Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Japanese Film Festival 2010

Female filmmakers are in the spotlight for this year's Japanese Film Festival in Bangkok, which is showing movies by “Emerging Japanese Female Directors”.

Organized by the Japan Foundation Bangkok and the Embassy of Japan, the festival runs from Thursday to Sunday at Paragon Cineplex.

Free tickets -- one per person -- will be given out one hour before show time at the festival table in the cinema lobby. Subtitles are in English. Although the Japan Foundation shows movies all the time, they are ordinarily only subtitled in Thai, so this annual festival is something Bangkok's English-speaking film fans look forward to. All will be shown in 35mm except for German + Rain, which is 8mm transferred to DVD. Get in line and enjoy some great Japanese films!

Here's the line-up:

Thursday, March 4

Sway (Yureru), directed by Miwa Nishikawa (2006) -- Jo Odagiri stars in this courtroom drama. He's a big-city photographer who goes back to his small town when his mother dies. An incident involving his brother (Teruyuki Kagawa) results in a trial that exposes their dysfunctional family life. Show time is 8pm. This is the opening gala with various dignitaries invited, so tickets for the general public may be limited.

Friday, March 5

Glasses (Megane), directed by Naoko Ogigami (2007) -- A stressed-out career woman heads to an Okinawa-like island for a much-needed vacation. There, she encounters a slower pace of life than she's used to and must learn to go with the flow. A nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Manfred Salzgeber Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008. Show time is 4pm.

German + Rain (German + Ame), directed by Satoko Yokohama (2007) -- The debut feature by Yokohama, this quirky comedy-drama is about a 16-year-old misfit girl named Yoshiko who aspires to be a singer-songwriter. She settles for teaching recorder lessons to children. In nominating the film for the Dragons and Tigers Award at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival, programmer Tony Rayns wrote: "Other Japanese movies (even a few by other women directors) have touched on serious issues like broken families, social ostracism and child abuse. But none has this much wild humor, or a heroine to compare with Yoshiko." The show time is 7pm followed by a talk with the director.

Saturday, March 6

The Cat Leaves Home (Inuneko, aka Dogs & Cats), directed by Nami Iguchi (2004) -- Suzu (Fujita Yoko) and Yoko (Enomoto Kanako) are childhood friends who end up becoming roommates. Though they are actually very different, they always fall for the same guy. This is the debut feature by Iguchi and winner of four awards at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema in 2004, including the Fipresci Prize and the Jury Special Prize. The show time is 11am.

One Million Yen Girl (Hyakuman-en to nigamushi onna), directed by Yuki Tanada (2008) -- Released from prison, a 21-year-old woman (Aoi Yu) embarks on a journey and works a variety of odd jobs. Wary of forming any more connections to people, she vows that when she's saved up 1 million yen, she will move on to another town. Its a journey to self-discovery and learning how to trust others again. Show time at 4pm.

Sunday, March 7

The Mourning Forest (Mogari no mori), directed by Naomi Kawase (2007) -- Machiko (Machiko Ono) has taken a new job working in an old folks' home in the forested mountains. She's also recovering from the death of her young son. She is drawn to a dementia-suffering patient (Shigeki Uda), and the elderly man is similarly attracted to her. It's a bond that will heal them both. Show time is 11am.

Dear Doctor, directed by Miwa Nishikawa (2009) -- In this latest film from Nishikawa, a hipster medical-school graduate (Eita) is assigned to a rural mountain village where he works under an older doctor named Ino (Tsurube Shofukutei), who cares for elderly patients, patiently listens and cheerfully keeps up their spirits. Inspiring as it all seems, the young doctor comes to realize that Dr Ino's medical skills are suspect. Ino's nurse (Kimiko Yo) and a drug salesman (Teruyuki Kagawa) know something more. Show time at 4pm.

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