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[Film] Your Guide to the 22nd JFF | EIGASAI (Japanese Film Festival in the Philippines)

June 15, 2019

­Seventeen (17) contemporary Japanese films will be shown over 135 screenings nationwide for the 22nd JFF | EIGASAI!

The Japan Foundation, Manila already released the details for its upcoming Japanese Film Festival, more commonly known as EIGASAI. The 22nd edition is scheduled from July 3 to August 25, 2019, with screenings at the following venues:

  • July 3-14 : Red Carpet Cinema 4, Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong
    • Note: Samurai Marathon will be screening in Cinema 3 on July 6.
  • .July 18-21 : Robinsons Place Tacloban, Leyte
  • July 18-21 : SM City Legazpi Cinema 2
  • July 25-28 : SM City Iloilo Cinema 1
  • Aug 1-4 : Abreeza Mall Davao
  • Aug 3 & 9 : Cultural Center in the Philippines, Manila
  • Aug 8-11 : SM City Rosales Cinema 4, Pangasinan
  • Aug 14-17 : UP Film Institute, Quezon City
  • Aug 15-18 : Ayala Center Cebu
  • Aug 22-25 : Gateway Mall Cineplex, Quezon City

Majority of the 22nd JFF | EIGASAI line-up are drama films, some of which are mixed with action/adventure or comedy. Viewers can also look forward to two animation films, a mystery film as well as a zombie film.

The festival will officially open on June 3 with a screening of Samurai Marathon, which will be attended by its director, Bernard Rose. Expect a special performance by Tsugaru shamisen player Keisho Ohno during the opening week: July 4, 6PM at Gateway Mall and July 6, 4PM / 7PM at Shangri-La Plaza Grand Atrium.

Japanese Splash Cinema Best Film awardee Lying to Mom at the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival will be have screenings during the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival this August 3 & 9, allied festival of JFF | EIGASAI. Director Katsumi Nojiri will be present at the Philippine premier on August 3.

The 22nd JFF | EIGASAI will also bring the critically-acclaimed film Shoplifters to UPFI for a special screening.

22nd JFF | EIGASAI line up

Samurai Marathon サムライマラソン

2019 | Action/Adventure, Drama, Historical | 1hr 44min | Color

Annaka feudal lord Itakura Katsuakira (Hasegawa Hiroki) holds a run across mountain roads to get his samurai warriors into shape. However, the Bakufu central government views it as a rebellion and dispatches assassins to the castle. Meanwhile, Annaka domain accountant Karasawa Jinnai (Satoh Takeru) senses that something is amiss with the Bakufu.

Based on Dobashi Akihiro’s novel Bakumatsu Marathon Samurai about the Ansei Tooashi, known as Japan’s first marathon.

Yakiniku Dragon 焼肉ドラゴン

2018 | Drama | Under 15s must be accompanied by adults | 2hr 6min | Color
In 1970, the Kansai region is jubilant over the World Expo in Osaka. Ethnic Korean Yong-gil (Kim Sang-ho) runs a yakiniku barbecue restaurant in a squatter settlement on government property. With a wife, three daughters and a son, he lives with bravado but is gradually bombarded by the tides of the times.

Film adaptation of the play that has been honored with numerous theater awards. Playwright Chon Wishing wrote the screenplay and makes his directorial debut with this film.

Film Festivals, Awards: 2018 Jeonju International Film Festival, Opening Film.

Lying to Mom 鈴木家の嘘

2018 | Drama| Rated PG | 2hr 13min | Color
Withou warning the Suzuki family’s eldest son Koichi (Kase Ryo) one day takes his own life. The mother, Yuko (Hara Hideko), is so shocked she loses her memory. So for her sake, Yuko’s husband Sachio (Kishibe Ittoku) and daughter Fumi (Kiryu Mai) decide to tell a once-in-a-lifetime lie.

Nojiri Katsumi, who worked as an assistant director on The Great Passage and The Lies She Loved among others makes his directorial debut from his own original script.

Film Festivals, Awards: 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japanese Cinema Splash Best Picture Award, Gemstone Award (Kiryu Mai)

The House Where The Mermaid Sleeps 人魚の眠る家

2018 | Drama, Mystery | 2hr | Color
Kazumasa (Nishijima Hidetoshi) and Kaoruko (Shinohara Ryoko) are in a troubled marriage and have agreed to divorce once their daughter’s elementary school entrance exams are over. However, just before they are to rehearse for a family oral interview, they are informed of their daughter drowning in a pool. Rushing to the hospital, Kazumasa and Kaoruko are met with a heartbreaking situation

After The Storm 海よりもまだ深く

2016 | 1hr 57min | Color

Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Abe Hiroshi) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother (Kiki Kilin) and beautiful ex-wife (Maki Yoko) seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son (Yoshizawa Taiyo) – until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.

Film Festivals, Awards: Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard; San sebastian International Film Festival, Pearls; Taipei Film Festival, Visions

The Tears of Malumpati セカイイチオイシイ水 マロンパティの涙

2019 | Drama | 1hr 31min

Every year more than 1 million children die because they do not have access to clean drinking water. In Pandan, a rural village on the Panay Island, many people were suffering from kidney disease because they did not have access to clean drinking water. The project was started with the aim to solve this problem by building a 10 kilometer pipeline. Asuki (Tsuji Miyu), a college student, joins the project without giving it much thought when asked by a friend. After she arrives she quickly realizes things are worse than she expected. The labor is intense because they have no funds and the local people are hostile toward the Japanese. But amid the hardship, a five year old girl called Amy (Miel Espinosa) welcomes her kindly. The two become good friends through a picture book and Origami.


The 8-Year Engagement / 8年越しの花嫁 奇跡の実話

2017 | Drama, Romance | 1hr 59min | Color

Hisashi (Satou Takeru) and Mai (Tsuchiya Tao) are engaged to be married and are completely happy, but Mai falls ill three months before their wedding. She has a cardiac arrest and falls into a coma, and Hisashi prays for her recovery. Mai gradually regains consciousness, but then another challenge awaits her.

Zeze Takahisa of Six Four directs this film adaptation of the non-fiction book 8 nen goshi hanayome Kimi no me ga sametanara.

Laughing Under The Clouds 曇天に笑う

2018 | Action/Adventure, Drama | 1hr 34min | Color

Otsu in Shiga prefecture after the Meiji Restoration. This is the year for the resurrection of the Orochi snake demon that wreaks havoc on mankind, which happens once every 300 years. The three Kumo bothers consist of the oldest son Kumo Tenka (Fukushi Sota), who is in charge of the Kumo Shrine, followed by Soramaru (Nakayama Yuma) and Chutaro (Wakayama Kirato), and they rise up to block the snake demon.

The Crimes That Bind 祈りの幕が下りる時

2018 | Mystery | 1hr 59min | Color

A strangled female corpse is discovered in an apartment, and the apartment’s resident has vanished. The investigation hits rough waters, but soon they learn about female theater director Asai (Matsushima Nanako). Detective Matsumiya (Mizobata Junpei) forges ahead with the investigation while questioning whether a charred corpse discovered in the vicinity is related to the case, but then Kaga (Abe Hiroshi) learns of a fact that leaves him stunned.

Lu Over The Wall 夜明け告げるルーのうた

2017 | Adventure, Drama, SciFi/Fantasy, Children/Family, Animation | 1hr 52min | Color

Middle school student Kai (voice: Shimoda Shouta) ends up in a declining fishing town as a result of his parent’s divorce. Depressed, he is one day invited by a classmate to join their band. Kai reluctantly goes to the practice site of Mermaid Island where he meets Lu (voice: Tani Kanin), a young mermaid.

Film Festivals, Awards: 2017 Annecy Internationa Animation Film Festival, Feature Film Competition, Cristal for a Feature Film; 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival, Audience Award (Silver); 2018 Sundance Film Festival

Kakegurui 賭ケグルイ

2019 | Drama | 1hr 59min | Color

Hyakkaou Private Academy is a common elite school for the rich – except that it has a peculiar tradition: gambling. Skill is all it takes under the rigerous hierarchy and the student council oversees all gambling activities. A transfer student Yumeko Jabami (Hamabe Minami), seemingly graceful but actually a “compulsive gambler” who finds pleasure in taking risks, gets entangled in the most intense gambling battles to win the position of student rep that the whole school is vying for.

Mirai 未来のミライ

2018 | Children/Family, Animation | 1hr 38min | Color

Kun (voice: Kamishiraishi Moka), a spoiled little boy, has a new baby sister. Ever since her arrival, he misses his parents’ affection, and becomes jealous of her. Then one day, he encounters his sister Mirai (voice: Kuroki Haru) as a teenager, who came from the future, and embarks on a journey to know the story of his family and life.

Mirai is an animatied feature film produced by Studio Chizu. The film is originally written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, who also directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast.

Film Festivals, Awards: Cannes Film Festival, Director’s Fortnight; Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Competition; Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Best Animation Feature Film

Mixed Doubles ミックス。

2017 | Comedy, Drama | 1hr 59 min | Color

Tamako (Araguki Yui), who was once known as a “table tennis girl wonder”, was in a relationship with Ejima (Seto Joki), the ace of her company’s table tennis club, until another table tennis player, Airi (Nagano Mei), steals him away. Returning to her hometown, Tamako meets the members of the table tennis club her deceased mother operated, including Hagiwara (Eita), and together they begin practicing hard to defeat the pair of Ejima and Airi.

The Third Murder 三度目の殺人

2017 | Drama | 2hr 4 min | Color

Misumi (Yakusho Koji), who had been previously convicted of murder, is once again indicted for killing and setting on fire the president of the company which laid him off. His lawyer, Shigemori (Fukuyuma Masaharu), begins investigating Misumi in order to file for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. However, as his investgation continues, an uncomfortable feeling slowly develops within Shigemori.

Film Festivals, Awards: 2017 Venice Film Festival, Competition; 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, Masters; 2017 San Sebastian International Film Festival, Pearls; 2017 Busan International ilm Festival; Gala Presentation

One Cut of the Dead カメラを止めるな!

2018 | Action/Adventure, Comedy, Horror | 1hr 66min | Color

An indie film crew is shooting a zombie film in an abandoned building deep in the mountains. The uncompromisong director (Hamatsu Takayaki) drives the production relentlessly and gets to 42 takes. THen, real zombies appear and attack the crew, but the director is thrilled and keeps the camera rolling.

Film Festivals, Awards: 2018 Fantastic Fest, Audience Award Winner and Horror Features Best Director; 2018 Fantaspoa, Competition, Best Film; 2018 Far East Film Festival, Competition, Silver Mulberry Audience Award.

Perfect World パーフェクトワールド 君といる奇跡

2018 | Drama, Romance | 1hr 42 min | Color

Architect Ayukawa Isuki (Iwata Takanori) is left paralyzed from the waist down by a sudden accident and is confined to using a wheel chair. Kawana Tsugumi (Sugisaki Hana) works at an interior design company who one day runs into the senior she had a crush on during high schol, Itsuki. Tsugami is charmed by Itsuki and endeavors to optimistically live life together.

Shoplifters 万引き家族

2018 | Drama, Family | 2hr 0 min | Color

Day-laborer father Shibata Osamu (Lily Franky) and his son Shota (Jyo Kairi) shoplift with brilliant teamwork. On the way home, they can’t bear the sight of a girl shivering in the cold on the first floor of an apartment block and they end up taking her home. The Shibatas have been enjoying themselves, but then a certain incident exposes the family’s secrets.

Film Festival, Awards: 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Competition, Palme d’Or; 2018 Melboune International Film Festival; 2018 Telluride Film Festival; 2018 Toronto International Film Festival; 2018 San Sebastian International Film Festival, Donostia Award (Kore-eda Hirokazu); 2018 Filmfest Munchen, CineMasters Competition, ARRI/Osram Award; 2018 International Antalya Film Festival, Best Director Award; 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival, Most Popular International Feature; 2018 Slemani International Film Festival, Jury Award Feature Film; 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan Now.

22nd JFF | EIGASAI Admission Fees

Screenings at Red Carpet, Shangri-la Plaza are priced at P100 each and may be purchased in any of the ticket booths or online: After The Storm – Kakegurui – Laughing Under The CloudsLu Over The Wall – MiraiMixed DoublesOne Cut of The DeadPerfect WorldSamurai MarathonThe 8-Year EngagementThe Crimes That BindThe Tears of MalumpatiThe Third MurderYakiniku Dragon.

Screenings at all other venues are free of charge on a first-come first-served basis.

22nd JFF | EIGASAI Screening Schedule

Note: screening schedule as of June 7, 2019; arranged by show dates; subject to change without prior notice.

Dear reader, which films this 22nd JFF | EIGASAI run are you looking forward to watch on the big screen?

Do follow the official JFF | EIGASAI Facebook page for updates and use the hashtag #eigasaiph on your social media updates. See you at the cinemas! 🙂

  1. There are a lot of interesting movies this year! Can’t wait til they put out the list for the NZ run. 🙂 I would love to watch the animated films this year.

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