This film festival is definitely worthy and not to be missed!
Venue: GSC, Mid Valley & GSC, 1 Utama
Duration: 7 (Thu) – 11 (Mon) September 2006
Ticket Price: RM5 per screening
Reservation: Call GSC at 03-8312 3456
* Booking can be made from 2 days before the screening.
** If reservation is full, tickets may be available for walk-in purchase at participating cinemas
Venue: GSC, Gurney Plaza
Duration: 21 (Thu) – 24 (Mon) September 2006
Enquiries: Consulate-General of Japan at Penang at 04-226 3030
The list of films to be screened is as follows:
*** All films are in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by SHINOHARA Tetsuo 篠原哲雄 (2002, 111 min)
Miri (ESUMI Makiko) is pregnant with the child of a man who already has a family. At first he wants her to have the child, but unable to forsake his present family, he remains indecisive. Looking for her help, Miri visits the house of playwright Higashi Yutaka (Toyokawa Etsushi), who is both her patron and former lover. Miri knows that Higashi is affected by incurable cancer. She makes up her mind to battle the illness together with Higashi, and this bond the promise is born to bring up the child together. ‘Inside me, two lives are now clearly breathing,’ Miri thinks. But Higashi’s anticancer drug treatment fails to show results, and he is suffering from the side effects, growing weaker by the day. Meanwhile Miri finally gives birth to a baby boy, and names him Takeharu. Higashi tries with all his might to stay alive, saying he wants to last till the child can call his own name. But unable to have his wish come true. Higashi breathes his last while being watched over by Miri and Takeharu. The film is based on a bestselling novel, in which author YU Miri candidly wrote down her own experiences.
Heaven’s Bookstore 天国の本屋～恋火
Directed by SHINOHARA Tetsuo 篠原哲雄 (2004, 111 min)
Kenta (TAMAYAMA Tetsuji), a just fired pianist, finds himself at a bookstore in Heaven after he was dead drunk out of desperation in a tavern last night.
He’s not dead. The bookstore has hired him for a short-term job, and he can go back to the earth after the working period. Most of the other habitants in Heaven have already ended their life on the earth and are preparing for their next life back on the earth. Since every human being has a life of just one hundred years, they live in Heaven for the rest of their life after they die on the earth. If you are dead at seventy, you live for thirty years in Heaven and start a new life on the earth as completely another person — you have no memory about the previous life. If you live on the earth for a hundred years or more, you immediately reincarnate without going to Heaven.
Soon, Kenta knows Heaven is not like he imagined before and not much different from the earth. It has towns, streets, stores, parks, vehicles, and anything which exists on the earth. He meets a beautiful woman named Shoko (TAKEUCHI Yuko). She has a grand piano in her cottage and that reminds him that he met her on the earth when he was a boy. She was a gifted pianist and inspired him to make himself a pianist. She tells him she has not played the piano since she lost her one ear’s hearing by an accident and has occasional pains in the ear.
At the same time on the earth, Shoko’s niece, Kanako (Takeuchi, in a double role) is making efforts to restore the town’s annual summer fireworks display after more than ten years’ interruption. She and her pals especially want to revive its highlight program, “The Loving Fireworks”. It is said couples will unite forever if they watch the firework. But Kanako and her pals face a big problem. There is the only man who can make the firework and he quit the job more than ten years ago. She finds and meets the fireworks maker but he tells her he has no intention to make “The Loving Fireworks” or any other fireworks. She gets to know the reason. When he invited his girlfriend to his workshop, he caused an accidental explosion and it robbed her of the one ear’s hearing and her music life as a pianist.
This film has two stories in Heaven and on the earth which go on at the same time. When and how will the two meet? And what will happen when they meet?
A Stranger of Mine 運命じゃない人
Directed by UCHIDA Kenji 内田けんじ (2004, 98min)
It all started one Friday night when broken hearted and lackluster businessman Miyata returned home after losing the love of his life, only to be called out again by his private investigator friend. The two meet at a restaurant, where Miyata runs into a woman and falls in love, but in the shadows something unbelievable awaits them all…
Three episodes as seen from the viewpoints of five people – a devastated Miyata, a detective who is tired of his job, a yakuza boss having trouble running his organization, a woman thrown into despair by a two-timing fiancé, and a con woman who twists men around her finger-are sandwiched between a short prologue and epilogue. The relationships between seemingly simple and isolated episodes begin to surface one after the other as the story progresses, bringing friendships to light and exposing the complicated nature of human beings. While Miyata remains oblivious to the events happening around him, surely his kindness and bravery will encourage broken hearted guys everywhere to keep trying.
Fireflies: River of Light ほたるの星
Directed by SUGAWARA Koji 菅原浩司 (2003, 101min)
After finally passing his teacher’s exam on the third attempt, Miwa quickly learns that passing an exam does not make him a teacher. He struggles to get through to his students. But one day, on a field trip to the river, he makes an unconscious remark about fireflies, and suddenly all his students pay attention. He started a class project to clean up the river and raise fireflies to fly over it once again. The students become passionately involved in the project, but it brings Miwa into conflict with their parents, the school and even the city itself.
Kamikaze Girls 下妻物語
Directed by NAKAJIMA Tetsuya 中島哲也 (2004, 103 min)
Momoko (Fukada Kyoko) escapes from the boredom of life in her humdrum rural hometown Shimotsuma by swathing herself from head to toe in doll-like “Lolia” garb. One day she meets her diametrical opposite on the fashion scale, the surly black lipstick biker chick Ichigo (Tsuchiya Anna, winner of a 2005 Japan Academy Prize for best newcomer), who takes a liking to Momoko’s unexpectedly gutsy nature and the two form an unlikely alliance. Momoko consoles Ichigo after she suffers a broken heart at the hands of a local pompadoured lothario, and uses her embroidery skills to embellish Ichigo’s biker uniform for the graduation ceremony of a respected senior. In return, she takes Momoko to the best Lolita boutique in the city where her sewing skills gain her a chance to work for her favorite designer. However, Ichigo’s fellow delinquents don’t take kindly to her friendship with Momoko, which leads to a final showdown with the gang boss. Severely outnumbered, Ichigo looks doomed until the loyal Momoko rides to her rescue. A mildly surreal, frenetically comic journey into Japan’s youth subcultures, based on a graphic novel by cult manga creator Takemoto and directed by TV commercial maestro Nakashima Tetsuya.
Directed by SAI Yoichi 崔洋一 (2004, 100 min)
A Labrador retriever born with a distinctive marking on its belly is raised by a couple (Kagawa Teruyuki and Terajima Shinobu) who name him “Quill”. On his first birthday, the mischievous puppy begins training as a guide dog under the watchful eye of trainer Tawada (Shiina Kippei) and eventually becomes a partner to the curmudgeonly Watanabe (Kobayashi Kaoru), a visually impaired man who has trouble coming to terms with the dog’s presence. A Quill gradually grows into a dependable and trustworthy companion, Watanabe begins to form a loving bond with his new friend and the two build a happy life together. Nevertheless, there comes a time when we must say goodbye to the ones we love, and inevitably that day also comes for Watanabe and Quill. Director Sai Yoichi (Blood and Bones, Doing Time) helms this poignant true story that became a major box office success throughout Asia and is also set for a Hollywood remake.
Directed by YAMASHITA Nobuhiro 山下敦弘 (2003, 83min)
Two young men arrive at a deserted countryside train station. They are Tsuboi and Kinoshita, amateur filmmakers on their way to a meeting with a genuine film star who might be interested in appearing in their next production.
The Stars Converge チルソクの夏
Directed by SASABE Kiyoshi 佐々部清 (2003, 114 min)
In 1977 in the port city of Shimonoseki, Ikuko (Mizutani Yuri) is an entrant in a track and field meet being held as a goodwill event with South Korean sister city Pusan. There she meets and falls in love with South Korean boy An Tei Hou (Junpei), a fellow high jump competitor. A year later on the day of the Tanabata festival (known as ”Chirusoku” in Korean), the young lovers are reunited and vow to meet again in four years time. Some twenty-six years later, Ikuko has become a high school P.E. teacher and fondly remembers her youthful love affair. The track and field event she competed in has not been held since the onset of Japan’s economic recession, but is to be revived this year. Ikuko participates as a coach, while An is an anonymous sponsor. At last, they are able to fulfill their promise to meet again. Sasabe Kiyoshi (Dawn of a New Day: The Man Behind VHS, Half a Confession) directs this nostalgic cross-culture love story that resonates with popular songs from the late 1970s.
ULTRAMAN: The Next
Directed by KONAKA Kazuya 小中和哉 (2004, 97 min)
The monster-fighting costumed icon returns in this new installment directed by series veteran Konaka Kazuya that updates the character’s origin story. Maritime Self-Defense Force Captain Udo (Osumi Kenya) encounters a strange blue light that transforms him into a deranged monster called “The One”. Meanwhile, F15 pilot Maki (Bessho Tetsuya) collides with the same phenomenon and miraculously survives, but is turned into a being called “The Next”. Growing to gigantic proportions, The One attacks the Tokyo city center of Shinjuku and threatens the lives of millions. In order to protect his beloved family, Maki evolves from The Next into the heroic Ultraman and goes to battle with the mutated Udo. After an all-out struggle, Maki is victorious and peace is restored. He accepts his destiny as Ultraman, protector of humanity.
Notes: Titles are subject to change in the case of unforeseeable matters.
“A Stranger of Mine” will only be screening in Klang Valley.
– The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur
– Consulate-General of Japan at Penang
– Golden Screen Cinemas
– GSC International Screens
Co-organiser for the director’s talk:
– ASWARA (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan)
Lucky Draw Sponsor:
– Embun Day Spa
For further inquiry, please contact:
• The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur at 03-2161 2104, email to email@example.com
• Consulate-General of Japan at Penang at 04-226 3030