John Lui Film Correspondent & Boon Chan Media Correspondent recommend

Film Picks: Japanese Film Festival, Shin Godzilla and more

After The Storm
After The StormPHOTOS: GAGA, MAGNOLIA PICTURES, ENCORE FILMS, THIS BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL

JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL

The highlights of this year's line-up include the international premiere of Bittersweet, a live-action adaptation of a manga about a busy office worker and her gay roommate connecting through food; as well as a 22-film retrospective of film-maker Seijun Suzuki, spanning yakuza gangster films in the 1950s and 1960s, and award-winning fare in the 1980s such as the psychological drama, Zigeunerweisen (1980).

The latest film from feted auteur Hirokazu Koreeda, After The Storm, will also be shown.

WHERE: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road MRT: City Hall/Dhoby Ghaut WHEN: Sept 1 to 18, various times ADMISSION: $13 a ticket with concessions for seniors, students and full-time national servicemen as well as bulk purchases from jpfilmfestival.com

Boon Chan


SHIN GODZILLA (PG)
120 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Forget your computer-drawn beasties. This is old- fashioned man-in-rubber-suit stuff. But the monster is no less menacing and it can also shoot killer rays, like in the old days.

Co-director and writer Hideaki Anno (the Evangelion anime trilogy, 2007-2012) plays this like a political thriller: Hawks and doves at the highest levels bicker while minions scurry about covering their behinds.

This is a sharply drawn satire of a Japan crippled by war guilt, worries about its international reputation and a woeful lack of transparency in crisis management - a direct reference to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

While the older heads fall to infighting, a task force headed by young bureaucrat Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa), aided by the brashly un-Japanese Japanese-American Kayoko Patterson (Satomi Ishihara), quietly get on with saving the country.

John Lui


THIS BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL

The fourth edition of the Thus Have I Seen (This) series features 17 films from around the globe that run the gamut from experimental fiction to documentaries, each one examining aspects of Buddhist philosophy. 

The absurdist From A Pimple To Nirvana (NC16, Thailand, above) follows a young woman in deep emotional pain. She thinks about taking the ultimate way out, but not before she fixes the blemish on her face. Writer-director Amorn Harinnitisuk will attend a post-screening discussion.

WHERE: Shaw Theatres Lido, 350 Orchard Road, Shaw House, Levels 5 and 6 MRT: Orchard WHEN: Sept 17 to 24, various times ADMISSION: $12 INFO: For schedule, go to www.thisfilmfest.com (some films may be sold out, so check the festival site for added screenings)

John Lui


LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD (PG)
98 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Legendary film-maker Werner Herzog tries to put his arms around the topic of the Internet. The film meanders - he makes side trips into Elon Musk's space ventures and a robotics laboratory because they have something to do with computers - but his loopy, pessimistic perspective keeps things interesting and his narration, its Germanic consonants cracking like thunder, is in itself a thing to behold.

WHERE: ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, Level 4, Expression Gallery MRT: Bayfront WHEN: Till November; 11am and 1, 3 and 5pm ADMISSION: Admission is free with registration at the lobby of the museum INFO: www.marinabaysands.com/museum/exhibitions-and-events/artscience-on-scree...

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'Japanese Film Festival, Shin Godzilla and more'. Print Edition | Subscribe