Japanese Film Festival 22-31 Aug

The Japanese Film Festival 2008 runs 22 – 31 Aug right here in Singapore! The Embassy of Japan and the Singapore Film Society bring you another fine selection of the best of Japanese Cinema that highlights the importance of women in Japanese films. Guess which film ArtZine wants to catch?

Screenings highlighted in RED on the screening schedule below are free. Tickets for Free-Admission screenings are issued on the same day of the screening session on a first-come, first-served basis, from 7pm on weekdays and from 10.30am on weekends and public holidays. Tickets can be collected at the SFS desk outside the National Museum Gallery Theatre.

Tickets go at S$9.50 (Public) and S$7.50 (SFS members)*

The film we’re looking out for is “The Mourning Forest” by Kawase Naomi that will no doubt end the film festival grandly. “The Mourning Forest” was the Cannes International Film Festival 2007 Grand Prix winner that tells of two individuals grappling with grief and loss.

Shigeki (Shigeki Uda) is an elderly man grieving for his long dead wife. He suffers from dementia and is confined to a nursing home. While there he befriends young nurse Machiko (Machiko Ono), haunted by the loss of her child. One day Machiko takes Shigeki for a countryside drive on his birthday. When the car lands in a ditch, they embark on an unexpected journey of discovery. This eloquent story unfolds against the lush and tranquil setting of western Japan, where Kawase’s natural touch as a filmmaker creates an inner geography of emotion.

Best thing is, Kawase will be in town during the festival so you’ll get to meet her at the screenings on 31 Aug.

Take a look at the trailer and make a date with us at the Japanese Film Festival 2008.

What others say about “The Mourning Forest”

Jugu Abraham from India says, “The two main characters-the nurse and the nursed. The second part inverses the situation. The nursed dominates the nurse. The nursed tricks the smart young woman as he trudges to his wife’s grave. Whether the spot is really her grave or not is of little consequence—the act of undertaking the pilgrimage is of consequence as he has to deliver his letters to his wife before 33 years of her death are completed. There are definite allusions to death and regeneration.

In an interview to a news agency, Kawase said “After the two enter the forest, the forest becomes the force that supports them. It watches over the two of them, sometimes gently, sometimes more strictly.”

Paul Martin from Australia says, he “found The Mourning Forest a poetic and hauntingly beautiful meditation on death, old age, sadness and letting go. The cinematography is stunning, capturing the beauty of wind-swept fields, overhead shots of finely-trimmed symmetrical arrays of hedges, and mountain forest scenery. There are long takes where nothing of much significance seems to transpire and yet the film remains completely engaging.”

Patrick McGavin, differs saying “The Mourning Forest” requires a certain patience and understanding. Expository and psychological details threaten to crush the subtle rhythms and mood of the opening twenty minutes.”

More on the Japanese Film Festival soon on ArtZine.

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