Japanese Film Festival in Islamabad

Published in Pakistan Observer on Sept. 23, 2010.
Sana Jamal
ISLAMABAD: The Japanese Film Festival screened two films “Sumo do, Sumo don’t” and “Tokyo- Tower” at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Wednesday 22nd September, 2010.
This Film Festival arranged by the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the PNCA and Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association, was open to school children and the public on Wednesday; and was keenly attended by the students (10-16 years of age) of Anglo-Arabic School, Beaconhouse School, Jinnah Public School and Sheikh Zayed International School of Islamabad.

The first film screened “Sumo do, Sumo don’t” (103 minutes long) was greatly appreciated by the school children and teenagers who thoroughly enjoyed every part of the film.
This is a comedy film about the often ridiculed national sport of Japan, Sumo wrestling, which has existed in Japan for over 2000 years and is regarded as an important symbol of Japanese cultural identity. The story revolves around the character Shuhei, who must join the school’s sumo team to please his professor; hence Shuhei and the other hesitant sumo wrestlers on the team are inspired by the professor’s determination to bring fame for the school and the sports.
Suo Masayuki’s “Sumo do, Sumo don’t” is a message for the Japanese youth, who in order to follow the western lifestyle and culture have been overlooking their own Japanese identity. Through this film, Masayuki delivers a message to value and promote our cultural identity and also provides an insight on the attitude of Japanese youth, the changing role of women and the way of life in Japan.

The second film of the day was “Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad” (142 minutes long) which depicts the bond and memories encircling mother and son, and sometimes his father. It is the story of a young man, Masaya who has inherited the careless personality of his father. The film alternates between the flashbacks of past in which the central character, Masaya narrates his life story, and the present, in which Masaya watches his mother die of cancer in the hospital. The story develops as the audience get to know how Masaya becomes a changed, a well-organized person inspired by his mother’s wise nature while taking care of her.
The film is a fine example of describing the precious relationship shared by the children and their parents and it reminds us how priceless parental relationships are. This film was chosen as the Best Film of 2008 at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony.
Both the films presented on the second day of the festival were entertaining as well as a journey to the enchanting world of ordinary life in Japan. As films are the best means to portray the culture and society, the Japanese Film Festival proves to be a great opportunity for the people of Pakistan to see and experience the different colourful aspects of life in Japan.

This film festival is part of the “Japanese Cultural Events 2010-2011” in Islamabad from 21st to 23rd September, 2010 with four movies to be screened in three days. The festival was inaugurated by Ambassador of Japan Mr. Chihiro Atsumi on Tuesday and it started off with a musical comedy movie ‘Nodo-Jiman’, the 112-minute movie which portrays dreams and struggles of upcoming singers.
The last film of the festival ‘Linda Linda Linda’ is to be screened tomorrow at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad.

-By Sana Jamal

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