Lost and Found

Following two difficult years of the pandemic, we are happy to present to you the 15th edition of Eigasai 2022, a festival of Japanese film and culture, under what we can call “somewhat normal” conditions. This year’s motto is “Lost and Found”, but this is not the only topic. We would like to also point out the Japanese “omotenashi” (open heart) value, the traditional Japanese hospitality that is likely the best way to care for one’s guests with grace. The current situation should inspire us to be respectful and tolerant – which is still part of human nature. Therefore, first and foremost allow us to thank you for mutual respect in observing the rules, without which the festival could not materialise or be a pleasant experience. 

Lost or forgotten things sometimes find their way back to us, or they disappear for good. Memories come back along with things, and they can sometimes bring us a new view of the world or a loved person. All of that shapes us and pushes us forward. Hopefully, this will also be the case with the films that we are presenting to you.

Having one’s dreams is always beautiful. Shiori, a student in For Love’s SAKE wants to become a sommelier, but by coincidence she ends up at a practice in a renowned sake brewery. For a period of time, she is bereaved of the opportunity to study her beloved wine in France, but after various plot twists, she discovers the magic of the traditional Japanese drink and her own country.

Tanabata is a festival when miracles happen. Two people can meet just once a year. This is what happens to the protagonists of the romantic comedy Strawberry Song. Two schoolmates meet after ten years and decide to make this a regular occasion. A sad event that tore them apart years ago gets to reunite them, and a friendship may turn into love.

The biopic Mori, The Artist's Habitat shows the renowned painter Morikazu Kumagai who voluntarily secludes himself in his garden, not leaving it for the last 30 years of his life. He gains insights into the lives of the creatures that live there that other people cannot see. The depiction of an eccentric artist who rejected a Japanese cultural award out of modesty is also one of the last films to feature the award-winning actress Kirin Kiki who plays the artist’s wife.

A child is born as a clean slate. If, however, you are born into the family of actors in the traditional kyogen theatre genre, you are no ordinary kid. Your grandfather is the head of the family and your great-grandfather is a national treasure. You are four years old, and the bearer of a family tradition. The toughest task, however, is that of the father, as he has to awake a love of a pre-destined career in the young human being. We get to peek behind the scenes of the process in the unique time-lapse documentary, Born to be a Star.

Omotenashi – the value of warm hospitality – is the everyday fare for each innkeeper, yet it does not mean much to the young generation. Their life is overly focused on their own success. To achieve it, the heroes of the rural romance Omotenashi will have to realise that what is inside your heart matters more than your origins, the language you speak, or your position in society. The film is a directing debut for Jay Chern who hails from Taiwan.

The protagonist of Room Laundering knows exactly what it is like to share an apartment with a ghost. As her part-time job, she moves into flats where someone died and tries to help the ghosts find tranquility. When, however, she encounters the victim of a murder who is full of hate, matters get quite complicated. The murderer has to be found, and if the girl finds a kindred spirit in the process, the world will remain in balance.

The festival’s final film, entitled Farewell Song, will take us to the independent music scene, at a point when the Haru-Leo girl duo splits up. The girls are just embarking on their final tour intended as a farewell to fans. We will learn how the group formed and what has caused its demise. If you put a piece of yourself in your music, it will not disappear – it will remain as long as someone listens to the music.

There is no need to introduce the Saturday afternoon film intended primarily for younger viewers. My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most popular stories produced by the Ghibli studio. People’s lives intersect with the magical world of the forest spirit Totoro. Nobody knows about it save for two little girls who get to experience many adventures without their parents’ keeping an eye on them. We are bringing this story, which soothes the heart, in Japanese with Czech subtitles.

We would like to thank you for staying with Eigasai despite the difficult times, and we are looking forward to seeing you at the Lucerna Cinema.

Klára Poskočilová