokyo’s coolest suburb. On New Year’s Day in 2009, we travel with Maeno as he walks from Tokyo’s Musashino Hachimangu Shrine through the streets of Kichijoji to Inokashira Park. Matsue turns the entire city into an enormous stage and captures a full sixteen song set, while at the same time revealing to us the true face of the city and the people who live in it.
Yojin tends daily his grandmother’s organic vegetable garden, putting all his effort into planting, ploughing and harvesting, with poor results. The real meanings of his actions somehow escape him. Life with his grandmother is peaceful, until the day when an odd new feeling gets hold of Yojin. Out of the blue, a girl from Tokyo appears in the countryside. Machiko is a pretty nursery-school teacher who loves children. She has come here to escape her past, the death of her boyfriend in a car crash while he was with another lover. Something Yojin has never experienced before creeps into his heart, and his actions are taken over by a desperate need to be next to Machiko and liked by her. He has the sudden urge to control himself, a feeling that brings unexpected consequences.
When scattered strings of time converge,
Good fortune is sure to follow
It all started one Friday night when broken hearted and lackluster businessman Miyata returned home after losing the love of his life, only to be called out again by his private investigator friend. The two meet at a restaurant, where Miyata runs into a woman and falls in love, but in the shadows something unbelievable awaits them all…
Minako is a quiet junior high school student being raised by her overworked single father. She’s at the age where he’s more like an alien to her than a person. The situation is exacerbated when he comes home drunk one night and tries to climb on top of her. Minako’s mother deserted them for another man when Minako was a child. Now working as a hostess, she has little time for her own six year-old daughter, Yu, Minako’s half sister. Both girls are yearning for their mother’s love. Minako runs into Yu at a game center in the mall and proposes they take a trip. She changes out of her school uniform and into adult clothes and the pair hops on an overnight bus out of the city, headed for their grandparents’ home by the sea. It gets dark and both parents start to panic.
The film portrays the faint hope that is generated by the interaction between adults who have not recovered from the trauma suffered when they were 14, and 14-year-old children. Fukatsu, at 14, stabbed a teacher who treated her as an arsonist to death. Twelve years later, Fukatsu is a teacher at a middle school whilst remaining traumatized by the incident. One day Fukatsu is reunited with Sugino, who was a classmate at middle school. Sugino has been teaching piano to one of Fukatsu’s pupils. He is also burdened with a psychological scar. It was verbally inflicted upon him when he was 14 and he gave up playing his favourite piano as a result. Both Fukatsu and Sugino reached adulthood without recovering from their trauma, but they start facing their past, and finds hope to live by keeping in the company of 14-year-olds who whilst are living in the present but are just as troubled.
As a treat, viewers will be treated to a Japanese Film Festival preview on 17 July, Saturday, 1PM at The Picturehouse. Here’s the fun part – no one knows what film’s going to be shown. The title, genre, synopsis are unknown, we don’t even have a trailer! Just be at The Picturehouse and be surprised!