Monday, April 11, 2011

Japanese Film Festival 2011 What To See

Time to enjoy some foreign cinema. The Japanese Film Festival started in annual show at the New Beverly last friday. This year's collection was more of the indie Japanese movie scene, so bigger name Japanese movies didn't make it in. They still have a fun collection this year and there are still more scheduled showing next weekend.

April 16 (Sat)
12:00 pm "The Back of Destiny""Twice Bombed, Twice Survived"*
2:15 pm "Twice Bombed The Legacy of Yamaguchi Tsutomu"*
4:15 pm "Shodo Girls-Blue Blue Sky"
6:50 pm "The Billion Yen Jackpot"
*Director Hidetaka Inazuka is scheduled to appear.
April 17 (Sun)
12:00 pm "Ashes to Honey"
2:30 pm Short Film Series
"The Lost Samurai""Turning Japanese""Mirror in the Mirror""OROKA""Summer Bookmobile""Snow Flowers""Half Kenneth"

I had pleasure of seeing The Billion Yen Jackpot. A Japanese celebrity  personality Terry Itoh  tried to make a billion yen by licensing a character like Hello Kitty. The movie shows you the steps it takes to do so. You follow him and the 6 girls he hired to help him. The girls seem to be out of work. Some parts have to be fake and staged, but you really see how hard it is to break into the licensing industry.

Terry travels to Las Vegas and LA to sell Nanity, a bat character that looks darn cute. What's funny is how the character evolves over time. The different products they try and sell with the character adorned make you think about are ad culture worldwide. They try everything. From underwear to golf bags.

Hardships are plenty for the 6 girls and Terry who can't seem to make anyone buy the character. The movies is a great stepping stone into Japanese culture. Fashion, food and mannerisms are shown. Everyone just seems more polite.

I only wonder why the festival is so spread out. It took place at the New Bev, and in Little Tokyo, next is Torrance. Next week we see the Indian film festival taking place at the Arclight Hollywood and only the arclight. I think I would have liked it more of the festival was at the Downtown Independent right next to Little Tokyo, but it was accommodating the L.A. Comedy Shorts Festival this weekend.
I think the Japanese Film Festival just needs support and they seem to be taking no profit this year. I believe all proceeds are going to Japan to deal with the awful crisis the has happened. It's a great festival and I hope next year they can get some better known movies like the Symbol or even Eva 2.0 or the next Takashi Miike movie.

Be sure to check out the rest of the festival this weekend.