Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek said, “Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire—it tells you how to desire.” Believing in that and attempting to enrich exchanging Egyptian and Japanese cultures, the Japan Foundation’s Cairo office organised the 21st round of the Japanese Film Week.
The week kicked off on 26 February and runs until 2 March in the Artistic Creative Centre in the Cairo Opera House. Each film will present a perspective of Japanese culture, and the program aims to melt the cultural distance between Egypt and Japan and to give the audience a chance to get a deeper perspective of the culture of one of the world’s strongest economies.
This year’s round offers a new side of Japan. The main theme of the several screened films is Japanese food.
“This year we present a variety of new-production Japanese feature films, all with different themes, where Japanese food is the common denominator among all of them, hence the title [of the week] is ‘Taste of Life’,” said Masakazu Takahashi, director of the Japan Foundation’s Cairo office.
The Japan Foundation is an independent administrative institution founded in 1972 under the auspices of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, to promote international understanding through cultural exchange and to maintain and develop harmonious relationships with foreign countries in different fields, such as arts, culture, language, and intellectual exchange.
The film week witnesses the screening of the most popular films in Japan, like the animation movie “Silver Spoon”, which features the life of a high-school student struggling to figure out what he wants to do with his life after graduating from agriculture school. The animation falls under the umbrella of “manga” films—comics originally published in Japan.
Most of the screened films were produced during the past couple of years.
“These [screened] films have achieved great success in Japan, as the movie “Silver Spoon”, which was a hit. It gained large popularity, especially among young people—I guess because it is based on a very widely spread and successful ‘manga’ in Japan,” Takahashi added.
The program also includes other hit films like “There Is No Lid on the Sea”, which tackles the life of the city-stressed citizens who look for inner peace.