With a diverse lineup of cinematic delights that feature everything Japanese, the Japanese Film Festival 2023 is a cultural showcase that will transport you to the land of the rising sun.
Are you planning to go to Japan, but your wallets and busy schedules stop you from doing so? Do you dream about that ultimate experience among the cherry blossoms, bask in the view of colorful kimonos, or taste authentic ramen? Well, get transported to the land of the rising sun without having to pay those pricey fares and leave the country with Japan Foundation’s Japan Film Festival. Also known as EIGASAI, the Japan Film Festival holds an enriching cinematic experience that for 26 years, has been giving Filipinos the chance to experience Japan with their diverse cultural offering.
A TRIP TO JAPAN
Launched in 1997, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF), or more popularly known locally as EIGASAI, has grown to be one of the Philippines’ largest cultural showcase that has attracted audiences and curated countless cinematic delights that range from dramas, romance, thrillers, and of course, animes.
The Japan Foundation, the global organization responsible for carrying out cultural exchange programs around the world, will present the Japanese Film Festival in Manila; a task that the institution has been steadfastly fulfilling for over two decades already. And this year, its mission of fostering “friendship, trust, and mutual understanding through culture, language, and dialogue” remains at the core of the festival.
From its fully virtual and journey-themed celebration last year, Japanese Film Festival 2023 returns to on-site screenings and involves more cinemas across the archipelago with a thrilling ten-film lineup. This includes Hosoda Mamoru’s animated sci-fi feature Belle, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2021. The Beauty and the Beast-inspired film also opened this year’s festival and follows the emotional and epic quest of a high-school student trying to discover her true self.
Following a college student as she finds her passion in the Japanese tea ceremony, Tatsuo Omori’s drama Every Day A Good Day will make you appreciate life’s complex seasons. There’s also a Yoshida Keisuke double-bill at this year’s Japanese Film Festival, featuring his intense thriller Intolerance and his sports feature Blue. Maeda Tetsu’s And So The Baton Is Passed, on the other hand, is a family drama based on a bestselling Japanese novel and stars some of the country’s most popular actresses, Nagano Mei and Ishihara Satomi.
More Japanese animated movies you can enjoy at the fest are Tachibana Masaki’s Blue Thermal, which features a coming-of-age story about competitive gliding, and the Golden-Globe nominated musical feature Inu-oh by Yuasa Masaaki. Meanwhile, Kohei Yoshino’s Anime Supremacy! tackles the pressures and stresses of making a successful anime. The film is produced by Toei Company, the Tokyo-based company behind iconic anime series like Voltes V, Kamen Rider, Slam Dunk, and Dragon Ball. Finally, Takahisa Zeze’s suspenseful crime drama In The Wake and Shiraishi Kazuya’s mystery thriller about a serial killer will surely put you at the edge of your seat.
The Japanese Film Festival will run until February 3, 2023 and will screen in Shangri-La Red Carpet Cinema, SM Cinemas (Baguio, Cebu, Davao), and in Film Development Council of the Philippines’ cinematheques in Manila, Negros, Iloilo, Nabunturan, and Davao. Head over to the festival’s website to know more about the schedule of events.