In Japan, movies based on popular comic series are currently enjoying a surge in popularity. Reflecting this trend, the upcoming 13th Japanese Film Festival in Malaysia boasts several of such productions in its lineup this year.
“While some may perceive comics as childhood diversions, that is simply not the case in Japan. A combination of rich storylines and interesting characters ensure that these titles can be enjoyed by the whole family,” says Kyoko Kugai, Asia centre senior programme officer at The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur.
Organised by The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur, this year’s edition of the Japanese Film Festival presents an eclectic lineup of 13 current and acclaimed titles, across a variety of genres, with comedy, drama and animation, dominating the lineup.
Award-winning veteran actress Kiki Kilin makes an appearance in the movies After The Storm and An.
The Japanese Film Festival will be held in the Klang Valley (GSC Mid Valley, GSC Pavilion KL, GSC 1Utama and GSC Nu Sentral) from Sept 8 to 14, Penang (GSC Gurney Plaza) from Sept 15 to 18, Kuching in Sarawak (GSC CityONE Megamall) from Sept 22 to 25, and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah (GSC Suria Sabah) from Sept 29 to Oct 2.
Tickets for all screenings, priced at RM8 each, can be purchased from Sept 6 via GSC e-payment at gsc.com.my, the GSC mobile app, or at participating GSC outlets.
Visit www.jfkl.org.my or www.gsc.com.my for the screening schedule. Here is a quick look at the Japanese film festival titles. All films are presented in Japanese with English subtitles.
After The Storm (drama, 2016)
Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda of Like Father, Like Son fame, this film follows divorced father and gambler Ryota. What will happen when he attempts to mend the rift between himself and his estranged son?
An (drama, 2015)
When the elderly Tokue is hired to work in Sentaro’s dorayaki (red bean pancake) stand, she doesn’t just breathe new life into the business, she also touches his life.
Bakuman (youth drama, comedy, 2015)
Adapted from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s best-selling manga which has sold in excess of 15 million copies, the movie follows two high school students who want nothing more than to make it into Weekly Shonen Jump, the most widely-read manga magazine in Japan.
The Boy And The Beast (animation, 2015)
A young street urchin stumbles into a fantastic world of beats, where he is taken in by a gruff warrior in search of the perfect apprentice. Won the 39th Japan Academy Prize this year for Best Animation.
Creepy (thriller, 2016)
In this adaptation of Yutaka Maekawa’s novel of the same name, which won the Japan Mystery Fiction Newcomer Award in 2011, retired police detective Takakura finds old habits hard to break when a family goes missing.
Chihayafuru Part 1 (youth drama, 2016)
Three childhood friends get serious with Karuta, a traditional card game that dates back to the 17th century, and form a club in order to enter the national championships. Adapted from Yuki Suetsugu’s award-winning manga.
Chihayafuru Part 2 (youth drama, 2016)
The karuta club is in dire straits and its leader is disillusioned. Is there a way to restore the club to its former glory?
Desperate Sunflowers (drama, comedy, 2016)
An adaptation of Nozomi Katsura’s best-selling novel of the same name. In this directorial debut of two-time Japan Academy Prize winner actress Kuroki Hitomi, a successful but unhappy lawyer has her life upended by her unruly cousin-turned-client after a marriage scam gone wrong.
Flying Colors (drama, 2015)
Based on a true story adapted from a novel by Nobutaka Tsubota, teenage delinquent Sayaka enrols at a cram school run by an overly optimistic teacher who encourages her to apply for admission to one of the toughest universities in Japan.
The Magnificent Nine (comedy, 2016)
A plucky band of business owners and farmers hatch an ingenious plot to turn their poverty-stricken fortunes around. This highest-grossing domestic film in Japan on opening weekend is based on a true story adapted from Michifumi Isoda’s novel, Mushi no Nihonjin.
The Mohican Comes Home (comedy, drama, 2016)
An unsuccessful punk rocker returns to his hometown with his pregnant girlfriend in tow, and struggles to please his disapproving father who is very sick.
My Love Story!! (romance, comedy, 2015)
A big guy with a big heart, Takeo Goda is resigned to the fact that his romantic pursuits always seem to end in failure. An adaptation of Kazune Kawahara and Aruko’s bestselling manga.
What A Wonderful Family! (comedy, drama, 2016)
Best known for his Otoko wa Tsurai yo film series and his Samurai Trilogy, this is director Yoji Yamada’s first comedy since 1995. Shuzo has a rude shock when his dutiful wife of 50 years requests for a divorce as a birthday present.