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Japanese Film Festival 2022

Celebrate new and classic Japanese cinema with an animated flick about competitive gliding, an action-comedy giving assassins a kawaii spin and a documentary about four top Tokyo chefs.
By Sarah Ward
October 06, 2022
By Sarah Ward
October 06, 2022

Celebrating Japan by actually heading to the country is back on the agenda, with the Asian nation's strict border rules finally relaxing. Can't make the trip ASAP? Fancy getting your Japanese thrills in a cinema instead — or until you can hop on a plane? Then Australia's annual touring Japanese Film Festival has timed its return well.

As it does every year, this year's JFF has compiled a selection of must-see recent and retro Japanese movies, and will bring its lineup Sydney in December. There's two parts: a rundown the latest and greatest flicks the country has to offer, screening from Wednesday, December 7–Sunday, December 11 at Palace Central, Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona; and a classics series, showing iconic films on 35mm from Monday, December 12–Wednesday, December 14 at The Chauvel.

The 2022 fest will open with historical drama Dreaming of the Meridian Arc, which hops between present-day Japan and the Edo period to tell the tale behind the man who completed the first-ever map of Japan.

Also a huge highlight: the retro season's focus on filmmaker Mikio Naruse, with 1954's Sound of the Mountain, 1960's When a Woman Ascends the Stairs and 1964's Yearning on the bill — and showing for free.

Back to the recent titles (and the paid part of the program), standouts include psychological thriller Lesson in Murder, which starts when a college student gets a letter from a serial killer on death row; drama In the Wake, about the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011; and the animated Blue Thermal, with the world of competitive gliding soaring onto the screen.

Anime Supremacy! is unsurprisingly focused on characters who live and breath anime production; Baby Assassins gives battling the yakuza (and being hitmen) a kawaii spin, and culinary documentary The Pursuit of Perfection follows top Tokyo chefs Takemasa Shinohara (Ginza Shinohara), Natsuko Shōji (Été), Yōsuke Suga (Sugalabo) and Takaaki Sugita (Sushi Sugita).

Top image: Baby Assassins Film Partners.

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