Victoria Film Festival is coming back for the 22nd time on Feb 5. For 10 days, you can enjoy over 150 films from around the world.

I look forward to VFF because it’s often a rare chance for someone like me to enjoy Japanese films in the big screen. Back in 2011, I enjoyed The Chef of the South Polar at their Opening Gala.(This year, their Opening Gala film is My Internship in Canada)  Last year, I LOVED Like Father, Like Son, which I  recently re-watched at home as it’s available on Netflix now.Such a beautiful, poignant film.

This year there are three Japanese films available at VFF. The bad news is, they ALL show on the same date- February 13th! (One film has two screening times/locations, so you can, at least see two films. )

Our Little Sister/Umimachi Diary

Saturday, February 13, 2016 6:30 pm Odeon Theatre #2

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
2014 • 128 Minutes


From the director of last year’s VFF hit Like Father Like Son comes this more lighthearted take on the modern family. This time, it’s the girls who rule the screen. For 15 years, the three Koda sisters have cared for each other in the drafty old home of their departed grandmother. At their father’s funeral, they meet their half-sister Suzu. As they wholeheartedly welcome her in, the shy and awkward teenager brings a wind of change in the lives of her new-found siblings. Kore-eda’s unflagging commitment to examining the intri- cacies of family is delightfully done; this master filmmaker has created an intelligent, quiet work.

Koreeda is a master at showing beauty from simple, subtle things. It has the same actors from Like Father, Like Son, such as Kirin Kiki, Jun Fubuki, and Lily Franky (they are great actors). The trailer looks beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing this one.

Lost and Found


Thursday, February 10, 2016 7:00 pm  Starlight Cinema, Sidney 
Saturday, February 13, 2016 6:00 pm  The Vic Theatre

Director: John Choi, Nicolina Lanni
2014 • 82 minutes


Japan’s record-breaking 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit over 90 cities and took over 18,000 lives on Japan’s northeast coast. It also displaced over a million tons of debris but that hardly seemed to matter at the time. Within a year, that debris began showing up in the Pacific Northwest. However this time, beachcombers knew where these floating foreign oddities came from and what had been lost. This is the story of the folks in Canada and the US who’ve made it their mission to reunite these items with their original owners and reflect on not only what was lost but what can be regained.

This film will be presented by Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives. There are two showtimes at two separate theatres – one downtown, one in Sidney. I hope to catch the Sidney one.

Empire of Corpses

download (1)

Saturday, February 13, 2016  7:00pm   Parkside Resort & Spa

Director: Ryotaro Makihara
2015 • 120 Minutes


From WIT Studio behind the mega-hit anime series Attack on Titan and the pen of one of Japan’s modern masters of sci-fi comes an unusual mix of steampunk and Mary Shelley. In an alternate 19th Century Europe, Victor Frankenstein wasn’t just a story, he was a pioneer; in this world, the dead walk among us as necrotic servants, warriors and weapons. The government has just recruited John Watson – a maker of “Frankensteins” – for a very special mission. Not only will new enemies and friends beset him on all sides, but also the lost soul of his very own personal Frankenstein.

Based on a critically acclaimed Sci-Fi novel by Keikaku Ito and Toh EnJoe. Looks really fun.

Check out Victoria Film Festival website for more info.