15 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 20th Nippon Connection – Japanese Film Festival

These are fifteen films you can’t miss at the 20th Nippon Connection – Japanese Film Festival, which will take place from June 9th – 14th, 2020 online in Vimeo. *Films have country restrictions*

About the festival:
The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is the biggest platform for Japanese cinema worldwide and takes place at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle and further locations in Frankfurt am Main. The unique film and supporting program offers a varied experience of Japan from tradition to modernity. In 2019 the festival showed more than 100 films, with an audience of over 16,500 attending, and more than 70 guests from Japan came to introduce their films.

*Note: Some films have country restrictions and you won’t be able to watch them. Each film costs 5 euros. After you have paid you can stream the film for 24 hours. There is a 10-ticket package for 40 euros. *

Selected Films:

100 Yen Love

100 Yen Love by Masaharu Take – Japan | 2014 – 113 minutes

32-year-old slacker Ichiko (Sakura Ando) lives with her parents until a fight with her disapproving sister escalates: she moves out, accepts a job at a local 100-yen-shop and meets boxer Yuji, whom she has watched at practice numerous times. After her life takes more unexpected – and unwanted – turns, she takes up boxing herself and attempts to change her ways.

*ONLY available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland*




A Life Turned Upside Down

A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic by Kenji Katagiri – Japan | 2019 – 95 minutes

It’s maddening: Saki’s father hasn’t come home sober for years. He prefers to fall asleep in the hallway and she, her mother, and her sister have to drag him into the bedroom. When his friends come to visit and play Mahjong, bottles of whiskey are emptied, while the mother just prays apathetically. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Saki wonders what’s wrong with this man who seems to care less about his family than he does about the next sip. Kenji Katagiri portrays a stubborn drunkard from the perspective of the women in his family, never being satisfied with stagnation or bitterness. In his film, the tragic turns as light-footedly to the comic as the comic turns to the tragic.

*Available Worldwide EXCEPT in Japan and Mainland China*




After the sunset

After the Sunset by Michio Koshikawa – Japan | 2019 – 133 minutes

Little Towa lives with his parents Satsuki and Yuichi in a coastal town on Nagashima. Yuichi is a fisherman, Satsuki runs a restaurant. What Towa doesn’t know is that he is adopted. As a baby, he was abandoned in an internet café, completely emaciated. While his new parents are secretly fighting for custody of him and want to protect him from his past, the family’s happiness begins to falter. Satsuki and Yuichi aren’t the only ones who are worried about Towa’s future. With great tenderness, Michio Koshikawa tells the story of an unusual family and at the same time creates a sensitive portrait of everyday life in a small Japanese coastal town far from the big cities. A film full of deep tranquillity and brimming with emotions.

*ONLY available in Germany*




Beautiful, Goodbye

Beautiful, Goodbye by Eiichi Imamura – Japan | 2019 – 113 minutes

While he is on the run after stabbing a man, Shinoda accidentally hits a young woman with his car. She turns out to be a zombie, escaping from her ex-boyfriend who is responsible for her misery. They decide to run away together and form an unusual bond, although they know that there is no safe place for them. Eiichi Imamura’s visually impressive zombie roadmovie surprises with an unconventional story and profound character design.

*Available Worldwide*




Forgiven Children

Forgiven Children by Eisuke Naito – Japan | 2020 – 131 minutes

While fooling around with a self-made crossbow, Kira accidentally kills his classmate Itsuki. For lack of evidence, the young student is found innocent. However, his trial is widely covered by the mass media, and the following uproar from society won’t leave his family untouched. Based on the question “How would I react to my child commiting a crime?”, Eisuke Naito repeatedly switches angles from youth to parenthood, creating a bleak and compelling drama that blurs the borders between perpetrator and victim.

*ONLY available in Germany*




Hello World

Hello World by Tomohiko Ito – Japan | 2019 – 98 minutes

The year 2027 in Kyoto: Naomi, an introverted high school student, meets a mysterious man who claims to be his older self from ten years in the future. The time traveller tells Naomi how his classmate and future love of his life Ruri will be killed in an accident, three months from the moment they speak. Both Naomis team up to prevent the accident from happening. However, the visitor from the future doesn’t share all details of his secret mission.

*ONLY available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland*




Little Miss Period

Little Miss Period by Shunsuke Shinada – Japan | 2019 – 75 minutes

What if the period was a heart-shaped being named “Little Miss P” and literally visited every woman? Aoko is self-confident, works as the editor of a fashion magazine, and is dating an attractive widower. His daughter, however, refuses to accept her friendship, and the monthly visit of her “Little Miss P” doesn’t exactly make Aoko’s busy days any easier. Why does life have to be so complicated? Little Miss Period is based on the award-winning manga of the same title by Ken Koyama, which has been running since 2017. His short stories about “Seirichan”, unbashful and entertaining, depict the life of young women in the company of their period, which appears as a necessary evil but also as an obtrusive friend.

*Available Worldwide EXCEPT Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar*




Me and My Brothers Mistress

Me & My Brother’s Mistress by Takashi Haga, Sho Suzuki – Japan | 2019 – 96 minutes

Since the death of their parents, Yoko and Kenji have been inseparable. One night, Yoko witnesses her brother dating an unknown woman. This, of course, wouldn’t be a problem – if Kenji was not already engaged. Yoko confronts the woman named Misa, asking her to end the affair. But pretty soon she starts to realize that Misa might be a better match for Kenji than his current fiancée. Thanks to its relatable female protagonists and subtle humor, Me & My Brother’S Mistress was one of the highlights of the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2019, where it received the audience award.

*Available Worldwide EXCEPT Japan*




Minori on the Brink

Minori on the Brink by Ryutaro Ninomiya – Japan | 2019 – 130 minutes

Can Minori avoid a nervous breakdown? All the people surrounding her refuse to express their feelings and emotional boundaries. The resulting everyday life is characterized by ruthlessness: Even friends reduce each other to their appearance and shamelessly take advantage of each other. Minori runs against this by attacking ignorance whenever she encounters it, whatever the consequences might be. Ryutaro Ninomiya is one of the most radical young voices in Japanese cinema. With Minori, On the Brink, he takes a resolute and inventive stand against the cinema of complacency and against social stagnation.

*Available Worldwide EXCEPT Japan, Italy*




Miss Hokusai

Miss Hokusai by Keiichi Hara – Japan | 2015 – 90 minutes

Edo, today known as Tokyo, in 1814: The artist Hokusai tirelessly works in his atelier to cover the demand for his famous paintings. However, few people are aware that some of these pieces of art are in fact the work of his daughter Oei. The visually stunning Miss Horukai recounts episodes in the life of a young woman who was overshadowed by her world-famous father all of her life. Director Keiichi Hara mixes several genres, like coming of age and family drama, to tell the story of a free-spirited female artist.

*Available ONLY in Germany, Austria, Switzerland*




Mrs. Noisy

Mrs. Noisy by Chihiro Amano – Japan | 2019 – 106 minutes

Novelist Maki not only suffers from a lack of ideas but is also tormented by her new neighbor Miwako, who noisily beats her futons, even late at night. However, the ensuing quarrel gives Maki her much-needed inspiration to write a successful serialized novel about her new character “Mrs. Noisy”. But as it becomes apparent to the public who she is modelled on, the situation escalates. Both humorous and insightful, Mrs. Noisy tells of all the emotional baggage that people have to carry and pleads for more open-mindedness in our daily encounters.

*Available ONLY in Germany*




My Sweet Grappa Remedies

My Sweet Grappa Remedies by Akiko Oku – Japan | 2019 – 107 minutes

Childless office worker Yoshiko is in her forties and confidently navigates her way through life, accompanied by little drinks and basically without friends. Every day, she shares her feelings and observations on life with her diary. These entries, recited by her voice, accompany the film and its poetic scenes of her day-to-day life, as a gentle and carefully woven story of new love unfolds around her. Through Akiko Oku’s masterful staging and Yasuko Matsuyuki’s subtle acting, the simple things become remarkable and a few moments soon outline the depth of a whole life. Akiko Oku has been drawing precise portraits of women in Japanese society through her films for years and has been featured at Nippon Connection several times.

*Worldwide EXCEPT Japan, China, Taiwan, USA, Italy*




The Journalist

The Journalist by Michihito Fujii – Japan | 2019 – 113 minutes

Seldom has the unease with politics been so clearly addressed in recent Japanese mainstream cinema as in The Journalist. The film stirred up the Japanese public and film industry alike. Michihito FUJII’s political thriller tells the story of newspaper journalist Yoshioka, who receives an anonymous fax with explosive information. As she follows the trail, she comes across questions that also concern the official Sugihara. The two uncover a scandal that reaches up into the highest circles of the Japanese government. But the closer they get to the truth, the more dangerous the situation becomes for both of them. The Journalist won three Japanese Academy Awards in 2020 and is based on the book of the same title by journalist Isoko Mochizuki, who is also portrayed in the documentary film i -Documentary of the Journalist.

*Available ONLY in Germany*




Under Your Bed

Under Your Bed by Mari Asato – Japan | 2019 – 98 minutes

Naoto is a disturbed young man who prefers the company of aquarium fish over human companionship. When he accidentally runs into Chihiro, an acquaintance from his youth, he starts to obsessively follow her and secretly enters her apartment. As a result, he starts a chain of events with unpleasant consequences for everyone involved. In her latest feature, Mari Asato turns the rules of the stalking thriller upside down. She combines a grim portrait of interpersonal dynamics with classic suspense and surprising twists, not shying away from graphic depictions of sexual violence. One of the most controversial films of this year’s selection.

*ONLY available in Germany*





Yan by Keisuke Imamura – Japan | 2019 – 86 minutes

In the sensitive directorial debut of cinematographer Keisuke Imamura, young Japanese architect Tsubame has to face his family history: His Taiwanese mother took his brother Ryushin back to her home country during their childhood. In order to follow the last wish of his father, Tsubame hesitantly travels to Taiwan for the first time to see Ryushin again after more than 20 years. The breathless handheld camera explores his present between the cultures, whereas memories of the past with his mother shine in a warm, tender light. Neither in Japanese nor in Chinese can the grown-up brothers express all their feelings. In the end, images release the deepest emotions.

*ONLY available in Europe*



We also selected 8 Docs for you to see: SEE THE ARTICLE HERE

For more information about the films and how to watch them please go to the official website:

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