Japanese Films to Show Across Western and Central Canada!

We’ve known about this news for a couple weeks now, and it’s starting to trickle into the Anime world. The Japanese Consulate is presenting recent, select hit Japanese films in BC in a couple days. But what the other site isn’t telling you is that these movies are being presented in Alberta and Saskatchewan too, as part of a special Japan Film Festival! Now, years ago where I used to live, the consulate used to present two movies for free one night a year. They haven’t presented anything in quite a few years, and I am happy that this has started up again! Before we tell you when and where you can catch these films, we’re going to tell you about them first! And best of all they will all be presented subtitled!

Kamikaze Girls takes a look at youth subcultures in Japan. It is one of starcat’s current picks, and it’s also topped some of the friends of our staff’s lists too. The film stars Japanese pop-rock sensation Anna Tsuchiya in the role of the tomboy, Ichigo Shirayuri. Ichigo is a member of an all girls motorcycle gang, who makes an unlikely friend in Momoko (played by popstar Kyoko Fukada). Momoko is the complete opposite of Ichigo, as she dresses like a “Sweet Lolita” and and is the girliest of girls compared to Ichigo! The film has won many awards in Japan and was recently released on DVD in North America. Our readers can go check out a trailer here!

2004 Oscar Nominee Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) is a movie set in 19th Century Japan. Iguchi Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the lowest rank of his samurai, and works humbly taking inventory of his clan’s grain. His wife succumbs to tuberculosis and though she receives a grand funeral, poor Iguchi could not afford it. He rarely gets the chance for customary bonding with others in his clan as he is taking care of his daughters and senile mother. Things change for Iguchi when an old childhood friend Tomoe Iinuma (Rie Miyazawa) returns to his town after divorcing her abusive husband. The movie is directed by legendary director Yoji Yamada, who is most famous for the long running film series Tora-san (Otoko wa tsurai yo). This is another big awards winner and was also released on DVD recently in North America. Trailer can be seen here!

Hotel Hibiscus is a family movie that reminds us a lot of an older movie, Kikujiro no Natsu. This movie is about a young girl named Meiko and her family who live in a house in Okinawa. Her family consists of her mother, her father, her grandmother, two older brothers (both fathered by different American GIs), and a sister (also fathered by an American GI). They live in an old, run-down, hotel called Hotel Hibiscus, which only has one room available to rent. Eventually her family is pulled apart, her mother and sister want to venture to America to find the long-lost father, her father goes back to his father’s pineapple farm, and soon she is left alone with her Grandma. One day Mieko travels to deliver a message to her father, but on the way has a few adventures. Another award winner, this movie has not been released on DVD , so all the more reason to run to the theater when it comes!

And last but not least is The Glass Rabbit, the only anime that is part of this offering, and is just making it’s presence known to the world. Toshiko is a girl who is hit badly with the ravages of war, losing her mother and sisters first to an air raid, and her father just as they are escaping to the suburbs. Toshiko’s father used to work in a glass factory, and he had crafted her a glass rabbit. Unfortunately in the fires the shape became distorted, but it is all that she has left and it serves as a reminder for her to go on. This unforgettable story has a Sailor Moon connection (surprise!) Taeko Kawata (Momoko Momohara) plays Mitsuko Ei in this movie. Now this hasn’t been in very wide release but we are really hoping Eleven Arts steps this up. It looks like it will be nearly as good as Grave of the Fireflies!

If you are in Vernon or Vancouver and want to head to see these films, click here.

If you are in Calgary and want to see these films, click here.

If you are in Regina and want to see these films, click here.

I will be attending one of these, but if any of our readers are there and would like to report about the films or the crowds, as always you can contact us at Moonchasers@NOSPAMPLZKTHXgmail.com!

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