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Japanese Film Festival 2014 Reveals Program

posted on by Jon Hayward
The Japanese Film Festival has announced its 2014 Program for Australia and New Zealand, films include Short Peace, Patema Inverted and the live-action adaptations of Kiki's Delivery Service, Rurouni Kenshin and Thermae Romae II.

The full 2014 program was announced via press-release on Friday the 12th of September. Hanabee's previously announced Short Peace joins Patema Inverted, Thermae Romae II, Kiki's Delivery Service (live-action) and Madman's previously announced finale to the live-action Rurouni Kenshin (Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends). The first Thermae Romae and Rurouni Kenshin lice-action films will also be screened as part of the festival.

The announcement coincided with the launch of the new website for 2014 that you can view at japanesefilmfestival.net for all the screening sessions as they come online.

It must be noted that Patema Inverted will be screened in all cities apart from Melbourne and Auckland.

The 2014 Japanese Film Festival will be screened across Australia and New Zealand from the 10th of October in Adelaide through to the 7th of December in Melbourne. Tickets start from $16 for a early bird ticket (available for two weeks from start of ticket availability) and $18 for a regular adult ticket. All films will be screened in Japanese with English subtitles.

The Japanese Film Festival will screen during the following dates at these locations;

  • Adelaide: 10th – 12th & 17th – 19th October at the Mercury Cinema [13 Morphett St, Adelaide SA]
  • Canberra: 15th – 19th October at the Capitol Cinema Manuka [6 Franklin Street, Forrest ACT]
  • Sydney: Wed, Sat & Sun, 15th – 26th October. JFF classics at the Art Gallery of New South Wales [Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW]
  • Brisbane: 22nd – 26th October at the Event Cinemas, Brisbane City Myer Centre [Level 3, Myer Centre, Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, QLD]
  • Perth: 29th October – 2nd November at Hoyts Carousel [Westfield Carousel, 1382 Albany Highway, Carousel WA] & Hoyts Millennium [Collie St, Fremantle WA]
  • Auckland: 6th – 12th November at the Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket [Rialto Centre 167 - 169 Broadway, Newmarket 1642, New Zealand]
  • Sydney: 13th – 23rd November at Event Cinemas, George Street [505-525 George St, Sydney NSW] & Event Cinemas, Parramatta [159-175 Church St, Parramatta NSW]
  • Melbourne: 27th November – 7th December JFF Classics at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image [Federation Square/Flinders St, Melbourne VIC]
  • Melbourne: 27th November – 7th December Main festival at Hoyts Melbourne Central [Melbourne Central, Melbourne VIC]

If you would like to know more about the breakdown of the 2014 JFF program please view the original announcement here.

Short Peace

Short Peace is a multimedia project that comprises of four anime short films and a video game with the overarching theme of Japan. Katsuhiro Ōtomo assembled "top creators at the leading edge of Japanese animation, exploring possible future avenues of expression" to create the five separate parts. The name of the series was inspired by Katsuhiro Ōtomo's collection of manga shorts that was first published in the 1970s.

The collection includes Katsuhiro Ōtomo's Combustible, Shuhei Morita's Posessions, Hiroaki Ando's Gambo based on a original idea by Katsuhito Ishii and the Otomo scripted and Hajime Katoki directed Buki yo Saraba.

The anime compilation was licensed in North America by by Sentai Filmworks and was released on DVD and Blu-ray in August 2014. Eleven Arts screened Short Peace theatrically across the country in April.

The fifth part of the project, the PS3 game "Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day" was developed by Gōichi Suda or "Suda 51" (No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, Liberation Maiden, Killer is Dead) and Yōhei Kataoka (Tokyo Jungle). Suda 51 handled the game's scenario, and Kataoka directed the game and handled the game design and artwork. Daisuke Uchiyama servinged as chief producer, and Makoto Asanuma served as executive producer.

Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day was released in Australia back in April 2014. The US has yet to set a release date.

You can view Hanabee's announcement of Short Peace and previews of all four parts here.

You can view more about Short Peace on the Japanese Film Festival website.

© 2014 Kiki's Delivery Service Film Partners

Kiki's Delivery Service

"When witches reach the age of 13, they have a big decision to make: they can either choose to remain human or commit to the life of a witch, which requires a 1-year apprenticeship in the real world. When young witch Kiki chooses the latter, she is full of high spirits and good intentions to help the world with her magic. But the world has some surprises in store… Can Kiki to stay positive and stick with her dream?" - JFF Website

Based on the original children's novel by Eiko Kadono and illustrated by Akiko Hayashi this 2014 live-action adaptation covers the material from the first two novels. Directed by Takashi Shimizu (Juon: The Grudge) on a screenplay by Satoko Okudera (Summer Wars, Wolf Children) and Takashi Shimizu the film stars Fūka Koshiba (Iki mo Dekinai Natsu) as Kiki in the film. 16-year-old actor Ryōhei Hirota performs the critical role of Kiki's friend Tombo and Minako Koyobuki (Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-ON!) voices Kiki's black cat Jiji.

Kiki's Delivery Service was released on the 1st of March 2014 and opened as the #3 spot that weekend. The film earned just over 420,046,819 yen (~AUD$4.3 million) for the first month of screenings.

The six novel volumes of Majo no Takkyūbin follow the coming of age of Kiki with her black cat Jiji. They have sold 1.8 million copies and have been translated into eight languages, including English, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, and Korean. Hayao Miyazaki directed Studio Ghibli's famous anime film version, which adapted the first novel volume.

Annick Press published the first novel with an English translation by Lynne E. Riggs in 2003.

Madman Entertainment originally released the Studio Ghibli adaptation of Kiki's Delivery Service on DVD in 2004 and have since released the film on Blu-ray in Australia and New Zealand.

You can view more about Kiki's Delivery Service on the Japanese Film Festival website.

Patema Inverted

Spending her entire life living in a endless underground world of tunnels and shafts, Patema enjoys exploring the untold depths of her world, everywhere but the forbidden "danger zone". However Patema's curiosity gets the better of her and despite her caretaker's best wishes she ventures forth into the zone and finds a young boy, Eiji, standing on the ceiling. It turns out that Eiji is from another world and together they will discover a secret that will turn their respective worlds upside down.

Originally a four-part 7-minute ONA series called Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day, a theatrical adaptation was announced on Christmas Day 2012. Yasuhiro Yoshiura went onto create the screenplay and direct the adaptation at Purple Cow Studio Japan. The film won both the Judge's award and the audience award at Edinburgh's Scotland Loves Animation festival in October 2013 and following on from their theatrical release, UK licensee Anime Limited ran a Kickstarter to fund the "Patema Inverted - Ultimate Edition". GKIDS has licensed Patema Inverted for North America.

Hanabee announced Patema Inverted back in May and premiered the film at the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival alongside a special Q & A with the film's director, Yasuhiro Yoshiura.

You can view more about Patema Inverted on the Japanese Film Festival website.

Thermae Romae II (live-action film)

The self-proclaimed "century's greatest bathing comedy spectacle" follows Lucius Modestus, a bath-house designer in ancient Rome who is one day sucked into modern-day Japan. Going back and forth between two worlds he works to improve Roman baths using Japanese ideas.

The sequel follows Lucius as he's given a royal assignment to build baths to soothe and rejuvenate gladiators in the arena. Lacking ideas Lucius slips away to modern Japan where he reunites with Mami and discovers modern inventions including massage chairs, bathing power and the bidet.

Hiroshi Abe returns as Lucius Modestus alongside Masachika Ichimura as Hadrian, Kazuki Kitamura as Ceionius, Kai, Shishido as Antonius, and Aya Ueto as Mami Yamakoshi.

The film was released on the 26th of April 2014, coinciding with "Yoi Furo no Hi" (Good Day to Bathe). The day is a pun as "yo" is a loose Japanese reading for 4, "fu" for 2, and "ro" for 6 — thus 4-2-6 or 4-26. The poster's tagline reads "I Came Back" as a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's catchphrase as The Terminator.

You can view the trailer here.

This is the second live-action adaptation, the first Thermae Romae film was released in 2012 and had a limited theatrical release across Australia as part of the 2012 and 2013 Japanese Film Festival.

Based on the original manga by Mari Yamazakiof the same title, the series has had six manga volumes published and a anime adaptation that was distributed in Australia by Siren Visual in 2012.

You can view more about Thermae Romae II on the Japanese Film Festival website here and information on the original Thermae Romae live-action film here.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen / Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo-hen

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen) and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo-hen) are both sequels to 2012's Rurouni Kenshin live-action theatrical film. The two films were filmed back to back and cover the Kyoto Arc of Nobuhiro Watsuki's original historical action manga. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno was released on the 1st of August and then Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends followed on the 13th of September 2014.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno's opening weekend saw it take the #1 spot earning 592,178,780 yen (AUD$6,200,875) on 428 screens over the weekend for a total of 822,655,726 yen (AUD$8,615,613). The film went onto become the #1 Japanese live-action film in Japan for 2014 earning 4.5 billion yen (~$AUD46 million dollars) over 38 days since opening, beating out Thermae Romae II which earned 4.4 billion yen (~$AUD45 million dollars).

The second sequel, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends opened in Japan this past weekend on 434 screens and earned 919,479,200 yen (AUD$9.4 million dollars) on its opening weekend, becoming the biggest opening of a Japanese live-action film this year. On a side note Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy opened the same day and ranked in third place having taken 224,145,400 yen (~AUD$2.3 million).

The sequels feature the return of the following cast members:

You can view images and further information here and the trailer for the sequels below;

Watsuki's manga ran from 1994 to 1999 in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and sold over 58 million copies. The creator also drew the Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration retelling that launched in Jump Square magazine in May 2012 and ended last year. He is now planning a new Rurouni Kenshin spinoff manga about enemy characters.

An anime series adaptation aired in Japan from 1996 to 1998 and spawned several anime film and video projects. Viz Media publishes both manga in North America, while Media Blasters released the television anime. ADV Films released two later original video anime projects and a film on DVD, and Aniplex released these three titles on Blu-ray Disc. Sentai Filmworks released the two more recent video anime series on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, which also covered the Kyoto arc. In Australia Madman Entertainment have released the original television anime series, both OAVs and the anime film as seperate titles and in 2013 collected the entire set into one box release, they also released the most recent OAV last year. Madman Entertainment held theatrical screenings of the first Rurouni Kenshin live-action movie in 2012 and followed with a home video release in March 2013.

The live-action films were announced at Perth Supanova in June 2014 and confirmed to be part of the 2014 Japanese Film Festival in August.

You can view more about these films on the Japanese Film Festival website;

  • Rurouni Kenshin (click here).
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen (Kyoto Inferno) (click here).
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo-hen (The Legend Ends) (click here).

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