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Recent films that made headlines at festivals make for entertaining fare at the ninth Japanese Film Festival, writes Subhadra Devan
THE ninth Japanese Film Festival 2012 kicks off on Sept 9 with the world premiere of Key Of Life. The suspense-comedy movie won Best Screenplay Award at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Directed by Uchida Ken, this 2012 movie is about unemployed Sakurai, 35 and jobless, who meets the very prosperous Kondo who unfortunately suffers from amnesia after a fall.
On a whim, Sakurai switches locker keys, steals the man’s belongings and decides to pass himself off as the wealthy Kondo, not knowing that Kondo runs an illegal business. Stars include Sakai Masato, Kagawa Teruyuki and Hirosue Ryoko.
Key Of Life is one of 11 other “hot” films screened over six days in Klang Valley.
The other films include:
• Rebirth (2011): Directed by Narushima Izuru, this film won 10 major awards at Japan Academy Prize this year. The story is about Kiwako, who has fallen in love with a married man. She impulsively abducts his toddler daughter, and is arrested after four years. The child is returned to her true parents but as an adult, history seems to be repeating itself. The cast includes Inoue Mao, Nagasaku Hiromi and Koike Eiko
• I Wish (2011): Helmed by internationally acclaimed director Kore-eda Hirokazu, this is about sixth grader Koichi who has moved to Kagoshima from Osaka after his parents’ divorce. Living with his mother, he has difficulty adjusting to his new surroundings, and begins formulating a plan with his younger brother Ryunosuke, who lives in Fukuoka with their father, to bring about a miracle. With Maeda Koki, Maeda Ohshiro, Odagiri Joe and Ohtsuka Nene.
• Death Of A Japanese Salesman (2011): Directed by Sunada Mami, this documentary is about Sunada Tomoaki who, after working as a sales representative for more than 40 years in the same company, retires at 67 years old. But he is diagnosed with cancer. To leave a message for his family, he works on his last pitch — a note of his own.
• Ninja Kids (2011: Those familiar with the television animation Ninja Boys, will enjoy this live action offering. Directed by Miike Takashi, it stars Kato Seishiro, Hayashi Roi, Kimura Futa, and Hira Mikijiro. The tale is about Rantaro, the son of a lowly Ninja Family. In the hope that their son will become an elite Ninja, his parents send him to the Ninja Academy. Rantaro befriends Shinbei and Kirimaru. School is fun with its eccentric teachers and pretty girl Ninjas. However, the results of their school tests aren’t good at all.
• Permanent Nobara (2010): Directed by Yoshida Daihachi, this is about Naoko returning home with her daughter. Her mother Masako runs the only beauty salon in town. Unknown to the women patrons of the salon, Naoko has been secretly seeing her former teacher, Kashima. With Kanno Miho, Eguchi Yosuke and Koike Eiko.
The film festival will move to Penang for four days when its Klang Valley stint ends. Organised by The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur and co-organised by Golden Screen Cinemas, and sponsored by Mitsubishi Corporation, all films are in Japanese with English subtitles.
For more on the films for the festival, visit www.jfkl.org.my or call 03-2284 6228.
Japanese Film Festival 2012
When: Sept 13-18
Where: GSC Mid Valley, GSC Pavilion KL, GSC 1 Utama
When: Sept 20-23
Where: GSC Gurney Plaza
Tickets: RM5 each
* Tickets can be bought two days before screening date via GSC box office, and GSC E-Payment @ www.gsc.com.my or GSC Mobile App (iPhone and Android).