16th Japanese Film Festival Australia Has A 'Totally Sweeet' Lineup Indeed!

For 16 years the Japanese Film Festival in Australia has been going strong, delivering mostly mainstream delights and genre-fare but this year they seem to have mixed things up for the better - also diversifying into festival picks and cutting-edge cinema straight from Japan. 

This is good news for Australia, and Melbourne and Sydney in particular, which will get the bulk of these screenings. Here is just some of the sweet lineup.

Opening the festival is TIFF entry Thermae Romae, I just recently watched the anime series of this popular manga adaptation and can safely call it one of the boldest most hilarious anime in recent years, with a lead the likes of Hiroshi Abe I expect the live action to be equally as brilliant. 

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When Roman architect Lucius's bathhouse plans are rejected because they're not modern enough, he faces a crisis of confidence. But with his discovery of a time-travel portal between ancient Rome and present-day Japan (veritably overflowing with modern bathhouses), it seems that Lucius' luck might just turn around.

Another festival pick but in a different vein is the devastating Dreams for Sale...

When a fire destroys Kanya and Satoko's small izakaya restaurant, the couple lose everything in an instant. Badly wanting to open another izakaya and re-establish, they turn to desperate measures to fund their dream. But when their foolproof plan starts to backfire, Kanya and Satoko find themselves trapped in a web of their own deception.

Key of Life is another festival buzz title that will also be premiering in Australia...

When wealthy 'businessman' Kondo takes a slip at the bathhouse, the keys to his locker end up in the hands of failed actor Sakurai. Down in the dumps and feeling he has nothing to lose, Sakurai boldly decides to adopt Kondo's identity. It looks like Sakurai's fortunes have changed - until he learns who Kondo really is. Key of Life recently won Best Screenplay at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Outside of these premieres we'll have the incredibly exciting rebirth of Rurouni Kenshin that is soon to be a staple of samurai cinema.

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A live-action adaptation of a popular anime and manga series, Rurouni Kenshin was a box-office smash in Japan, grossing over 555 million yen ($7 million) in its first five days earlier this year.

Moving into darker territory is the highly anticipated follow-up to Sakuran, Helter Skelter, in which director Mika Ninagawa applies her sensational visual overload to a twisted tale of cosmetic surgery gone awry.

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Backed by an incredible performance by Erika Sawajiri who has only recently come out from hiatus, I am personally looking forward to this one.

Something equally strange and wonderful is Goosebumps, a movie adaptation of a popular cult series of horrific stories that are specifically non-supernatural, instead exposing the evils inside of all of us, cannot wait!

Phonecall to the Bar is a crime saga that is completely tongue-in-cheek and parodies yakuza fables from the 60's and 70's and looks to be violent-crazy fun.

That's not all though, the incredible works of director Yasuzo Masumura are all FREE entry at the ACMI in Melbourne, tickets are available at the desk and the line-up of those films can be found here.

This 'totally sweeet' festival covers most of Australia running from 28th September until 16th December starting and finishing different times country-wide.

More information, including further synopsis and schedules can be found here.

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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Outside of these premieres we'll have the incredibly exciting rebirth of Rurouni Kenshin that is soon to be a staple of samurai cinema."
    Didn´t even know it had been made.
    "Phonecall to the Bar is a crime saga that is completely tongue-in-cheek and parodies yakuza fables from the 60's and 70's and looks to be violent-crazy fun."
    I hope they have the same cool soundtrack.....thanks Mr Bellette.

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