Japanese Film Festival+ Independent Cinema 2023

Welcome film fans and movie adepts! The JFF+ Independent Cinema 2023 just started, and they are featuring 12 movies that are being streamed online for free. Unfortunately, not every movie is available in all regions, and none of them are available in Japan :cry: But I’m sure creative souls know how to cope with that…

Anyways, here you can find the programme:

The films are available to watch online until 2023-10-31T07:59:00Z.

If you’ve watched one (or more) of them, please feel free to indicate it in the poll and/or comment about it in the thread. Looking forward to sharing the love for the movies with all of you :blush:

  • A Girl in My Room
  • A Muse Never Drowns
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Hanagatami
  • Bachiranun
  • BON-UTA, A Song from Home
  • Hey! Our dear Don-chan
  • Tenzo
  • An Artisan’s Legacy, Tsunekazu Nishioka
  • Lonely Glory
  • Follow the Light
  • Techno Brothers
0 voters

I haven’t looked closely at the others, but I just wanted to point out Hanagatami was made by Nobuhiko Obayashi, most well known for directing House! I’d highly recommend at least looking into it; I’ve loved everything I’ve seen by this director.


Thanks for the heads up! :slight_smile: Thought they may be canceling this year, the last few were in the winter/spring IIRC.

Haven’t seen any of these yet.


I remember the last festival and the feeling of dejection…>_> but I’ll see if they might have included scandinavicanians this year…


I’m planning on watching all of these!! But with Eng subs bc my Japanese listening is still not quite good enough… :sweat:

Now to decide which to watch first…


Thank you very much!

I am looking forward to watching most or all of these. :smile:


Thank you for lettting us know about this!


There’s definitely a few in that list I plan to watch, but I want to finish getting through Secret Invasion first. Two episodes left…

We’ve got three months to watch the things, anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m not a creative soul, but I know how to use VPN.


Yesterday I watched Tenzo. I really liked it.

According to the description it is half-documentary, half-fiction, and that is basically the feeling I had with it. There was not really a concise story to it, more like a snapshot of the lives of two Buddhist priests after the Fukushima disaster. Beautiful pictures and some deep emotions.

The language was mostly everyday language, which I found ok to follow. In some parts more difficult words were used, but overall I thought it was okay.

For me, this was not a movie to watch „in-between“. It is very slow, and I needed a bit of calm time afterwards to fully digest it. I think I‘ll watch it once more.


I got an email newsletter from The Japan Foundation here in my country and got me introduced to this! Free movies! Yay!

I watched A Girl in My Room.

Some personal thoughts

I feel like I didn’t get much of the city’s charms from the movie but I felt the simplicity of the place as a whole. Not gonna lie, I got horror movie vibes before the ghost girl showed up the first time. I’m not fond of scary stuff so I almost closed the tab! Good thing I persisted. (Yeah, I’m a scaredy cat, I know! I’m sorry!)

The ending gave me a bittersweet feeling as similar romance stories do. Since it’s open-ended, it’s up to the viewer how we will view subsequent events. Not sure if the manga it’s based on gives a generic ending I want (which is always welcome).

To be brutally honest, this is a generic romcom like typical romcom anime. I don’t mind at all but I’d give it a 6/10.

I will definitely watch more throughout the free viewing period.


Thanks for the reminder!

I always forget about this festival even though I’ve seen some really good films in the past, like The Great Passage (舟を編む) (wiki link). I never thought a fictional movie about making a Japanese dictionary could be so good (plus I learned a lot of new interesting words).

I’m excited to see this year’s selections.


To be clear, mind, The Great Passage was screened at the main festival. What’s going on now is a sort of mini-festival showcasing independent films. The main JFF is still coming later this year.


Thanks for clarification. Actually that makes even more interested since I really like indie movies.

Thoughts on Lonely Glory

It’s hard not to cringe at Haruka’s stances. I relate to her as an objective-oriented person, but her being the epitome of the human version of someone’s brutally honest thoughts makes me thankful that I’m not 100% like her.

Seeing how everyone was portrayed, I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie. It felt like I was watching real people living their daily struggles.

The movie gave me family problems to think about that’s not even my own when I have my own family problems to think about on my own. 8/10.


Watched Techno Brothers! Pretty fun, its low budget was even more apparent than I expected, but they made some interesting stuff work out with what they had. I was regularly pretty impressed with some of the shots, even if parts went on a little long to fill space and it was certainly ramble-y. As Japanese comprehension practice though… the dialog was relatively simple, but the audio quality is so bad it’s hard to recommend it. Voices are regularly only barely being picked up, or competing with background noises. That really messed with my comprehension pretty frequently.


It’s certainly one of the movies of all time.

My favorite part was when The Techno Brothers said, “It’s technoing time.” and techno’d all over the audience.

If they went all in on the ridiculousness of its characters and premise, they could’ve done something.


The audience mostly just said techNO :sob:


I mean, they did get paid relatively well consistently.

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We watched Techno Brothers!

Non-spoiler thoughts:

The Japanese was easier than the first two films the WaniKani film club watched, but the audio levels made it a difficult listening experience at times. I watched with English subs and couldn’t have survived without subtitles. But yeah, the dialogue is a bit sparse on top of that, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for listening practice specifically.

The film has chapter titles throughout, which for some reason the English subtitles chose not to translate, haha. We had a lot of fun trying to catch those when watching as a group. If you’ve gotten decently far in WaniKani, those should be a snap to read, for the most part.

Spoiler thoughts:

My favorite part of the movie was how it framed the shots. It also used color really, really well, with the red of the Techno Brothers and their manager standing out in pretty much every single shot. The pacing was a bit slow, which I don’t really mind, though there are a lot of scenes where it was just a musical performance, which didn’t bother me personally, but that might not be everyone’s kind of thing.

I’m sort of only just now realizing that the 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes from the music choice at the beginning is sort of reflected in the overall pacing and some of the weirdness of the film as well…

I guess I would have liked to see the film go a bit weirder with it, yeah. That could have been fun. I feel like the film had a lot of ideas, but not necessarily enough follow-through or commitment to make it really stand out to me.

Still had a decent time watching, but the experience was definitely improved watching as a group. I feel like the slowness of the pacing would stand out more on your own.