The Japanese Film Festival Waterford

The Japanese Film Festival

THE line-up for this year’s Japanese Film Festival has official been unveiled and this year’s renewal – taking place in Garter Lane from April 18-20 – will again feature a diverse and packed programme of films, including work of the most acclaimed filmmakers from contemporary Japanese cinema, and covering a variety of themes, genres and topics. It will all be shown on Garter Lane’s gorgeous new Digitial Cinema Package. Here is this year’s line-up

Japanese Film Festival Waterford

Tremble all you want

Thursday, April 18, 19:30

24-year-old Yoshika has long left school, but after all those years she still harbours an all-consuming crush on her former classmate Ichimiya (who she affectionately refers to as ‘One’). When she goes on a few dates with co-worker Ni (or ‘Two’) and the pair clearly hit it off, Yoshika still can’t shake off her obsession with her idealised memory of ‘One’. After a near death experience involving a blanket and a heater, a newly-determined Yoshika decides to organise a class reunion in the hopes that ‘One’ will show up. As the plan plays out, it begins to dawn on her just how deep into her own fantasy world she has disappeared.

The Japanese Film Festival Waterford

Some films demand a great central performance to really push everything to the next level. Thankfully Tremble All You Want has that… and then some. Mayu Matsuoka delivers a star-making term as Yoshika, in a complex role that requires everything from long stretches of quiet awkwardness to hyperactive singing and dancing. Yoshika is the ever-present force of nature in this witty, playful and intelligent twist on your usual rom-com. With lively direction from Akiko Ohku and a quirky tone reminiscent of gems like 2006’s Memories of Matsuko, Tremble All You Want brings viewers on a whirlwind tour through the mind of an exhilaratingly unreliable narrator.

Penguin Highway

Friday, April 19, 19:30

10-year old Aoyama is serious beyond his years. He is an enthusiastic scientist and spends his days filling notebooks with his observations and theories. At the same time he is counting down the days until he will be grown up, so that he’ll finally be able to marry his crush – a young woman who works in the local dentist’s office!

However when lots of penguins begin to appear without any logical explanation in the sleepy town where Aoyama lives, he and his friends must turn their attention to investigate this strange phenomenon and get to the bottom of this mystery.

The Japanese Film Festival Waterford

Based on a novel written by Tomihiko Morimi (who also authored JFF18’s The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl), this highly imaginative anime is the debut feature from Hiroyasu Ishida and marks the first length feature film from animation Studio Colorido.

One cut of the dead

Saturday, April 20, 19:30

One snowy evening, a young hunter Minokichi and his older mentor Mosaku take shelter in an old mountain cabin. As the pair try to keep warm, a ghostly woman enters the cabin and kills the older man by spraying him with her icy breath. However, she spares Minokichi on the condition that he keeps silent about what he has seen. The freezing night passes, and the young man makes it home. Some time later, he meets the beautiful, mysterious Yuki, but he dare not utter a word about her striking similarity to the ghostly snow woman. Minokichi and Yuki marry, and soon they have a daughter named Ume. But as Ume grows older, the events of that fateful night on the mountain continue to haunt Minokichi and his family.

The Japanese Film Festival Waterford

Snow Woman is the latest adaptation of the iconic story written by the Irish-Greek author Lafcadio Hearn, best known for his collections of Japanese ghost stories and legends. The story was famously adapted by Masaki Kobayashi for the classic anthology film Kwaidan, but this new version is a fresh, surprising interpretation of the material. Director and co-writer Kiki Sugino – who also stars as the eponymous snow woman – tells the tale in an artful and deliberate way, while dotting the film with some strikingly surreal and unnerving moments. One of the most visually distinctive works to emerge from Japan in recent years, Snow Woman is an extremely accomplished work that casts a bewitching spell. 

Booking Information

To book your tickets (€9) for any of these incredible films, go to or phone the box office at (051) 855 038. Refreshments will be served at each showing.

The Japanese Film Festival Waterford

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