If variety is the spice of life, then the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) certainly ticks all the boxes.

Its 15th edition goes all out with an eclectic selection of 13 films, from suspenseful dramas and documentaries to romance and comedies that will brighten your day.

It kicks off in Klang Valley (GSC Mid Valley, Pavilion, Nu Sentral and 1Utama; Sept 6 to 12 ) before moving to Penang (GSC Gurney Plaza; Sept 13 to 16), Kuching (GSC CityOne Megamall; Oct 4 to 7) and Kota Kinabalu (GSC Suria Sabah; Oct 4 to 7). This year, it also travels to a new venue: Johor Baru (GSC Paradigm JB; Sept 20 to 23).

“We have come a long way from our first film festival in 2004, with only eight titles showing in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. With support from our partners and the audience, it has grown a little each year. Today, it tours more cities for longer durations, and with more films,” says Koichi Horikawa, director of The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur which organises JFF.

Tremble All You Want.

In conjunction with the festival’s 15th anniversary, two special programmes are being held at GSC Nu Sentral – the Chihayafuru movie marathon (Parts 1, 2 and 3) on Sept 10, and free screenings of films shot in Japan by Malaysian filmmakers on Sept 6, 8 and 9 (registration required at www.eventbrite.com).

“We would like our film festival regulars to enjoy the celebration of this 15th anniversary, which they helped make possible with their support. For newcomers, we hope they will get to know a Japan they have never met before, a Japan that is so much more than ‘kawaii’, ‘cool’ or ‘samurai’,” says Kyoko Kugai, Asia Center senior programme officer at The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur.

Tickets to the JFF are priced at RM8.50, except for Ramen Heads and 3Ft Ball And Souls, which will be sold at the prevailing GSC box office price.

Tickets for all screenings can be purchased from tomorrow at the GSC box office or www.gsc.com.my. For more information, visit jfkl.org.my.

All films are screened in Japanese with English subtitles.

The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur and GSC are giving free movie passes to Star2 readers in conjunction with the 15th Japanese Film Festival in Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru. Get a copy of The Star today (Aug 29) for coupon to redeem these passes starting Aug 30.

Here is a look at the films at this year’s JFF.

Ramen Heads (documentary)

Take a peek into Japan’s ramen culture, its philosophy and the obsessive approach in creating the perfect soup and noodles.

3Ft Ball And Soul (drama)

Warning: Side effects include being stuck in a time loop. But these people did not know that when they decided to take the plunge into eternity.

Chihayafuru 3 (youth)

Two years have passed since Chihaya’s fierce battle with the reigning champion of the game, and new challenges now await her.

Perfect World.

Perfect World (romance)

Based on a manga series by the same name, this is the story of a man in a wheelchair and a woman determined to show him a different world. It will be screened at the JFF ahead of its October release in Japan.

The 8-Year Engagement (romance)

Hisashi and Mai are happily in love – and then tragedy strikes.

Tremble All You Want (romantic comedy)

A romantic comedy adapted from a novel where a kooky young woman can’t decide between an imperfect boyfriend and a fantasy guy.

Yakiniku Dragon (family)

What will happen to this small family-run BBQ restaurant on the outskirts of the city when change threatens to spill over?

Mixed Doubles (comedy)

“Table tennis girl wonder” did not earn her title the easy way, but it looks like she is on the losing end of the game when it comes to love.

Born Bone Born (family)

Yuko returns home to find her family in disarray after the recent passing of her mother.

We Make Antiques! (comedy)

An antiques dealer finds a teacup from the 16th century. Now the million dollar question: Is it as valuable as he thinks?

Her Sketchbook.

Her Sketchbook (drama)

When you have a job that involves playing video games, does it really mean that you don’t have to talk with people?

The Gift Of Memory/The Gift Of Memory Ca Va? (drama)

This film presents the Kumamoto Prefecture before and after the 2016 earthquake that left destruction in its wake.

Memoirs Of The Murderer (thriller)

A remake of the Korean film Confession Of Murder (2012) where a charismatic killer wins over fans, even as they puzzle over his intentions.