Camera Japan returns for its 17th edition in Rotterdam 22nd to 25th September and in Amsterdam 29th September to 2nd October bringing with it another fantastic selection of the best in recent and not so recent Japanese cinema.
- Alivehoon – an e-sports champ finally gets the chance to test his skills on the track in Ten Shimoyama’s retro drift racing drama. Review.
- Angry Son – a resentful young man comes to a better understanding of his place in the world while searching for his estranged father in Kasho Iizuka’s sensitive coming-of-age drama. Review.
- Anime Supremacy – adaptation of the novel by Mizuki Tsujimura following three women in the anime industry.
- Arc – a young woman ponders the concept of immortality when presented with two opposing versions of its manifestation in Kei Ishikawa’s sci-fi drama. Review.
- Awake – childhood rivals eventually find a sense of equilibrium after an AI challenge in Atsuhiro Yamada’s shogi drama. Review.
- Baby Assassins – a pair of mismatched high school girls raised as elite assassins get swept into gangland conflict while forced to live together to learn how to integrate into society in Yugo Sakamoto’s deadpan slacker comedy. Reivew.
- Bad City – a ruthless veteran cop in prison on suspicion of murder is brought out to tackle rampant violence and corruption in a V-cinema homage starring Hitoshi Ozawa.
- Broken Commandment – a young man wrestles with himself torn between breaking a promise to his father and speaking out against prejudice in Kazuo Maeda’s adaptation of the Toson Shimazaki novel. Review.
- End of the Pale Hour – dejected youngsters flounder amid the ruins of the salaryman dream in Hana Matsumoto’s youthful drama. Review.
- Eternally Younger than Those Idiots – An aimless 22-year-old college student’s life changes after bonding with a mischievous philosophy major but she discovers through her various encounters that life isn’t always as it first seems in Ryohei Yoshino’s adaptation of the novel by Kikuko Tsumura.
- The Great Yokai War: Guardians – an anxious little boy discovers his inner hero and saves the world through kindness in Takashi Miike’s warmhearted return to the world of folklore. Review.
- Intolerance – latest from Keisuke Yoshida in which the father of a teenage girl killed by a car while running away after being accused of shoplifting takes revenge.
- It’s all My Fault – a lonely young man befriends a drifter after his mother rejects him in Yusaku Matsumoto’s indie drama.
- Joint – A gangster in search of reform finds himself caught between old school organised crime and the shady new economy in Oudai Kojima’s noirish take on yakuza decline. Review.
- Just Remembering – former lovers are confronted by reminders of their failed romance amid the loneliness of the coronavirus pandemic in Daigo Matsui’s melancholy drama. Review.
- Let Me Here it Barefoot – two alienated young men struggle to identify their feelings while searching for escape from moribund small-town Japan in Riho Kudo’s indie drama. Review.
- The Midnight Maiden War – a nihilistic young man is torn between a mysterious tech genius and his more cheerful sempai in the latest from Ken Ninomiya.
- My Brother, the Android, and Me – a lonely researcher attempts to ease his existential anxiety by building a simulacrum of himself in Junji Sakamoto’s gothic sci-fi chiller. Review.
- Nagi’s Island – cheerful indie drama in which a young girl tries to overcome family trauma after moving to an idyllic island.
- Offbeat Cops – a maverick cop develops a new appreciation of group harmony after being demoted to the police band in Eiji Uchida’s warmhearted comedy. Review.
- Popran – a self-involved CEO gets a course correction when his genitals suddenly decide to leave him in Shinichiro Ueda’s surreal morality tale. Review
- Prior Convictions – a volunteer probation officer questions her life philosophy when one of her charges is implicated in a spate of killings in the latest from Yoshiyuki Kishi.
- Ribbon – a young student wrestles with her sense of purpose when her graduation exhibition is cancelled in Non’s charming directorial debut. Review.
- Riverside Mukolitta – a young man recently released from prison finds a new sense of community after moving to a remote village in the latest from Naoko Ogigami.
- Shrieking in the Rain – a rookie female film director faces industry sexism and corporate interference while trying to fend off a visit from the censors before shooting an erotically charged love scene in this 80s drama from Eiji Uchida.
- Small, Slow, But Steady – latest from Sho Miyake (And Your Bird Can Sing) following a young woman’s determination to become a champion boxer.
- Spotlight – a struggling director is approached by a young woman who offers him a large amount of money to make a film in this indie drama from KOUMEI.
- Thanc You – comedy duo Jaru Jaru take on 11 roles each in this anarchic sketch comedy.
- They Say Nothing Stays the Same – an ageing boatman finds himself adrift on the great river of time in Joe Odagiri’s exquisitely shot, ethereal meditation on transience and goodness. Review.
- Unlock Your Heart – teen romantic drama in which a high school girl befriends her crush’s girlfriend.
- Wandering – intense drama from Lee Sang-il in which a student takes in a neglected little girl but is later accused of kidnapping.
- Dozens of Norths – feature animation by Koji Yamamura.
- Goodbye, Don Glees! – three teenage boys come to terms with past and future while on a climactic summer adventure in Atsuko Ishizuka’s heartfelt coming-of-age anime.
- House of the Lost Cape – two young girls are taken in by a kindly old lady who lives in a remote mansion by the sea which is also home to a series of mysterious creatures in this family animation adapted from the novel by Sachiko Kashiwaba.
- Summer Ghost – three teens team up to search for the elusive spirit of a woman said to have taken her own life.
- Salaryman – Allegra Pacheco’s wide ranging documentary examines Japan’s contemporary corporate culture through the prism of the salaryman. Review.
- Target – Shinji Nishijima’s documentary follows former Asahi Shimbun journalist Takashi Uemura as he continues to fight for press freedom in an increasingly authoritarian Japan. Review.
- Tokyo Kurds – documentary exploring the lives of young Kurdish refugees in Japan.
- Yonaguni – documentary following a group of teens living on a remote island.
- Forever a Woman – Kinuyo Tanaka’s directorial debut draws inspiration from current events to interrogate contemporary notions of womanhood through the story of a female poet suffering from terminal breast cancer who eventually rediscovers her femininity through the embrace of her sexual desire. Review.
- Love Under the Crucifix – Juxtaposing the use of the crucifix as a method of execution for sexual transgression with the growing influence of Christianity in late 16th century Japan, Takana’s final film as a director stars Ineko Arima as a young woman in love with a reticent lord (Tatsuya Nakadai) who is already married and among the growing class of merchant samurai who have converted to Christianity through trading links with European nations. Review.
- The Moon Has Risen – Tanaka’s second film was co-scripted by Yasujiro Ozu and features several homages to his visual style including the use of pillow shots but otherwise has a sensuality and sensitivity not common in his filmmaking. The comic melodrama follows the attempts of a young woman (Mie Kitamura) to set her lovelorn sister up with a sensitive visitor while falling for her childhood friend. Look out for Tanaka’s brief cameo as a ditsy maid. Review.
- Wandering Princess – again based on very recent events, The Wandering Princess is a sumptuous romantic melodrama in which a Japanese noblewoman (Machiko Kyo) agrees to marry the brother of the former emperor of China now a puppet king of the Japanese colony of Manchuria but is eventually separated from him by the fall of the Japanese empire. Review.
- Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth – Ozu silent melodrama in which a young man learns a painful lesson about class and friendship when he becomes CEO of his father’s company and sets his uni friends up with jobs.
Camera Japan 2022 takes place in Rotterdam 22nd to 25th September and Amsterdam 29th September to 2nd October. Full information on all the films as well as ticketing links can be found on the official website and you can also keep up to date with all the latest news via Camera Japan’s official Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram channel.