‘The Japanese Film Festival’ and ‘JFF Plus’ online

The 24th ‘Japanese Film Festival’ (JFF) Australia presented by The Japan Foundation Sydney is set to bring the house down with a program of provocative award-winning films. From the strange and quirky, to the humorous, over the top, poetic and emotive, stories of crime, revenge, erotica, 1960s queer identity, love, friendship and family, playout across the genres of action, horror, drama, anime and fantasy.

When is ‘The Japanese Film Festival’ on? The ‘Japanese Film Festival’ is on from 5 December to 3 March 2021 and will be presenting Provocation and Disruption: Radical Filmmaking from the 1960s to the 2000s, a selection of cinematic works from the JFF Classics collection. The festival also includes a Satellite program, and the online streaming channel JFF Plus.

How can you watch ‘The Japanese Film Festival?’ Watch and register by clicking this link. Read on for program highlights.

Lady Maiko, 2014, film still. Director Suo Masayuki. Courtesy The Japan Foundation Sydney

JFF Classics will be screened free to viewers in the theatres of three major Australian arts and cultural institutions beginning with The National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra from 5 to 6 December. Followed by Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane from 8 to 27 January, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney from 20 February to 3 March.

“From the visually audacious to the sonically shocking, the 2020 Classics program is a celebration of the visionary filmmakers that transcended the cultural conventions of their times and redefined the paradigms of Japanese cinema,” says Japanese Film Festival Programmer, Simonne Goran.

JFF Classics highlights include: Tetsuo: The Iron Man directed by Shinya Tsukamoto tells a horrific tale of revenge. Characterised as Metal Fetishist, a strange contagious man goes on a path of destruction to get back at Salary Man and his girlfriend for running him over with their car. This is iron man at his most disturbed. Pistol Opera follows the bizarre theatrics and over-the-top action of femme fatale assassins Stray Cat and Hundred Eyes who are part of the same secret underground organisation The Guild. The Guild sets one assassin upon the other, Stray Cat takes her new assignment and hunts down Hundred Eyes in her attempt to become the number one assassin in the organisation.

House, 1977, film still. Director: Nobuhiko Ōbayashi. Courtesy The Japan Foundation, Sydney

The horror film House (aka Hausu) is described by JFF as “unhinged, extreme”. House unloads a barrage of “unrealistic special effects, outrageously stylised sets, and a storyline where literally anything can happen to a group of teenyboppers vacationing at a mysterious aunt’s isolated mansion for the summer.” House will spook you!

Funeral Parade of Roses unpacks the nuances of a jealous love triangle fraught with destructive intimacy and violent rage, the turmoil causes Peter (Ran), a hostess and star of a queer nightclub in Tokyo’s underground scene, to be confronted with traumatic childhood memories. Emotion: That Dracula We Once Knew is a short fantasy film about a friendship between two young girls Emi and Sari who fall in love with the same man, leading one of the girls to turn her jealous desire towards the affections of a vampire. Who ever thought vampires would directly drink the blood of their victim through a straw! Click here to see more films in the Classics collection.

A series of Satellite films are scheduled for audiences in Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast. Click here for upcoming dates and venues. JFF: Plus features a collation of documentaries, drama, romance, stop motion and animated short films. Audiences across Australia and New Zealand are invited to watch via free online streaming from 3 to 15 December.

Gon, the little fox, 2019. Director: Takeshi Yashiro. Courtesy The Japan Foundation Sydney

JFF: Plus highlights include: Lady Maiko is a musical comedy telling the story of a young woman seeking to become a geisha through an apprenticeship in Kyoto. Love and romance blossoms in Little Nights, Little Love. In documentary-style Tsukiji Wonderland explores the lives of workers at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, and Tora-san in Goto traces the lives of a large family of udon noodle makers on the Goto Archipelago in Nagasaki Prefecture, spanning 22 years.

Children can take a star-filled adventure with Norman the Snowman-On a Night of Shooting Stars, while the stop motion animation Gon, the Little Fox will enchant young viewers with the developing friendship between an orphaned fox and a young boy named Hyoju who has lost his mother. Explore more of the Plus program here.

If you haven’t explored the curious world of Japanese film culture before now, here’s your chance! The ‘Japanese Film Festival’ will take you on a journey out of this world, turn the lights down and grab your popcorn!

*** Please note registration is required on all advertised screenings. Some films contain nudity, sexual violence and drug references, please check suitability for children ahead of time.