2020 Victoria Film Festival is well underway. I look forward to great Japanese films every year. Few of them are on my radar but here is one I particularly recommend, and it’s on this Sunday, February 16 as part of VFF’s Jammies and Toons program.

Okko’s Inn

Japan , 2018

94 minutes

Sunday, February 16 11:30AM

The Vic Theatre

$9 No Membership required: All Ages

Book your ticket online before it sells out

Oriko (Okko) is an elementary age girl. After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko moves in with her grandmother Mineko, who runs a traditional Japanese inn (Ryokan) Harunoya built on top of an ancient spring in the countryside. There, she meets a ghost only visible to her, Uri-bo. At first she is scared and confused, but soon she accepts him and they become close friends.

Okko is a bright and kind girl, and she is also so Kawaii(adorable) it’s hard not to like this character. Based on a popular children’s book and Manga series in Japan, Okko’s Inn revolves around the inn and the guests who come stay there. The Inn’s motto is to accept all and reject none, and it shows as the Inn attracts many eccentric characters – either Inn guests or spiritual characters.

There are a lot of comical scenes but I was surprised to see a few quite touching and also heartbreaking scenes. It runs a lot deeper than a surface level cute anime film, and I ‘m sure this is why this series is so popular in Japan.

Another thing I enjoyed about this film was it is full of beautiful Japanese culture, from what is involved in running an Inn to the manners Kimono wearer must follow, and traditional Japanese dances. It is quite delightful.

The Director Kitaro Kosaka has a lot of experience on Ghibli films, so we get the similar feels from Okko’s Inn.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but Okko’s Inn is quite moving. There is only one screening of Okko’s Inn this Sunday February 16th at the Vic Theatre. I highly recommend this film – to all viewers young and old. Don’t miss it.