SciFi Japan

    16th Japanese Film Festival Comes to Australia in November

    Lineup includes RUROUNI KENSHIN, KEY OF LIFE, THERMAE ROMAE and SPACE BROTHERS Source: Japan Foundation, Sydney press releases Official Site: Special Thanks to Evon Fung and Amanda Thompson

    In less than one month, the 16th Japanese Film Festival opens in Sydney from 14 – 25 November at Event Cinemas George Street and MELBOURNE from 29 November – 9 December in two locations, Hoyts Melbourne Central and ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Tickets go on sale 22 October for the biggest line-up to date. This year’s ‘totally sweet’ program features many titles that are now showing in Japan, with some yet to be released. Within the programming of these two cities, award-winning manga turned live-action SPACE BROTHERS (????, Uchuu Kyodai, 2012) will be featured in this year’s line-up, along with Japanese Academy Award winning Director Takashi Yamazaki’s (ALWAYS 1, 2 and 3) newly animated feature newly animated feature FRIENDS: NAKI ON THE MONSTER ISLAND (friends?????????, Friends Mononoke-jima no Naki, 2011). Families will enjoy the heart-warming story about an unlikely friendship that forms between a monster and a human child. The Japanese Film Festival will also travel with free abridged programs to two new Australian cities -- Darwin and Cairns with dates to be confirmed. This is in addition to the already touring cities of Perth, Hobart and Canberra. Films traveling to these cities are the popular teenage romance, HANAMIZUKI (?????, 2010) and the emotional tear-jerker, STAR WATCHING DOG (????, Hoshi Mamoru Inu, 2011).

    OPENING & CLOSING FILMS Opening the festival with a festive start is Japan’s biggest box office hit of the year, THERMAE ROMAE (????????, 2012), a laugh-out-loud comedy starring Hiroshi Abe as a time-traveling Roman architect that journeys between ancient Rome and present-day Japan. The film is centered on bath culture, from Japanese bathhouses to Roman baths, the portal between the two eras. The festival will close with an epic saga, THE FLOATING CASTLE (?????, Nobo no Shiro, 2012), based on actual historical events, set in 16th century feudal Japan. It’s the tale of a 20,000 strong army against 500 men in a battle for their lives. Originally set for a September 2011 release, it was postponed to this November due to a large water attack scene that was deemed inappropriate to be released in the same year as the tsunami. Sydney will be simultaneously screening this as Japan. FRESH FROM JAPAN 35th Montreal World Film Festival ‘Special Grand Prix Jury’ Prize winner, A CHRONICLE OF MY MOTHER (?????, Waga Haha no Ki, 2012) starring Koji Yakusho (13 ASSASSINS), is a tender family portrait about a mother with dementia in the care of her bitter son. For those who are familiar with the late Japanese literary writer Yasushi Inoue, this film is based on his autobiography and is reminiscent of classic director Yasuhiro Ozu’s nuanced style. Earlier this year, Japan’s oldest active film director Kaneto Shindo passed away, aged 100. POSTCARD (??????, Ichimai no Hagaki, 2011) was Shindo’s final film, written from his own war experiences and was Japan’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2011 Academy Awards.

    RUROUNI KENSHIN. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures Japan. © Watsuki Nobuhiro/ Shueisha. © 2012

    From the director of the 2009 Academy Award-winning film Departures, Yojiro Takita returns with TENCHI: THE SAMURAI ASTRONOMER (????, Tenchi Meisatsu, 2012), a samurai assigned with the task of charting the stars across the length and breadth of Japan. Fans of Japanese thrillers will be pleased to see GOOSE BUMPS – THE MOVIE – (???? -???-, Torihada -Gekijooban-, 2012) in the mix. Initially a cult TV series, this is a compilation of six chilling stories not about the supernatural, but the curiosity and madness that lurks deep within us all. RUROUNI KENSHIN (??????, 2012), another film currently topping Japan box office grossing over 555 million yen ($7 million) in its first five days, is a must-see for all samurai lovers. But for those who are after a different type of blade action, HELTER SKELTER (?????????, Heruta Sukeruta, 2012) gives you a glimpse of the ugly side of beauty -- when plastic surgery gets out of hand.


    SYDNEY Actress Tamiyo Kusakari (SHALL WE DANCE?) and director Masayuki Suo (SUMO DO, SUMO DON`T; SHALL WE DANCE?) will make a guest appearance and special Q&A session at the screening on A TERMINAL TRUST (????, Tsui no Shintaku, 2012), a film on the ethics of euthanasia. Director Miwa Nishikawa (DEAR DOCTOR) will join us in conversation at the screening of DREAMS FOR SALE (??????, Yume Uru Futari, 2012), a couple caught in their own web of deception in pursuit of their dreams. MELBOURNE Multi Cannes-award winning director Kenji Uchida (A STRANGER OF MINE, AFTER SCHOOL) will be at the screening of KEY OF LIFE (????????, Kagi Dorobo no Mesotdo, 2012), which recently won Best Screenplay at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. It is a comedy about two men trading places, one finding himself in a lifestyle more than he bargained for.


    SYDNEY 14 – 25 November 2012 Event Cinemas George Street MELBOURNE 29 November – 9 December 2012 ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image + Hoyts Melbourne Central


    The Japanese Film Festival started in 1997 with three free film screenings by Festival Director Masafumi Konomi. Last year the festival celebrated its 15th year with an attendance of approximately 22,000 nation-wide, quickly taking place as one of the largest Japanese Film Festivals outside of Japan. The festival has enjoyed great success with the opportunity to showcase a vast variety of cinematic delights from classics to newly released films that are currently screening in Japan. The Japanese Film Festival is presented and run by the Japan Foundation, Sydney.


    The Japan Foundation aims to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and other nations through a diverse range of programs and events. The Japan Foundation, Sydney runs a gallery space, library and Japanese language courses for all levels catering from beginner to advanced. The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 with a global network of 23 offices in 21 countries. The Australian office was founded in 1977.

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