6 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 23rd Tokyo FILMeX International Film Festival

These are six films you shouldn’t miss at the Tokyo FILMeX International Film Festival, which will take place from October 29 until November 6, 2022.

A Far Shore by Kudo Masaaki – Japan | 2022 – 128 minutes

Seventeen-year-old Aoi lives in Koza, Okinawa with her husband and young son. Leaving her son with her grandmother, Aoi works until the wee hours at a hostess club with her best friend Mio—it is left to Aoi to scrape by for her family and make ends meet, as her frequently violent husband has no serious intention of working. Sadly he discovers her secret earnings stash one day after beating her up badly during an argument. What can she do now that her face is swollen and scarred, and she can no longer work at the hostess club? Reluctantly, she takes refuge with her mother-and-law to look for another job to support her family. Depicts a young mother’s daily experience of violence as she tries to find her footing, struggling between dependence and independence. The third feature film from director KUDO Masaaki, whose sure hand can be felt in this meticulous depiction of the true nature of the cycles of poverty in Okinawa, and the complex human portrait of a woman trapped within them. This film had its world premiere in competition at the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. (FILMeX 2022)


Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak – Indonesia, France, Singapore, Poland, Philippines, Germany, Qatar | 2022 – 116 minutes

The 18-year-old Rakib has inherited his father’s job as the caretaker of a rural mansion when the landlord Purna returns suddenly. A general, retired yet still holding immense influence, Purna announces his candidacy for mayor and Rakib ends up not only assisting him personally but also helping him with his campaign, in which he promises to bring “modernization” and “development” to the area. Things take a turn when the campaign suffers minor vandalism and Rakib promises to seek out the culprit. The first feature-length film from Makbul MUBARAK, inspired by his own boyhood experience living under the oppressive military dictatorship that lasted over thirty years from the 1960s onwards, this is an allegory about the recent history of Indonesia in all its violence and deceit, told through the story of one young man seeking both a purpose in life and approval from his father—or father figure. This film had its world premiere in the Orizzonti section of the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. (FILMeX 2022)


Everything Will Be Ok by Rithy Panh – Cambodia, France | 2022 – 98 minutes

A dystopian realm in which humans are enslaved by animals led by a charismatic boar general, a supreme ruler whose reign over the humans is violent and despotic. The boar general watches archive footage of atrocities committed by humanity throughout history on television screens in a luxurious cave illuminated in psychedelic colors. Following upon a number of essential works dealing with the Cambodian genocide of which he himself is a survivor, Rithy PANH has in recent years chosen a more straightforward and universal approach to tyranny and genocide, without straying from his original theme. In showing this unique miniature world populated by wooden figures, the film employs an ingenious loose interplay between wide panoramic views and small insert shots, drawing the audience’s attention to every corner of the screen. Rarely do audiences have the opportunity to experience cinema like this. Shown in competition at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, it won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. (FILMeX 2022)


Return to Seoul by Davy Chou – Germany, France, Belgium | 2022 – 116 minutes

Born in Korea and raised by her adoptive parents in France, 25-year-old Frédérique Benoît, known as Freddie, lands in Korea for the first time after a typhoon causes a rerouting. With the help of her new friend/hotel worker named Tena, Freddie impulsively begins to search for her biological parents in a country where she doesn’t speak the language and knows almost nothing. She then succeeds in meeting her real father, although her mother remains a mystery…. This is the second fiction feature film following “Diamond Island” (2016) by director Davy CHOU, who was born in France to Cambodian parents. The film follows Freddie’s fascinating metamorphosis over the course of several years as she follows her own natural rhythm along a winding road, always heading in unknown directions. Elegantly shot and edited, with effective use of music in clubs and other settings, Freddie’s very presence in the moment comes strongly to us, the viewers. The film had its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. (FILMeX 2022)


The Apartment with Two Women by Kim Se-in – Korea | 2021 – 140 minutes

Su-kyung lives in a small apartment with Yi-jung, her daughter in her twenties. The oppressive and cruel way Su-kyung treats her daughter clearly appears to be over the top, but even the patient Yi-jung is unable to hide her accumulated resentment toward her mother. One day, during a fight in the parking lot, things get even worse when Su-kyung gets in her car and hits Yi-jung unprotected. Su-kyung insists it was an accident, but Yi-jung is furious and decides to take the matter to court… The film premiered and won the New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival in October 2021 and has since been introduced at many international film festivals, including Berlin. This is the surprising feature film debut of director KIM Se-in. At first glance, the film appears to be a story of abuse, but as the story progresses, it gradually becomes clear that the intimate relationship between these two women, which is never desirable, encompasses much more than the word codependence can capture. The attention to detail and the direction of letting the images speak for themselves at the right moment are also superb. (FILMeX 2022)


Why Did She Let the Monkeys Loose? by Takahashi Izumi – Japan | 2022 – 98 minutes

Yuko, a reportage writer, begins investigating Miu, a high school girl who was arrested for destruction of property after breaking a cage at a zoo and releasing some monkeys. Miu was exposed to critical articles based on speculation and slander. Yuko tries to find out the truth to defend her, but her mental balance is gradually shaken. Her husband, a filmmaker, seems to be quietly watching over her… This is the latest work by the video production duo “Gunjo-iro“ formed by TAKAHASHI Izumi and HIROSUE Hiromasa. The story unfolds in twists and turns while carefully questioning how people should face the images presented by media. The story then reexamines and relativizes the act of making films in a self-referential manner, and even brings up the act of passing the baton to the next generation. In addition to the mature performances of HIROSUE Hiromasa and SHINE Midori, the two regulars in “Gunjo-iro,” two young cast members, FUJISHIMA Kanon and HAGIWARA Mamoru, leave a strong impression, making the film open to the future. (FILMeX 2022)

For more information, please visit:

Categories: News

Tagged as: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.