We present a list of ten films you shouldn’t miss at the 11th Okinawa International Film Festival which take place from April 18th – 21st, in Ginowan and Naha (Okinawa), Japan.
Breathless by Yang Ik-june – Korea | 2008 – 130 minutes
One day, Sang-hoon, who lives at the bottom of society, ¬filled with intense anger and hatred for his father, meets the mischievous high school girl Yeon-hee, who is hiding her own wounds in her heart. For no particular reason,the two of them feel strongly attracted to each other, but gradually the gears of their fate begin to turn… (Okinawa IFF Catalogue)
Daddy Issues by Ken Ochiai – Vietnam | 2018
The movie is a Vietnamese film adaptation of Takahisa Igarashi’s popular novel “Papa to Musume no Nanokakan”. As soon as it was released in December last year in Vietnam, the movie broke the box office with over 500,000 audience turning out in the first week. In Japan, the original story was made into a TV show in 2007, starring Hiroshi Tachi and Yui Aragaki. The Korean film adaptation was released in 2017, starring Yun Je-Mun and Jung So-Min.
Erica 38 by Yuichi Hibi – Japan, Thailand | 2019
“What is one’s true self…?” There is a woman who swindled money out of men with her charm, and out of women with her stories, even after turning sixty. Some say the amount she had extorted was 700 million, others say 800 million. The woman splurged the fraudulent money, lived an extravagant life, and had a lover in Thailand. He was in his twenties, living in a farm village. She lied about her age, saying she was “38 years old”. The “38 year-old” in her short skirt exposing her thin legs is arrested in a foreign country. When deluged by the media, she smiles and says, “I’m a victim too, this is some kind of mistake”. What was it that Kirin Kiki wanted to portray through this film? Was it the comical and sad nature of a woman who lived her life on the edge? What is the “true self” that lies deep inside every human…?
Extro by Naoki Murahasi for NHK – Japan
This powerful documentary dives deep into the tragicomic world of the “townspeople” stand-ins working at Warp Station Edo, a popular shooting location for samurai dramas, through a piercing study of a 63-year-old extra. Well, that’s what the movie seems to be, at least. Before you know it, the story is careening along with an odd mix of curious characters and perplexing plot twists. Utilizing mockumentary stylings, this ambitious film forms a compelling commentary on the aspirations that shape film production and the feelings that a simple, ho-hum life can evoke. The cast includes Koji Yamamoto, Yuki Saito, Yasufumi Terawaki, Nobuhiko Obayashi, and a host of others, all appearing as themselves.
I want to eat your pancreas by Shinichiro Ushjima – Japan | 2014
Spring time in April and the last of the cherry blossoms are still in bloom. The usually aloof bookworm with no interest in others comes across a book in a hospital waiting room. Handwritten on the cover are the words: “Living with Dying” He soon discovers that it is a diary kept by his very popular and genuinely cheerful classmate, Sakura Yamauchi, who reveals to him that she is secretly suffering from a pancreatic illness and only has a limited time left.
It is at this moment that she gains just one more person to share her secret. Trying to maintain a normal life as much as possible, Sakura is determined to live her life to the fullest until the very last day. As her free spirit and unpredictable actions throw him for a loop, his heart begins to gradually change.
Keluarga Cemara by Yendy Laurens – Indonesia | 2019
This remake of a serial drama of the same name, which dominated the Indonesian airwaves back in 1996, has proved a smash hit yet again: in its first 10 days in theaters after opening in January 2019, the movie drew an incredible 1 million viewers.
A heartwarming narrative that touches on themes ranging from family and education to the dynamics of wealth and poverty, the film centers on the spirit of familial love—an idea that resonates with Japanese audiences and one of the reasons for its inclusion in the festival lineup.
Love’s Twisting Path by Sadao Nakajima – Japan
After a 20 year hiatus, this is the latest feature film from Sadao Nakajima, known as one of the masters in the Japanese film industry. Based on showcasing the appeal of sword fights, this film reexamines the roots of sword fighting action in period dramas, depicting the masculine passion and love that is packed into a single blade, and featuring incredibly raw, human performances.
My Father, the Bride by Momoko Fukuda – Japan
While going through a particularly dire patch in her career and marriage, Tohka returns to the island where she grew up to attend the second memorial service for her late mother. She is greeted by her father Seiji, who is wearing her mother’s clothes. As if that doesn’t come as enough of a shock, Seiji goes on to tell Tohka that he is getting married again…to a local man named Kazuo who has a high school-age daughter named Daria. Tohka’s younger brother Midori is happy with his father’s decision, and he and the rest of the family get ready to celebrate the new couple. Will Seiji’s marriage bring about a loving and peaceful resolution for his family, and the island?!
Violence Voyager by Ujicha – Japan | 2019
“Violence Voyager” is the world’s first gekimation animated feature film. Ujicha, who has produced gekimation films since his school days, made his directorial debut in 2013 with “The Burning Buddha Man”, and participated in film festivals around the world, winning the Excellence Award at Japan Media Arts Festival that same year. This spectacular 21st century analog artist completed the drawing of the 3,000 images, the shooting, screenplay writing and directing virtually on his own.
We Don’t Wanna…. by Yu Katsumata – Japan
This piece consists of two parts, a documentary and a short film. It is a realistic depiction of some girls aiming for their dream to become actresses!
The documentary part starts with five girls who want to become actresses taking part in a “Make a movie” project under director Yu Katsumata. This is a real record of the days from the start of lesson until the announcement of the cast. The second half then contains the short film “We don’t wanna”, as five high school girls who don’t want to grow up face anxious days, paths, love, dreams and the future… With all of this in their hearts, the five of them, head off on a “We don’t wanna grow up tour”. They take a slow train, headed for “paradise”. It’s only a one day trip, but becomes their battle diary road movie.