Since 2004, the Japan Foundation has organised a touring Japanese film programme in close partnership with distinguished film venues across the UK. Each year, a handpicked selection of films are carefully chosen to highlight trends in Japanese cinema and showcase the versatility and uniqueness displayed by Japanese filmmakers. It also acts as a showcase for directors and films which may have slipped under the radar of more mainstream festivals.
Some of the highlights include:
Ordinary housewife and bank employee Rika (Rie Miyazawa) turns to a life of crime by embezzling money from clients’ accounts in order to please her young lover. A mischievous dark drama adapted from the bestselling novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta.
Bottom-of-the-class Sayaka enrols in a cram school to improve her grades but soon sets her sights on passing the entrance exam for Japan’s prestigious Keio University. Based on a nonfiction bestseller, this film depicts Japan’s highly competitive and demanding university entrance exams.
Winner of the Cannes Special Jury Prize in 1960, this darkly comic drama follows an elderly man with a decreased libido who attempts to sexually satisfy his captivating, younger wife. Based on Junichiro Tanizaki’s sensual and controversial 1956 novel Kagi (“The Key”).
A Silent Voice
An emotional and beautifully animated film following young Shoya, a boy tormented by his past bullying of deaf classmate Shoko. Shoya decides he must see Shoko once more to atone for his sins, but is it already too late?
Pieta in the Toilet
Young failed painter Hiroshi falls into the depths of despair when he discovers he is incurably ill. One day he meets a teenage girl whose strong will in life gradually sheds light on his own. Inspired by the ‘God of Manga’ Osamu Tezuka’s last diary entry.
Kabukicho Love Hotel
A love hotel in Kabukicho, Tokyo’s well-known entertainment district conveniently conceals people with problems; a cleaner who lives with a criminal at large, a pimp and a girl who has run away from home. An ordinary day begins at this extraordinary hotel…
Discover the wonderland of the world’s largest fish market at the heart of Japanese cuisine for over 80 years. A documentary capturing the pride and determination of the people working at Tsukiji prior to its planned closure.
There are several venues taking part from around the UK between February and March. To find one near you, visit the website.