From the 24th ‘till the 29th of May, Frankfurt am Main will once again host “the biggest platform of Japanese cinema worldwide”: the Nippon Connection Film Festival! After two digital editions, it’s great to finally be able to see films on the big screen and connect with other film aficionados in person again. In twelve venues throughout Frankfurt, you can enjoy a wide selection of films, workshops, lectures, performances, and culinary experiences. What better way to ring in the summer?!
For its 22nd edition, Nippon has chosen to focus on coming-of-age stories. There are a lot of gems to choose from, but here are a few of our favorites:
In Small, Slow But Steady (dir. Shô Miyake), Nippon Connections’ opening film, we follow the hearing-impaired Keiko’s journey as a young, professional boxer. Her long-time trainer, Mr. Sasaki, falls ill, and Keiko’s whole life turns upside down. With the focus on human connection rather than sports events, Small, Slow But Steady is a masterful character study.
Both written and directed by Kudo Riho, Let Me Hear It Barefoot tells the story of Naomi and Maki. Maki lives with Midori, a blind woman who frequently tells about places she’s never been to. When she develops health problems, Maki and Naomi decide to fake a trip worldwide by sending her sound tapes. While making these tapes, Maki and Naomi grow closer. They also, however, worry about what could be. Let Me Hear it Barefoot is part of the Stories of Youth – Coming of Age in Japan section and an imaginative take on young, queer love.
When Costa Rican artist and photographer Allegra Pacheco travels to Japan for a few months, the first thing she notices is men in suits sleeping on the streets at night. She wants to find out what this phenomenon is all about and explores the peculiarities of the Japanese working world and its motto of ‘’ganbaru’’; ‘’to preserve.’’
Jungo is the embodiment of an angry teenager; as a gay ‘’Jappino’’ – half Filipino, half Japanese- he experiences discrimination on a daily basis. He also has a strained relationship with his mother, who immigrated from the Philippines. When she introduces him to her shady fiance, Jungo sets out to find his biological father.