Films of Mikio Naruse, a noted Japan filmmaker, who is known for his portrayal of women as protagonists, will be screened as part of the four-day Japanese Film Festival –‘Retrospective of Mikio Naruse.’

The festival, which got underway at the auditorium of the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce here on Tuesday, opened with ‘Mother,’ a film about a family that was struggling to rebuild its business after World War II. The film is based on a collection of essays written by a group of school students about their mothers.

Inaugurating the festival, Consul-General of Japan in Chennai, Kazuo Minagawa said Naruse has been a leader in making working-class dramas. “He is also the master of women’s film and had come out with some of the timeless characterisation of women. His films will appeal to all sorts of audience,” Mr. Minagawa said.

Films, he observed, cut across borders and strengthen the cultural ties between countries. “They are not time-bound and nation-specific. Film festivals are the best way to promote a country’s cultural richness.”

Presiding over the event, former judge of Madras High Court S. Jagadeesan said films are the best way to chronicle the past and an interesting tool to learn history. “Film festivals give us an opportunity to draw parallels between countries with similar cultures – for instance, Indian and Japan.”

The Madras Film Society Executive Vice-President K.S. Govindaraj, General Secretary A.G. Raghupathy and actor Shobana Ramesh spoke.

The festival, being organised by the Madras Film Society and Japan Foundation, will screen four films of Mikio Naruse at 6.30 p.m. daily till February 5. The films to be screened are: ‘Drifting’ on a woman fighting poverty, ‘The Echo’ about a domestic battle of a wife, ‘Husband and Wife’ about a young couple managing a family business’ and ‘Two in the Shadow’ on societal struggle of a widow.