Back for its 21st edition, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returns this March with a fresh new selection of Japanese cinema. From Mar 2-18, 16 films with genres ranging from action to romance, comedies and even anime will reignite the J-love in Singapore, and screen at the National Museum of Singapore. Whether you’re an old soul who prefers the critic-approved masterpieces, a modern fan of contemporary styles in Japanese cinema (or just a sucker who likes Japanese schoolgirl rom-coms), there’s something for everyone. Here’s what we’re excited for.
The opening film for this year’s JFF is a sci-fi comedy that imagines life in Tokyo in a world where all electricity has suddenly stopped. As the family attempts to escape this technology-less dystopia, expect great chaos and lots of laughs. Directed by Shinobu Yaguchi, the 2017 film will show in its exclusive premiere at the festival. Mar 2, 8pm
Rudolf the Black Cat
Japanese animation—and it’s not anime! A 3D-CG animated film, the 2016 family drama is a heartwarming adventure that follows suburban “indoor kitten” Rudolf who finally gets to roam the streets of his neighborhood. The film placed fifth at the box office on its opening weekend in Japan. Mar 3, 2:30pm / Mar 18, 2:30pm
Memoirs of a Murderer
In 2017, a man steps forward and confesses to a string of murders happening in 1995. Because the statute of limitations to trial him have expired, he can’t be arrested—instead, like a true badass, he proceeds to publish a memoir of his murders and becomes a celebrity. This 2017 thriller is a remake of the 2012 Korean film Confession of Murder; you’ll have to watch to see how director Yu Irie brings his own flair. Mar 3, 8pm / Mar 12, 8pm
The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice
In black and white, The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice centers on a middle-aged, middle-class, childless couple who try to rediscover the meaning of romance in their (arranged) relationship. The drama from Yasujiro Ozu was released in 1952, but the premise sure sounds like a 21st century Singaporean couple’s woes (minus the arranged marriage). Mar 4, 8pm
Director Yasujiro Ozu’s 1959 beauty is often regarded as a classic in cinematography. Here his scenes are simple yet textured and dynamic—a must-watch for mise-en-scene geeks and anyone who enjoys old-school film coloring. The plot has to do with an ageing actor returning to his hometown and getting entangled in a messy love triangle; but you won’t be buying a ticket for the storyline. Film critic Roger Ebert even included the film on his “Ten Greatest Films of All Time” list in 1991. Mar 10, 5pm
The closest thing to a horror flick in this year’s line-up, Creepy is a psychological thriller centered on a criminal psychologist, Koichi Takakura. Takakura is asked to analyze a missing family case from six years ago, which left behind a single living family member—and simultaneously deal with his strange new neighbor next door. Heads up: the creepiest thing in the whole film is probably the neighbor’s eerily perfected grin. Mar 10, 8pm; Mar 18, 5pm
The Japanese Film Festival 2018 happens Mar 2-18 at the National Museum of Singapore. More information on the schedule and tickets here.