I watched 9 films on the Japanese Film Festival 2019 programme:
- Masquerade Hotel
- Saint Young Men 2nd Century
- And Your Bird Can Sing
- Born Bone Born
- Dance With Me
- My Dad is a Heel Wrestler
- Samurai Shifters
- JK Rock
I saw Masquerade Hotel on a flight earlier in the year. It’s a fun mystery with detectives going under cover as staff at a high-end Tokyo hotel.
Saint Young Men is a collection of episodic sketches following Jesus and Buddha as they share a flat in Tokyo. I found it funny but quite short.
And Your Bird Can Sing follows three friends during a summer. It’s a drama largely driven by characters and ended with lots of unresolved drama.
Born Bone Born sees a family gathering on the fourth aniversary of their wife and mother’s death to was her bones in an Okinawan funerary ritual. This was another character driven film but it was marred, I think, by the frequent intrusion of comic interludes into otherwise dramatic scenes.
Dance With Me is a musical roadtrip comedy following a corporate worker as she tries to break the spell (or curse!) of a botched hypnotism which forces her to sing and dance whenever she hears music.
My Dad is a Heel Wrestler follows a young boy as he discovers and deals with the fact that his dad works as Cockroach Mask, a heel wrestler.
Noise was another character driven drama following the lives of several people impacted by the Akihabara massacre. Like And Your Bird Can Sing, there’s not a great deal of resolution to be found here.
Samurai Shifters is a period piece that follows a samurai clan forced to relocate. I thought it was funny in places and pretty well paced but some elements could have done with a little more time to develop fully – I suspect it was trimmed a little too much in editting.
JK Rock follows three high-school girls as they form a rock group. One thing I found a little odd was the ridiculous car (surely product placement?) and the pastel interior design of the “rock cafe”. Interestingly, the actresses playing the band members did, indeed, form a rock group: Drop Doll.