Japanese Film Fest comes to Johor Baru


For the first time in 15 years, the exciting Japanese Film Festival (JFF2018) finds its way to Johor Baru and partners with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) at Paradigm JB Mall to screen a collection of 13 movies from now till Sept 23.

The Japanese Film Fest 2018 made its debut in JB
In a screening schedule from Sept 20 to 23, selected GSC theatres will feature a collection of 13 recent Japanese movies in various genres including drama, suspense, comedy and documentary.

When I received the invitation to the official launch event at GSC Paradigm JB Mall, I read the small print and realised that the JFF2018 had already kicked off in the Klang Valley and went on to Penang before arriving in JB.

After JB, the JFF2018 will head east to showcase this year’s featured movies in Kuching (GSC CityOne Megamall) and Kota Kinabalu (GSC Suria Sabah) from Oct 4 to 7.

Guests being ushered upstairs to the theatre
in GSC Paradigm JB Mall
Residents of the Klang Valley are often always the first to catch the best of Japanese motion pictures but I’m glad that movie buffs in JB finally have the privilege to share the experience, albeit just a little later.

Organised by the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur in partnership with Golden Screen Cinemas as venue provider, the JFF2018 is supported by the Embassy of Japan, Consulate-General of Japan in Penang and the Consular Office of Japan in Kota Kinabalu and the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur.

The Japan Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1972 with the aim to promote mutual cultural exchange between Japan and other nations. The KL office was established in Oct 1989.

I cannot forget my first encounter with the Japan Foundation in Oct 2016 at the Mall of Medini when the Japanese art of puppetry known as Bunraku was presented in JB along with Teochew ‘iron-rod’ puppets, in an Asian Traditional Puppet Exchange.

And even though I received the invite at the proverbial eleventh hour, I’m glad I had the privilege to enjoy this enriching and most entertaining cultural presentation. Read about the Art of Asian Puppetry.

Director of Japan Foundation KL, Horikawa Koichi,
presenting his opening speech
I’m familiar with the work of the Japan Foundation and am happy to join them for JFF2018 at GSC Paradigm JB Mall for the official opening event, graced by Johor Women Development & Tourism Committee chairman, YB Liow Cai Tung.

The event kicked off with light refreshments – an elegant Japanese buffet courtesy of Sumawo Catering Service – while waiting for guest arrivals before being ushered into the theatre upstairs.

Once the audience settled into the comfortable seats, a short video was screened with scenes of past Japanese Film Festivals with a collage of photos that depicted the audience, cinema lobbies and guest appearances of some popular Japanese movie stars.

The official launch was graced by YB Liow Cai Tung and
other dignitaries and co-sponsors
Director of Japan Foundation KL, Horikawa Koichi, gave his opening speech which was punctuated by another short video that showcased the list of 13 movies to look out for in the JFF2018.

Top of the list is Ramen Heads followed by 3Ft Ball & Souls.

These English titles may be paraphrased to summarise the original Japanese movie titles and while they may not sound as catchy in English, I must say the movies must be worth a watch in spite of their strange sounding titles in English.

I can, at least, vouch for the movie entitled, We Make Antiques! because the entire movie was screened as a preview of the shows in store for the JFF2018.

An exciting scene from the movie, We Make Antiques!
For non-Japanese movie connoisseurs like me, English subtitles are essential for a better appreciation of the dialogue.

Even for movie buffs who are not conversant in English, I believe they too can enjoy the scenes that portray typical Japanese culture from views of the Japanese streets, building architecture, homes and gardens, which are totally alien from ours in Malaysia.

Of course, there may be some similarities – like sitting on the floor – but there is a great deal more to appreciate about Japanese culture and heritage from their food, customs and traditional costumes.

The JFF2018 is in JB for the very first time, not just the Japanese community here, but also for everyone who enjoys Japanese culture and those who wish to learn more.
On a practical note, Paradigm JB Mall may be unfamiliar to many movie-goers so here’s a tip for those who drive. If you are going for the late shows, please drive all the way up and park at Level 7, the same level where the theatres are located.

Tickets for all the shows in JFF2018 are priced at RM8.50 only while the tickets for two movies, Ramen Heads and 3Ft Ball & Souls, are at prevailing GSC ticket prices.

Tickets can be purchased through the GSC box office, ticketing kiosks, GSC e-Payment at gsc.com.my or GSC Mobile App.

For more info, visit www.jfkl.org.my and GSC website for ticketing information.