‘Departures’ finally arrives | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Departures’ finally arrives

Oscar-winning Japanese film leads Eiga Sai lineup aimed at the youth
/ 09:41 PM June 29, 2011


It took over two years, but the Oscar-winning Japanese film “Departures” has finally arrived in Manila to open the Eiga Sai tomorrow (Friday) at the Shangri-La Plaza mall.

Directed by Yojiro Takita, “Departures” won the 2009 Oscar for best foreign language film.


“After every Japanese fest, we conduct a survey among the viewers. ‘Departures’ was consistently among the most requested films,” recalled Takatori Shuji, director of the Japan Foundation which spearheads the annual Eiga Sai (Nihongo for film fest).


Alas, there are only four 35mm print copies of the acclaimed film traveling around the world. Manila had to wait until one print was available—thus, the two-year delay, explained project coordinator Rolando Samson.

Special treat

As a special treat, all of the 10 films in the fest will be shown in 35mm film format.

It could be expensive shipping bulky film reels, but Shuji related that “since the fest is a cultural and not a commercial activity, distributors gave organizers special rates.”

Understandably, “Departures” is in demand in film fests all over the world. Apart from the Oscars, it also won at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (best actor for Masahiro Motoki), Asian Film Awards (best actor), Hawaii film fest (audience award), Montreal World fest (Grand Prix), Udine Far East fest (audience award), among others.


Other prizewinners in this year’s lineup are Kichitaro Negishi’s “Villon’s Wife” and Kiyoshi Sasabe’s “Yunagi City, Sakura Country.”

“Villon’s Wife” won best director at the Montreal fest and best actress (Takako Matsu) at the Nikkan Sports Film Awards.

“Yunagi City” won best actress (Kumiko Aso) at the Blue Ribbon, Mainichi Film Concours and Hochi Film Awards.

Some of the films were based on literary works like novels (Masato Harado’s “Climber’s High,” Sumio Omori’s “Feel the Wind,” “Villon’s Wife”), manga/comic book (“Yunagi City”), even a popular essay (Shuichi Okita’s “The Chef of South Polar”).

Some films focus on young characters (“Feel the Wind,” “Yunagi City,” Kimino Tomodachi’s “Your Friend” and Yuki Tanada’s “One Million Yen Girl”). One of the films is the animated feature “Summer Days with Coo,” directed by Hara Keiichi.

Shuji pointed out that in choosing the 10 films, the foundation aimed to “showcase contemporary Japanese society.”

“Previous festivals featured older, classic films. But we want to attract the youth and popularize modern Japanese cinema among Filipinos,” Shuji noted.

Universal issues

“Departures” has proven to be popular among audiences because it tackles “universal issues,” said Shuji. “It shows amusing and heartbreaking encounters with death. I myself went through a similar experience when a relative passed away.”

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The Eiga Sai will run at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall until July 10, before moving to Gaisano Davao (July 22-24), Ayala Cebu (August 2-7) and UP Diliman (August 17-20).

TAGS: Cinemas, Departures, Eiga Sai, Entertainment, Film

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