Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9th Japanese Film Festival, 13 - 18 Sept, 2012

Japanese Film Festival 2012: 

 This is actually the 9th year of the Japanese Film Festival, but the first time I am aware of the festival
 mainly because of these complimentary passes, courtesy of Cinema Online
 Just nice for the Malaysia holiday, I thought I could bring my daughter and her dad for an outing at Pavilion
 But it turned out the showing times are fixed, and we chose Wonder Child and Always Sunset back to back! Late for Wonder Child, because forgot that Bukit Bintang can present some horrendous jams!!

Wonder Child

Updated: 17 Aug 2012
Japanese Film Festival 2012: Wonder Child

Virtuoso Uta was reading sheet music before she could even speak. Wao is a budding pianist with potential. The two form a strong bond as Uta faces her indecision to leave the musical world while lending Wao a hand in preparing for his music school entrance recital. Click here for the complete screening schedule.

Uta Naruse (Riko Narumi) is a "unique" 13 year old child. She possesses the talent to read sheet music even before she could speak, but has now come to the point where she hates playing the piano. Her father was also a piano virtuoso, but mysteriously disappeared from her life at a young age. Because of her father's disappearance, Uta's mother had to move out of their posh home and into a more modest working class neighbourhood. In this working class neighbourhood lives a grocer whose son, Oto Kikuna (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), happens to be a budding musician, but lacks the drive to truly succeed. That is until Uta Naruse comes into his life...

Always: Sunset on Third Street 3

Always- Sunset on Third Street 3-p2.jpg


Tokyo in 1964. The Olympics are set to take place in Tokyo and the country has experienced a period of rapid economic growth. The inhabitants of Third Street live amidst all the change in their usual optimistic ways. Novelist Ryunosuke (Hidetaka Yoshioka) is now married to Hiromi (Koyuki) and they live with Junnosuke (Kenta Suga) who is now in high school. Auto mechanic Norifumi Suzuki (Shinichi Tsutsumi) stills run his mechanic shop across the street with his wife Tomoe (Hiroko Yakushimaru), son Ippei (Kazuki Koshimizu) and employee Mutsuko (Maki Horikita). Their shop has experienced growth over the years. A turning point then occurs for the residents on Third Street ...

I found out that there are actually two more Always movie: the first one set in 1958, followed by No 2 set in 1959and the one we saw was actually No 3, set in 1964!! 

Always: Sunset on Third Street

First Always: came out in 2005
Second Always: Set in 1959

Plot of the First Always:

In 1958, with the impending completion of Tokyo's TV broadcasting tower as a symbol of Japan's escalating post-war economic recovery, rural schoolgirl Mutsuko (Maki Horikita) arrives from the provinces to begin her first job with Suzuki Auto. Initially impressed by meeting company "president" Norifumi Suzuki (Shin'ichi Tsutsumi), Mutsuko is shocked to discover her workplace is actually a shabby auto repair shop in Tokyo's down-at-heel Yuhi district.
Suzuki is a bad-tempered employer but Mutsuko is welcomed by his wife, Tomoe (Hiroko Yakushimaru), and their impish 5-year-old son, Ippei (Kazuki Koshimizu). One of Ippei's favorite haunts is a five-and-dime store managed by struggling serial writer Ryunosuke Chagawa (Hidetaka Yoshioka). Regarding now-successful writers like Nobel-prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, as overrated, Chagawa wants to be more than a hack churning out sci-fi yarns and selling cheap toys on the side.
When alluring newcomer Hiromi (Koyuki) opens a sake bar in the area, she gathers clientele quickly -- in dramatically compressed manga style -- but also finds herself lumbered with Junnosuke (Kenta Suga) the orphaned offspring of the bar's previous tenant. Drunk, and smitten by Hiromi, Chogawa accepts custodianship of the boy.

Always Sunset on Third Street, 2
4 months after the prequel. Spring, 1959. The Olympics in Tokyo has officially been announced, and Japan is about to take its first step into the period of high economic growth. Still unable to forget Hiromi, who had left without a word, Chagawa has been living with Junnosuke. One day, Kawabuchi returns to take Junnosuke away. Chagawa is given permission to take care of Junnosuke on the condition that the child enjoys an ordinary standard of living, so to obtain a decent living and to show Hiromi that he has become a better man, Chagawa begins to write a literary piece to win the Akutagawa Prize, a dream that he had given up long ago.
Meanwhile, at Suzuki Auto, Mutsuko has learned her job and the company has been growing steadily. One day, a new member joins the Suzuki family. Because a relative of Norifumi’s had gone bankrupt, the Suzukis agree to take in the relative’s daughter, Mika. Norifumi’s son, Ippei, is against the idea, but Norifumi, his wife Tomoe and Mutsuko welcome Mika warmly. However, Mika, who had been brought up in comfortable circumstances, is bewildered by her new life without a maid.
Also, the familiar faces such as Dr. Takuma and Kin at the tobacco store are still around, joined by new members such as Mutsuko’s childhood friend Takeo Nakayama and others, and it appears that the Third Street neighborhood is still bustling with warm-hearted exchange and lively activity.

If I am free, I will do my own review of the Wonder Child and Always Sunset watch this space!! We enjoyed both shows!!
Wish we could watch more, because they are only RM5 per show.

BTW the festival has moved to Penang now, so go catch them if you are in Penang.

Link to the Japanese Foundation Kuala Lumpur is here

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