A Glimpse at the Japanese Films and a Selection of Others at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023


Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023 kicks off on Friday and lasts from March 10th to March 19th. There are around 50 films programmed that will be screened at cinemas across the city. Almost all of the films will come with English subtitles and there will be guests appearing at various screenings (guest schedule).

Here’s the festival trailer:

I had the opportunity to write about each of the films for the festival programme and I can say that this year has a rich variety of works from newer talents, particularly from Hong Kong and Japan where we have newbie directors working on their debuts or third or second film projects. To my mind, this is one of the functions of a festival: a place for newer talents to show their work. There are also works by established filmmakers and experimental works, too. The quality of all is very high.

As for this preview, I want to take the time to highlight the Japanese films and some of the other works that caught my eye and that I hope to write about in the coming months. Hopefully, this will inspire people to try out the films!

I’ve placed the synopses I wrote for the festival below. To go directly to the festival page for each film, click on the titles.


Dates: March 10 – March 19

Venues: ABC Hall, Cine Libre Umeda, Umeda Burg 7, the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, and the National Museum of Art, Osaka

Opening Film

Over My Dead Body    Over My Dead Body Film Poster 2 R


Release Date: April 28th, 2023

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: HO Cheuk Tin

Writer: KONG Ho Yan (Screenplay),

Starring: Teresa Mo, Ronald Cheng, Wong You Nam, Jennifer Yu, Edan Lui, Jer Lau, Hanna Chan,


Synopsis: Welcome to Seaside Heights, a fancy residential building where a group of residents experience a night of chaos and comedy after the nude body of a man appears and threatens to cause scandal and plunging property values!

It all begins when Ming (WONG You Nam), together with his wife (Jennifer YU), mother-in-law (Teresa MO), and brother-in-law (Alan YEUNG Wai Lun), finds an anonymous naked body lying at their doorstep. Fearing that the presence of a corpse will turn their unit into a “murder home” and its property value will nosedive and impoverish them, their bickering family unite to pass the buck to their neighbours by moving the corpse to other units on the same floor. Their fiendish plot ropes in a motley bunch of people, including retired elderly couple, Mr. & Mrs. CHAN (LAU Kong & Bonnie WONG); a single lady and her maid; the CHEUNG’s, an irascible father (Ronald CHENG) and his cantankerous son (Edan LUI); and an overzealous security guard. Last but not least, is a mysterious chain smoking woman named Sue (Hanna CHAN) who might hold the key to helping get the body out of the building…

A dark comedy of manners and Hong Kong home-ownership woes ensues in “Over My Dead Body” as each of these vividly portrayed characters turns on each other in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for both the body and their own personal problems.

Closing Film

Side by Side        Side by Side Film Poster R

サイド バイ サイド 隣にいる人 Saido Bai Saido Tonari ni Iru Hito

Release Date: April 14th, 2023

Duration: 130 mins.

Director: Chihiro Ito

Writer: Chihiro Ito (Screenplay),

Starring: Kentaro Sakaguchi, Asuka Saito, Kodai Asaka, Ameri Isomura, Mikako Ichikawa,

Website IMDB

Chihiro Ito is a veteran screenwriter who actually began her film career as art department staff in charge of props. That changed when she met Isao Yukisada who invited her to write a screenplay for his film Seventh Anniversary (2003). That was the start of a writing career that has included screenplays for Crying Out Love in the Center of the World (2004) and Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers (2008). Recently, she has worked under the pen name Anne Horizumi on Yukisada’s films Narratage (2017) and The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese (2020). In 2022, she debuted as a director with In Her Room, which was produced by Yukisada and played in the Nippon Cinema Now section at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Side by Side is her second film.

Synopsis: Miyama (Kentaro Sakaguchi) is a mysterious young man with the ability to sense the thoughts of other people. These thoughts sometimes take the form of a spirit that haunts Miyama. With this power, he can detect and heal people suffering from physical ailments and emotional traumas. He does this while living a quiet life with his girlfriend Shiori (Mikako Ichikawa), a nurse, and her daughter Mimi (Ameri Isomura). While locals accept him, the mystery of his background lingers and it all comes out when he confronts the thoughts of Kusaka (Kodai Asaka), who was his junior in high school, now working as a musician in Tokyo. Miyama’s meeting with Kusaka reunites him with his ex-girlfriend Riko (Asuka Saito), a woman who is part of the past that he ran away from.


There are 14 films chosen from across Asia and one from Europe and they cover a range of genres and issues. Here are my highlights:

December  December Film Poster R

赦し   「Yurushi」

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 99 mins.

Director: Anshul Chauhan

Writer: Rand Colter, Mina Moteki, Anshul Chauhan (Script), 

Starring: Shogen, Megumi, Ryo Matsuura, Shingo Fujimori, Toru Kizu, Takuzo Shimizu, Miki Maya


Anshul Chauhan has made impressive progress since his debut, Bad Poetry Tokyo (2017), and follow-up, Kontora (2020), both award winners. I have interviewed him twice, once for Bad Poetry Tokyo and the second time for KontoraDecember is a solid courtroom drama with an impressive story of people grasping at the finer human principles of forgiveness in trying circumstances.

Synopsis: A couple whose marriage broke up due to death of their high school-aged daughter are brought back together again to fight against the reduction in the prison sentence of her killer. After separating, the father and the mother have taken radically different paths in life but their tragedy unites them one more time as they as they confront the murderer and hear her out, thus setting in motion a path of redemption for the people involved. 

OAFF Synopsis: The death of his daughter shattered the family of HIGUCHI Katsu. Divorced and lost in a fog of depression and alcoholism, he stumbles through each day until he gets notice that their daughter’s murderer, FUKUDA Kana, is going to get a retrial that may have her sentence reduced. Fired up with anger and indignation, he recruits his reluctant ex-wife Sumiko, now remarried and trying to move on, in an effort to work with the prosecution to keep Kana locked up.

Is forgiveness possible following the death of a child? “December” provides a compelling answer in a taut courtroom drama where the cast drag up emotions of rage, remorse, and readjustment in riveting performances where each of the key players faces up to the need for redemption following a harrowing tragedy.


Hong Kong Family    Hong Kong Family Film Poster R


Release Date: 2022

Duration: 112 mins.

Director: TSANG Hing Weng Eric

Writer: Lou Shiu-Wa, Leung Chuen-Yeung (Screenplay),

Starring: Teresa Mo, Tse Kwan Ho, Edan Lui, Hedwig Tam, Angela Yuen,


Synopsis: Drawing upon his own family background for his debut feature, TSANG Hing Weng Eric turns in an assured and unsentimental drama about a family breakup. It begins with an explosive argument between a miserable mother and a distant father who have reached the end of their patience with each other at a winter solstice dinner. When the father waves a knife at the mother and strikes his son, it begins an eight-year wait for the family to reckon with their problems. The arrival of a cousin from the UK who is determined to see everyone gather together for another winter solstice dinner sets in motion a thaw that allows them to rethink their relationships. Powerful naturalistic performances from the cast and TSANG’s deep writing creates a film that displays a perceptive understanding of the difficulty in communication.

Is This Heaven?     

天国か、ここ? Tengoku ka, Koko?

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 61 mins.

Director: Shinji Imaoka

Writer: Shinji Imaoka (Screenplay),

Starring: Hidetoshi Kawaya, Aki Takeda, Miho Hiraoka, Yohta Kawase, Ryushi Mizukami,

Synopsis: A middle-aged man named Nobuo Kawashima wanders along a beach with a can of Chuhai in his hand. A piece of paper with the word “Heaven” written on it falls by the side of the road. “Heaven, here?” Nobuo thinks with a drunken head. This is the start of an alcohol-fuelled rambling journey along the coast as Nobuo meets other waifs and strays who have been washed up in the area.

Writer and director Shinji Imaoka reunites with the lead actors of Reiko and the Dolphin (2020) (interview with director Imaoka) to deliver this quick and easy medium-length film that eschews sex for sprinklings of silliness and a deeper look at the human condition. Games of chess, quarrels, emotional confessions, and a search for Izumo Taisha Shrine all take place in chapters that are marked by harder grades of alcohol and more rambunctious action, unexpected meetings, and sad reunions in this gently playful and melancholy life-after-death tale.

Where Love Goes      Where Love Goes Film Poster R

愛のゆくえ Ai no Yukue

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Fuka Miyajima

Writer: Fuka Miyajima (Screenplay),

Starring: Itsuki Nagasawa, Airu Kubozuka, Mari Hayashida, Katsumi Hyodo, Atsuko Hirata, Keisuke Horibem Rena Tanaka,

Synopsis: Filmed in the sunning snowbound landscape of Hokkaido, Fuka Miyajima regales audiences with a tale of people seeking catharsis after losing everything. It starts with junior high schoolers Ai Sudo and Sosuke Ito living together as a patchwork family in a small town in Hokkaido, all thanks to Ai’s mother Yumi creating an environment of love. Bullying and the harsh environment cannot pierce that safety until Yumi dies. Cast adrift, the kids are separated, Ai taken to Tokyo by her father and Sosuke left behind. This is the start of Ai’s journey of meetings with others in the big city and magical realist jaunts which leads her back to her hometown, Sosuke, and self-understanding.

People Who Talk to Plushies Are Kind    People Who Talk to Plushies Are Kind Film Poster R

ぬいぐるみとしゃべる人はやさしい Nuigurumi to Shaberu Hito wa Yasashii

Release Date: April 14th, 2023

Duration: 109 mins.

Director: Yurina Kaneko

Writer: Yurina Kaneko, Suzuyuki Kaneko (Screenplay), Ao Omae (Original Novel)

Starring: Itsuki Nagasawa, Airu Kubozuka, Mari Hayashida, Katsumi Hyodo, Atsuko Hirata, Keisuke Horibem Rena Tanaka,

Yurina Kaneko has been making a name for herself with MOOSIC Lab film Sleeping Insect and she makes a leap into a bigger feature with an adaptation of a novel.

Synopsis: Creating a portrait of sensitive teens and their concerns, Yurina Kaneko’s adaptation of Ao Omae’s novel takes us into the midst of the Plushy Club at a university. It is a place packed with furry and comforting friends whom the club members talk to in order to relay their anxieties and fears. Male student Nanamori and female students Shiraki, and Mugito are the latest club intake, each wrestling with issues such as love, masculinity and femininity, fear of others and sexism in society. Trusting her actors, Kaneko uses long takes and gentle pacing to allow her talented cast to unpack big themes in naturalistic ways while expressive lighting and animation relays what it is like to be in conversation with a plushy. The kindness of the club members desire and exhibit is most keenly felt by the end.

The Narrow Road    The Narrow Road Film Poster R


Release Date: December 22nd, 2022

Duration: 115 mins.

Director: LAM Sum

Writer: Fean Chung (Screenplay),

Starring: Louis Cheung, Angela Yuen, Patra Au, Tung On-na,


Synopsis: Hard times have hit Hong Kong. A stalled economy, an exodus of people, and Covid-19 is deepening the crisis, especially for Chak who is struggling to keep his cleaning company afloat as jobs dry up and disinfectant runs scarce. Also struggling is a single mother named Candy who joins him on the job so she can do more than just survive by wheeling-dealing and stealing, but earn some honest cash to keep herself and her daughter off the streets. Slowly, the two form a bond and business blossoms but Candy’s old habits put everything in jeopardy.

The Narrow Road” begins with haunting images of lead character Chak disinfecting a store but the screenplay had been under development since 2018. While the pandemic is the backdrop, the focus is the reaction of locals to declining living standards and it is all tackled with social realism and a humanist streak that gives an insight into the everyday for working-class Hong Kongers as well as good drama.


Swallow Flying to the South    Swallow Flying to the South Film Poster R


Release Date: 2022

Duration: 17 mins.

Director: Mochi Lin

Writer: Mochi Lin (Screenplay),

Puppets, Sets, Props. Costumes, Animation, Cinematography, Editing, Sound: Mochi Lin

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Spring 1976, the Cultural Revolution is drawing to an end. We see this tumultuous time from the perspective of a 5-year-old girl named Swallow. One of many children abandoned at a public boarding school in Beijing, she experiences harsh privations in a highly regimented day-to-day life. It may leave her in tears at times but it never breaks her spirit and the ending of Chairman Mao’s era approaches…

The upheaval of the Cultural Revolution is vividly brought to life in this profoundly moving stop-motion animation. Drawing upon her mother’s experiences, director LIN Mochi uses atmospheric sound design, detailed sets, beautifully crafted puppets with expressive facial expressions to show the endurance of lead character Swallow and create an outstanding humanistic work of survival in an era of chaos.

Indie Forum

This program will present films by innovative and challenging talents. The JAPAN CUTS AWARD will be bestowed by the Japan Society to one Japanese film selected from this section and there is a chance that the film will be screened by the Japan Society in New York. Also included in this festival thread is a Director in Focus section dedicated to Haruna Tanaka.

The Burden of the Past    The Burden of the Past Film Poster R

過去負う者 Kako ou mono

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 125 mins.

Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Writer: Atsushi Funahashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Taku Tsuji, June Kubodera, Kiriko Kina, Miyatani, Yoshio Taguchi,

Synopsis: Would you be willing to live alongside former criminals?

Japan has a recidivism rate of 50%. The staff at a magazine called CHANGE want to lower that by rehabilitating former prisoners. This forms the basis of Funahashi Atsushi’s ensemble docudrama, which tells the story from both the perspectives of the editorial team and ex-cons.

Drawing from a real story of Japan’s only job magazine for former convicts, Funahashi shows a year of their workshops, therapy, efforts to get them jobs and a stage performance that serves as the climax. Along the way, tension ratchets up as souls are bared, mistakes are made, and, despite the pain, the characters keep trying. “Your past failures always affect your life,” one of the ex-cons says and it proves to be true hostility to the former criminals expose how hard it is for people to reintegrate into a society that can be intolerant.

Hair-raising drama and a bleak ending cap what is quite a fast-moving and informative film.

Cafune    Cafune Film Poster R

カフネ Kafune

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 66 mins.

Director: Haruki Kinemura

Writer: Haruki Kinemura, Miu Chiba (Screenplay),

Starring: Suika Yamazaki, Taishi, Isana Matsumoto, Takashi Irie, Ichika Sakura,

Synopsis: Is this a case of too much, too young as two teens living in a port town find themselves pregnant? The mother and the father wrestle with how to take responsibility while their family and friends look on. This, however, is part of a bigger battle the two face, one of finding out how to express themselves and what they want from their future. In his debut feature-length film Haruki Kinemura delicately depicts different desires and conflicts surrounding the characters, all while taking advantage of the beautiful views of the seaside locations in Mie Prefecture.

Detouring Blue    Detouring Blue Film Poster R

遠まわりする青 Tou Mawari Suru Ao

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 24 mins.

Director: Ryo Kimura

Writer: Ryo Kimura (Screenplay),

Starring: Saori Mori, Mai Hikagedate, Ami Kamimura, Koto Ishikawa, Yutaro Watanabe,

Synopsis: Under the neon light of Tokyo at night, callgirl Shiori is chauffeured from assignation to assignation. Mid-ride, a fellow sex worker prompts her to remember her high school days, her dreams of being a playwright, and a best friend who encouraged her. Can she grab any of that again?

Director Ryo Kimura skilfully takes us between the urban grind of the city to a coastal scene, present-day woes and past happiness, through gorgeous shot composition, evocative lighting, and sound design that help us get to understand the main character.

New Religion    New Religion Film Poster R

ニューレリジョン  「Nyu- Rerijon

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Keishi Kondo

Writer: Keishi Kondo (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaho Seto, Satoshi Oka, Ryuseigun Saionji, Daiki Nunami,


Synopsis: The world is in a state of collapse. The economy is in freefall, murders are committed on the streets. Main protagonist Miyabi doesn’t realise it yet but she is also tumbling. Her work as a call girl and her boyfriend cannot mask the void that exists within her following the death of her daughter. When a weird customer starts to take a picture of her parts of her body – her spine, her feet, her arms – she soon realises that she can sense her daughter’s spirit, feel it, cradle it. All that remains for her eyes to be photographed and then she will see the fall of society.

In a stunning debut (made with a small budget while working full time), director Keishi Kondo masterfully manipulates tone to create a hypnotic film as it slips from the drab reality to supernatural horror. Dreamlike and uncanny dream sequences marked by bold lighting and menacing soundscapes blur the borders as the film turns into both a fascinating depiction of a grief-fuelled breakdown and an existential horror film.

Saga Saga    

緑のざわめき -Saga Saga- Midori no Zawameki – Saga Saga –

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 125 mins.

Director: Aimi Natsuto

Writer: Aimi Natsuto (Screenplay),

Starring: Rena Matsui, Sae Okazaki, Sara Kurashima, Naoya Kusakawa, Noa Kawazoe

Saga Saga Film Image R

Synopsis: In her sophomore feature film, Aimi Natsuto departs entirely from the dynamics of Rohmeresque anti-romance comedy of Jeux de Plage (OAFF2019) and creates a quiet, considered, and sensitive female relationship drama set in Kyushu. We watch 28-year-old Kyoko return to her hometown of Ureshino in Saga Prefecture from Tokyo after a stint as an actress. It is here that she “runs” into Nahoko, her half-sister. Nahoko is secretly stalking Kyoko. Things get a lot more complicated when another half-sister is revealed. Plot points and themes of women, family, nature, sex, and urban dislocation are broached but not in ways one might expect. An air of mystery hangs over everything as secrets are slowly revealed but there is no melodrama, just the gradual movement towards a family reconciliation.

Sekai    Sekai Film Image R

世界 Sekai

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 38 mins.

Director: Marina Tsukada

Writer: Marina Tsukada (Screenplay),

Starring: Aki Wakui, Yoomi Tamai, Takeshi Yamamoto, Ryo Ikeda,


Synopsis: Aki, a shy junior high student, deals with her embarrassment over her stutter and her quarrelling parents by burying herself in books and Western music. Yoomi, a composer with little confidence or motivation works at a bar and studio to avoid facing questions she has about the direction she should take with her life. The two are neighbours passing each other by with little contact but one night they gaze at the same winter sky and a brief connection is formed. Director Tsukada masterfully takes audiences into the lives of people who feel fully formed and accompanies them as they navigate a cold and demanding world full of friction before finding a moment of comfort that provides an uplifting feeling.

TOMA #2    TOMA #2 Film Poster R

TOMA2号 Toma 2-gou

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 125 mins.

Director: Yohei Osabe

Writer: Yohei Osabe, Noriko Washizu (Screenplay),

Starring: Takashi Yamanaka, Kyusaku Shimada, Long Mizuma, Kanoko Kawaguchi, Toshimine Kido,

Synopsis:  39-year-old Toma and his younger brother Sou have decided to place their father in a nursing home. The old man is suffering from dementia and is failing to recognise his nearest and dearest. While getting the paperwork together, Toma finds a disposable instant film camera. TOMA No.2 has been written on the camera while inside the camera are photographs of Toma that have not yet been developed. These are images from their shared past and as Toma looks through them on the journey to the nursing home, he recalls the various scenes captured. His father? Well, his memories are slipping away.

Having worked in the world of advertising, director OSABE delivers a short that gives a warm depiction of family with a hint of sadness of the loss of connection but also the brief slither of happiness that the photographs provide.

When Morning Comes, I Feel Empty    When Morning Comes I Feel Empty Film Poster R

朝がくるとむなしくなる Asa ga Kuru to Munashiku naru

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 125 mins.

Director: Yuho Ishibashi

Writer: Yuho Ishibashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Erika Karata, Haruka Imou, Kazuma Ishibashi, Oto Abe, Yuto Nakayama, Toshihiro Yashiba,

When Morning Comes I Feel Empty Film Image R

Synopsis: 24-year-old Nozomi quit her job at an ad agency and now works part-time at a convenience store. Her ordinary days are enlivened by funny and kind co-workers but her heart is troubled because she cannot tell her parents about her situation and she is haunted by her failure to meet the excessive demands at her previous workplace. One day, her former junior high school classmate Kanako appears and Nozomi begins to articulate how she feels.

The Great Resignation. Quiet Quitting. These buzzwords signal how it has become common for workers to seek more satisfying employment or lessen the negatives of their current workplaces. Following her debut feature Sayounara (2018), Yuho Ishibashi puts a face on this phenomenon through quiet observance and sensitivity for her characters while drawing on real-world exploitation.

After Winter, the Tamaki Family…

 Director in Focus: TANAKA Haruna

There will be a focus on up-and-coming director Haruna Tanaka with a screening of her SAPPORO INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL film Shall We Love You?, and her latest work Kanro.

Kanro  Kanro Film Poster R

甘露 Kanro

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 12 mins.

Director: Haruna Tanaka

Writer: Haruna Tanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Keigo Oka, Ippei Tanaka,

Kanro Film Image R

Synopsis: Two brothers reunite for the first time since their grandfather’s funeral in the old man’s candy store. There is a distance between them but as they sit together in the empty space, they reminisce about the past and the meaning of kanro jelly, a near tasteless treat with a supernatural origin to its name. Then, the older brother receives an unexpected call. With Kanro, Tanaka and her skilled performers offer a one-cut film that is simple on its surface but unearths an affectionate family history and a surprise ending that opens the door to the mysteries of life.

Shall We Love You?    Shall We Love You Film Poster R

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 7 mins.

Director: Haruna Tanaka

Writer: Haruna Tanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Nishiki Morikawa, Saya Imajo, Nami Nishida,

Shall We Love You Film Image R

Synopsis: One shot, one take. Three members of a high school drama club discuss their adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince.” As they read through the script, they wonder about the meaning of the word happiness and come to their own conclusions. In this light-hearted short, the fun and bubbly performances of the cast and the active soundscape create a warmhearted slice of life that is sure to leave audiences with a smile.

Housen Cultural Foundation: Support for film study and production 

The Housen thread of the festival always has a gems that are worth watching and, best of all, they are free to view for anyone who has the time to go to the National Museum of Art.

National Museum of Art (Free Admission)

Silent Movie    

サイレントムービー Sairento Mu-bi-

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 56 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Gokan, Satoru Hirohara, Masamichi Kawata,

Writer: N/A (Screenplay),

Starring: N/A

Silent Movie Film Image 2 R

Synopsis: A collection of 11 silent shorts produced by nine students and three alumni of the Tokyo University of the Arts’ Film Department, ranging from a period drama based on the screenplay for YAMANAKA Sadao’s first film, “Iso no Genta: Dakine no Nagawakizashi,” which became a legend in the history of silent film, to a comedy, thriller, and animation. KATAOKA Ichiro, a benshi (benshi is a Japanese wordplay narrator), provides the live narration for all the shorts. Here is a new silent movie for our time.

Women in the Zoo    Women in the Zoo Film Poster R

動物園のふたり Doubutsuen no Futari

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 33 mins.

Director: Masaru Sano

Writer: Masaru Sano (Screenplay),

Starring: Chika Anzai, KANON,

Synopsis: YAMADA is 19 years old but instead of thinking of her bright future, she is deep in depression and has stopped going to college due to a lack of confidence. One day, she meets a woman who calls herself NOTANI while playing a game outside of a candy store. NOTANI is a capricious and headstrong woman who brands herself a wanderer and she takes a bewildered YAMADA under her wing resulting in the two living in YAMADA’s house. One day, the two become suspicious of a woman who spends a lot of time looking at elephants at the zoo, and decide to follow her…

We watch six months of the cohabitation of these two very different characters as they get wrapped up in oddball adventures, grim incidents, and soul searching that gets YAMADA to see that her normal life has something special about it. This film took the Audience Award in the Short Film Category at the 15th Fukui Film Festival.

You Are Still There After the Rain    You Are Still Here After the Rain Film Poster R

雨はバケツを叩く Ame wa Baketsu o Tataku

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 60 mins.

Director: Pan Junhua

Writer: Pan Junhua (Screenplay),

Starring: Kurumi Shimizu, Miyuki Kawamoto, Takaya Kameya, Yukika Kira, Ryosuke Shimomura,

Synopsis: Under the summer skies sits a little girl named Erina. Her days are spent by herself in a garden while her father works late into the evening. Her lonely routine is broken when she meets an old woman wearing mourning clothes and the two discuss their loneliness and hardships. Over time, Erina becomes aware of a pain she harbours deep inside and begins to articulate with each meeting she has with the old woman.

Special Presentation < Expo ‘70 Osaka and TAKAHASHI Katsuo >

National Museum of Art (Free Admission)

Hosted in cooperation with the Toy Film Museum

Short films produced for Expo ‘70 Osaka by the late filmmaker Katsuo Takahashi, including a documentary-drama about friendship between an Australian teacher and elementary school students in Osaka, and a stop-motion animation of Princess Kaguya that was shown at the Japanese government’s pavilion.


To find out more about the venues, click here

Tickets are on sale online now, more details here

No reservation is needed for free admission screenings and events at Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka and National Museum of Art, Osaka.

2 thoughts on “A Glimpse at the Japanese Films and a Selection of Others at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023

  1. Really, really interesting works here; Over my dead body, Is This Heaven, When Morning Comes, I feel Empty and You Are Still There After The Rain particularly caught my attention. Thank you so much for covering the festival and sharing these with us. I always bookmark your posts so I can come back later when a film catches my eye (my train of thought: maybe Jason covered it already :D)

    On HK movies: my SO speaks Cantonese (heritage speaker – not fluent but willing to learn) so whenever a HK movie seems interesting I always convince him to watch with me, I’ve seen quite a few interesting HK movies lately (other than Wong Kar Wai I was never quite knowledgeable about HK cinema). I have to say HK keeps putting out excellent works, while I can’t say the same about movies from the Mainland.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I always appreciate it when people share their thoughts and I’m glad that you find my coverage useful. Hopefully, these all make their way to wider distribution so you and others can watch them.

      There’s definitely something to each of the titles to make them worth watching and I think you can see the direction that younger filmmakers across Asia are taking in terms of themes and approaches to filmmaking. That’s what makes specialist festivals like OAFF important.

      HK filmmakers are having to negotiate a tricky situation in telling stories genuine to the people they represent while trying not to fall foul of censors etc. who have authorities on the Mainland watching over them. Despite this, they still broach subjects that tell you what life is like on the island with verve and wit. Fortunately, these films are getting screened in cinemas thanks to mini festivals and specialist labels so any support and viewership that can be offered is a good thing to keep the industry going! I hope you and your SO catch them!

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