JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL: SAINTS, SAMURAI AND SLEUTHS

Consider this.

Jesus and Buddha are flatmates in modern day Japan.

This is the conceit of SAINT YOUNG MEN 2nd CENTURY, one of the many little nuggets of cinematic gold to be found in this year’s Jpanese Film Festival.

A series of vignettes sew this fascinating sixty minute feature together as Jesus and Buddha go on an excellent adventure in uber-capitalist Japan, with bargain hunter Buddha leading the less frugal Jesus on a shopping expedition through the prodigiously consumptive city.

Simmeringly subversive without ever boiling over into gross out offensiveness SAINT YOUNG MEN 2nd CENTURY is quaintly, quietly contemplative about the catechisms of these two aesthetes and how they can reconcile in contemporary culture, with Jesus having a fixation on cosplay and Buddha in search of the perfect rice cooker.

These Nirvana nerds are endearingly enlightening, a con-celebration of inter faith conciliation presented in a lighthearted non soul searching manner.

Tickets are now on sale for JFF Sydney! From a glitzy murder mystery with an ensemble cast of Japanese screen stars, to a sun-drenched romance from the animation genius behind cult hit Night is Short, Walk on Girl, the Japanese Film Festival returns to Event Cinemas George Street (14-24 November) with a brand new program jam-packed with the very best in contemporary Japanese cinema.

The 2019 Festival will screen 29 feature films and one captivating documentary.

The Festival opens with glitzy murder mystery Masquerade Hotel, featuring iconic actor Takuya Kimura (Howl’s Moving Castle) and Japanese Academy Award-winner Masami Nagasawa (Your Name). Adapted from Keigo Higashino’s bestselling novel, the film follows a detective who must go undercover at a high-end Tokyo hotel to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders.

Closing the festival in Sydney is A Girl Missing, a gripping psychological crime-drama about the mysterious disappearance of a family’s youngest granddaughter. The film reunites director Koji Fukada with actress Mariko Tsutsui after their Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury Prize-winning collaboration Harmonium.

The program also shines a light on up-and-coming Japanese filmmakers: from Harika Abe’s breathtaking slice-of-life directorial debut Moonless Dawn, featuring three existential youths who connect through music; to rising star Momoko Fukuda’s offbeat dramedy My Father, the Bride, about a woman who returns home and is shocked to find her father in a dress.

The full Festival program can be found at www.japanesefilmfestival.net

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