Here’s what’s on in Dublin for the Japanese Film Festival Ireland in April

All through April, the Japanese Film Festival Ireland returns to spread the latest in Japanese cinema across the island of Ireland. With a collection of films showing in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Sligo, Waterford and Wexford from 9 – 27th April, JFF24 has a busy month ahead. We’ve picked out the films that are showing in the fair city of film, with 12 screenings scheduled for the Light House Cinema.

Presented by access>CINEMA in association with the Embassy of Japan, the festival takes the latest acclaimed films from Japan and some classic hits on a tour around the country each April. In 2024, films like Evil Does Not Exist, anime sensation The First Slam Dunk and classic Typhoon Club are hitting the road alongside recent releases.

JFF24 begins on 9th April in Waterford, with a showing of Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days at the Garter Lane Arts Centre. It makes its way into Dublin starting from this Thursday, with Daishi Matsunaga’s queer drama Egoist.

Egoist, April, 8.30pm

When wealthy magazine editor Kosuke begins classes with his new personal trainer Ryuta, there’s an immediate spark between the two men. Before long, they begin a passionate romantic relationship. Ryuta works hard in a bid to earn enough money to support his mother. Kosuke pledges to financially support them however he can, but soon he notices Ryuta – who has not yet come out to his mother – growing more distant. However, an unexpected tragedy abruptly changes everything. Based on Takayama Makoto’s autobiographical novel, Egoist is a beautiful, poignant romantic drama.

Great Absence, 12 April, 6.15pm

Takashi receives an unexpected phone call from northern Kyushu: his estranged father Yohji has been arrested and taken into care. Not only that, but Yohji’s second wife Naomi appears to have disappeared. Takashi travels to Kyushu for a reluctant reunion, and discovers his father is now experiencing dementia. Takashi begins the effort to track down Naomi – and, along the way, learns more about the events that led up to that fateful phone call. Great Absence is a frank and devastating drama from the director of the acclaimed Complicity which screened previously at JFF 21.

Ichiko, 12 April, 9.15pm

Yoshinori enjoys one of the happiest evenings of his life after he proposes to his girlfriend Ichiko. Their celebrations are short-lived, however, as Ichiko disappears the following morning. Police detective Goto promises a distraught Yoshinori he will investigate the disappearance. But the detective soon discovers a strange secret – official records seem to suggest ‘Ichiko’ doesn’t exist. Hana Sugisaki earned a very well-deserved Japan Academy Film Prize nomination for her extraordinary work as the enigmatic Ichiko in this powerful character study.

Komada: A Whisky Family, 13 April, 3pm

Kotaro, a novice editor for a web news, visits Komada Distillery for a project on Japanese craft whisky. The distillery – led by young female president Rui, who recently took over the family business – is working hard to reproduce its signature whisky KOMA that they had to stop making years ago. However, the distillery is facing financial challenges, and too much information is missing to easily revive the whisky. Rui, Kotaro, and other distillery supporters are determined to do do everything they can to bring back the beloved whisky.

Lonely Castle In The Mirror, 13 April, 5pm

Teenager Kokoro has stopped going to school after being bullied by classmates. At home alone one day, she’s shocked to see a portal open up in her bedroom mirror. On the other side, she discovers an opulent castle. There, she meets six other lonely teenagers. The castle’s proprietor – a mysterious young girl in a wolf mask – promises one wish to whoever can find the castle’s secret key before the year is out. But she also warns of serious consequences for whoever breaks the castle’s rules…

Mondays: See You “This” Week, 13 April, 7.30pm

Akemi and her colleagues wake up in their office one Monday morning after pulling an all-nighter to work on a major project. The team endures a week from hell as they try to push the project over the line. As another week dawns, Akemi is hit with an overwhelming sense of deja vu. Two co-workers approach her and inform her the whole team is actually stuck in a seven-day time loop. Convincing the others and breaking the loop will be no easy task… Mondays is a playful, high-energy workplace satire that’s as charming as it is funny.

Love Will Tear Us Apart, 13 April, 9.30pm

When young Wakaba sees her classmate Koki being bullied, she decides to intervene and help Koki – an act that leads to a new friendship but also a shocking act of retaliation. Years later, Wakaba has moved on with her life. But when any man who tries to take advantage of her winds up murdered by a masked killer, Wakaba starts to suspect her old friend may be responsible for the grizzly deaths. Love Will Tear Us Apart is a wildly entertaining spin on the typical slasher movie, chock-full of dark humour and over-the-top violence.

Yudo: The Way Of The Bath, 14 April, 6pm

Architect Shiro returns to his hometown with one goal in mind: to finally shut down the family business, a long-running bathhouse named Marukin Hot Spring. When an unfortunate accident lands Shiro’s brother Miura in a hospital bed, bathhouse employee Izumi encourages Shiro to step up to the plate and temporarily run the business. Shiro is initially a reluctant proprietor, but his encounters with the various regular customers soon have him reassessing his priorities in life. Yudo is a charming, light-hearted celebration of Japan’s culture of communal bathing.

Ripples, 15 April, 6pm

Yoriko lives a quiet, uneventful life with her husband Osamu, son Takuya and ailing father-in-law. But when the 2011 earthquake hits, Osamu – terrified of radiation poisoning – flees his home and family. Years later, Yoriko has moved on, spending her time maintaining a pristine rock garden. But when a dishevelled and ailing Osamu unexpectedly reappears, Yoriko’s path to inner peace and liberation is rudely interrupted… Director Naoko Ogigami (Rent-a-Cat, Close-Knit) delivers a blackly comic, frequently surprising film that soars thanks to a masterful lead performance from Mariko Tsutsui (Harmonium).

Typhoon Club, 16 April, 6pm

Shinji Somai was one of the most fascinating and accomplished Japanese filmmakers of the 1980s and 90s, directing an eclectic mix of 13 films before he died in 2001 at just 53 years of age. We’re delighted to present one of his most celebrated masterpieces at this year’s JFF. Typhoon Club (1983) – now regarded as one of the greatest Japanese films of the 1980s – is a vivid, hypnotic coming-of-age drama about a group of students stuck in their high school during a storm. The teenagers explore their creativity, autonomy and darker urges during a chaotic night on the school grounds.

Tsugaru Laqueur Girl, 17 April, 6pm

Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. Aoki lives with her father Seishiro, a highly respected tsugaru-nuri lacquerware craftsman, as was his father before him. But Seishiro has lost interest in his work – the industry is in decline and Aiko’s brother wants no part of the family business. Aoki, who has always helped in her father’s workshop, realises that she would like to take over from him. Can she overcome her father’s resistance to the idea and generations of tradition to pursue one of Japan’s most traditional arts?

Remembering Every Night, 18 April 6pm

In the residential zone of Tama New Town, to the west of Tokyo, three different women spend the day moving around the area’s parks and streets. Unknown to each other and only briefly crossing paths, they encounter friends and strangers alike as they walk, cycle and dance their way through the day. This beautifully unhurried film from Yui Kiyohara is a lovely, gentle exploration of the ebb and flow of everyday life, and how even the most mundane of events can lead to unexpected moments of kindness and reflection.

Tickets for all films screening at the Japanese Film Festival Ireland are now available.

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