BANGKOK — The Japanese Film Festival returns in strong form for a 40th time this year with selected films to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Japan-Thailand relations.

Fifteen recent Japanese films, from comedies to thrillers, will show February through March at the Japanese Film Festival for cinephiles to indulge in the island nation’s unique culture and storytelling.

Headlining is talented director Naomi Kawase’s 2015 drama “Sweet Bean.” Premiered at Cannes and praised for its sentimentality, the film is about an old lady who offers to help a man make sweet red bean paste for his dorayakis, which helps boost his business.

“What A Wonderful Family!” is a comedic 2016 film about a wife who wants to divorce her husband as a birthday present after having been married for 50 years.


For thrill-seekers, there’s Cannes’ Un Certain Regard-winner “Creepy.” Directed by  Kiyoshi Kurosawa and premiered at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, the novel-based story follows an ex-police detective and a criminal psychologist who move to seek peace in their suburban town only to face a psychopathic neighbor who wishes to take their lives.

Tickets are 120 baht in Bangkok and 80 baht in Chiang Mai. Entry is free in Khon Kaen and Phuket.

The schedules and more information are available online.

The festival kicks off in Bangkok Feb. 4-12 at SF World Cinema, CentralWorld. After that, it’ll tour to Chiang Mai on Feb. 23-26 at Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center, March 3-5 to Central Khon Kaen and March 17-19 at Central Festival Phuket.