Gravity-defying stunts, poignant drama, heart-warming romance and nail-biting thrills… a sample of all these comes with a Japanese flavour at the five-day Japanese Film Festival that began here on Tuesday.

The festival is a retrospective of the celebrated Japanese director Kon Ichikawa, who has made numerous award-winning films based on novels. The opening film of the festival ‘Harp of Burma' is a classic example of the director's expertise in filmmaking, said speakers at the inauguration of the film festival.

Consul-General of Japan Kazuo Minagawa, who inaugurated the festival, said Ichikawa's films gave a new definition to Japanese cinema by introducing it to the international audience. He is considered on a par with stalwarts such as Akira Kurosawa and Keisuke Kinoshita, for his inimitable style of filmmaking.

“He introduced animation to Japanese film industry at a time when the concept of animation was hardly known to the world. He is a master of innovations,” Mr. Minagawa said.

This is the third Japanese film festival to be held this year in the city. A 15-minute short film on Japan would be screened before every film to offer a glimpse of today's Japan, he added.

Pointing out that no Tamil film had been shot in Japan after ‘Ulagum Sutrum Vaaliban,' director P. Vasu said the country has a lot to offer in terms of stunning landscapes and technological advancements. Tamil filmmakers should explore the country and also learn their art of filmmaking, he said.

Four films are to be screened till Saturday, at the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce.

The film festival is being organised by Consulate General of Japan, Madras Film Society and Japan Foundation. Madras Film Society executive vice-president K.S. Govindaraj, its secretary A.G. Raghupathy, and actor Lasya spoke.

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