CATEGORIES Documentary, Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Shorts, Other Festivals, Cinematical Indie, CinematicalWhat kind of movies will be playing at the brand new Kansai International Film Festival in Osaka, Japan next month? If you're a visual-type person, go to the site, select your language and then allow the neat little embedded Quicktime trailer to tease your eyeballs. The organizers say they wanted to feature "a different spin on Japanese films, mixing both the east and west in cinema." They explain that most people don't realize dozens of independent films focusing on Japanese culture are made by Western directors each year; a few Western directors have even moved to Japan in order to explore the country by cinematic means. Motivated by a desire to highlight these lesser-known films, the small staff will present all 32 selections for free -- no charge, zip, nada -- which sounds like a pretty good deal. Let's see ... how much is air fare to Osaka?
What do you get for nothing? Mostly shorts, conveniently grouped into a variety of themes: experimental, documentary, local filmmakers, comedy, "Dark Side" and "Culture Clash," plus two screenings of "Wabi Sabi" films. That latter section is particularly intriguing for a Westerner; "wabi sabi" has been described as "a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience." Several feature-length films are also included. Jellyfish looks at an accordion-loving restaurant worker and his best friend, a constantly-dreaming mathematician. Rock N Tokyo documents Japanese rock and rollers Guitar Wolf (Wild Zero), The 5678's (Kill Bill: Vol. 1), Jet Boys and Nine. Bondi Tsumani "follows the psychedelic adventures of four punked-up manga-inspired Japanese characters ... as they travel up the East Coast of Australia." Biographies of the filmmakers can also be found on the site. The Kansai International Film Festival seizes the heart of Osaka during the weekend of August 24-26.