Attention All Weeaboos: Japanese Film Festival Tour Across Thailand
Japanese culture is landing in Thailand with the arrival of the annual traveling film festival at the start of February. If you love samurais, manga and everything eastern then this is the event for you! Thailand and Japan have been friends for 132 years and this cinematic odyssey is designed to celebrate their cultural links, and give Thais a taste of the best that modern Japanese cinema has to offer. If you didn’t know, Bangkok has a large Japanese population, so the Japanese film festival across Thailand is a very big deal for the country.
Here’s our run-down of what’s on where so you don’t miss a thing.
PS: If you have the chance, you should also try the Japanese popcorn beer at Asok in Bangkok!
As the flagship location for the festival, Bangkok is host to 10 days of varied filming starting with ‘Destiny: Kamakura Story’ on 2nd February and closing with a five-film epic on Sunday 11th Feb. On most days in between there are special screenings at SFX World Cinema Central World, with the weekends being particularly worth a visit with a multi-film schedule giving punters the chance to catch three films in a row.
Everyone’s favorite northern city isn’t forgotten and the festival moves on to SFX Maya Mall in Chiang Mai on 23rd Feb. The first film being shown is the ‘The Long Excuse’, a gripping drama first screened in 2016 that has won awards for its hard-hitting realism. Two more days of films follow, with classics like ‘Miss Hokusai’ mixed in with new releases like ‘Close Knit’ and ‘Honnouji Hotel’.
Next up on the festival tour is Phuket in early March, where the same Chiang Mai schedule is repeated again for the southern crowd. Again, all films are shown at the SFX Cinema in Central Festival so you can head there for the day and enjoy a day in the air con enjoying the movies. If you like the sound of a high-budget live action manga-style production then check out ‘Mumon: The Land of Stealth’ at 2pm on Sunday 11th March.
The Director’s Cut
The festival isn’t just about turning up at a cinema, watching a movie and heading home again. Some screenings feature a chat with the director which is a great chance to understand the meanings behind the films, which can sometimes seem a bit obscure otherwise!
We particularly recommend checking out director Hiroshi Sugawara taking part in a panel discussion after the Bangkok screening of ‘Shashin Koshien Summer in 0.5 Seconds’. The film revolves around a bunch of high school students who will do anything to win a photo competition, and a chat with the director about the situations they get into is an illuminating experience!
All the films are worth a watch, but we particularly love ‘The Crimes That Bind’ for a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat and ‘The Scythian Lamb’ for a murder mystery with a very modern twist. The non-fiction ‘Life is Fruity’ is also a fascinating insight into the life of 90-year old architect Shuichi Tsubata, who lives a simple, zen life in tune with nature. You might have a night off the shots after being inspired by his simple way of life!
The Japanese Film Festival Tour Across Thailand Cheap!
With so many good films to choose from, the Japanese traveling film festival is a treat for fans of all kind of oriental cinemaa. Tickets start at 120 baht ($4) in Bangkok, and 80 baht ($2.50) in Chiang Mai and Phuket so you can afford to see them all!