After two years of online screening due to the pandemic, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returned to the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman for the last leg of its 2023 edition, February 17-22.
“Of course, we’re very excited to be back after years of pandemic, and we think watching films [at] the theater is very important because in [here], we share the moments, and it’s a different experience [from just watching online],” Japan Foundation Manila Deputy Director Tanaka Yojiro told DZUP.
During its run on campus, JFF screened five award-winning features at the UP Film Institute Cine Adarna.
Maeda Tetsu’s melodrama “And So The Baton Is Passed” opened the film festival at Cine Adarna. It follows the stories of two girls and their stepparents.
In Shiraishi Kazuya’s thriller “Lesson in Murder,” a serial killer acknowledges his crimes but denies being involved in one of the murders, asking a young man to investigate.
“Intolerance,” by Keisuke Yoshida, follows the story of a determined father who turns into a terrifying monster in his quest to prove her late daughter’s innocence.
Historical animated film “Inu-Oh” by Yuasa Masaaki is about an encounter between Inu-Oh and biwa (flute) minstrel Tomona who become inseparable friends as they rise to stardom after releasing hit songs.
“Blue,” directed by Keisuke Yoshida, narrates the story of a frustrated boxer who persists in his dream even as his younger rival becomes closer to achieving the former’s aspirations.
At UP Diliman, the organizers treated moviegoers to a taiko performance by Leonard Eto on the opening day, February 17.
“Eto is one of the most accomplished and innovative contemporary taiko players, whose vision and creativity have deeply influenced the way taiko is performed and viewed in the world today,” the organisers said in a statement.
“The distinctive hallmarks of his playing are the fluidity and luminous, dance-like quality… and the immense joy expressed in his music and performance.”
JFF held on-site screenings from January in Baguio, Mandaluyong, Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, and Davao. With reports from Rex Espiritu.