The Japanese Film Festival is back!

 Get immersed into the exquisite world of Japanese cinema at the annual Eiga Sai or Japanese Film Festival. Now on its 13th year, the highly anticipated film festival kicks off the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month this July. Organized by the Japan Foundation, Manila and the Embassy of Japan, the month-long celebration aims to promote cultural exchange between Japan and the Philippines.

The film festival opens on July 1 at the Shang Cineplex in Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City with the acclaimed Japanese film Departures. The Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009 follows an out-of-work cello player who returns to his hometown and finds himself employed in ceremonial ‘encoffinating’ of the departed prior to cremation. It is not the most favored line of work in town, but his many encounters with death—some amusing, mostly heartbreaking—make for an unforgettable story.

Completing this year’s roster of films are other memorable Japanese movies including The Summit: Chronicle of Stones (a triumphant tale of the human spirit wherein a group of men are tasked to complete the map of their country by crossing Japan’s last unconquered mountain); The Chef of South Polar (a heart-warming comedy about a chef dispatched in Antarctica with a research team as he goes to great lengths preparing a table of delectable meals everyday—without fresh supplies!); One Million Yen Girl (a drama starring Japanese sweetheart Yu Aoi as a 21-year-old girl taking on various jobs and moving from one town to another after she saves one million yen); Your Friend (follows a writer who visits a school for his research on children with problems in this story of friendship and loss); Yunagi City, Sakura Country (based on a manga comic by Fumiyo Kono, portraying the tragedy that the atomic bomb carries beyond generations); Summer Days with Coo (an animated film that centers on the surprising tale of a tiny amphibious creature set against the Edo period and present-day Tokyo); Climber’s High (based on the Japanese bestselling novel about a press reporter who finds the meaning of life through his experiences of news reporting and mountain climbing); Feel the Wind (a successful portrayal of the intensity of long-distance relay marathons with a group of student runners from a fledgling track club trying to make it); and Villon’s Wife (an award-winning drama distilled from seven of Dazai Osamu’s works that showcase the energy of the people living in the chaos of postwar period).

The wide-range of Japanese film genres will be shown with English subtitles. Admission is free. Screening venues are at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 4 (July 1 to 10), Gaisano Grand Citimall, Davao (July 22 to 24), Ayala Center Cinema 4, Cebu (August 2 to 7) and UP Film Institute (August 17 to 20).  For detailed screening schedules and inquiries, please access the Japan Foundation, Manila website: www.jfmo.org.ph or call the JFM telephone numbers (+632) 811-6155 to 58.

The 13th Japanese Film Festival is organized together with The Shangri-La Plaza Corporation, UP Film Institute and supported by Lyric Piano, ClickTheCity.com and NET 25.

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