Japanese Film Festival 2023 to screen more than 20 films; features restored film directed by Hayao Miyazaki

The festival will feature both live-action and animated films.

Keola Cheah

Irrationally moved by otter live cams. Enjoys trashy rock and metal.

Published: 4 October 2023, 12:27 PM

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Japanese Film Festival will run a series of screenings from Oct 5 to Dec 20. 

Film fans can catch shows at Shaw Theatres Lido, the Asian Film Archive, The Projector at Golden Mile, and Our Tampines Hub. 

Through its line-up of live-action and animated films that express “uniquely charming, powerful, unsettling and intimate stories of human relationships and lived experiences”, the Festival hopes to acquaint the public with a greater appreciation for Japanese culture.


The colourful and varied full programme of 17 films that will be screened at Shaw Theatres Lido is made up of mostly PG (Parental Guidance) and PG-13 films, with some NC16 (No Children Under 16) and M18 (Mature) screenings scattered throughout. 

Those who feel personally victimised by their overflowing calendars and seemingly never-ending to-do list can find resonance with PG comedy film MONDAYS: See you “this” week!

The film follows Yoshikawa, an office worker who struggles through “the worst week ever” and must team up with her fellow colleagues to end a time loop that traps the office in a never-ending Monday. 


The film’s main actress, Wan Marui, is also known for her work in ‘Kontora (2021)’ and ‘Sadako DX (2022).’ PHOTO CREDIT: JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL/CHOCOLATE INC.


MONDAYS: See you “this” week! will be screened at Shaw Theatres Lido at 7.20 pm on Oct 11. 

For the young at heart, JFF offers PG coming-of-age drama AMIKO, a film that follows a young girl who “exhibits eccentric behaviours that unknowingly influence the people in her life”. It invites viewers to reflect on their own innate innocence and question the norms that govern our societies.


‘AMIKO’ is an adaptation of Natsume Imamura’s 2010 debut novel ‘New Daughter’, later renamed ‘Amiko Here’. The novel won the 26th Dazai Osamu prize. PHOTO CREDIT: JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL/HARVEST FILM


AMIKO will cartwheel onto the big screen at Shaw Theatres Lido at 1.30 pm on Oct 12. 

JFF continues its trend of heartfelt screenings with the PG-rated documentary Polan. The film follows an elderly couple and their employee as they shut down their bookshop of the same name after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.


‘Polan’ was previously screened at the Jeonju International Film Festival in early 2023. PHOTO CREDIT: JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL/NAKAMURA KOTA


Visitors can catch Polan at Shaw Theatres Lido at 6.30 pm on Oct 13.

In contrast to Polan’s mellow feel, JFF lays out a calling card for Studio Ghibli aficionados. It will screen PG action-adventure animated film Lupin III, The Castle of Cagliostro, directed by Hayao Miyazaki before the Studio’s formation. 

The film, a sequel to 1978 film Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo, follows the titular gentleman thief Lupin and Jigen, who must go on a hunt for treasure and rescue a captured princess.


Lupin III first appeared as a character in Monkey Punch’s manga of the same name in August 1967, twelve years prior to the movie adaptation in Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. PHOTO CREDIT: JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL/TOHO CO. LTD


Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro will try to steal viewers’ hearts at 6.50 pm on Oct 8.

In addition to the line-up available at Shaw Theatre Lido, JFF will also collaborate with the Asian Film Archives at Oldham Theatre to screen Retrospective: Seijun Suzuki. The series, which will be held from Oct 6 to 22, will feature nostalgic crime films and B-movie hits by Japanese director Seijun Suzuki like Youth of the Beast (1963) and Branded to Kill (1967).


The cult favourite director passed away in 2017 at the age of 93. PHOTO CREDIT: ASIAN FILM ARCHIVES


Besides Seijun Suzuki, JFF will also celebrate the career of Meiko Kaji, an acclaimed actress and singer. In an effort to honour her work in over 100 acting credits, The Projector at Golden Mile Tower will present The Flower of Carnage, a blood-stained double bill of crime films straight out of the 70s. The films featured are rated NC16 and M18.

Fringe events

If simply watching isn’t enough for film fanatics, the festival also offers masterclasses that will further explore the medium.

In the creep up to Halloween, Jasper Sharp, a specialist in Japanese films and author of the Historical Dictionary of Japanese Film (2011), will crack open J-Horror as a phenomenon on Oct 7.

Lim Kah Wai, director of Your Lovely Smile, an M18 comedy, will also be holding a masterclass on Independent Filmmaking on Oct 14, just one day before its Shaw Theatres Lido screening. The showing will be followed by a Q&A. 

All films under JFF will be screened in the original Japanese language with English subtitles available.

Tickets are priced at $12 for Japan Creative Centre and Singapore Film Society members, $13 for The Projector, Asian Film Archive and Marina Bay Sands Art Science Museum members, and $15 for non-members. 

Members may only claim their discounts from Shaw Theatre box offices, and must flash their dedicated Electronic Direct Mailers (eDMs) to be eligible.

More information on the Festival’s venues, line-up, and other events can be found on its website.

You may like these