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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up

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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.

There will be films from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan, will be screened and out of that selection there will be 16 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 Asian premiere. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun).

As mentioned in my post announcing the opening and closing films, this festival will be the place to watch many of the latest and greatest titles from across Asia as well as plenty of home-grown films.

There’s a strong showing from Hong Kong with an interesting father and son appearance for Eric and Derek Tsang. Both are actors with the former being of the same generation with and a collaborator of Jackie Chan, taking a leading role in an indie film called Mad World (2016), a film looking at the pressures of working-class society in Hong Kong as well as mental health. The latter is also a popular actor (see The Thieves) but he has moved into directing with the award-winning Soul Mates (2016), a film about the bond between two female best friends. It looks a lot like the Shunji Iwai classic Hana and Alice (2004) thanks to it two leading ladies who put in strong performances that critics raved about. Also putting in a strong performance is the lead actor in I Am Not Madame Bovary, Fan BingBing, who takes on the lead role of a woman swindled and dragged through the mud by her ex-husband and desperately trying to clear her name. It, like Mad World, is a bit political in its analysis of Chinese culture. Something in Blue (2016) is less political but is still rooted in the everyday. It’s based in Guangzhou and full of actors portraying everyday life. It is sort of like a Hong Sang-soo film with lots of talking and naturalistic acting and I found myself absorbed in the lives of the characters.

The Japanese film selection has a nice range of films focusing on females with Daisuke Miyazawa’s Yamato (California) taking a sideways look at US-Japan relations through the friendship between a Japanese and a half-Japanese half-American girl, both of whom like Hip Hop. Miyazawa has form in the industry having worked as an assistant director with Kiyoshi Kurosawa on Tokyo Sonata (2008). There’s also Natsuki Seta, an Osaka girl who is making a successful return home with her latest film, Parks (2017), a film that stars super-famous actors Ai Hashimoto and Shota Sometani. At the other end of the scale is Koji Segawa, whose film Tamayura Mariko (2016) is pure indie strangeness as it’s a story told from the increasingly twisted POV of the titular Mariko, a woman on the edge of breaking (or possibly already well over it) due to suspected infidelities committed by her husband. One stand-out for me is Bamy (2016), a brand-new supernatural indie film which takes its cues from Kiyoshi Kurosawa in terms of mise-en-scene but uses it as the basis of a genuinely strong romance which questions the nature of fate. With plenty of black humour and great direction, the director, Jun Tanaka, is definitely one to watch.

There are many interesting films from around the world including lots that feature social-commentary and plenty of beautiful cinematography. I’m thinking specifically of the slightly politics slightly supernatural film Birdshot (2016). There are also some documentaries included that provide an insight into people smuggling from the perspective of a tough-as-nails North Korean woman. Not only are there films but there are many other events and guests. To find out more, please visit the Guest Page

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

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films

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The organisers behind Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) released the full programme of every film that will be screened during its run from March 03rd until March 12th last week and it’s an impressive line-up.

The beginning of the year is always a busy one when it comes to international film festivals since Rotterdam and Berlin showcase their programmes and start screening things that will filter to the rest of the world at some point. Add the Osaka Asian Film Festival to that list because it is establishing itself as a platform for Asian filmmakers. This year demonstrates why it has a growing international reputation since there are many world and international premieres and a lot of filmmakers are going to attend the festival to talk about their work. On top of writing my usual previews for the aforementioned festival, I am working for Osaka as well.

Full disclosure, I am at the festival in the capacity as a writer, helping out with the event and watching some of the films. I will attempt to review as many as possible but for now, I’ll give previews.

I’m very excited to bring these previews to you not least because I wrote the synopses for each of them and I got a chance to watch some of the films already and the amount of talent I have seen is impressive. As a person based in the West, sometimes it’s difficult to see what the rest of the world produces in terms of cinema so this is a real education for me. The titles from the Philippines and Thailand have been really impressive and show local film industries that are producing daring and interesting works.

Here’s what has been programmed for the opening, closing and competition films. There is mention of guests but to get the full information about which screening they are attending, please visit the Event Page, the Guest Page or one of my earlier announcements. To find out more about each of the films, please click on the titles/links to be taken to the festival site. I have also included links to IMDB and the film’s websites where possible.

Here’s what’s going to be screened (the entire list I made into a sticky post on the main page of this site will be updated with some of this information):

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films”

Japan Now Talk: Hiromi Kawakami in London on March 01st

Following on from my last post about Momoko Ando presenting 0.5mm at a special screening, here’s a recent announcement sent out by the Japan Foundation regarding a new Japan Now talk:

The Japan Foundation is delighted partner with Foyles and Modern Culture for this
special talk by author 
Hiromi Kawakami as part of Japan Now 2017

Hiromi Kawakami Talk Information

Hiromi Kawakami has been a long standing favourite of Foyles customers and booksellers alike. Perfectly constructed, poetic and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo was the first of Kawakami’s novels to be published in English, introducing readers to the dreamlike state of her writing.

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Japan Now: Momoko Ando and Her Film 0.5mm at the British Library

I’m currently working for a film festival in Japan but I’m still trying to report on Japanese film events in the UK such as this one which is a bit late (thank you to the Japan Foundation for sending the email):

The Japan Foundation is pleased to partner with Modern Culture once again for the event Japan NowJoin us for this very special screening as part of Japan Now, with filmmaker Momoko Ando here in London to introduce the UK Premiere of her film 0.5mm alongside curator and filmmaker Jasper Sharp. 

 

For further details of how to book tickets, please visit:  https://www.bl.uk/events/momoko-ando-film-screening

Continue reading “Japan Now: Momoko Ando and Her Film 0.5mm at the British Library”

Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017

This year’s edition of the Berlin International Film Festival takes place from February 09th until the 19th and it features three really interesting directors in the shape of Naoko Ogigami and SABU and Yuya Ishii, all of whom brings their latest films. It’s a nice mix of drama and action from these three. Yuya Ishii is growing as a director and Naoko Ogigami is always one to watch. There is a classic special effects movie and a classic anime and so there’s lots for audiences to take in. It’s another good year for Japanese films in Berlin and SABU’s is really exciting because it looks like one of those great crime films from the ‘90s that used to get ranked out by the likes of Takashi Miike and it is a Japanese-Hong Kong co-production.

Let’s take a gander at the films:mittsu-no-hikari-film-image

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Preview

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The organisers behind Osaka Asian Film Festival have started the slow trickle of information about what films will be screened and the events that will take place before and during its run from March 03rd until March 12th. The festival will have entered its 12th year of existence with this edition and it looks set to be bigger and better than ever with many pre-festival events and a selection of films that will undoubtedly entertain and enthral people from Osaka and beyond.

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Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival takes place from February 15th to the 26th and features lots of classics and contemporary titles. The big focus is on Toshiro Mifune and so you can see some of his greatest roles which also means some of Akira Kurosawa’s greatest films. There’s plenty for the mainstream crowd to like in that mix of period drama and action and there’s more in the contemporary titles which span genres from psychological to science fiction and there’s even an anime thrown in.

Here are the Japanese films on the programme:

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Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2017

It’s a grey day in Osaka and pretty cold but I’m staying indoors for most of it since I am cleaning video game consoles. Anyway, The Rotterdam International Film Festival starts later this month and it features a plethora films from Japan that range from the familiar to the new, plus there’s some interesting little shorts. It’s a programme packed with Japanese films but actually using the website to find them was irritating due to the search options, the way information was hidden and the overall look. I’m not a fan. I searched for it so you don’t have to.

Enough of my whining, there are many great films on offer from Roman Porno to yakuza comedy and this is another great year for Rotterdam.

Here’s what’s on offer (click on the titles to be taken to pages with more information):

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 Line-Up

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The good folks at The Japan Foundation announced the titles that will be screened across the UK in their Touring Film Programme for 2017 and it’s an eclectic bunch of films connected by the theme of odd obsessions! The idea is to look at Japan through movies that depict desires, hopes and impulses and these cinematic delights stretch across many mediums and genres from anime romances to a documentary on a fish market.

Audiences across England, Scotland, and Ireland will get the chance to see all of this at various points from February 03rd to March 29th as the tour takes in fifteen cities with events kicking off in London at the ICA (see below for the full list of venues).

The programme is stacked with interesting titles which I will detail below:

Continue reading “The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 Line-Up”

Japan Foundation Film Talk – The Legacy of Composer Toru Takemitsu on January 22nd

Toru Takemitsu was a self-taught musician and composer who contributed the scores to many highly-regarded, even classic, films from the 1960s and beyond. More than ninety films received his work such as many New Wave titles like Hiroshi Teshigahara’s most important films (Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another) and Masaki Kobayashi’s Kaidan and Harakiri. Not only those, he worked with Akira Kurosawa (Ran), Shohei Imamura (Black Rain), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion). Here’s an example of his work:

His work melded Eastern and Western influences and his inspirations ranged from Debussy to John Cage. His work became highly regarded around the world and he won many awards. Here’s an interesting article on The Guardian website from 2013.

On Sunday, January 22nd, the Japan Foundation is hosting an event that looks over his legacy, which comes ahead of a special event where NHK Symphony Orchestra will perform his work at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in March. The talk will take place at King’s Place, Hall Two, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

Here’s the information on the Japan Foundation event plus a link to the NHK concert which was sent out by the organisers: Continue reading “Japan Foundation Film Talk – The Legacy of Composer Toru Takemitsu on January 22nd”