Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021

Rotterdam International Film Festival Logo

From February 01st – 07th and June 2nd – 06th 2020, the 50th edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival will screen their films online. It’s going to be an online experience available to people in Holland, however, some of the screen talks will be available worldwide. These are all available to view over a certain number of days via the festival’s own streaming platform.

Check out this page for more details.

There are three films programmed. One of the films here was at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, one looks relatively brand new while the other comes from France and they are all in the Big Screen Competition.

Here are the Japanese movies:

Aristocrats   She is Noble Film Poster

あのこは貴族 Ano ko wa Kizoku

Release Date: February 26th, 2021

Duration: 124 mins.

Director: Yukiko Sode

Writer: Yukiko Sode (Script), Mariko Yamauchi (Original Novel)

Starring: Mugi Kadowaki, Kiko Mizuhara, Kengo Kora, Shizuka Ishibashi, Rio Yamashita, Yukiko Shinohara, Kei Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

Available from Tuesday 02nd February 13:30 to Friday 05th February 13:30

Based on Mariko Yamauchi’s novel of the same name, it follows two women with different lives who live in Tokyo.

Synopsis: Hanako Haibara (Mugi Kadowaki) is in her late twenties and is from a well-to-do background (perhaps cloistered) in Tokyo and is looking for a man to marry. After getting dumped by her boyfriend Koichiro (Kengo Kora), she hits the dating scene but she questions her path in life. Meanwhile, Miki Tokioka (Kiko Mizuhara) is from a less affluent background having come from Toyama prefecture but studied and worked hard to get to into a prestigious university and, after tough times where she questioned the meaning of everything, she now works at an IT company but is also uncertain about life. They are introduced through an intermediary man. Due to a man, Hanako Haibara and Miki Tokioka meet each other and contrast their lives.


Sexual Drive    

セクシャルドライブ Sekusharu Doraibu

Release Date: January 29th, 2021

Duration: 70 mins.

Director: Kota Yoshida

Writer: Kota Yoshida (Script), 

Starring: Akira Matsumoto, Tateto Serizawa, Manami Hashimoto, Ryo Ikeda, Honami Sato, Mukau Nakamura, Rina Takeda, Shogen,

Twitter IMDB

Available from Thursday 04th February 16:45 to Sunday 07th February 16:45

Synopsis: A triptych about sex seen through the lens of aphrodisiac foods natto, mapo tofu and ramen with extra fat. In the natto episode, a suspicious man named Kurita (Tateto Serizawa) visits a designer named Enatsu (Ryo Ikeda) and declares he is having an affair with the latter’s wife Masumi (Manami Hashimoto). Kurita appears again in the Mapo Tofu episode as he asks Akane (Honami Sato), the woman who used to bully him, to hit him with her car. The Ramen episode is about an adulterous affair between married Ikeyama (Shogen) and Momoka (Rina Takeda).

Les Sorcières de l’Orient    Les Sorcières de l’Orient Film Poster

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Julien Faraut

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A


Available from Friday 05th February 16:45 to Monday 08th February 16:45

Synopsis from the festival: They are known as the ‘The Witches of the Orient’: the Japanese women’s volleyball team who won Olympic gold at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. They started out as the team of a textile factory, winning victory after victory, and their record of 258 successive wins remains unbeaten to this day. The team were so popular that a whole raft of manga characters, cartoons and anime series was based on them. Julien Faraut’s sparkling documentary makes use of fantastic manga and anime sequences, such as Attack no 1 (1968), with archival footage of blood-curdling matches and extreme training sessions, driven by rhythmic editing and great music from French musician K-Raw.

Faraut has previously dived deep into the world of sports, such as in L’Empire de la perfection, featuring 16mm footage of tennis player John McEnroe. This time he adds a smattering of pop culture references. When the women – now in their seventies – get together again after many years, they are playfully introduced like the heroines of a 1960s spy film. Volleyball like you’ve never seen it before.

Rotterdam 2012

Rotterdam 2013         Part One       /      Part Two

Rotterdam 2014

Rotterdam 2015

Rotterdam 2016

Rotterdam 2017

Rotterdam 2018

Rotterdam 2019

Rotterdam 2020

2 thoughts on “Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021

    1. Hard agree. A nice selection.

      Aristocrats goes on general release in Japan soon and I can see it doing the festival circuit.

      Sexual Drive could be a festival pick.

      Les Sorcières de l’Orient is a French doc but the subject matter makes it really appealing to a universal audience so an adventurous exhibitor/distributor could do a great deal with it.

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