Capital to host Japanese anime fest
Taken aback: Movie Sprited Away will be screened at the first Japanese Animation Film Festival in Ha Noi next week. — File Photo
HA NOI — The first ever Japanese Animation Film Festival will be held in Ha Noi on January 12–16, 2011.
Sponsored by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (JACA), the festival will include eight outstanding animated films from the past decade.
The opening screening next Wednesday will be the highly acclaimed film, Colourful (2010), director Keiichi Hara's latest film.
"The movie will touch audiences with a story based on the award-winning novel for young adults," said Ikeda Hiroyuki from the Japan Image Council (JAPIC), which is co-organising the festival.
The story involves a spirit, referred to only as boku (me), who has recently died. The spirit is put in the body of a 14-year-old who recently committed suicide.
Colourful was extremely well received when it was released last August in Japan. Director Hara will make a speech at the opening screening.
The other seven films chosen for the festival, including Spirited Away (2001) by director Hayao Miyazaki, and Redline (2010) by director Takeshi Koike, are all distinguished and unique in their own right, and according to the organisers will enable viewers to more fully enjoy and "discover" the diversity of Japanese animation.
Redline is anticipated to be a highlight of the festival. Released in Japan last October, Redline took seven years to make and used approximately 100,000 handmade drawings.
"The whole thing has the feel of a high-speed car chase, and the exquisite attention to detail will be particularly evident to the audience in some of the explosions," said Ikeda Hiroyuki.
Spirited Away follows the adventures of Chihiro, a 10-year-old Japanese girl, as her family moves to a new town in the countryside.
Spirited Away earned tremendous critical acclaim both domestically and abroad, becoming the highest grossing film in Japanese history as well as receiving the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival.
Others films being screened include Millennium Actress, Mind Game, Summer War, Mai Mai Miracle and The Great Adventure of Hutch the Honeybee, and will all be shown at the festival with Vietnamese subtitles.
This event is part of an ongoing Japanese Film Festivals in Asia initiative begun by the JACA in 2004.
The initiative was designed to both deepen understanding and interest in Japanese culture abroad, as well as increase a sense of friendship between Japan and the countries in which they are held.
In addition to the upcoming festival in Ha Noi, a festival held in Seoul, South Korea in November last year screened an entirely different programme of 16 films.
"This is the first such event that has been held in Ha Noi as part of this initiative, and it also marks the first time a film festival devoted entirely to Japanese animation has taken place in Ha Noi," said Takeji Yoshikawa, director of the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange.
In connection with these screenings, Mai Mai Miracle's director Katabuchi Sunao, The Great Adventure of Hutch the Honeybee's director Amino Tetsuro and other special guests including popular voice actress Mitsuki Saiga will attend and take part in cultural exchange events with those involved in the animated film industry in Viet Nam.
Saiga is the Japanese voice actress who was awarded the Overseas Fan's Choice Awards at the Seiyu Awards 2010 for voice actor/actress.
A talk and live performance will be given by Saiga and guitarist Kazuya Nishikawa next Friday at the National Cinema Centre, located at 87 Lang Ha Street.
Free tickets for the festival are available now at the Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung Street, Ha Noi.
For a detailed screening schedule, please visit the website at www.jpf.org.vn. — VNS