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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Japanese Film Festival 2014 - Singapore


The Japanese Film Festival 2014 is back in Singapore again. As per previous editions, there is a mix of old movies i.e. those black and white films classified as "Retrospectives" and the newer movies classified as "Currents" which can sometimes be as recent as those shown a couple of months ago in Japan.

For "Retrospectives", the tickets are given away free on the day of the screening at least 45 minutes before the scheduled screening time. On days where there are multiple screenings, ticket distribution begins 60 minutes before the first film's screening time. Each person can get two tickets only and it will be free-seating for all. On the other hand, "Currents" are ticketed at SGD 13 each. You are definitely assured entry into the viewing session but seating is not fixed. You may get the tickets online via Ticketbooth's website or head to their outlets to buy them personally.

*One word of caution though, I tried buying tickets on the site a couple of days back but was hit with an expired security certificate warning. As such, I ended up going to Ticketbooth's counter to get my tickets. It might be best not to buy the tickets online if this problem is still not fixed because it might compromise your credit card information.

One feature of this year's festival is that the closing film is a mystery title so tickets will be given out through ballot only to all festival attendees. I suppose you might be given a form to fill in so that you can take part in this lucky draw? All screenings this year will be at the National Museum's Gallery Theatre except for one which is shown outdoors.

I will focus on talking about the "Currents" rather than the "Retrospectives" which I know relatively little about. There are 8 movies in this category and some of them are quite new i.e. shown within a year of its Japanese release. If I recall correctly, "Ieji" (translated as Homeland here) should be the newest in the batch since it was released in Japan on 1 March so it's only been 3 months or so since it ended its run there. That's really fast, considering that past editions of the film festival tended to show more of the older films. Another very new film is "Mogura no Uta" which was shown in Japan from 15 February 2014. "Chuugakusei Maruyama" is comparatively a little older since it was released in May 2013. "SURVIVE STYLE 5+" which has a very interesting trailer and boasts of big names such as Asano Tadanobu, Koizumi Kyoko and Abe Hiroshi, was actually from 2004, "Homesick" and "Iya Monogatari" were from last year while "Tabidachi no Shimauta" was from May 2013. The closing film is also categorised as "Currents" so it should be a fairly recent film too.

Among the "Currents", I will be watching "Ieji" only due to lack of time to catch the others. I won't deny that part of the reason for choosing this film is for Matsuyama Kenichi but also for the fact that I like the story of how a family is affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis and how they overcome their differences and problems to mend their relationships despite the tough circumstances of not being able to return to their original house. As for "Mogura no Uta", I did consider it for a brief moment because of Ikuta Toma and Tsutsumi Shinichi but I'm not really a fan of Miike Takashi's works so I guess I will have to skip this. Similarly for "Chuugakusei Maruyama", I would have loved to watch Kusanagi Tsuyoshi as a seemingly hentai single father but alas, the timing doesn't work out for me.

If you are also going for this film festival, please feel free to share with me which film you've watched and how you found it. If you happen to be catching "Ieji" too, let's share our thoughts here after the screening. ^__^

For those who are interested in finding out more on this film festival, please go to their official website.

UPDATE 1: Tickets to "Mogura no Uta" are sold-out as of this morning (25 June).

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