November is the month film lovers in Hawai‘i look forward to with great anticipation. That’s because the curtain will rise once again on the Hawaii International Film Festival. It’s an opportunity to take in films that bridge East and West and the rest of the world through cinematic storytelling.

HIFF 38 — the Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani —will feature 187 films from 35 countries. On O‘ahu, the festival will run two weeks, from Thursday, Nov. 8, through Thursday, Nov. 18. Of the 187 films, 30 are from Japan or have Japanese-related themes. Many of them were selected for screening at HIFF after being shown at the prestigious Sundance, Cannes and Toronto film festivals.

The Herald culled through all of the film titles and put together a list of the films from Japan or that have Japanese-related themes. They are listed here by HIFF “section” and in ascending order by their first screening date, along with a synopsis of the film. Tickets can be purchased at Most of the Japanese-related films are being shown in Hawai‘i for the first time, six are receiving their North American premiere at HIFF, four are receiving their U.S. premiere and two their international premiere.

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