High Heels Revolution! (Hai Hîru kakumei!) (2016)

Standard
High-Heel-Revolution-Feature-1

Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

3.0_orange_sm

It was the topic that drew me to this documentary. Kaoru grew up in Japan, assigned a boy at birth but always feeling like a girl. As an adult, and now called Natsuki, she narrates her early life at school and the challenges of admitting, and being accepted for, who she really is. Interspersed with reenacted drama, this is an engaging story that teaches us about gender identity and expression in Japan, and leaves us pondering about gender roles in relationships.  Continue reading

Ancien and the Magic Tablet

Standard
Feature-Ancien

Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

3.0_orange_sm

It was a feelgood Sunday for me at the Japanese Film Festival with two charmers – My Uncle and this animation that also showed at MIFF this year. Aimed at kids, it is a two-layered story about Kokone (voiced by Mitsuki Takahata), whose father Momo (Yôsuke Eguchi) repairs cars, and Princess Ancien, whose magic tablet allows her to give life to objects in the beleaguered kingdom of Heartland. Continue reading

Love and Other Cults (Kemonomichi) (2017)

Standard
Love-and-Other-Cults-Feature-1

Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

3.5_orange_sm

My first Japanese Film Festival outing for this year, I stepped in to a multi-coloured tangled web of a tale about disaffected youth in rural Japan. Ai (a radiant Sairi Itô) is rejected by her mother and shipped off to a religious commune. Finding a sense of belonging there as Ananda, her peaceful world is upended when cult leader Levi (Matthew Chozick) is arrested. Continue reading