Japanese Film Festival 2009

June 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Posted in Outings | 6 Comments
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The Japanese Film Festival 2009  just ended today. This time it focused on dramas, and even had a big name in Departures (おくりびと), the winner of the Best Foreign Film prize in the 81st Academy Awards. I’ve attended the festival since it’s inception back in 2004. In that year, I think I watched just one movie. This year, I went for three. In one day too, haha:)

First movie was at noon. I got there sometime around 10am, so I had a bit of time to wander around. Stopped by at a bookstore and read some travel guides- I was supposed to go to Hong Kong before the swine flu scare shelved that plan, but I took a peek at a Lonely Planet guide… and, well… it had nothing to say about the place. It’s just so boring! On the other hand, Hokkaido, which my aunt wants to go to someday… ahh, it’s paradise:)

あしたの私のつくり方/How to Become Myself

あしたの私のつくり方/How to Become Myself

‘How to become myself’ (Offical Site) is about a girl (Juri) who loses sight of who she really is. “Who am I, really”, and all that, having to cope with her parents divorce, and fulfilling their wishes. A friend of hers (Kanako) has a similar problem- once a popular girl, she became introverted and unsure about herself after being bullied.

Upon hearing of Kanako’s troubles, Juri starts sending Kanako anonymous messages, telling her how to ‘become herself’, i.e. her popular self in the past. Kanako takes Juri’s advice and becomes popular again, but finally gives up the charade when she realises that that’s just not her. As for Juri, she finally comes to terms with who she is.

Overall, a sweet and simple movie. Juri was well played by Narumi Riko (成海 璃子), although I felt that Kanako was a little stiff, although that probably suited her character. 4 out of 5 stars for this one.

Had lunch at Jusco’s Japanese food section. Didn’t notice it at first, but it was a good choice for the occasion, eh? Had chicken kariage, some sort of fried vegetable, some sort of ‘fried sashimi chicken with cheese’… oh crud. All fried. This is gonna be bad for my skin>,< Next movie at 3pm.

アフター・スクール/After School

アフター・スクール/After School

Next up, ‘After School’ (Official site), a sort of mystery cum comedy. A shady private eye, Kitazawa, is hired to track down an employee of a big company, Kimura, who was last seen in the company of a mysterious woman. He enlists the help of high-school teacher Jinno, who is also looking for his friend Kimura.

This movie was pretty enjoyable, going from serious to funny and back to serious again. The twist in the end was a big surprise, although it also cleared up everything that previously directed the viewer’s suspicion towards Kimura. 4/5 as well. Oh, most of the audience left when the lights came on- I stayed, and got to see the extra at the end, hehe:)

包帯クラブ/The Bandage Club

包帯クラブ/The Bandage Club

Finally, at 6pm, ‘The Bandage Club’ (Official site), about a group of kids dealing with the usual pressures of life, and more. One day, on impulse, high school girl Wara climbs onto the fence of a hospital roof, but a strange boy (Dino) with a phony Kansai dialect gets her down. Concerned about her, he ties the bandange on her wrist to the fence, saying that he has ‘bandaged her pain’.

Wara later tries this out on her friend, and as a few other friends join in, they decide to start a ‘Bandage Club’, whereby others post their grievances on the site, and the Club goes out to ‘bandage’ the place mentioned, and in the process, overcome their own troubles.

Overall, pretty good, although it started off a little slow and gloomy, at least until Dino appeared. Excellent acting from everyone. Of course, it helped that Ishihara Satomi (石原 さとみ), who played Wara, was gorgeous, haha. Dino’s insane behaviour kinda reminded me of Onizuka from GTO. The music that played throughout much of the movie was a little annoying for me, but if you go to the official site, it’s quite lovely, actually. I suppose it was the humming that irritated me. 4/5 for ‘Bandage’ as well.


Watched 3 movies out of 8, and gave all three 4/5. Pretty good. I’m just pretty sad that I missed ‘Departures’- I went there on a Saturday but they were sold out. If only the online and phone booking services didn’t give me any trouble, *sigh*. No anime this year (Last year had ‘Toki wo kakeru shoujo’), but that wasn’t much of a problem. In the comment form I suggested that they screen Ghost in the Shell: Innocence or 5cm no Byousoku next year- wonder if they’ll listen.

One last thing- the audience seems to be different from those of other movies. Watch ‘Terminator 4’, or ‘Drag me to Hell’, and you’ll surely be plagued by variform idiots yakking away, beeping cellphones, and the like. Not so here. Not a sound from the audience, and it was wonderful.

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Japanese Film Festival 2008



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  1. @A20-man: A quick scan, but still fascinating. Too bad none of these are series instead of films… One thing to note: A lot of 4 of 5 ratings lately! Including “Nabari”. Are u sure you’ll be giving any 3’s or 5’s soon to “balance out” your scaling system? Otherwise, these might be 3’s in my system? ^_^

    • Hmm, here’s how my rating system works, I think. 5/5 would be for an ‘epic’, like the Geass anime, or the Death Note manga. 4/5 would be for one that was pretty good, entertaining, and quite memorable. 3/5 is for works that are well, so-so. 2/5 reeks of mediocrity. As for 1/5, I think I’d be blaming myself for wasting my time, haha. lol, I guess I’ve been making good choices in what to watch lately *winks*

      • @A20-man: Ahh, gotcha. In that case, we largely agree. In fact, I haven’t encountered any 2’s or 1’s in years! Maybe I’m the one who’s guilty of being “unbalanced”?

        • Nah, there’s nothing wrong with watching what you like and dumping what you don’t like, which would explain your lack of below-3 ratings. If you recall my Akikan-irritation- if I’d done a review on it, I would probably have given it a 1/5, haha.

          • @A20-man: Ahh, but you misunderstand! I never dump what I start! But u already knew my unusual artistic tolerance, didn’t u? ^_~

            • Ah, yes, I should have been clearer. Just replace ‘dump’ with ‘ignore’ or ‘skip’. Would that work?

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