Japanese Cinema Week is returning in the first week of July for round two, with another eight films screening for free at the Japan Foundation here in Sydney. Full schedule details are on the Japan Foundation site, but here’s a quick roundup of the films, with links to reviews where we’ve got ’em:
Fukushima Hula Girls (2011, documentary, dir. Masaki Kobayashi)
A documentary exploring the impact of the earthquake and nuclear crisis in early 2011, focusing (rather unusually) on a local holiday resort, the Spa Resort Hawaiians in Iwaki.
We Are Not Alone (1993, dir. Yojiro Takita)
A satire in which four Japanese businessmen do battle in a fictitious Asian dictatorship, from the director of Departures.
Jungle Emperor Leo (1997, anime, dir. Yoshio Takeuchi)
An anime adaptation of the last half of manga maestro Tezuka’s story Jungle Taitei (also known in Oz and the USA as Kimba the White Lion).
Maiko Haaaan!!! (2007, dir. Nobuo Mizuta)
A comedy about an ordinary Japanese salaryman (played by Sadao Abe) with an obsession with maiko — apprentice geisha.
The Cat Returns (2002, anime, dir. Hiroyuki Morita)
A Studio Ghibli anime feature, and one that filled Andy’s heart with pure joy. Read his review for the details!
Tokyo Drifter (1966, dir. Seijun Suzuki)
I caught this with Alison when it screened in Adelaide at AIFF in 2003, and it’s a great film — a theatrical yakuza thriller with a hero who has a powder-blue suit and a signature whistle (with which he taunts his enemies!)
Tree of Palme (2002, anime, dir. Takashi Nakamura)
An interpretation of the Pinocchio story directed by the chief animation director on Akira.
Kamikaze Taxi (1995, dir. Masato Harada)
A young yakuza enlists the aid of a Peruvian-Japanese taxi driver as he seeks revenge.
There are also a couple of cancelled screenings — Barefoot Gen Part 1 and 2, and An Actor’s Revenge — that have been rescheduled for the next JCW in September. Note that seats are limited, so you’ll need to book!