Five Films Not To Miss [Fantasia Film Festival 2022]

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Introduction

The Fantasia International Film Festival is not only beloved by cinema lovers, but also by the industry. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this widely popular and iconic film festival – it goes, even with the lingering impact of the corona pandemic, strong. For us, it is an honour to be able support this festival and Japanese cinema by reviewing some of the Japanese films selected for the festival.

Yet, before our reviews are released, let us present 5 Japanese films that should already be high on your to-watch list.

Our 5 Recommendations

  • Baby Assassins (2021) by Hugo Sakamoto

Baby Assassins is an amazing narrative that far outstrips its low budget nature. Sakamoto does not only breathe a fresh air in both the action and buddy genre, but the pitch-perfect performances, enticing action-choreographies, and an effective composition allows him to deliver not only one very heartwarming buddy film – exploring the establishing of amical bonds – but also one of the most satisfying Japanese action films of this year.

Baby Assassins (2021) by Hugo Sakamoto

  • Just Remembering (2021) by Daigo Matsui

With Just Remembering, Daigo Matsui delivers another amazing narrative. The pitch-perfect performances of Sosuke Ikematsu and Sairi Itoh breathe life into the splendid narrative structure and turn Matsui’s exploration of speech, inter-subjective misrecognition, subjective emptiness,  and the dynamic of remembering into an experience that will stir the spectator’s unconscious and affect his heart.  

  • Popran (2022) by Shinichiro Ueda

Popran is a great narrative, as long as one does expect a traditional Japanese comedy. The absurd concept is not utilized, as some might expect, to deliver moments of visual eccentricity, but to question in a light-hearted way the relation between the male subject and his member as well as the role the real member plays within the fantasmatic world of men. Yet, with a bit more extravagancy into the narrative and a deeper exploration of the main character as phallic impostor, Ueda could have had another hit on his hands.

Popran (2022) by Shinichiro Ueda

  • Ring Wandering (2021) by Masakazu Kaneko

Ring Wandering is another amazing narrative by Masakazu Kaneko. Kaneko does not only deliver a visual celebration of the peaceful beauty of nature but also succeeds in creating a elegant narrative that unfolds its highly relevant message via the interaction of various contrasts – i.e. societal conflict clashing with peaceful natural landscapes, the impact of the thirst of war on the balance of nature, and contemporary subjective emptiness versus the joy of inter-subjective connection. With Ring Wandering, Kaneko gracefully invites the spectator to question whether he has not forgotten the subjective importance of forging inter-subjective bonds.   

  • Convenience Story (2022) by Satoshi Miki

Why include a narrative that we have not seen yet? Simply, because it promises to be a highly entertaining experience. It does not only mark the screenwriting debut of Japanese cinema expert and well-respected Japan Times critic Mark Schilling, but it offers Satoshi Miki (Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers (2005), Louder! Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp! (2018)) a chance to return to his quirky indie roots.

Convenience Story (2022) by Satoshi Miki

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