What to Watch in Japan Film Week 2020
In partnership with the Japan Foundation, the Film Development Council of the Philippines has kicked off Japan Film Week 2020. The nationwide screening started at Cinematheque Centre Davao in January and continues at Cinematheque Centre Manila from February 26 to 29. It will make its last stop at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo from March 2 to 6.
This year’s series features seven Japanese films, a mix of animated and feature movies. Here’s what you can expect:
Weathering with You by Shinkai Makoto
Weathering with You is a Japanese anime that follows the story of Hodaka, who runs away from his home to Tokyo. He finds the city perpetually gloomy and rainy, which seems to paint a picture of his new life. Eventually, he finds work as a writer for a magazine. Here, he meets the orphaned Hina, whom he soon discovers has the power to stop the rain and summon the sun. Astounded by her power, Hodaka suggests that Hina should be the “sunshine girl” to lift people’s moods and clear the skies when they need it.
Catch it on: February 26, 7 p.m., and February 28, 6 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 2, 7 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Fireworks by Akiyuki Shinbo and Nobuyuki Takeuchi
Fireworks is the animated adaptation of Shunji Iwai’s original story. It follows Nazuna who, forced to transfer schools, decides to run away with her schoolmate Norimichi. Her mother catches her and brings her home. Eventually, Norimichi, who’s in love with Nazuna, discovers a time portal, which can give them a different ending.
Catch it on: February 27, 2 p.m., and February 29, 4 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 5, 6:30 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms by Mari Okada
Maquia is a teenager from the Clan of the Separated, also known as the “lolph.” It’s an ancient group of mystics who weave “hibiol,” which is a fine cloth that marks the passage of time and serves as a means of communication among other “lolph.” Because they live separately from humans, Maquia, who will look like a 15-year-old forever, longs for the outside world. One day, her home is ravaged by the power-hungry kingdom of Mezarte, displacing her and makes her cross paths with a baby. In spite of not knowing how to raise a child who will soon outlive her, she decides to take on the responsibility and finds a way to make it work.
Catch it on: February 27, 4 p.m., and February 29, 12 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 5, 4 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
The Tears of Malumpati by Keito Meguro
Based on a true story, The Tears of Malumpati revolves around the Pandan Water Pipeline Project in the country’s Panay Island. Working as a team, Japanese and Filipino volunteers try to solve the community’s water problem by building a 10-kilometer pipeline.
Catch it on: February 27, 6 p.m., and February 29, 2 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 4, 4 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Life Goes On by Yoon Mia
The documentary Life Goes On sheds light on the Japanese people’s life six years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It focuses on Tohoku and its residents, who never gave up and strove to move forward. Different stories are told, including horrific memories, children lost, and radiation-exposed livestock.
Catch it on: February 27, 8 p.m., and February 28, 4 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 6, 4 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Dad’s Lunchbox by Fukatsu Masakazu
Dad’s Lunchbox centers on a newly divorced father, whose challenge is to prepare his daughter’s daily lunchbox. A story often untold, the heartwarming relationship between single fathers and their children are put on the spotlight. It also looks into the growing interest in “papaben” or bento lunches that are made by dads who are trying their hand in culinary arts.
Catch it on: February 28, 2 p.m., and February 29, 6 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 3, 6:30 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Okko’s Inn by Kosaka Kitaro
Based on a popular children’s book, Okko’s Inn follows sixth-grader Okko, who is an orphan and being taken care of by her grandmother. As she grows up, she begins training under her grandmother, who owns Harunoya Inn, while being encouraged by a ghost named Uribo and her other imaginary friends. Eventually, Okko discovers how to be the most gracious host that she can be to others and even herself.
Catch it on: February 28, 8 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Manila and March 4, 6:30 p.m., at Cinematheque Centre Iloilo
Admission to Japan Film Week is free on a first-come-first-served basis. Follow Japan Film Week’s official Facebook event page for more info and the complete screening schedule.