Seeing Hollywood films in Japan is often a frustrating affair – in most cases, you’ve got to wait a few months until the Japanese subtitles have been made, so your mates back home have already blogged about it before you’ve even seen the trailer. And sometimes, it gets dubbed.
The few European movies that make it to the box office cause even more frustration: oh awesome! That new French movie I wanted to see… is only showing with Japanese subtitles. Well, I guess it’s good reading practice for the JLPT…
Whatever your level of English or Japanese, you can relax at the Osaka European Film Festival. The brand-new European movies here are presented in their native language, with both English and Japanese subtitles so you and your Japanese mates can make a night of it and enjoy the flick equally. The annual festival, the brainchild of French ex-pat Patrice Boiteau, is
Key OEFF events in Nov
• Wed 13: 20th Anniversary opening
• Wed 13–19: OEFF in Hankyu
• Fri 15–Mon 25: Film Screenings
• Mon 18, Thu 21, Fri 22: Eigajuku
• Sat 23: 20th Anniversary Celebration Party
• Sat 23–Mon 25: OEFF Flea Market
• Sun 24: Symposium
Hankyu Umeda Main Store (9th floor)
Hotel Elseriene Osaka
Osaka International House
The Entente Banquet Hall, Kobe
celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. How has it changed over the last 20 years? “Well, we have a bigger team, and we always have more events, but the quality of the films has not changed,” explains Patrice. And he should know: as chairman, he’s the one that hand picks all the movies on offer: “I think democracy is necessary, but not when it comes to film selection. There’s too much contention!”
This year’s festival has 25 movies, many of them enjoying their Japanese premiere, plus a host of film-related exhibitions, workshops and parties. One of the exhibitions centers around Honorary Chairperson Claudia Cardinale, an actress from Tunis, French Tunisia. She’s worked with directors including Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti, and her movies include Rocco and His Brothers (1960), The Leopard (1963) and Once upon a time in the West (1968).
Patrice enjoys bringing people like Claudia to Kansai, as film events on this kind of scale are usually held in Tokyo. “It’s actually easier to hold this kind of event in Tokyo, easier to get sponsors and venues. But I wanted to keep it in Kansai,” Patrice says. He’s lived in the area for 25 years personally, so he feels proud to keep it local, and wants to encourage more foreign residents to come and join in.
“Typically the kind of festival-goers we have are Japanese people who have travelled abroad, or are studying European languages,” Patrice says. “They tend to be a little older – I think it takes maturity to appreciate and understand European film culture. We are
If you can only see a few movies…
1. Jin – A 17-year-old girl flees a terrorist group in Turkey and lives in the mountains. (Kurdish with Japanese and English subtitles)
Patrice says: “I was really moved by the story, it’s very challenging.”
2. Keep Smiling – Ten women are trying to win a beauty contest but the rules aren’t so straightforward. (Georgian with Japanese and English subtitles)
Patrice says: “This one is from a very small country called Georgia, it’s rare to see films from here.”
3. Day of the Flowers – Two Scottish sisters travel to Cuba with their father’s ashes. (English/Spanish with Japanese and English subtitles)
Patrice says: “We like to include films that were shot outside of Europe, like this one filmed in Cuba.”
trying to reach out to more Japanese young people, and encourage them to explore European cinema through our workshops.”
And there’s no rest for Patrice – once the festival closes on November 25, he’ll begin planning out the 21st festival next year. “It’s a non-stop bullet train,” he says joyfully. And just like the super-smooth train of fame, this film festival is something you’ll want to get on board with this month.