So on July 5, troop on over to the Shang Cineplex or UP Film Institute for Eiga Sai, the annual Japanese Film Festival, and see what else they’ve been cooking up the past few years. They have ten films and here’s a quick look at five of them:
A gritty drama of Mitsuyo (Eri Fukatsu), a lonely sales clerk who falls in love with Yuichi (Satoshi Tsumabuki), a man who just killed a woman (Hikari Mitsushima) he met on a dating website, and the people that surrounds them, and the darkness that engulfs them.
Why watch? Fukatsu won the Best Actress award at the Montreal World Film Festival and a couple more in Japan for her role as Mitsuyo. If you need a film with cred, director Sang-il Lee is highly lauded for his previous film Hula Girls. Reviews and blogs have promised that, though slow, this film is full of suspense, grit, fabulous acting and cinematography.
Be warned: With a running time of two hours and twenty-minutes, the film has been said to move at a snail’s pace and is supposed to be dark. While the story of the Mitsuyo and Yuichi are compelling, reviewers have remarked that the subplots of the other characters tend to take away from the film.
(Don't want to go to the theater? Here's a list of The Best HDTVs Under 25k so you can watch at home.)
Why watch? “Train-lovers’ heaven,” it says across the Internet. Nikishori is said to make the world of trains fascinating while the gorgeous cinematography is said to capture the Japanese landscape like no other Japanese film has done. High praise indeed!
Be warned: The story is predictable and formulaic. What saves it is how every scene is imbued with so much humanity that you let it pass.
(Rant if it sucks, rave if it rocks, and get the chance to win a Lumix digital camera, an iPad, and more!)
What was meant to be an ordinary flight from Japan to Honolulu becomes a challenge as the ensemble cast who play the pilots, cabin attendants, ground crew and operation control must help land the plane when it hits a bird during takeoff.
Why watch? Director Shinobi Yaguchi is said to deftly manage to tell the tale of every aspect of plane operations, weaving together short stories of its many characters, and manages to balance comedy and drama to make a completely satisfying film.
Be warned: Hard to find a bad review of this film online. This might be an easy flight.
The story of a spirit who is put into the body of a student who has killed himself as an opportunity to prove that he is worthy of rebirth.
Why watch? Colorful is an anime drama whose realistic style is said to push the boundaries of animation. Reviewers have praised it for its gorgeous visual style and profound story that is accessible to people of all ages.
Be warned: It’s a dark story involving suicide and if you don’t like anime, it might get to you. It’s not Pokemon, but it doesn’t look like Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away either.
Abacus and Sword
The life of a samurai in the final days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the film is based on the book by Michifumi Isoda, which analyzes household accounts left behind by a low-ranking samurai.
Why watch? If you love historical Japanese films in the time of the samurai, then this is probably your go-to film. The trailer shows a lot of that and promises to show the life of a samurai who tries to survive the changing times through economics rather than sword fighting. Is the penny truly mightier than the sword?
Be warned: This is a film about how economics saves a family from ruin. This does not promise to be an action film with samurai in it. It's more of a historical drama.
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