“We can’t wait to see what next year has in store for Japanese cinema!”

The Japanese Film Festival, boasting one-off screenings and Festival showings throughout the country, will soon enjoy week-plus runs in Sydney and Melbourne. With the stretches boasting a wide selection of Japanese cinema, segments of which have already or will soon play in different cities including Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the Festival’s Anne Lee sat down to chat the marquee program and all things JFF 2019.

“I believe there are a number of recent trends in Japanese cinema that you can see reflected in this year’s Festival program,” said Lee. “Female directors are gaining more and more visibility in Japan, and we have the honour of having ‘Blue Hour’ director Yuko Hakota as a guest in Sydney for a Q&A.”

“’Blue Hour’ is her first feature film, and Hakota has already won a number of awards, including Shanghai International Film Festival’s Asian New Talent Award for Best Director. Along with this, we’re also seeing stories that aren’t often given a chance in the spotlight taking centre stage in this year’s film selection, such as ‘My Father, the Bride’ (directed by Momoko Fukuda), which features a girl struggling with accepting the fact that her father wants to marry a man and become a bride.”

This year’s JFF features a mix of comedy, live-action, dramas and period films, including ‘Samurai Shifters’ where bookish Samurai Katagiri has to convince his entire town to Marie Kondo and relocate across the water on a very tight budget. #JFF2019 will also host a number of animations; long a staple of the Festival.

“Japan is certainly known for its animated feature films, and for JFF we focus on selecting films that an Australian audience would likely not get a chance to see in cinemas otherwise,” said Lee. “The widespread success of the Japanese animated film ‘Your Name’ (2016) also increased interest in Japanese animation and film at an international level; boosting revenue for feature films in Japan in the years since.”

“’Ride Your Wave’ and ‘Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire’ are both related to films that screened as part of JFF 2018. ‘Ride Your Wave’ is ‘Night is Short, Walk on Girl’ Director Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film, while ‘Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire’ is the 23rd feature film in the Detective Conan series… it is the first Detective Conan film to be directed by a woman, Tomoka Nagaoka, and also the first in the series to be set outside of Japan, with Conan’s latest mystery taking him all the way to Singapore…‘Ride Your Wave’ features Masaaki Yuasa’s signature vivid animation style in a slightly less psychedelic narrative compared to his previous works; he’s known for never really doing the same thing twice.”

The Japanese Film Festival screens across Australia

on FalkenScreen