The Japanese Film Festival (JFF) has been touring Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Fremantle and even Auckland, before showing in Sydney in November. It was launched in 1997 by Japan Foundation Sydney, which was established by the Japanese government to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and Australia. Today, JFF has more than 25,000 fans and movie goers in the country and is the largest of its kind outside of Japan.
This year's festival serves up new movies, stars and events from 13 to 23 November at Event Cinemas on George Street. For the first time, movies are also screening at Event Cinemas in Parramatta. Special guests including director Masayuki Suo and actress Mone Kamishiraishi travelled from Japan to open the screening of 'Lady Maiko' festival in Sydney on 16 November. Over 50 titles feature in the 2014 curation including the best contemporary Japanese cinema, from anime to internationally acclaimed drama, and everything in between. Here are some of the highlights.
My Man - This is the first Japanese film to win Best Film in 15 years at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival. Based on an award-winning novel, this movie is about an innocent relationship that develops into a controversial love affair.
TOKYO TRIBE / Photo courtesy of Japanese Film Festival
The Vancouver Asahi - Directed by Yuya Ishii, this movie is based on the true story of the Japanese-Canadian baseball team of the same name. This sporting tale of underdogs overcoming racial discrimination shows that baseball and life are not about winning. It's about how well you play the game.
Lady Maiko - a musical comedy directed by Masayuki Suo based loosely on the Audrey Hepburn classic, 'My Fair Lady'. The movie revolves around a country bumpkin who wants to become a geisha and finds help from a linguistics specialist.
Tickets can be purchased from the JFF website or the cinema box office. If you can't make the Sydney screenings, head over to Melbourne where JFF will run from 27 November to 7 December at Hoyts Melbourne Central and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.