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15 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 16th Camera Japan Festival 2021

These are fifteen films you shouldn’t miss at the 15th Camera Japan Festival which will take place from September 22nd – 26th in Rotterdam and from September 30th – October 3rd in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

– Recommended Films –

Ainu Mosir アイヌモシリ by Fukunaga Takeshi – Japan | 2020 – 84 minutes

On Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost island), 14-year-old indigenous Ainu teen Kanto goes on a quest for a spiritual connection with his recently deceased father. Torn between maintaining the tradition of his ancestors, which includes a controversial ritual, and lured by the mysteries of adulthood, Kanto searches for his sense of self. Gently observed, layered coming-of-age drama and a beautiful portrait of the Ainu community. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:00 pm
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 17:30 pm
October 1st, 2021 | Friday | LAB III Amsterdam | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Along the Sea 海辺の彼女たち by Fujimoto Akiro – Japan | 2020 – 88 minutes

The hard realities of the lives of three Vietnamese immigrant women, living and working in Japan, are shown in this stark, almost documentary-like second feature by FUJIMOTO Akio. The three women must navigate an economic system that seems rigged against them, especially when one of them falls ill. An empathetic, realistic and unflinching film about a very important contemporary topic. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 18:30 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday |  Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 13:00 pm

Trailer:

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes ドロステのはてで僕ら by Yamaguchi Junta
Japan | 2020 – 70 minutes

What would you do, if you could see two minutes into the future and two minutes into the past? Kato discovers he can do just that through the security system of the café where he works. Soon his friends get involved and the situation escalates. A smart, funny and original sci-fi comedy, fast-paced and seemingly shot in one take. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 14:30 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 10:15 am
September 26th, 2021| Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 15:00 pm
October 1st, 2021 | Friday | LAB III Amsterdam | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

Closet クローゼット by Shindo Takehiro – Japan | 2020 – 95 minutes

Tasuku, a young man living in the never-sleeping city of Tokyo, finds a new job which revolves around accompanying restless insomniacs to help them sleep at night. Though nervous at first, he gradually learns how to cuddle and comfort his clients in the warm embraces that they – and Tasuku himself – have been lacking. Closet is a gentle, heartwarming tale about loneliness, connection and delicate explorations of people’s closeted selves. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 |Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 12:15 pm
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 15:15 pm

Trailer:

Double Layered town/ Making a song to replace our position 二重のまち / 交代地のうたを編む by Komori Haruka, Seo Natsumi – Japan | 2020 – 79 minutes

Four youngsters who do not know each other, head to the town of Rikuzentakata. There they listen to the local people and turn their experiences of the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, 2011 into stories. Writer SEO Natsumi adds the fictional story Double Layered Town, which takes place ten years into the future, to their stories. An experimental, poetic documentary, which makes the pain and loss of the 3/11 disaster palpable. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 14:45 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 10:15 am

Trailer:

Georama Boy, Panorama Girl ジオラマボーイ・パノラマガール by Seta Natsuki
Japan | 2020 – 105 minutes

Haruko meets Kenichi, who has just dropped out of high school, when she finds him collapsed on a bridge after he was beaten up. She’s instantly smitten and thinks he’s her destiny, but he is far more interested in Mayumi, the reason for the beating. Not your typical teenage romance, this perky, playful film will keep you guessing. Based on the manga of the same name by OKAZAKI Kyoko. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 14:15 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 17:00 pm
October 2nd, 2021 | Saturday | LAB III Amsterdam | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

It’s a summer Film! サマーフィルムにのって by Matsumoto Soushi – Japan | 2021 | 97 minutes

High-school girl Barefoot adores samurai films so much that she wants to make one with her friends, Kickboard and Blue Hawaii. Then Barefoot meets Rintaro, who would be perfect for a samurai role in her movie. They decide to make the film, but during production Barefoot finds out that Rintaro is a time-traveler from the future. A laid-back, light-hearted comedy which wears its love for cinema on its sleeve. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 16:45 pm
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 13:00 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 19:15 pm

Trailer:

Junk Head ジャンク・ヘッド by Hori Takahide – Japan | 2021 – 101 minutes

Mankind can no longer reproduce because of gene manipulation aimed at making life longer. The clones ruling the bottomless underworld may have become fertile. Parton is selected to go on a mission through a subterranean labyrinth crawling with monsters to secure humanity’s future. A new, re-edited version of the breathtaking stop-motion animation that HORI Takahide made all by himself. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 11:30 am
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:15 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:15 pm

Trailer:

Kontora コントラ by Anshul Chauhan – Japan | 2019 – 144 minutes

Guided by her grandfather’s World War II diary, Sora searches for a mysterious treasure in the wilderness of her hometown. She bumps into a homeless man wordlessly walking backward into town. This man might just provide the key to repair the shattered relationship with her father. Gripping, original drama, filmed in stunning black & white. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 19:15 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 12:00 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 10:30 am
October 1st, 2021 | Friday | LAB III Amsterdam | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

Love, Life and Goldfish すくってごらん by Makabe Yukinori – Japan | 2021 – 92 minutes

Pretentious big city banker Makoto has to go live in the countryside in the middle of nowhere. Once there, he falls in love with a girl who runs a goldfish scooping store, but the girl is in love with another man. Meanwhile, the banker is chased by another woman who fell for him at first sight. A lovely, quirky and silly musical with catchy songs. Based on the manga of the same name. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:15 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:15 pm
September 30th, 2021 | Thursday | LAB III Amsterdam | 14:45 pm

Trailer:

Sasaki in my mind 佐々木インマイマイン by Uchiyama Takuya – Japan | 2020 – 118 minutes

Yuji thought he would make it as an actor in Tokyo, but life turns out to be difficult. When he reunites with his former classmate Tada, they reminisce about their high school days with their larger-than-life friend Sasaki. Heartfelt and melancholic coming-of-age drama, in which examining the past casts a new light on the present. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 12:00 pm
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 16:45 pm
September 30th, 2021 | Thursday | LAB III Amsterdam | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

The Goldfish 海辺の金魚 by Ogawa Sara – Japan | 2021 – 77 minutes

18-year-old Hana grew up in a children’s home because of a crime her mother supposedly committed. As the oldest ‘sister’ in the home, she takes a newly sheltered girl, who’s been abused by her own mother, under her wing. Intimate, vulnerable and dreamy drama of fragile girls in a cruel world. The film has been compared to KOREEDA and has even been praised by the maestro himself. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 17:15 pm
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 22:15 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 10:00 am
October 3rd, 2021 | Sunday | LAB III Amsterdam | 15: 00 pm

Trailer:

Under the open sky すばらしき世界 by Nishikawa Miwa – Japan | 2020 – 126 minutes

An ex-yakuza, who has spent most of his life in prison, is released after serving a long sentence for murder. Hoping to find his long-lost mother from whom he was separated as a child, he applies for a TV show that reconnects people. Meanwhile, he struggles to get a proper job and fit into society, impeded not only by his past, but also his impulsive nature, stubbornness and ingrained beliefs. Touching, empathetic and poignant redemption drama. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 14:45 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 17:15 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 13:00 pm
October 3rd, 2021 | Sunday | LAB III Amsterdam | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

Ushiku 牛久 by Ian Thomas Ash – Japan | 2021 – 87 minutes

The Ushiku immigration centre near Tokyo mostly holds refugees seeking asylum in Japan. Using a hidden camera, filmmaker Thomas ASH interviewed inmates despite the government-imposed media blackout on immigration centres. The detainees speak out about their treatment and Japan’s uncompromising refugee policy on the eve of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 24th, 2021 | Friday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 12:15 pm
September 25th, 2021 | Saturday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 16:30 pm

Trailer:

Wife of a Spy スパイの妻 by Kurosawa Kiyoshi – Japan | 2020 – 115 minutes

In the latest KUROSAWA Kiyoshi film, the owner of a trading company witnesses a dreadful state secret in Manchuria just before the outbreak of World War II. His wife continues to believe in and love her husband as he makes every effort to make what he saw known to the world, which causes her a lot of trouble. Elegant, tense and tasteful spy thriller. Winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. (Camera Japan Festival)

Screening Dates:
September 23rd, 2021 | Thursday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 16:00 pm
September 26th, 2021 | Sunday | Lantarenvenster Rotterdam | 19:30 pm
October 3rd, 2021 | Sunday | LAB III Amsterdam | 19:30 pm

Trailer:

For more information, please go to: https://camerajapan.nl

About the festival:
CAMERA JAPAN is a Japanese cultural festival organised in Rotterdam every year since 2006. The main focus is on film, but we also explore the visual arts, music, dance, fashion, architecture, food, and much more. Every autumn, we take a selection of films from the programme to Amsterdam for a weekend of screening the best, the weirdest, and the most unexpected cinema from Japan.

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