Japanese Film Festival


 

Thursday April 7: Looking for Magical Doremi

 

Looking for Magical Doremi / 魔女見習いをさがして | 2020 | 92 mins

Director: Junichi Sato, Haruka Kamatani

Sora, Mire and Reika are three women in different stages of their 20s, living in different parts of Japan, and all dealing with their own personal dilemmas. They have one big thing in common: their shared love for Magical Doremi (Ojamajo Doremi) – a popular ‘magical girl’ anime that they all watched when they were children. The three strangers have a fateful meeting one day and quickly bond. Together, they visit Kamakura, Hida-Takayama, Kyoto and Nara – all locations prominently featured in Ojamajo Doremi. The experiences they have and friendships they form will change all three of their lives.

 

Book Now

 

Time: 7.30pm (Doors 7.15pm)

Where: Garter Lane Theatre

 

To mark the 20th anniversary of the original Ojamajo Doremi series, the team at Toei Animation have made a film that will appeal to fans and non-fans alike. This is a joyous coming-of-age story about moving forward in life, but also about how even the most different of people can come together over shared experiences. It’s also a beautiful animated road trip through Japan, as its characters visit some of the country’s most iconic locales.

JUNICHI SATO (born 1960) is a veteran anime director who oversaw the original Ojamajo Doremi series along with Takuya Igarashi. He has also worked on hit series such as Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu and Sgt Frog. Co-director HARUKA KAMATANI has previously worked on several films in the popular Pretty Cure series.

 

 

Friday April 8: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy

 

Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy / 偶然と想像 | 2021 | 121 mins

 

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

 

Celebrated filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi takes on three different stories in this anthology film. In episode one, model Meiko is shocked to discover her friend Tsugumi’s new love interest is her own ex-boyfriend Kazuaki. In episode two, married mother Nao is convinced by her lover to seduce a successful university lecturer in order to create a scandal and humiliate the academic. Finally, a third episode imagines an alternate reality where people have stopped using computers and smartphones. Two women bump into each other at a train station, both believing they were classmates many years previously… but they soon start wondering whether they knew each other at all.

 

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Time: 7.30pm (Doors 7.15pm)

Where: Garter Lane Theatre

 

Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy is one of two recent films from Hamaguchi, alongside the award-winning Drive My Car (screened at JFF 2021). An anthology format proves a perfect fit for his character-focused, methodical form of storytelling. All the stories here feature moments of mysterious revelation, unexpected connection and extraordinary emotional catharsis. It’s another masterpiece from one of world cinema’s most remarkable filmmakers. 

 

RYUSUKE HAMAGUCHI (born 1978) graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts as a Master of Film in 2008. He came to widespread international attention with his five-hour long drama Happy Hour (15), hailed by several critics as one of the best films of its decade. His follow-up feature Asako I & II premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, competing for the Palme d’Or. Drive My Car (21) this year became the first ever Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

 

 

Saturday April 9: Pompo the Cinephile (Anime)

 

Pompo the Cinephile / 映画大好きポンポさん | 2021 | 94 mins

 

Director: Takayuki Hirao

 

Pompo is an ambitious and passionate film producer working in the movie capital of the world – Nyallywood. So far, she’s mainly had success with her b-movies. When her talented but nervous ‘movie buff’ assistant Gene discovers a script for a film called Meister, he believes it has the potential to be an award-winning masterpiece. There’s just one catch: it’s Pompo’s own script, but she has no interest in directing it herself. However, she thinks Gene himself might just have what it takes to bring the film to life…

 

Book Now

 

Time: 7.30pm (Doors 7.15pm)

Where: Garter Lane Theatre

 

Pompo the Cinephile is the lively and entertaining debut from new animation studio CLAP. This anime adaptation of the hit manga does justice to its larger-than-life title character: this is a big, bold and brash film, overflowing with colour, humour and energy. It’s also a celebration of cinema itself and the people who put their hearts and minds into making films – whether that’s a knowingly silly b-movie or a serious prestige drama. 

 

TAKAYUKI HIRAO (born 1979) is a veteran director of both anime films and television. He worked as a director on episodes of shows such as Death Note, Paranoia Agent and Attack on Titan. He has also directed several feature films, including the Junji Ito adaptation Gyo (12) and fantasy film Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene (13).