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13 movies to catch at the Japanese Film Festival 2016

Writer: Casey Lee

For fans of contemporary Japanese cinema, September is that time of the year when the Japanese Film Festival returns. Now onto its 13th installment in Malaysia, the selection of movies has become more exciting than ever, with none of them released before 2015. Not only are we getting some of the latest offerings that had recently come out in Japanese theaters, but we also get a very special and rare threat to catch some of the latest 2016 titles that had only just premiered in native Japan. As the JFF begins its first leg in the Klang Valley starting this 8 September before it moves to Penang, Kuching and finally to Kota Kinabalu, it's best to start scheduling your watch-list around these 13 movies, so that you don't miss out on seeing them on the big screen.

Desperate Sunflowers



Adapted from the Nozomi Katsura novel, Tetsuko Ishida is an uptight lawyer who's having her life turning for the worst with her husband leaving her and her clients being unhappy with her service. Just as it couldn't get any worse, she reunites with her polar opposite and distant cousin, Natsuko, when she asks Tetsuko to settle a legal claim for Natsuko's compensation to a failed engagement. Tetsuko eventually finds out that Natsuko has been using various tactics as a scam artist.

Adapted from the Nozomi Katsura novel, veteran actress Hitomi Kuroki could not have picked a better subject to make her directorial debut; about the hard road of women to find their independence, and having veteran actresses Yo Yoshida and Yoshino Kimura to lead them. They wouldn't need much of a chemistry to like each other, but they do have enough to work together as they sort out their lives for each other.
Flying Colors



Sayaka Kudo is a never-do-well high school student, who has transferred to different schools and only has the academic level of an elementary student. As Sayaka gets closer to her university entrance examinations, Sayaka's mother sends her to a cram school to improve her grades. Seeing her academic results, the school's director decides to set a challenge for her to enter into Keio University; one of the most prestigious universities in Japan with some of the toughest entrance exams.

Based on the best-selling memoirs of a real cram school director who helped a gyaru improve her grades in one and a half year, "Flying Colors" has become a ray of hope for those who go through the often punishing system of entrance exams into universities, but one that isn't impossible with sheer determination to improve oneself. Upcoming actress Kasumi Arimura's role here has earned her the award for Newcomer of the Year at the Japan Academy Prize and Best Actress at the Blue Ribbon Awards, while "Flying Colors" became the third highest grossing live-action movie of 2015, speaking to how much it resonates with Japanese audiences.
The Magnificent Nine



This year's JFF customary period title is 2016's "The Magnificent Nine"; a true story of nine townsfolk trying to swindle a lord with a loan, so that they can use the interest to save their town. Based on the novel by Michifumi Isoda, "The Snow White Murder Case" director Yoshihiro Nakamura lends his sensibilities suited for dark thrillers and murder mysteries for a much light-hearted comedy, but the dangers are still real enough to lose one's head. Sadao Abe leads the ensemble cast with Eita, Satoshi Tsumabuki and Yuko Takeuchi, among others that will make this a team effort for an entertaining time.
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Cinema Online, 05 September 2016

Related Movies:
Flying Colors (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
What A Wonderful Family! (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
The Mohican Comes Home (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
Creepy (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
An (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
The Boy And The Beast (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
Bakuman (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
Desperate Sunflowers (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
Chihayafuru Part 1 (JFF) (Japanese) (06 Sep 2018)
My Love Story (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
After The Storm (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
The Magnificent Nine (JFF) (Japanese) (08 Sep 2016)
Chihayafuru Part 2 (JFF) (Japanese) (06 Sep 2018)



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