It was July 7 and very humid. Thanks to Japan Foundation Manila, we were invited to be at the wonderful event. EIGASAI runs from July 7 to August 21 and featuring more than 80 screenings, they started it off with the screening of the brilliant period film, KAKEKOMI by its esteemed director Masato Harada.
We started with the buffet which was prepared for us by AKIRA: The Art of Sushi and Teppanyaki. They had tasty sushi, salad, gyoza and yakisoba! Their sushi was so real, my ancestors tasted the wasabi. Also, since the line to the buffet table was so long, it was a wonderful idea that the waiters handed out some sushi to the guests.
The event floor was also graced by the actual costumes of two of the leading actors in the film, Kakekomi. Plus, guests can commemorate the event with a photoprint by EIGASAI’s sponsor, Canon.
The program started with a performance by The Philippine Allstars, a hip-hop dance group performing, Love and Unity.
This was followed by greetings from distinguished individuals who made the film festival possible this year including Chris Millado, CCP Artistic Director and Cinemalaya Festival Director, JFM Director Hiroaki Uesugi and no other than the director himself, Masato Harada. The program was hosted by JFM Program Coordinator for Performing Arts Cyril Ver Constantino.
EIGASAI 2016 was officially opened by the opening of the sake barrel known as kagamibiraki (かがみ びらき) thanks to the sponsor, Ozeki Philippines who gave away small portions of sake with JFM’s masu (ます) a wooden box used to drink sake which is now sitting nicely in my desk.
Dignitaries, guests and media were then invited to move to the cinema for the screening.
Since 2011, I’ve been unsuccessful in watching any EIGASAI screenings so Kakekomi is actually my very first film of the festival. It was funny, sad, historical, intriguing and wonderful all at the same time. It was a good start for the season. The next day, June 8 and despite the weather, I also caught the one-time screening of Emperor in August in CCP Little Theatre. This time, with the Director’s Talk. The audience were welcome to ask the director a few questions.
For Kakekomi, a film about Edo period’s divorce culture in a Tokeiji temple in Kamakura, Japan. I immediately fell a connection with the character, O-Gin for both her temper and strength. Even her fate followed that of mine. There were some funny moments in the film that made the whole cinema burst in laughter but there were also moments where I shed tears. It was a surprisingly motivational film for women.
Emperor in August tells us about the events leading to the end of World War II in Japan. While the cabinet is divided regarding a decision on the Postdam Decleration, the US drops atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A coup led by Major Kenji Hatanaka are against surrendering. The historical film taught me many things that are not in our school history books. It was eye opening and humbling at the same time. I loved Harada-san’s pursuit of humanism in every character. That they are human, fragile and prone to mistake. Some actors from Kakekomi also cameo in the movie.
We all look forward to another year of connecting people through film. This is EIGASAI’s 19th year.
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