The Japanese Film Festival, now in its 9th edition, returns to bring the best of new Japanese cinema to Irish audiences with a mix of everything from action to anime and gentle comedies to wonderful oddities. Ireland’s only truly national film festival begins this year in Dundalk on April 1, before visiting Cork, Galway, Maynooth, Sligo, Limerick, Dublin and Waterford.
Proceedings will kick off on Sunday March 26 with a special screening of the hit anime A Silent Voice at the Light House Cinema Dublin, after which full details of this year’s line-up will be available on www.jff.ie, ahead of the start of the Festival’s main programme on April 1.
This year’s Festival will screen 21 films, almost all of which are Irish premieres. The most acclaimed filmmakers from contemporary Japanese cinema are featured, with a variety of themes, genres and topics to appeal to all audiences.
2017’s packed programme includes the Irish premieres of Koji Fukada’s thriller Harmonium, which won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival; the crowd-pleasing Her Love Boils Bathwater, which picked up three prizes at the recent Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Actress; and the heartbreaking Nagasaki: Memories of My Son, a very personal film from iconic director Yoji Yamada, which was also Japan’s official submission to this year’s Oscars.
A particular highlight is the extensive Happy Hour, a masterful and intimate ensemble piece, which explores the experiences of a group of thirty-something women in the city of Kobe, Japan. It deservedly won acting and screenwriting awards at the Locarno Film Festival.
As in previous editions, the anime strand of JFF continues to be popular with audiences. Highlights this year include a special preview of Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, the highly anticipated big screen version of the popular series franchise, as well as the Irish premiere of Reiketsu, the final part of the Kizumonogatari trilogy, which was released in Japan in January. Fans in Dundalk, Cork, Sligo, Maynooth, Limerick and Dublin will also have a chance to catch up with a double bill of Kizumonogatari Parts 1 & 2 on the big screen ahead of the Part 3 premiere.
Venue and ticket sales information will be available at www.jff.ie from Sunday March 26.
Ticket sales for the preview screening of A Silent Voice on March 26 are available at
The Embassy of Japan, access>CINEMA and the Ireland Japan Association are the co-organisers of the Festival, with the support of the Japan Foundation.
2017 celebrates the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, and the Festival is one of the highlights of the ongoing celebrations.
Previous editions of the Festival have boasted sell-out screenings in all locations, and the organisers expect this year to be no different, with a carefully selected programme designed to intrigue, educate and entertain.
Mrs. Mari Miyoshi, Ambassador of Japan to Ireland said, “I’m delighted that our ongoing collaboration with access>CINEMA is continuing to allow Irish audiences to enjoy Japanese film in Ireland”, and continued, “this ninth edition of the festival is one of the important events as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland this year. I hope that everyone will enjoy as many films as possible to gain an insight into various aspects of life in Japan and Japanese culture.”
“Japan has always been known as a country with a rich filmmaking tradition”, commented Maeve Cooke, Director of access>CINEMA. “It is a country that also produces a large number of films every year, of which only a fraction will ever be seen outside of Japan. The Festival gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the diversity in contemporary Japanese cinema, and this year’s JFF line-up showcases the wealth and vibrancy of the work that is being produced.”
“We’re delighted to be involved with a festival that gives Irish audiences the opportunity to experience this quality international cinema. If you’re not familiar with Japanese cinema, we encourage you to experience some of the unique and diverse films from this extraordinary country.”
The Festival also caters for viewers in search of pure escapism and entertainment. Japanese Girls Never Die is a unique and wonderful examination of modern Japanese youth, whilst We Are X tells the extraordinary story of X JAPAN, one of the most successful and iconic heavy metal bands that you may not have heard of!
JFF 2017 Screening Schedule:
Dundalk – An Táin Arts Centre: April 1
Cork – Triskel Christchurch: April 2-5
Dublin – Chester Beatty Library: April 2
Cork – Gate Multiplex: April 6-9
Galway – EYE Cinema: April 2-6
Maynooth – Maynooth University: April 3-4
Sligo – Institute of Technology: April 3
Limerick – University of Limerick: April 5
Dublin – Light House Cinema: April 5-13
Dublin – UCD Cinema: April 9
Waterford – Garter Lane Arts Centre: April 9-11