Last month, we announced six films that would be debuting in Australia at the 15th Japanese Film Festival, and now JFF15 can add three more titles to that list: Takashi Miike’s Ninja Kids!!!, Yoshihiro Fukagawa’s In His Chart and Tomoyuki Takimoto’s adorable-looking Star Watching Dog.
JFF15 also announced dates for Perth (29 September – 7 October), Brisbane (1-4 November) and Canberra (9 – 20 November).
Ninja Kids!!! (忍たま乱太郎, 2011, Dir: Takashi Miike) – With the brilliant 13 Assassins about to be released in Australia, and the brand-new Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai making quiet noise at festivals around the world, that crazy cat Takashi Miike continues his pattern of two films a year with the slightly more kiddie-oriented Ninja Kids!!! Those exclamation marks are in the title, by the way. Based on a long running Japanese TV show, Rantaro the Ninja Boy, it sees a young Rantaro, the last of a line of failed ninja, attend a ninja school in a hope to break the cycle. According to JFF, “Rantaro and his fellow ninjas-in-training are placed in whacky absurd scenarios, encountering a circus of colourful characters”. It’s Miike, of course it will be whacky.
In His Chart (神様のカルテ, 2011, Dir: Yoshihiro Fukagawa) – Based on an award-winning novel by a young doctor, Sosuke Natsukawa, the film follows Dr. Ichito Kuriharai (Sho Sakurai, Yatterman) who works at a frantic clinic and dreams of moving to a bigger hospital where he can spend more time with his wife Haruna (Aoi Miyazaki, Solanin) and also specialize. Aoi Miyazaki is a bit of a megastar in Japan, and her legion of fans have made her a sensation. This looks like another slice-of-life film that the Japanese do incredibly well, and are always a hit with the festival crowds.
Star Watching Dog (星守る犬, 2011, Dir: Tomoyuki Takimoto) – Speaking of festival favourites, everybody likes a dog movie, desho? Get the tissue boxes ready as the film follows the story of a master and his dog, found lying dead together in Hokkaido. It is clear the dog died much later than the master. Caseworker Kyosuke sets out on a journey to discover the man’s identity, and the bond that kept them together. Will be sure to evoke memories of Hachiko and A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies.
The 15th Japanese Film Festival begins in Adelaide as of this year’s OzAsia Festival. JFF15 will travel to Perth from 29 September to 7 October, then Brisbane on 1 to 4 November and Canberra from 9 to 20 November. It then moves to Sydney from 17 to 27 November 2011, before taking on Melbourne from 29 November to 6 December 2011.