Cambodians getting a taste of Japan’s film legacy

A still from "Snow on the Blades", a 2014 Japanese film directed by Setsuro Wakamatsu, being screened in Phnom Penh as part of the first Japanese Film Festival in Cambodia.
A still from "Snow on the Blades", a 2014 Japanese film directed by Setsuro Wakamatsu, being screened in Phnom Penh as part of the first Japanese Film Festival in Cambodia. Photo supplied

Cambodians getting a taste of Japan’s film legacy

The Japanese Film Festival in Cambodia, which runs until Tuesday, will bring a singular focus on Japanese cinema to the Kingdom for the first time.

Organisers will screen 16 feature films over six days at Major Cinema in Aeon Mall and Legend Cinema at TK Avenue Mall.

The film festival – organised by the Embassy of Japan in cooperation with the Japan Foundation – opened last night with a ceremony at Chaktomuk Theatre and a screening of the award-winning film Departures that was attended by the Minister of Culture.

Held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Cambodia Treaty of Amity, the festival represents the first standalone festival of Japanese cinema in Cambodia, though Japanese films have been screened as part of larger events before, according to festival organiser Lomorpich Rithy.

“The rationale behind bringing this festival to Phnom Penh is to connect the people of Japan and Cambodia,” Rithy explained. She said that organisers hoped to promote Japanese culture in Cambodia, as well as to expose Cambodian film fans and filmmakers – especially from the younger generation – to a different cinema tradition.

The selection of films traverses Japan’s cinematic history: from films released this year to anime features to the 1954 classic Twenty-Four Eyes.

Notable films on the schedule include sports drama 100 Yen Love, Japan’s entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 2014 Academy Awards; the 2005 romance Tokyo Tower; and the film adaptation of Rebirth, which won 10 awards at the 2011 Japan Academy Prize.

“The history of Japanese films has a very strong history and foundation,” Rithy said. She believes that this legacy will connect with a Cambodian audience.

“In the big picture it’s different, but in some details, Cambodian and Japanese culture, it’s very similar,” she said.

For more details about the Japanese Film Festival in Cambodia go to jffcambodia.com.

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