GUIDE: Eiga Sai 2016: The Japanese Film Festival

The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM), in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan, packs an extra punch for Eiga Sai, one of the longest-running foreign film festivals in the Philippines. It has enhanced the Director Talks, expanded screenings to Baguio, and partners with Cinemalaya for its highly-anticipated annual film festival.



Admission is FREE on a first-come, first-served basis. At Shang Cineplex, tickets will be available at the counter 30 minutes before each screening. The screenings during Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines are also FREE of charge.

Screening Venues

July 7 – 17: Shang Cineplex Cinema 2
July 22 – 24: Abreeza Mall Cinema, Davao
July 26 – 30: FDCP Cinematheque, Davao
July 8, August 6, 9, 10, and 12: Cultural Center of the Philippines
August 11 – 14: SM Baguio Cinema, Baguio City
August 15: FDCP Cinematheque Baguio
August 17 – 21: Ayala Center Cebu
August 17 – 20: UP Film Institute, UP Diliman

Screening Schedules

The following are the screening schedules of Eiga Sai 2016 at Shang Cineplex, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and UP Film Institute at UP Diliman:

(click the images for higher resolution)

The following are the screening schedules of Eiga Sai 2016 in Baguio, Cebu, and Davao:

Opening Night

Eiga Sai 2016 kicks off with the invitational screening of KAKEKOMI at the Shang Cineplex on July 7 to be graced by its esteemed director, Masato Harada, who is also scheduled to hold two Director’s Talks during his stay in the Philippines.

Director’s Talk and Visit

Masato Harada

Director Masato Harada will share his experience and knowledge about the art of and his career in filmmaking.

Director’s Talk #1: July 8 (Friday) • 7:00 PM • “THE EMPEROR IN AUGUST” • CCP Little Theater

Director’s Talk #2: July 9 (Saturday) • 7:00 PM • “KAKEKOMI” • Shang Cineplex Cinema 2

Director’s Profile: Born on July 3, 1949 in Numazu, Japan. Debuted in 1979 with “Goodbye Flickmania.” His works include films with high entertainment value such as “The Heartbreak Yakuza (1987) ,” “Gunhed (1988)” as well as socially conscious films such as “Kamikaze Taxi (1995) ,” “Bounce KoGals (1997) ,” winners of many film awards, and intensely political drama “Jubaku – Spellbound (1999) ,” “The Choice of Hercules (2002) ,” and the highly praised, B.O. success “Climber’s High (2008) .” For his ability to speak and write English, he also works as an English interpreter, and his friendship with Edward Zwick brought him to act as the sly Omura in “The Last Samurai (2003).” He received the Special Grand Prize of the Jury at the 35th Montreal World Film Festival in 2012 for his film “Chronicle of My Mother (2012).”

Hiroshi Shoji

Director Hiroshi Shoji will grace the screening of his film at this year’s Cinemalaya at the CCP.

Director’s Visit: August 6 (Saturday) • 6:15 PM • “KEN AND KAZU” • CCP Little Theater

Director’s Profile: Director Shoji is a graduate of Tokyo Film Center School of Arts. He has made over 10 short films that have been screened at various festivals in Japan and abroad. A short version of Ken and Kazu made in 2011 won an Honorable Mention at the SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL, and was selected by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival. In 2015, a full-length version of Ken and Kazu film that took 5 years in the making made its debut in the Tokyo International Film Festival and won the award under the Japan Cinema Splash Category.

Featured Films

2015 │143 min │Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: HARADA Masato
Produced by: ENOKI Nozomu, MASUMOTO Yukiko, SUMIDA Setsuko
Cast: OIZUMI Yo (NAKAMURA Shinjiro), TODA Erika (Jogo), MITSUSHIMA Hikari (O-Gin)
Production Company: “KAKEKOMI” Film Partners
Distributor: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD.
Official Site:


A warm-hearted period film based on “Tokeiji Hanadayori,” a novel by playwright Inoue Yasushi. Set at an actual “divorce temple” in Kamakura, it follows the efforts of a male protagonist who assists a group of women attempting to exit their marriages and make a new start in life. Its director is Harada Masato.

In 1841, novice doctor and playwright Shinjiro (Oizumi Yo) lives rent-free at an inn that takes in women seeking divorces. One day, two women run into his life: Jogo (Toda Erika), a foundry worker with burns on her face, and O-Gin (Mitsushima Hikari), a courtesan with an injured leg.

Shinjiro continues to get caught up in a whirlwind of events, like being threatened by Sanpachi (Jun Hashimoto), the yakuza boss bursting into Kashiwaya looking for his woman, and dragged into the pregnancy hullabaloo of Yuki (Misuzu Kano) who is a kakekomi woman at Tokeiji. All the while, Mizuno’s Reforms have gotten harsher and his right-hand man, Torii (Yukiya Kitamura), is plotting to send a mole into Tokeiji to bring it down…

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2015 Shanghai International Film Festival
  • 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco
  • 2015 Toronto Japanese Film Festival, Special Mention
  • 2015 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan Now (Director in Focus: Masato Harada)

Chronicle of My Mother
2011 │118 min │Feature │Color │Blu-ray DVD

Directed by: HARADA Masato
Produced by: ISHIZUKA Yoshitaka
Cast: YAKUSHO Koji (IGAMI Kosaku), KIKI Kilin (Yae), (MIYAZAKI Aoi) Kotoko
Production Company: “Chronicle of My Mother” Film Partners
Distributor: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD.
Official Site:


A film adaptation of the autobiographical novel “Chronicle of My Mother” by Inoue Yasushi, one of Japan’s greatest literary talents, this family drama about the aging and death of a parent. It won the Special Grand Prix of the Jury at the 2011 Montreal World Film Festival.

Kosaku (Yakusho Koji) was separated from his parents at an early age to be raised elsewhere and has grown up believing that he was abandoned by his mother. As an adult, he is still unable to move past this feeling; but when his now senile mother recites a certain poem, her true intentions come to light.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2011 Montreal World Film Festival, World Competition, Special Grand Prix of the Jury
  • 2011 Busan International Film Festival, Closing
  • 2011 Hawaii International Film Festival
  • 2011 International Film Festival of India, Goa
  • 2012 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Horizons
  • 2012 Chicago International Film Festival, Competition
  • 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival, Modern Masters

The Emperor in August
2015 │136 min │Feature │Color │ Blu-ray DVD

Directed by: HARADA Masato
Produced by: ENOKI Nozomu, ARAGAKI Hirotaka
Cast: YAKUSHO Koji (ANAMI Korechika), MOTOKI Masahiro (Emperor Showa), MATSUZAKA Tori (HATANAKA Kenji)

Production Company: “The Emperor in August” Film Partners
Distributor: Asmik Ace, SHOCHIKU CO., LTD.
Official Site:


An adaptation of Hando Kazutoshi’s non-fiction novel “Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi: Ketteiban,” it reveals the anguish and deliberations of the Japanese who put their lives on the line to end the Pacific War and achieve peace.

In April of 1945, as the Pacific War enters its final phase, Japan’s Prime Minister Suzuki Kantaro (Yamazaki Tsutomu) forms a new cabinet. Anami Korechika (Yakusho Koji), a trusted subject of Emperor Showa (Motoki Masahiro), is appointed Minister of War and makes his case for a final battle on Japanese shores.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2015 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan Now (Director in Focus: Masato Harada)
  • 2015 Chicago International Film Festival
  • 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival

Ken and Kazu

2015 │98 min │Action/Adventure, Drama, Feature │Color │DCP, Blu-ray DVD

Directed by: SHOJI Hiroshi
Cast: KATO Shinsuke (Ken), MAIGUMA Katsuya (Kazu), FUJIWARA Kisetsu (Teru)
Production Company: Third Window Films


A drama depicting the conflict between friends who deal with drugs, Director Shoji Hiroshi made the feature film based on his short “Ken and Kazu,” which was screened in four countries including the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Ken (Kato Shinsuke) and Kazu (Maiguma Katsuya) are partners in crime who use a car repair shop as their front for dealing stimulants. Ken tries to make a clean break after his girlfriend Saki (Iijima Shuna) gets pregnant, but Kazu has a secret…

Film Festivals, Awards:

2015 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japanese Cinema Splash

August in Tokyo
2014 │80 min │Drama, Romance, Feature │Color │DCP, Blu-ray DVD

Directed by: NAKAGAWA Ryutaro
Produced by: FUJIMURA Takashi
Cast: NAKAMURA Eriko (SHIGYO Natsuki), OKITO Takashi (SERIZAWA Natsuo), NAKAMURA Asaka (Natsumi)
Production Company: Tokyo New Cinema
Official Site: 


“August in Tokyo” portrays the dynamics of people trying to co-exist in nature and in the city. Even though two individuals may be insignificant in the context of a society, one life meets another and they move forward. The film is directed by Nakagawa Ryutaro, one of the leading young up-and-coming filmmakers in Japan and an established poet. Screened in the Japanese Cinema Splash Category at the 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival.

This film presents a parallel story of a man and a woman living in the suburb of Tokyo. In a corner of the city, a man named Natsuo lives as a yakuza and a woman named Natsuki works part-time. Although they rarely think about their families, they attempt to reunite with them. Brother and sister, father and daughter; the distance between them begins to shrink, but…

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival, Japanese Cinema Splash

The Great Passage
2013 │133 min │Comedy, Drama, Romance, Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: ISHII Yuya
Produced by: TSUCHII Tomoo, GOKA Kimitaka, IKEDA Fumitsugu, IWANAMI Yasuyuki
Cast: MATSUDA Ryuhei (MAJIME Mitsuya), MIYAZAKI Aoi (HAYASHI Kaguya), ODAGIRI Joe (NISHIOKA Masashi)
Production Company: TV TOKYO, SHOCHIKU CO., LTD., Asmik Ace, DENTSU, Kobunsha, ABC, TELEVISION OSAKA, YTV, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN COMPANY, film-makers, Little More
Distributor: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD., Asmik Ace
Official Site:


“The Great Passage” is a drama about the passion of an editor who struggles to create a dictionary, as depicted over a fifteen-year period. Directed by Ishii Yuya, recipient of the Edward Yang New Talent Award for best new director at the Asian Film Awards in 2008, this film is based on 2012 Honya Taisho (bookseller award) winner Miura Shion’s novel of the same name. It represented Japan at the 86th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Publishing house salesman Majime (Matsuda Ryuhei) has an earnestness about him that sets him apart from his peers but he has a discerning sensibility when it comes to language, which lands him in the dictionary editorial department. He ends up editing “The Great Passage,” a huge dictionary with 240,000 entries.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Japanese Submission
  • 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival, Gala Presentation
  • 2013 Seattle International Film Festival, Asian Crossroads
  • 2013 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, Vision Express
  • 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival
  • 2013 OzAsia Festival
  • 2013 London Film Festival, Laugh
  • 2013 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
  • 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival
  • 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival, Dragons & Tigers
  • 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam

The Little House
2014 │136 min │Drama, Romance, Children/Family, Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: YAMADA Yoji
Produced by: FUKASAWA Hiroshi , SAITO Hiroyuki
Cast: MATSU Takako (HIRAI Tokiko), KUROKI Haru (NUNOMIYA Taki), KATAOKA Takataro (HIRAI Masaki), YOSHIOKA Hidetaka (ITAKURA Shoji), TSUMABUKI Satoshi (ARAI Takeshi), BAISHO Chieko (NUNOMIYA Taki)
Production Company: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD., Sumitomo, TV Asahi, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Eisei Gekijo, Nippan, PIA, The Yomiuri Shimbun, TOKYO FM, HAKUHODO, GYAO!, ABC, NAGOYA BROADCASTING NETWORK CO., LTD., HTB, Hokuriku Asahi Broadcasting
Distributor: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD.


Master filmmaker Yamada Yoji adapts Nakajima Kyoko’s eponymous novel that won the 143rd Naoki Prize. Set against the backdrop of the “Showa Modern” period (1926 to 1945), it presents a full and mysterious account of a scandalous romance. Kuroki Haru’s performance was recognized with the award of a Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1936 in the suburbs of Tokyo, Taki (Kuroki), a maid working for the Hirai family, deeply admires Tokiko (Matsu Takako), the beautiful lady of the house. As war approaches, Tokiko’s relationship with a man named Itakura (Yoshioka Hidetaka) comes under suspicion. After much agonizing, Taki makes a fateful decision.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2014 Berlin International Film Festival, Competition, Silver Bear for Best Actress
  • 2014 Hong Kong International Film Festival2014 Sao Paulo International Film Festival
  • 2014 Brisbane International Film Festival

Pale Moon
2014 │126 min │Mystery, Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: YOSHIDA Daihachi
Produced by: IKEDA Fumitsugu , ISHIDA Satoko , AKASHI Naomi

Production Company: “Pale Moon” Film Partners
Distributor: SHOCHIKU CO., LTD.
Production Studio: ROBOT


An adaptation of popular author Kakuta Mitsuyo’s eponymous novel “The Kirishima Thing” by director Yoshida Daihachi, it depicts the downfall of a housewife who falls head over heels in love and into a life of crime. Miyazawa Rie convincingly plays the protagonist who plummets toward her own destruction.

Wakaba Bank contract employee Rika (Miyazawa) meets university student Kota (Ikematsu Sosuke) at a client’s home. Unknown to her husband Masafumi (Tanabe Seiichi), she engages in secret rendezvous with Kota, and begins to embezzle money from her clients’ accounts to buy expensive cosmetics and pay off Kota’s debt.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival, Competition, Best Actress Award, Audience Award
  • 2014 Torino Film Festival
  • 2014 Japanese Film Festival in Australia

2015 │103 min │Feature │Color │Blu-ray DVD

Directed by: SUZUKI Junichi
Produced by: YOSHIOKA Itsuo, KATSUKI Hideyuki, SAKURAI Kazuha, FUKUOKA Yasuhiro
Cast: KUROKI Keiji  (SAWADA Tatsuru), WATANABE Masaru  (HAMURA Kazunari), OKAMOTO Tao (NOMURA Shiho), GOSIENGFIAO Alodia (Angela),

Production Company: “Crossroads” Production Committee, Japan Overseas Cooperation Association, Fresh Hearts
Distributor: Fresh Hearts
Production Studio: Fresh Hearts
Official Site:


Sawada (Kuroki Keiji) works as an assistant cameraman until he joins the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. At the training camp, he frequently breaks the rules, causing trouble and opposes Kazunari Hamura (Watanabe Masaru). Luckily, a fellow trainee named Shiho (Okamoto Tao) was there to play the mediator between the two. When they were dispatched to the Philippines, Sawada met a boy named Noel and his older sister Angela (Gosiengfiao Alodia) in Baguio. He witnessed their life and struggles prompting him to appreciate their struggles. Eight years later, Sawada finds himself with Hamura in the Tohoku region where the great earthquake and tsunami occurred.

2015 │119 min │Action/Adventure, Drama, Children/Family, Animation │Color │DCP

Directed by: HOSODA Mamoru
Produced by: SAITO Yuichiro , ITO Takuya , CHIBA Atsushi , KAWAMURA Genki
Cast: YAKUSHO Koji (Kumatetsu), MIYAZAKI Aoi (Kyuta [9 years old]), SOMETANI Shota (Kyuta [17 years old]), HIROSE Suzu (Kaede), Lily FRANKY (Hyakushubo),OIZUMI Yo (Tatara)
Distributor: TOHO
Production Studio: STUDIO CHIZU
Official Site:


A feature-length animated film based on an original screenplay, created by Studio Chizu and Hosoda Mamoru, director of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” “SUMMER WARS,” and “Wolf Children.”

One day, a boy (voice: Miyazaki Aoi) meets a beast named Kumatetsu (voice: Yakusho Koji), and becomes his disciple out of a desire to grow stronger. He is given the new name “Kyuta,” and the two enter a strange arrangement that involves living and training together. They gradually create a strong bond equal to that of a true father-son relationship.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF Kids
  • 2015 San Sebastian International Film Festival, Competition
  • 2015 Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, Anima’t

Flying Colors
2015 │117 min │Drama, Children/Family, Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: DOI Nobuhiro
Produced by: NASUDA Atsushi, SHINDO Junichi
Cast: ARIMURA Kasumi (KUDO Sayaka), ITO Atsushi (TSUBOTA Yoshitaka), NOMURA Shuhei (MORI Reiji)
Production Company: “Flying Colors” Film Partners
Distributor: TOHO
Production Studio: FILM FACE CO. LTD.
Official Site:


A film adaptation of the nonfiction bestseller with 650,000 copies sold, it depicts the struggles of an airhead girl with bleached-out hair at the bottom of her class who strives to pass the entrance exam for the prestigious Keio University. Directed by Doi Nobuhiro of “Be With You” and “Hanamizuki.”

Kudo Sayaka (Arimura Kasumi), who attends an all-girl’s high school in Nagoya, enrolls in a cram school at her mother’s behest. Sayaka is indifferent to her studies, ranks at the bottom of her class, and has the academic skills of a fourth grader, but she joins forces with her teacher Tsubota (Ito Atsushi) and tries to pass the extraordinarily competitive entrance exam for Keio University.

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2015 Japan Film Week in Shanghai
  • 2015 Hong Kong Summer International Film Festival
  • 2015 Japanese Film Festival in Australia
  • 2015 Japanese Film Festival in Cambodia

Our Little Sister
2015 │126 min │Drama, Feature │Color │DCP

Directed by: KORE-EDA Hirokazu
Produced by: MATSUZAKI Kaoru, TAGUCHI Hijiri
Cast: AYASE Haruka (KODA Sachi), NAGASAWA Masami (KODA Yoshino), Kaho (KODA Chika), HIROSE Suzu (ASANO Suzu)
Production Company: Fuji Television Network, SHOGAKUKAN, TOHO, GAGA
Distributor: TOHO, GAGA
Official Site:


Three sisters – Sachi (Ayase Haruka), Yoshino (Nagasawa Masami) and Chika (Kaho) – live together in an old large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father – absent from the family home for the last 15 years – dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral, and meet their shy teenage half-sister for the first time. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu (Hirose Suzu), they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings…

Film Festivals, Awards:

  • 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Competition
  • 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Masters
  • 2015 San Sebastian International Film Festival, Audience Award
  • 2015 Busan International Film Festival, Gala Presentation
  • 2015 International Film Festival of India, Goa, Masters
  • 2015 London Film Festival, Love
  • 2015 Sydney Film Festival, Special Presentation

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