Free Films to Watch at Japan Film Fest Online This February

Five Free Films You Can Watch at Japan Film Fest Online This February 2022

Are you a lover of Japanese culture and a fan of cinema? If yes, then you should not miss this year's Japanese Film Festival Online.

This is the second Japanese Film Festival to be held online by the Japan Foundation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the foundation's goal to share the beauty of Japanese cinema to the world, it has made 20 Japanese films available for free streaming for 25 countries, including the Philippines, from Feb. 14-27.

Viewers can see the films once and have only 48 hours to finish watching every film. Here are five films we recommend you to catch!

'Rashomon' (1950)

Rashomon Japanese Film Festival 2022
Photo by Kadokawa Corporation via Website/The Japanese Film Festival

As fans of the legendary Akira Kurosawa, we can't let this opportunity pass to recommend you "Rashomon," the director's classic 1950 film that took home the top prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1951. "Rashomon" centers on a samurai's murder and the mystery surrounding his death, as witnesses including his wife, local villagers, a bandit, and others, all give completely different testimonies about how he died.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

'The God of Ramen' (2013)

The God of Ramen Japanese Film Festival Online 2022
Photo by Fuji Television Network via Website/The Japanese Film Festival

This documentary is about Taishoken, a beloved ramen shop in Ikebukuro near central Tokyo. Taishoken was founded by Kazuo Yamagishi, who is considered to have a huge influence on the Japanese ramen industry. During its heyday, the ramen shop would see long lines of people waiting to dine in on the daily and could serve up ramen to 200 people in just four hours. This documentary follows Yamagishi's lifelong passion for making ramen and the source of this very passion: his wife, who died at an early age. More than just a documentary about the art of ramen, "The God of Ramen" is also a story of Yamagishi's enduring devotion for the love of his life.

Directed by Innami Takashi

'Sumodo – The Successors of Samurai' (2020)

Sumodo Japanese Film Festival Online 2022
Photo by 'Sumodo: The Successors of Samura' Film Partners via Website/The Japanese Film Festival

Interested in sumo wrestling? “Sumodo – The Successors of Samurai” is everything about sumo, Japan's national sport, and follows the lives of famous sumo wrestlers, from how they live and train down to their experiences inside the ring. Like the "way of the samurai," sumo wrestlers follow a stoic approach in their great undertaking despite the risks and pains involved.

Directed by Sakata Eiji

'Aristocrats' (2021)

Aristocrats Japanese Film Festival Online 2022
Photo by Mariko Yamauchi/SHUEISHA, 'Aristocrats' Film Partners via Website/The Japanese Film Festival

This humanistic two-hour film follows the story of Hanako and Miki, two women hailing from two different social classes. The lives of the two begin to intersect when the wealthy Hanako learns that her future husband of high social standing was once involved with Miki, who belongs to a low-income rural family.

Directed by Sode Yukiko

'Ito' (2021)

Ito Japanese Film Festival Online 2022
Photo by 'Ito' Film Partners via Website/The Japanese Film Festival

If you are an introvert, then you will find "Ito" endearing. The drama centers on Ito, a shy high school student who lives with her father and grandmother in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan. This moving, coming-of-age drama follows Ito's journey as a young woman who learns to grow out of her shell upon applying for a part-time job at a "maid café," where she learns to trust its strange and charming patrons.

Directed by Yokohama Satoko

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