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Japanese Film Festival 2018 kicks off in HCM City

The annual Japanese Film Festival kicked off at Cinestars Hai Ba Trung, downtown Ho Chi Minh City on November 2, with 11 Japanese films released over the last three years to be screened to November 17.

The films, shown in both Vietnamese and English subtitles, feature various genres, including drama, comedy, fantasy, mystery, documentary and animation.

The festival was opened with the 2017 drama film “Close-Knit”, directed and written by Naoko Ogigami, who won the Manfred Salzgeber Award for “broadening the boundaries of cinema today” at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008.

“Close-Knit” is about a fifth-grade girl whose mother has given her up. She has to live with her uncle and his girlfriend, a transgender woman with a heart of gold.

The film was screened as part of the Panorama section at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2017.

The six-day event will include the screening of director Norihiro Koizumi’s “Chihayafuru”, which is based on the famous manga series with the same name by Yuki Suetsugu.

The film, whose two sequels will also be shown, honours karuta, a traditional Japanese card game. The films also feature how young Japanese are preserving the game.

The festival will also screen dramas such as Kenji Shibayama’s “Perfect World”, Wui Shin Chong’s “Yakiniku Dragon” and Junichi Ishikawa’s “Mixed Double”, along with horror films Daihachi Yoshida’s “The Scythian Lambs”.

The animation film “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” by Hiromasa Yonebayashi will be shown as well.

The festival, organised by the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, will also be launched in Da Nang on November 16, Hue City on November 17 and Hanoi on November 30.

In Hue, movie lovers will have a chance to enjoy not only the full collection of the eleven films but also five extra others, namely “Re-life” by Takeshi Furasawa, “Tora san of Goto Island” by Masaru Oura, “Rudolf the Black Cat” by Motonori Sakakibara and Kunihiko Yuyama, “Creepy” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and “Her Love Boils Bathwater” by Ryota Nakano.

More information about the film schedule can be seen at