Featured

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up

oaff2017_posterart_english

The full line-up for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) was revealed earlier today and for the 12th edition of OAFF, the number of selected films has reached an impressive 58 in total, including 16 films in Competition. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun) and there will be films from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. There will be 16 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 Asian premiere and lots of guests, so if you love Asian films, this is definitely the festival to attend. Not only are there films but there are many other events and guests. To find out more, please visit the Guest Page, the events page, and my preview.

To get more of an insight into the films, head over to the festival’s programme page or scroll down where I give more information, links in the titles of each film, plus links to previews of different sections.

Down to some nitty-gritty: every film will have English subtitles.

Venues:

Umeda Burg 7 (March 3-12),

ABC Hall (March 8-12),

Cine Libre Umeda (March 4-12),

Hankyu Umeda Hall (March 6-10)

Tickets are on sale from the end of February.

Here’s the line-up. I will make this post a sticky and update it with information as it is released:

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up”

The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th

The Japanese embassy screens films once a month and I used to report on them because many of these titles are the type that never leave Japan. I stopped once I actually arrived in Japan and became a huge tourist but now I’m getting back into writing about films I want to alert people to the latest screening before it disappears!

Here’s the information from the embassy’s events page:

Continue reading “The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th”

Third Window Films Release the Tetsuya Mariko film “Destruction Babies” on April 10th

The next home movie release from Third Window Films Destruction Babies,. It was released last year in Japan and cropped up in UK cinemas after it was secured a place on the programme at this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I haven’t seen this one but fellow movie bloggers have. Here’s a snippet of a review from Windows on Worlds, a site run by a writer named Hayley who knows a lot about Japanese cinema:

“Oblique, ambiguous, and soaked in blood, Destruction Babies is a rebel yell for a forlorn hope, as raw as it is disturbing.”

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release the Tetsuya Mariko film “Destruction Babies” on April 10th”

Japan Society New York Uncovers Underappreciated Sci-Fi with Beyond Godzilla: Alternative Futures & Fantasies in Japanese Cinema

This is a quick-post for a special event (I’ve been busy eating at tonkatsu restaurants and losing time to procrastination…).

Japan Society New York have a special line-up of science-fiction films of the B-movie variety from March 24th until April 8th, 2017. The whole programme has been up for a while and tickets are on sale. A quick look shows that the films on offer run the whole gamut from humanoid aliens to kaiju and irradiated menaces and the effects are so visually amusing that just sitting in the cinema looks like an absolutely glorious prospect in terms of fun. Check out this trailer:

Here’s what the programmers have to say:

Continue reading “Japan Society New York Uncovers Underappreciated Sci-Fi with Beyond Godzilla: Alternative Futures & Fantasies in Japanese Cinema”

Parks Film Review パークス Dir: Natsuki Seta (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Review

Parks        

parks-film-poster-2
parks-film-poster-2

パークス Pa-kusu

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director:  Natsuki Seta

Writer: Natsuki Seta (Screenplay),

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Mei Nagano, Shota Sometani, Shiro Sano, Reiya Masaki, Ryu Morioka, Shizuka Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

Tokyo is home to many world famous parks such as Yoyogi and Ueno but when I lived in the mega-metropolis I developed a soft spot for Inokashira Park out in the fashionable area of Kichijoji. It may not be as big as the others but I found it an equally wonderful serene green space with lots of interesting features. It recently reached its 100th anniversary and the film “Parks” was commissioned to commemorate the special occasion. Since parks are public spaces that invite a multitude of visitors who form their own stories and memories, the challenge of making a film about the park would be paring down a huge number of ideas and interpretations of the area into a coherent narrative but writer/director Natsuki Seta and her team have managed it by creating an off-beat and charming drama with music at its heart that spans the decades and fully encompasses why parks are treasured by so many people.

Continue reading “Parks Film Review パークス Dir: Natsuki Seta (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Review”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Short Films – Breathless Lovers, Ping Pang, Summer Night

I don’t often cover short films but they get programmed at Osaka and this year’s crop were too intriguing to miss. They were rather conveniently screened as part of one package despite being in different parts of the programme but with the filmmakers all being around the same age and the quality of the work being high, it is worth writing down a few thoughts in case these guys are part of the new wave For anyone wondering, elsewhere around the festival, women made a huge impact as feature-film directors. It seems Osaka always programmes a lot of work by women without any of the attendant fuss and controversy seen in the West and that’s a good thing.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Short Films – Breathless Lovers, Ping Pang, Summer Night”

I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016), Dir: Xiaogang Feng, China, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

I Am Not Madame Bovary   i-am-not-madame-bovary-film-poster

わたしは潘金蓮じゃない Watashi ha Pan jin-lian janai   

Running Time: 139 mins.

Director: Xiaogang Feng

Writer: Zhenyun Liu (Original Novel/Screenplay)

Starring: Bingbing Fan, Lixin Zhao, Yi Zhang, Tao Guo, Ziaogang Feng, Chengpeng Dong

IMDB

I Am Not Madam Bovary” is a Chinese film adapted for the screen by Liu Zhenyun from his own 2012 novel, “I Did Not Kill My Husband.” The use of the name of Gustave Flaubert’s 19th Century novel is to make thematic connections for audiences familiar with the tragic titular adulteress (the Chinese/Japanese title features the name of another fallen woman famous throughout East Asia) but it is also quite apt since it details one woman’s determined efforts to clear her name of adultery and seek legal justice. This story starts out as a seemingly little domestic spat in a provincial town but turns into a ten-year odyssey of absurd quantities that nearly reaches the highest level of state as the film turns into a mischievous critique cheekily challenging Chinese officialdom through satirising the legal system.

Continue reading “I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016), Dir: Xiaogang Feng, China, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017”

Birdshot (2016) Dir: Mikhail Red, Philippines, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

Birdshot    birdshot-film-poster

バードショット Ba-do Shotto   

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Mikhail Red

Writer: Mikhail Red, Rae Red,

Starring: Mary Joy Apostol, Manuel Aquino, John Arcilla, Arnold Reyes,

IMDB

“Birdshot” is the sophomore film from writer/director Mikhail Red, winner of the best new director award at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival for his debut feature, “Rekorder,” an urban crime tale in the same vein as “Blow-Up” (1966) and “Blow Out” (1981) in which a cameraman who haunts night-time cinema screenings in tech-obsessed Manila accidentally records a murder and finds himself hunted. “Birdshot” is a similar tale of people being hunted but it is set in the sunny low-tech open spaces of the Philippine countryside.

Continue reading “Birdshot (2016) Dir: Mikhail Red, Philippines, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman

Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman   mrs-b-woman-of-n-korea-poster

マダム・ベー(原題)  Madamu Be- (Gendai)   

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director/Writer: Jero Yun

IMDB

“Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman” focuses on the titular Mrs. B (full name never given), a woman who escaped across the border from North Korea into China with the intention of getting a job for a short period of time and sending money back to her husband and two boys. This documentary, shot over the course of three years, reveals that things didn’t quite go according to plan since she was sold into marriage to the son of a Chinese farming family and willingly spent around a decade in China. What happened?

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman”

BAMY (2017) バーミー Dir: Jun Tanaka, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

Bamy       bamy-film-poster

バーミー Ba-Mi-   

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Jun Tanaka

Writer: Jun Tanaka

Starring: Hironobu Yukinaga, Hiromi Nakazato, Misaki Tsuge, Toshi Yanagi, Yuki Katsuragi,

Jun Tanaka’s film, “Bamy” (2017) plays with the myth of the red string of fate – an unbreakable bond that ties people destined to be together – but posits that instead of this being something romantic or joyful, it is nothing but a curse because it reveals that people have no control over their own lives. The string is forced upon individuals who cannot escape what has been preordained by some larger transcendental entity. The film follows this thread of an idea to its natural and almost absurd conclusion in a film that raises itself from being a semi-pastiche of Kurosawa’s modern-day horror classic, “Pulse” (2001), to an entertaining jaunt into a twisted set of romances where not even horrifying ghosts can sever predestined connections between people.

Continue reading “BAMY (2017) バーミー Dir: Jun Tanaka, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Update: Yoshitaro Nomura’s film “The Refugee” will be screened with English Subtitles

Big news from the Osaka Asian Film Festival: Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1955 film “The Refugee” will be shown with English subtitles – more details on the festival site. It will be screened at the Hankyu Umeda Hall on Monday at 18:30 and from what I have heard this is an interesting title to watch. Just getting the chance to watch something this old on the big screen is exciting. Here’s information I published about the film in a preview which shows lots of exciting films to watch. I’ll be going to this one.

THE REFUGEE   the-refugee-1956-film-poster

亡命記 [Bomeiki]

Running Time: 135 mins.

Director: Yoishitaro Nomura

Writer: Toshio Shiina (Screenplay)

Starring: Keiko Kishi, Keiji Sada, Wei Hong, Yunosuke Ito, Chishu Ryu, Kumeko Urabe, Shin Saburi,

IMDB

With 89 films to his name, Nomura was one of Japan’s most prolific and celebrated directors. He worked in a number of genres from film noir to period dramas but is best known for collaborating with the mystery writer Seicho Matsumoto. They made eight films, including “Castle of Sand” (1974) and “The Demon” (1978) which I saw in London back in 2014. The script was adapted by Toshio Shiina who worked with Yuzo Kawashima, a talent rediscovered in 2012.

the-refugee-film-image

Synopsis: A Chinese medical student named Shaochang finds himself cut off from his homeland as he is studying in Japan during the outbreak of the war. Despite his difficult circumstances, he finds love in the form of Sachiko and the two marry. They later travel to Nanjing to live a new life together where Sachiko and Shaochang cooperate with the Japanese-backed government. Their ultimate hope is to secure peace but their idealism is not enough to keep them together through brutal times and with the end of the war the two find themselves facing a divorce…