9 Films you shouldn’t miss at the Nara International Film Festival

These are nine films you shouldn’t miss at the Nara International Film Festival which will take place from September 17 – 24, 2022 in Nara, Japan.

A Midsummer’s Fantasia by Jang Kunjae – Japan, Korea | 2014
Section: NARAtive 2010 – 2020

A Korean Film director, Kim Taehoon plans to shoot his new film in a small local city called Gojo, Japan. He travels with his assistant director, Park Mijeong to do research prior to scriptwriting. They travel through several villages that are declining, and interview some local residents there. Most people say there is nothing special about Gojo. Along the way, Kim and Park meet a municipal official, Yusuke and a middle-aged man, Kenji, and are deeply impressed by their stories. The night before director Kim is to leave Japan, having a strange dream, he wakes up in the middle of night, and looks up at the night sky in Gojo. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 22, 2022 | Thursday | Bus Terminal | 15:30 pm


Beyond the Fog by Daichi Murase – Japan | 2022
Section: NARAtive 2022

A quiet hamlet hidden in the mountains of southeastern Nara prefecture. In this hamlet once lively with hikers and lined with shops and inns, we meet Ihika, a 12-year-old born into a family that has run an inn for generations. Her father has been living apart from Ihika and her mother for a few years. Saki, Ihika’s mother who married into this family, has been managing the inn with Shige, her father-in-law. Then one day, Shige disappears. As the inn’s survival is threatened, a time of change is coming for Ihika’s family. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 19, 2022 | Monday | Kinsho Hall | 13:00 pm

Bion by Toyoko Yamasaki – Japan | 2010
Section: NARAtive 2010 – 2020

Shiho, 28 years old, separated from her mother when she was little. Since then, she lived with a trauma at heart. After a long time, she finally goes to see her mother, who does not respond to Shiho warmly. Shiho’s wretchedness upsets her more and more. Before long, however, she is suddenly informed of her mother’s death by a traffic accident. From that moment she gets confused with her position of “her mother’s guarantor,” which, of course, she does not like. Living her life with great depressions in her mind, she goes to a cooking school once a week, and it becomes her emotional mainstay. One day after the school, she meets a wood craft artist, Makoto, in Tawara. After the encounter with Makoto, she finds a small happiness in her life. But their peaceful days didn’t last long. Embraced in the bosom of the nature of Nara, with 1400 year’s history. Shiho and Makoto will see… (NaraIFF 2022)

September 22, 2022 | Thursday | Bus Terminal | 10:00 am

My Small Land by Ema Kawawada – Japan, France | 2022
Section: Youth Juror Program

For Sarya (17), a Kurdish refugee girl in Japan, life seems to be looking up; her grades at school are enough to pursue college, she’s surrounded with good friends and her relationship with Sota is becoming special. Sarya’s life becomes upside down, however, when she learns that her family’s refugee status is turned down, restricting her family of work and traveling across the city. Her father, who had continued to work to sustain a living, is taken into custody for illegal employment. Sarya is now suddenly forced into a situation where she is responsible not only for her younger siblings but for her very existence. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 17, 2022 | Saturday | Kinsho Hall | 15:00 pm
September 18, 2022 | Sunday | Bus Terminal | 17:00 pm


The Cat from the Deep Sea by Huang Menglu – Japan | 2021
Section: Invitation Films from Cannes

A story about love and reconciliation between Yukari and her mother Shizue. They quarrel because of their huge difference in values and lifestyles. Yukari strives to reconcile, but the hidden rift between the two is yet to be healed… (NaraIFF 2022)

September 21, 2022 | Wednesday | Bus Terminal | 18:00 pm
September 23, 2022 | Friday | Bus Terminal | 10:00 am

The Nikaido’s Fall by Ida Panahandeh – Japan, Hong Kong | 2018
Section: NARAtive 2010 – 2020

After the death of Tatsuya’s only son, the family loses the only male heir to their family name. The tragedy also causes Tatsuya’s wife to leave him. As a result, the family’s sickly mother pressures Tatsuya to remarry, albeit with a woman he is not sure he truly cares for. Tatsuya’s daughter, Yuko, also feels obligated to keep the family going and considers marrying a man as a Mukoyoshi, which means he will adopt Yuko’s family name, yet she is reluctant to do this because of her feelings for someone else. Both Tatsuya and Yuko are caught in a dilemma that forces them to choose between family obligation and their own desires. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 21, 2022 | Wednesday | Bus Terminal | 15:30 pm

The Wolves of East by Carlos M. Quintela – Japan, UK, Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba – 2016
Section: NARAtive 2010 – 2020

Akira, a lonely 75 years old hunter, who lives in the wooded region of Higashi Yoshino, Nara, has been running the local hunting association for many years. His obsession to hunt a wolf causes him to fall out his relationships with colleagues who eventually force him to resign. Akira then decides to go into the deep forest to kill the wolf. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 22, 2022 | Thursday | Bus Terminal | 18:00 pm

Two Friends by Prasun Chatterjee – India | 2021
Section: International Competition

The aftermath of Babri Mosque demolition and the Bombay blasts in India, 1992-’93, found its violent echoes even in a remote village of West Bengal adjacent to the India-Bangladesh border where the story begins to unfold. A story of friendship between two little boys belonging to two warring religious communities. Palash (8) is the son of a Hindu Brahmin while Safikul (8) is the son of a Muslim weaver. The innocence of Palash and Safikul receives its sustenance from nature. The greenery of the village, the river and the vast stretch of paddy fields playfully rebound the echoes of the voices and the laughter of the boys. However, relentless fate arrives quietly, when separation becomes the destiny of their friendship. How the boys face the farewell and spread wings to fly again. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 22, 2022 | Thursday | Naramachi Center | 10:00 am
September 23, 2022 | Friday| Naramachi Center | 18:15 pm


Virgin Blue by Niu Xiaoyu – China | 2021
Section: International Competition

Yezi returns back home by the Flower Fish Pond for summer vacation with her grandmother, their memories of the past blur the boundaries between dreams and the reality. (NaraIFF 2022)

September 20, 2022 | Tuesday | Bus Terminal | 13:00 pm
September 22, 2022 | Thursday | Naramachi Center | 18:15 pm


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