MilkTea, a screening label specialising in East and Southeast Asian films, will offer a trio of Japanese family films in December that will showcase families of all shapes and sizes as part of the “This Is What a Family Looks Like” season. These films are part of Japan 2021: Over 100 Years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film festival.
Studio Ghibli’s solemn masterpiece, Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is in a category by itself. The emotional experience of Grave of the Fireflies, which takes place in Kobe in 1945, encourages one to reconsider animation.
If Grave of the Fireflies had been filmed as a live-action film, it would have been severely limited in terms of special effects, characters, and plot. By presenting a story through animation Isao Takahata enriches his work with a creative flair that leaves an unmistakable mark on our minds. War’s ravages are represented as chaotic and brutal. A must watch!
Nominated for the Palme d’Or and won the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Like Father, Like Son (2013) by Hirokazu Kore-eda is yet another gem from one of Japan’s best contemporary filmmakers. With its focus on father-son relationships and compassionate treatment of individuals confronted with a challenging situation, it’s easy to understand why Steven Spielberg purchased the remake rights after the film’s Cannes debut.
“Close-knit” is a family drama on the under-represented problem of transgender people. In that sense, it is an important film for drawing attention to these individuals and demonstrating their kindness and contentment in their own flesh. “Close-knit” is full of endearing and heartwarming interactions between the characters. Look out for Toma Ikuta’s performance, in which he plays the transgender woman Rinko, a part outside of his typical repertoire.