Strap in for the Japanese Film Festival this year, as it's back with its most diverse program yet. Depicting all walks of life, along with the main festival, comes the FREEJFF Classics Film Program of works adapted from novels by celebrated authors and directed by cinematic greats from the Japanese Golden Age and New Wave. With Passion and Obsession as its theme, you'll find it in varying shades of eroticism ranging from the melodramatic to fraught love affairs. It's a fascinating glimpse into the many different faces of Japan throughout the decades.
It's never too early to pencil in the dates for this diverse selection that runs from cult indie to international favourites; questionable films and intriguing titles. Check the website for all dates of the JFF Main and Classics Program and events in regional Australia. You can book tickets online via each film's details on the website or directly from the cinema/venue. If you'd like to volunteer at the Festival, only Adelaide and Melbourne positions remain available for registration.
Save money with a 5 Film Pass (Main Program only), based on adult ticket pricing, and available via box office only, except for ACMI (Aust Cntr of the Moving Image) where it's available online. You need to specify all 5 sessions when booking, and it must be bought in one transaction. The pass can be shared, but not at Melbourne's Hoyts Melbourne Central and ACMI. There are also Group Discounts for bookings of 10 people or more, Member Discounts and School Screenings.
JFF's FREE Classics Program runs from 29 Sep-2 Dec 2018, with a curated program in three states: Passion & Obsession in Sydney (Art Gallery of NSW Oct 3 – 31); with an abridged version in Melbourne (ACMI Nov 23 - Dec 2) and Canberra (NFSA Sep 29 - 30). Highlights include The Pornographers, Cannes Palme d'Or-winning filmmaker Shohei Imamura's darkly comical portrayal of a pornographer hustling to keep his business alive amidst Japan's postwar economic boom, despite threats from the police, local gangsters and his own family; and Kagero-za, an adaptation of Kyoka Izumi's story of a playwright who meets a beautiful woman he suspects is the ghost of his patron's deceased wife.
With 9 freebies on offer, the other 7 include Nihonbashi - follows 2 geishas in a cut-throat competition; Okato and Sasuke - a melodrama between a blind koto (Japanese lap guitar) virtuoso and her devoted manservant; Manji: The Goddess of Mercy- a queer melodrama of an intriguing love affair between two society ladies; A Geisha - follows an aspiring geisha and her established mentor fighting to uphold their dignity amidst the economic pressures of post-war Kyoto; Juvenile Jungle - portrayal of the sexual revolution of disillusioned post-war youth follows two brothers who fall for the same woman; The Affair - a young woman's illicit affair with her deceased mother's lover and Classics Drama Foodie Tampopo which is the only one screening in all JFF Main cities about an enigmatic truck driver and noodle connoisseur who is enamoured by a beautiful ramen-maker but horrified at the sub-par food.
The main event showcases 30 features and a documentary along with two guests for 2018: Australian-born rising star Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2), for Q&A in Sydney only at Oh Lucy - delivering a strong performance in this indie comedy. The other guest, renowned Japanese auteur Isao Yukisada, will be at his stormy coming-of-age drama River's Edge for Q&A, also only in Sydney. Isao is responsible for some of the most iconic films in contemporary Japanese Cinema, including Go, Spring Snow, and Crying out Love, in the Center of the World, which was partly filmed in Uluru.
The JFF Regional Program will again be travelling to Hobart, Newcastle, Darwin, and Bunbury, bringing select Japanese films for FREE. Films include Gintama where Sci-fi meets samurai in an explosive action-comedy; Mary and the Witch's Flower, a magical adventure for the whole family and In This Corner of the World, courage in the face of adversity, an amazing award-winning hand-drawn animation set in WW2 The Long Excuse, an amicable marriage that lacks passion and Thermae Romae, a Roman architect who faces a crisis of confidence till he discovers a time-travel portal. Look out for the film program in Alice Springs where JFF is participating in the Desert Festival.
One Cut of the Dead a micro budget film has officially taken over the world, rating 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. A zombie film gone wrong in all the right ways, it starts in an abandoned warehouse then completely switches direction, turning the zombie genre on its head into a delightfully, surprisingly touching and sometimes side-splittingly hilarious comedy. It screens in Brisbane and Perth, and is the Opening Night film in Sydney and Melbourne.
Call Boy is another film grabbing the attention of an international audience. Director Daisuke Miura who started his career in theatre, uses awkward erotic excess to reveal social flaws and mock convention through the eyes of a male escort. It's a natural ascension or descent for actor Tori Matsuzka to play a gigolo after his roles as an emotionally lost backpacker (Her Love Boils Bathwater), a struggling rock star (Kiseki) and a cheating husband (Birds Without Names).
From sneaky goblins and snobby cats, feisty heroines and handsome villains, meet a range of colourful characters at the 22nd Japanese Film Festival. Expect the unexpected and view the full program on the website and Facebook page which is great for updates and a running narrative. Join the conversation on the event pages which has individual events to look through.