6 Films you shouldn’t miss at the Japanese Film Festival in Australia

These are six films you shouldn’t miss at the Japanese Film Festival in Australia which will take place from November 4 until December 14, 2022 in Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

ANIME SUPREMACY! by Kōhei Yoshino – Japan | 2022 – 128 minutes

Hitomi switched careers to join an animation production company, where she spends years working her way up the ladder and finally gets to direct an anime series. However, she has to win the cooperation of stubborn craftsman-like staff to create an anime to her satisfaction. Moreover, the producer is focused on the bottom line and cuts no slack for newbie Hitomi. Plus, her anime occupies the same time slot as the hotly anticipated new anime from Chiharu, a revered genius director. Hitomi feels crushed by the pressure, but the seemingly confident Chiharu also feels the weight of everyone’s expectations. (JFFA 2022)


Baby Assassins by Hūgo Sakamoto – Japan |2021 – 95 minutes

Teenage professional assassins Chisato (Akari Takaishi) and Mahiro (Saori Izawa) are suddenly ordered by their boss to become ordinary members of society and move in together to disguise their true identities. Their already unreasonable lives are now tangled up in tedious official business, absurd job interviews and roommate clashes. Tension starts to rise when Chisato easily adapts to more conventional channels of employment, while Mahiro remains unable to cope with interpersonal relations. But when Chisato gets into trouble with the yakuza, setting off a battle with the clan and its eccentric members, the duo will need to set their differences aside and join forces to defeat the gangsters. (JFFA 2022)


Blue by Keisuke Yoshida – Japan | 2021 – 107 minutes

Urita is a professional boxer with an unrivalled love of the sport. However his underling Kazuki is a better boxer and, moreover, is dating Urita’s childhood friend Chika. Urita keeps his negative feelings hidden and helps Kazuki prepare for the title match. Meanwhile, Narasaki starts boxing on a whim but gradually becomes enthralled by the sport and wants to go pro.  Drama builds as their fights draw near… (JFFA 2022)


Floating Clouds by Mikio Naruse – Japan | 1955 – 124 minutes

Considered one of Naruse’s most acclaimed works, Floating Clouds follows the story of a married forester, Kengo (Masayuki Mori), and a young typist, Yukiko (Hideko Takamine), who start an idyllic love affair during World War II in occupied Vietnam. Fondly remembering her lover’s vow to leave his wife, she returns to Japan after the war only to find him comfortably re-established with his family and uninterested in fulfilling his idle wartime promises. But unable to remain apart, the two lovers end up caught in a relentless cycle—the bittersweet relationship between a lonely woman trying to find purpose in a long-lost passion and a man who can appreciate the value of her devotion only when it is irretrievably lost. (JFFA 2022)


Intolerance by Keisuke Yoshida – Japan | 2021 – 107 minutes

A short-tempered fisherman lives with his junior high school daughter. When a grocery store manager catches the girl shoplifting, she flees the store and is fatally hit by a car. The outraged father terrorises the manager and school. The store owner is sure the girl was shoplifting but continues to apologise. Eventually everyone is driven to the edge, including the store owner, the driver of the car and the father who didn’t pay enough attention to his daughter. (JFFA 2022)


When a Woman Ascends the Stairs by Mikio Naruse – Japan | 1960 – 111 minutes

Based on an original screenplay by Ryūzō Kikushima and often considered to be Naruse’s magnum opus, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is a touching tale of social injustice and emotional turbulence during post-war Japan. Keiko, more commonly known as Mama, is an ageing hostess working in the glamorous Ginza entertainment district. She finds herself at a turning point: should she seek marriage, stay in a career that will vanish with her youth, or pursue a business of her own? As the men surrounding her turn out to be a string of bitter disappointments, Mama finds herself wondering whether she actually has any agency in determining her life. (JFFA 2022)


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