Wellington: Thursday 14 - Sunday 17 September 2017
Paramount Cinema, ♦ Free admission! ♦
Booking open from Monday 14 August

Proudly presented by the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand and the Japan Foundation, the Japanese Film Festival is coming to Wellington once again! Due to the festival’s popularity, it will again take place at Paramount Cinema, with plenty of space for the whole family!
The Japanese Film Festival 2017 offers entertainment with a mixture of drama, action and comedy that will inspire and engage those seeking to broaden their cultural horizons.
All movies are free admission, so spread the word and bring along your friends and family! Please register and print or download your free tickets by using Eventfinda’s registration system!

Ask This of Rikyu 利休にたずねよ

Thursday, September 14, 6:30PM

©2013 ASK THIS OF RIKYU Production Committee

A historical tapestry based on the Naoki Prize-winning novel by Yamamoto Kenichi. It retraces the life of Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), who perfected the tea ceremony in the Azuchi Momoyama period and sacrificed himself for his aesthetic sense. Its dignified and distinctly Japanese visual tableau was recognised at the 2013 Montreal World Film Festival where it won the Best Artistic Contribution Award.

In 1591, tea ceremony practitioner Rikyu (Ebizo Ichikawa) falls foul of his former patron Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Nao Omori), who orders him to commit ritual suicide despite lacking the status of a samurai. On the night of his imminent death, he is asked if he ever engaged in a romantic tryst unknown to his wife So-on (Miki Nakatani), and begins to search through his oldest memories.

2013 | 123 min | M | Directed by Mitsutoshi Tanaka

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2013 Montreal World Film Festival, Best Artistic Contribution Award

Presented by:


The Mohican Comes Home

Friday, September 15, 3:30PM

©2016 "The Mohican Comes Home" Production Partners, LLC

A bittersweet family drama set on an island in the Seto Inland Sea. A mohawk-sporting young man's homecoming after seven years is rocked by the pronouncement of his father's remaining time to live. The film is written and directed by Shuichi Okita who has created a unique world view in films such as The Chef of South Polar and A Story of Yonosuke among others.

Eikichi (Ryuhei Matsuda), the vocalist for a little-known death metal band, has decided to marry his pregnant girlfriend, Yuka (Atsuko Maeda). He returns to his family home on Tobi Island after several years. However, his headstrong father, Osamu (Akira Emoto), collapses and is diagnosed with cancer.

2016 | 125 min | PG | Directed by Shuichi Okita

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2016 Udine Far East Film Festival
2016 Shanghai International Film Festival, Panorama


The Long Excuse 永い言い訳

Friday, September 15, 6:30PM

©2016 “The Long Excuse” Production Committee

Miwa Nishikawa, writer-director of Sway, Dear Doctor is back with a new work taken from her novel ‘The Long Excuse’, short-listed for the Naoki Prize for popular literature and the first starring role for Masahiro Motoki in the seven years since the Academy Award winning film Departures. A bestselling author discovers the joys of living for others after his wife dies and he spends time with children who have lost their mother.

Bestselling author Sachio Kinugasa’s (Masahiro Motoki) wife Natsuko (Eri Fukatsu) dies in a freak accident. He was cheating on his wife at the time of the accident and has to put on a fake performance as bereaved husband. Sachio meets Omiya (Pistol Takehara), whose wife died in the same accident, and offers to help take care of his children.

2016 | 124 min | M | Directed by Miwa Nishikawa

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Special Presentations
2016 Busan International Film Festival, A Window on Asian Cinema
2016 Rome Film Festival


Chihayafuru Part 1 ちはやふる 上の句

Saturday, September 16, 11AM

©2016 “Chihayafuru” Film Partners ©Yuki Suetsugu / KODANSHA LTD

Chihaya (Suzu Hirose), Taichi (Shuhei Nomura) and Arata (Mackenyu) are childhood friends, bound by their passion for “competitive karuta” (karuta: traditional Japanese playing cards.) They part ways after graduating from elementary school, but Chihaya continues to play the game that Arata taught her, in the hopes of one day showing him how strong a player she has become.

Chihaya and Taichi are reunited in high school, and together, they try to form a “competitive karuta club” to compete in the national championship. Chihaya believes that if they make it to the Nationals, they may see Arata again. Despite knowing how Chihaya feels about Arata, Taichi joins the club for her…

2016 | 111 min | G | Directed by Norihiro Koizumi

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2016 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, World Fantastic Blue
2016 Fantasia International Film Festival


What a Wonderful Family! 家族はつらいよ

Saturday, September 16, 2PM

© 2016 "What a Wonderful Family!" Film Partners

A heartwarming comedy from director Yoji Yamada known for his "Tora – san" (Otoko wa Tsuraiyo) series and The Yellow Handkerchief. This film portrays the awkward and often ridiculous interactions among family stumbling through their everyday lives.

An old couple Shuzo (Isao Hashizume) and Tomiko (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) live with eldest son’s family. On the birthday of Tomiko, her husband, Shuzo, asks her what she wants as a memorial gift. She answers, “A divorce.” Their children are much thrown into a state of panic to hear this news of separation. Amid the sudden tumult of life, each member of the family begins to publicise respective grievances.

2016 | 108 min | PG | Directed by Yoji Yamada

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2015 Tokyo International Film Festival
2016 Shanghai International Film Festival
2016 Fantasia International Film Festival


It's a Beautiful Life. 人生, いろどり

Saturday, September 16, 5PM

©2012 It's a Beautiful Life ~IRODORI~ Film Partners

A tale of success for senior citizen in rural Japan, based on a true story. Three elderly women who are friends from childhood in a depopulated and greying mountainous area in Tokushima Prefecture start up a food garnish business. The film Interweaves profound human drama, including conflicts with family members, in the stories of hardship as they embark on their new enterprise.

Eda (Yuta Hiraoka), who works for the local agricultural cooperative in a small town in Tokushima Prefecture, hatches the idea of selling roadside leaves and plants as garnish. However, the only person who supported his idea was Hanae (Sumiko Fuji), a widow at a sundry goods shop.

2012 | 112 min | PG | Directed by Osamu Minorikawa


The Magnificent Nine 殿、利息でござる!

Sunday, September 17, 1PM

©2016 "The Magnificent Nine" Film Partners

Based on a true story from the middle Edo Period. It comically depicts the efforts of Yoshiokajuku, an inn town in Sendai fief, to save them from impoverishment by running a moneylending enterprise against the fiefdom.

On the verge of financial crisis, the Sendai fiefdom levies a heavy tax upon its inhabitants resulting in bankruptcies and people fleeing town in succession. A merchant of Yoshiokajuku, Kokudaya Juzaburo (Sadowo Abe), devises a relief plan to loan money to the fief with a partner and distribute the interest among the people.

2016 | 129 min | PG | Directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura

[Film Festivals, Awards]
2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Opening Film
2016 Japan Cuts
2016 Camera Japan Festival


My Love Story!! 俺物語!!

Sunday, September 17, 4PM

©2015 “OREMONOGATARI” Film Partners

A live adaptation of the unique girls' manga, which has also been turned into a TV anime, follows the slapstick romantic antics of a pure-hearted and sincere guy with the looks of a meathead. The film recreates the humorous appearance of the characters in the original story, with lead actor Ryohei Suzuki putting on 30 kg for the role.

Takeo Goda (Ryohei Suzuki) is a freshman in high school, but his fierce-looking face and a hulking body looks nothing like a high school student. His rugged looks and awkward manner repel girls, but his warmhearted nature and willingness to help others make him popular with the guys!

2015 | 105 min | PG | Directed by Hayato Kawai


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