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Eating Women, Okko’s Inn, Café Funiculi Funicula, My Dad is a Heel Wrestler, Think Again, Junpei, Double Drive: Ryuu no Kizuna, Takaramono no daki kata, Seido no Kirisuto, Konya Shinjuku de Kanojo wa Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Okko's Inn Key Image

I hope everyone is feeling great.

Overtime at work is going to calm down for a bit and I’ve just finished a big otome game project so I can breathe a little easier. I managed to watch over 130 films over the last month or so but mostly for fun. I am still doing all sorts of things such as the on-going social media/writing for the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival which starts next weekend. I’ll be able to meet two animators who are jetting in from Tokyo to the UK so that will be cool. I posted a review for The Hungry Lion (2017) and I’m going to get back to reviewing live-action films soon and watching let’s plays of survival horror games as October approaches.

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Eating Women, Okko’s Inn, Café Funiculi Funicula, My Dad is a Heel Wrestler, Think Again, Junpei, Double Drive: Ryuu no Kizuna, Takaramono no daki kata, Seido no Kirisuto, Konya Shinjuku de Kanojo wa Japanese Film Trailers”

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A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018

Mirai Film Image

Cardiff                                                                                         Aberystwyth

Chapter 28th – 30th September      Aberystwyth Arts Centre 20th – 21st October

So I work as a writer for the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and it’s going to launch soon. More than 10 feature films have been programmed to present the wide variety of stories and styles in Japanese animation. This year, we welcome two guests from Japan who will treat audiences to special events.

The festival gets off to a start on September 28 at 14:00 at Chapter Arts, Cardiff, with a screening of the Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film Lu Over the Wall.

Continue reading “A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018”

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The Hungry Lion 飢えたライオン Dir: Takaomi Ogata (2017)

The Hungry Lion    The Hungry Lion Film Poster   

飢えたライオン Ueta Raion

Running Time: 78 mins.

Release Date: N/A

Director:  Takaomi Ogata

Writer: Takaomi Ogata, Fujio Ikeda (Screenplay)

Starring: Urara Matsubayashi, Atomu Mizuishi, Mariko Tsutsui,

This was at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year and Rotterdam and the New York Asian Film Festival this year.

The Hungry Lion is the fourth feature from Fukuoka-born indie filmmaker Takaomi Ogata. Each of his films address pressing social issues faced by modern Japan. Never Ending Blue (2011) shows a teenage girl enduring child abuse and self-abuse and was potent enough to win the Runner-up Grand Prix at the 2010 Okinawa Motion Picture Festival. Body Temperature (2011) featured the story of an intensely lonely man too focussed on a life-sized doll to make a connection with other humans. Sunk Into the Womb (2013) features a Nobody Knows type of story about a single-mother who abandons her children. The Hungry Lion has the harrowing story of an innocent person having their reputation murdered by liars, gossip-mongers, and the media.

Continue reading “The Hungry Lion 飢えたライオン Dir: Takaomi Ogata (2017)”

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North North West, The Hungry Lion, Hibiki, 3D Kanojo Real Girl, Aura Aurora, Itoshi no Airi-n, NETSTAR Saisei Kaisu no muko-gawa, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix, Urufuna Shissi, Lenses on Her Heart Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Of Love and Law Film Poster

I hope everyone is fine!

I took two days off work and had a special day on Friday and then a nice relaxing start to the weekend where I watched films on Donation Theater and visited people. I posted information about the Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2018 and a review of the wonderful documentary Of Love and Law which will play at next month’s BFI London Film Festival.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “North North West, The Hungry Lion, Hibiki, 3D Kanojo Real Girl, Aura Aurora, Itoshi no Airi-n, NETSTAR Saisei Kaisu no muko-gawa, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix, Urufuna Shissi, Lenses on Her Heart Japanese Film Trailers”

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Of Love and Law 愛と法 (2017) Dir: Hikaru Toda

Of Love & Law     Of Love and Law Film Poster

愛と法 「Ai to hou」    

Running Time: 94 mins.

Release Date: September 2018

Director:  Hikaru Toda

Writer: N/A

Starring: Kazuyuki Minami, Masafumi Yoshida, Yae Minami, Kazumi Tsujitani, Rokudenashiko, Hiroko Tsujitani, Masae Ido, Natsuo Yamamoto,

Website     IMDB    JFDB

Documentarian and visual anthropologist Hikaru Toda is based in London and Osaka and has worked on many films to explore the differences between people and society. Love Hotel, a 2014 film she co-directed, was a look at the lives of the customers of a love hotel in Osaka. It eschewed going down the cheap route of titillating and alternative sex to look at the pressures, inner-desires, and memories that drive the people who escape to such a private place. The film also offered a look at the creeping draconian politics of Japan’s government which is shutting down love hotels whilst also taking away personal freedoms as it re-militarises the country. Two of the customers were gay lawyers Kazu and Fumi who lived out their love behind closed doors and reappear in this documentary out in the open.

Continue reading “Of Love and Law 愛と法 (2017) Dir: Hikaru Toda”

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Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2018

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Logo

The Vancouver International Film Festival 2018 runs from September 27th to October 12th and it has a selection of Japanese films seen at festivals such as Cannes and Udine but there is one new title which hasn’t been picked up by any festival that I have seen thus far. Just like last year, it has a film starring Ai Hashimoto and one directed by Daihachi Yoshida. It’s a good line-up so if you cannot attend Toronto or Fantasia, go see the films here.

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2018”

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The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, Kasane, Fooly Cooly Alternative, The Departure, Itsumo Tsukiyo ni Kome no Meshi, Hatsukoi Sukecchi: Maitchingu Machiko Sensei, Endoka isan sensou, Crying Free Sex, Gekijouban Hontou ni atta kowai hanashi 2018, Eiga Okaasan to Issho Hajimete no Dai Bouken Japanese Film Trailers   

Happy weekend, people!

Ohikkoshi Film Image 2

I hope everyone is doing good!

This week has been spent doing overtime in work and overcoming exhaustion and illness at the same time. I had help from relaxing at home with lots of films, a yakuza film from 1958 and lots of shorts on Donation Theater. The campaign period is up and there’s just a week left to watch the remaining films so I’ve got my work cut out but I will do it! I also have work on an otome game and I have to get back into regular reviews again. I have started Japanese practice again, which is good. Prep for going back to the course at the end of the month. I have also done press work for the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival which launches at the same time. It’s all happening but I will make it!

I posted about the Japanese films at the BFI London Film Festival and a review of The Scythian Lamb.

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, Kasane, Fooly Cooly Alternative, The Departure, Itsumo Tsukiyo ni Kome no Meshi, Hatsukoi Sukecchi: Maitchingu Machiko Sensei, Endoka isan sensou, Crying Free Sex, Gekijouban Hontou ni atta kowai hanashi 2018, Eiga Okaasan to Issho Hajimete no Dai Bouken Japanese Film Trailers   “

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The Scythian Lamb 羊の木 Dir: Daihachi Yoshida (2018)

The Scythian Lamb   The Scythian Lamb Film Poster

羊の木 Hitsuji no ki

Running Time: 126 mins.

Release Date: February 03rd, 2018

Director: Daihachi Yoshida

Writer: Masato Kagawa (Screenplay), Tatsuhiko Yamagami, Mikio Igarashi (Original Manga),

Starring: Ryo Nishikido, Fumino Kimura, Kazuki Kitamura, Yuka, Mikako Ichikawa, Shingo Mizusawa, Min Tanaka, Ryuhei Matsuda, Tamae Ando,

Website IMDB

You can never truly know another person, the old existentialist saying goes. It’s not necessarily that people hide various aspects of their character and history, it’s also that people change all of the time. With that in mind, Daihachi Yoshida’s movies dwell in that gap between the fixed persona and the shadows his characters hide and we see the sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic actions that barely repressed desires and fears make people perform. The Kirishima Thing looked at the politics of high school life with longed-for and thwarted romances between members of various cliques while Pale Moon looked at the weight of expectation from society through the tale of a normal woman and her desire to escape into fantasy in order to feel desired. They all operate with varying tones of drama and comedy and it is much the same in The Scythian Lamb where tight-knit community is asked to accept a group of outsiders with troublesome pasts and hidden intentions.

Continue reading “The Scythian Lamb 羊の木 Dir: Daihachi Yoshida (2018)”

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Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2018

This year’s BFI London Film Festival is going to run from October 10th to the 21st and various cinemas across the city will be screenings films from around the world. There are three Japanese films listed and I have brought them together here. The only one I have seen is Of Love and Law and, in an era that is often marked by nationalism, division, and hate, it’s a refreshing and heartwarming film that reminds us there are good people trying to build bridges and protect others. There is also the anime film Mirai from Mamoru Hosoda which looks swell.

Click on the titles to get to the festival page:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2018”

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Amiko, Asako I & II, Sunny: Strong Mind Strong Love, Kimi no tori wa utaeru, Youtachi Happy Eigaban Himawari, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Laughing Under the Clouds Side Story: Cherry Blossoms, the Bridge to Heavenly Wishes, K SEVEN STORIES Episode3 「SIDE: GREEN Uwagaki Sekai」, Kaidan shin mimi bukuro G men boken-hen kouhen Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

I hope you are all well!

I’ve had a busy week what with overtime at work, going down to London and then a get-together at a Japanese restaurant but it has been fun.

I’ve also been working through films on Donation Theater and other titles and it has been a varied selection of titles from CG anime about a kid jetting through space to save a planet populated by robots to live-action dramas about a young woman and a young musician finding confidence in themselves. There is so much to watch, it’s great. It’s fantastic seeing the film community stepping up to help others in their time of need. You can still donate to the site and help the people of western Japan recover from the floods.

I’ve watched more avant-garde films since the last trailer post and some great dramas. This week, I posted about a pink film festival as part of the trailer post, a news announcement of the Japan Society in New York screening Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s serial-killer thriller Cure and Nobuhiro Yamashita’s teen music drama Linda Linda Linda as well as a preview of the Japanese films at this year’s Raindance Film Festival.

What else is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Amiko, Asako I & II, Sunny: Strong Mind Strong Love, Kimi no tori wa utaeru, Youtachi Happy Eigaban Himawari, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Laughing Under the Clouds Side Story: Cherry Blossoms, the Bridge to Heavenly Wishes, K SEVEN STORIES Episode3 「SIDE: GREEN Uwagaki Sekai」, Kaidan shin mimi bukuro G men boken-hen kouhen Japanese Film Trailers”

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OP PICTURES+FEST 2018 Films

So the pink film label OP PICTURES have booked out a cinema in Tokyo and are screening their latest works under the title OP PICTURES+FEST 2018. There is a lot to cover and not enough time. I had to split up last week’s trailer post into two because of the amount of content and I have raced through things here. The same bunch of directors and actors have worked on these titles and they will all be screened until mid-September. These aren’t my cup of tea.

Sorry if I don’t take the films that seriously.

Continue reading “OP PICTURES+FEST 2018 Films”

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Japanese Films at the Raindance Film Festival 2018

This year’s Raindance Film Festival takes place from September 26th to October 07th and it takes place at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square. There are a selection of Japanese films that are sure to capture the interest of anybody including Room Laundering which caught the attention of many film fans when it played at Fantasia Film Fest in Canada. We also see Aya Igashi who was at Cannes in 2017 and an award-winning film from this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival.

Here’s the line-up:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Raindance Film Festival 2018”

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Only One Song, Hangman’s Knot, Family Wars, Kaidan shin mimi bukuro G men boken-hen zenpen, Shinrei Tsuazu, Magical Michiko, Zetsurin shanikusai, Kaidan noroi no akajuban, Koi no Buta, Reunion Beach, Moon Road Serenade, Magical Michiko, America, Kamakiri no yoru Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, reader!

Eros Plus Massacre Film Image 2

I hope everyone is still feeling awesome.

I write “still” because, if you read yesterday’s trailer post, you’ll know this is a two-parter because there was a lot released over this weekend. Yesterday was anime and dramas, today is politics, porn, and horror. More porn is getting released over the next week but I’ll round them up with next week’s trailer post. Uuuhhhh, right. I’m going to watch three films over the weekend and take a trip to the sea. I’m counting down the days to a London trip next week and also a sushi party with work colleagues. I’m also looking into a new writing style.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Only One Song, Hangman’s Knot, Family Wars, Kaidan shin mimi bukuro G men boken-hen zenpen, Shinrei Tsuazu, Magical Michiko, Zetsurin shanikusai, Kaidan noroi no akajuban, Koi no Buta, Reunion Beach, Moon Road Serenade, Magical Michiko, America, Kamakiri no yoru Japanese Film Trailers”

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Ponoc Short Films Theater: Volume 1 – Modest Heroes, Prince of Tennis BEST GAMES!!, Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head: Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu Movie, Non Non Biyori Vacation, Killing For the Prosecution, Double Drive: Ookami no Okite, Happy Mail, In Bloom, Takasaki Graffiti Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend +1 Day, dear readers!

I hope you are all well.

This is the first of a two-part trailer post because there’s a lot of films getting released over the next three days due to a horror festival and a soft-core porn label showcasing some works. Titles from those two will be shown tomorrow. Today will be anime and live-action dramas.

My week was spent binge-watching Nobuo Nakagawa films and then Camera Japan released its programme and Nakagawa features prominently. I had a day off yesterday after working for 11 days straight and tried to watch a three hour thirty minute drama from the 60s, but ended up only watching 40-odd minutes because I got caught up doing press work Kotatsu, a British festival, and enjoying the sunshine for a spell. I posted about the Japanese films at the L’Etrange Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, this week.

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Ponoc Short Films Theater: Volume 1 – Modest Heroes, Prince of Tennis BEST GAMES!!, Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head: Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu Movie, Non Non Biyori Vacation, Killing For the Prosecution, Double Drive: Ookami no Okite, Happy Mail, In Bloom, Takasaki Graffiti Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 06th to the 16th and it has a good selection of films that have cropped up in other festivals and one brand-new title so putting this post together was easier than in previous years.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018”

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Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Cure” and Nobuhiro Yamashita’s “Linda Linda Linda” are Japan Society New York’s Monthly Classics Screenings

I occasionally write about the odd film screening outside of festivals when something I grew up with will get played and there are two titles which will be screened in New York in September and October that are dynamite.

September 07th, 19:00

Linda Linda Linda   Linda Linda Linda Film Poster

リンダ リンダ リンダ Rinda Rinda Rinda

Running Time: 91 mins.

Release Date: July 23rd, 2005

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Writer: Nobuhiro Yamashita, Kosuke Mukai, Wakako Miyashita (Screenplay),

Starring: Doona Bae, Aki Maeda, Yu Kashii, Shiori Sekine, Takayo Mimura, Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Masaki Miura, Yuko Yamazaki,

IMDB

This song is so well-known in Japan that I could sing it in a bar and get a chorus going. This film is also super-popular inside and outside of Japan. Nobuhiro Yamashita, his familiar writing partner Kosuke Mukai along with Wakako Miyashita craft a charming drama with an infectious song at its core. I’ll review it one day.

Synopsis: A high school is about to stage its festival and am all-girl band who hope to perform finds itself falling apart when members depart. Those that are left scramble to fill in the empty slots and a Korean exchange student named Son (Doona Bae) finds herself being asked to provide lead vocals. Their mission is to master the 1987 hit song “Linda Linda” by Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts and their performance is truly something to enjoy.

Continue reading “Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Cure” and Nobuhiro Yamashita’s “Linda Linda Linda” are Japan Society New York’s Monthly Classics Screenings”

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Japanese Films at L’Etrange Festival 2018

The L’Etrange Festival runs from September 05 to 16 in Paris and it continues in its L'Etrange Festival Postermission to show rare and unusual films that might be passed over by other festivals and it also shows classic films that fit that criteria. I saw a previous edition of the festival which had a special focus on Kiyoshi Kurosawa and, just for a little while, I wanted to be French. This year’s festival has a feast of 60’s and 70’s Nikkatsu movies, like whole series of films not normally shown on screen together at the same place, as well as contemporary films that have cropped up on the festival circuit this year ranging from geki-animation to live-action.

What Japanese films are programmed at L’Etrange this year?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at L’Etrange Festival 2018”

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Penguin Highway, Aragne: Sign of Vermillion, Gintama 2, Angel in the Closet, Kare no nichijō, The Shape of Happiness, The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky, Miraculous Chat Lady, Chotto no ame nara ga man, Far East Babies Japanese Film Trailers    

Happy weekend, people!

Shiawase no katachi Film Image

I hope you are all well!

I’m pushed for time. I have to write. I have to practice Japanese. I have to work every day. I’m happy. I need to improve in all areas and so I’m going back to Japanese language classes in September. I’m going to study before then. Also, I’ve got a lot of films to watch as part of Donation Theater since the site went live with the films for people who donated. Friends and the families of friends in western Japan are safe but for those who had to be evacuated or lost their old lives, Donation Theater is providing assistance. Why not donate something and help out?

There are a lot of films I’m watching outside of Donation Theater but that is a long-term thing. I posted reviews for Dynamite Graffiti and The Blood of Wolves this week. 

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Penguin Highway, Aragne: Sign of Vermillion, Gintama 2, Angel in the Closet, Kare no nichijō, The Shape of Happiness, The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky, Miraculous Chat Lady, Chotto no ame nara ga man, Far East Babies Japanese Film Trailers    “

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The Blood of Wolves 孤狼の血 Dir: Kazuya Shiraishi (2018)

The Blood of Wolves      The Blood of Wolves Film Poster

孤狼の血 Korou no chi

Running Time: 126 mins.

Release Date: May 12th, 2018

Director: Kazuya Shiraishi

Writer: Junya Ikegami (Screenplay), Yuko Yuzuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Tori Matsuzaka, Yoko Maki, Tomoya Nakamura, Pierre Taki, Shido Nakamura, Yosuke Eguchi, Renji Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

Director Kazuya Shiraishi follows his Roman Porno, Dawn of the Felines with this blistering film.

Hiroshima is a prefecture with lots of natural beauty but filmmakers do like to find drama in the dark underbelly of the place, perhaps most famously with Kinji Fukasaku’s 1970s crime film series Battles without Honour and Humanity which was based on the experiences of a post-war yakuza boss from Hiroshima. Kazuya Shiraishi takes audiences into the same world with The Blood of Wolves, a film which feels like a throwback to an earlier time due to its raw violence, emotions, and the character archetypes in play. Shiraishi is no stranger to the crime genre thanks to his previous films The Devil’s Path (2013) and Twisted Justice (2016) but this is his best crime film yet and it is all down to a magnetic performance from lead actor Koji Yakusho and his character’s no-holds barred attitude to policing.

The Blood of Wolves Film Image 6

Continue reading “The Blood of Wolves 孤狼の血 Dir: Kazuya Shiraishi (2018)”

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Dynamite Graffiti 素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Dir: Masanori Tominaga (2018)

Dynamite Graffiti   Dynamite Graffiti Film Poster

素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Suteki na Dainamaito Sukyandaru

Running Time: 138 mins.

Release Date: March 17th, 2018

Director: Masanori Tominaga

Writer: Masanori Tominaga (Screenplay), Akira Suei (Autobiographical Essay)

Starring: Tasuku Emoto, Atsuko Maeda, Toko Miura, Machiko Ono, Kazunobu Mineta, Yutaka Matsushige, 

Website IMDB

Adult magazines are big business worldwide, including in Japan where it is still possible to walk into some convenience stores and see them on open display although in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, this is getting cleaned up. Masanori Tominaga’s biopic Dynamite Graffiti tells the history of raunchy magazine mogul Akira Suei, starting from childhood to the peak of his infamy in the 1980s when his publications had a circulation of over 300,000 copies a month and he publicly challenged censors with his magazine’s content.

Tominaga aims big and scores some smiles with behind-the-scenes looks at the smut trade but the scale of his script’s ambitions in trying to capture changing times delivers a cast of characters who are little more than cyphers while Suei remains a joker.

Continue reading “Dynamite Graffiti 素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Dir: Masanori Tominaga (2018)”

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Haman, Shuumatsu no Kemonotachi, Call of Zon, Yoru no tanken Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear readers!

Jimami Tofu Film Image 4

I hope you are all doing fine.

I’m at the end of my 12 day work week (it starts again next Monday) and the sunny weather has also taken a break and it’s now raining in the UK. Everybody heaves a huge sigh of relief because climate change has led to health problems, droughts and bad harvests, increased damage to food supplies and dangers from invasive species from tropical countries and what not. Most of all, it allows me to justify watching lots of films. I’ve watched around nine since the last weekend. I wrote about the Venice International Film Festival and posted an old review of the film Jimami Tofu (2017).

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Haman, Shuumatsu no Kemonotachi, Call of Zon, Yoru no tanken Japanese Film Trailers”

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Jimami Tofu ジーマーミ豆腐 (2017) Directors: Jason Chan, Christian Lee

Jimami Tofu  Jimami Tofu Film Poster

ジーマーミ豆腐 Ji-ma-mi Toufu

Running Time: 121 mins.

Release Date: March 28th, 2018

Director:  Jason Chan, Christian Lee

Writer: Jason Chan, Christian Lee (Screenplay),

Starring: Jason Chan, Rino Nakasone, Mari Yamamoto, Christian Lee, Masane Tsukayama, Masoyoshi Kishimoto,

IMDB

Jimami is the Okinawan dialect word for peanut and jimami tofu is a simple but much-loved speciality of the islands. This is one of the ingredients that Singaporean directors Jason Chan and Christian Lee use to cook up a tale of history, lost love, and fusion cooking with varying results.

Continue reading “Jimami Tofu ジーマーミ豆腐 (2017) Directors: Jason Chan, Christian Lee”

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Japanese Films at the Venice International Film Festival 2018

The Venice International Film Festival is here for its 75th edition and it will run from August 29th to September 08th. There are about five apanese films at this year’s festival (so far), the highlight being Shinya Tsukamoto’s return to feature-film making as a director. His last film was First on the Plain which was at the 2014 edition of the festival. He’s in the competition section with his latest offering. On a purely personal note, I met the chap and got his autograph.

Here’s what’s on offer:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Venice International Film Festival 2018”

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Sensei Kunshu, Ao-Natsu Kimi ni Koi Shita 30-nichi, My Hero Academia THE MOVIE: The Two Heroes, Doushiyoumonai Koi no Uta, The Exorcist Nurse, Poem of Seasons Woven Together / Flavors of Youth, K SEVEN STORIES Episode2 「SIDE: BLUE Tenrou no Gotoku」, Kamen Rider Build: Be The One, Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs. Keisatsu Sentai Patranger en Film, Zenra Resistance, Garandou, Fureto tsumori de, Tokyo Noir, Crazy Road of Love Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

I hope you are all well.

I’ve started doing regular PR work for a festival which is on the horizon and I’m making my way through as many films as I can and I also re-watched some Ghibli films which are getting aired on television in the UK. That written, I’ve been in work every day this week (it’s a 12 day work week) and hanging out at places and eating Japanese food when I get the chance as I try and take advantage of the nice weather. This week was chicken katsu curry, next week will be a sushi party of sorts.

In terms of posts on this blog, there was one for the Japanese Film Festival Los Angeles which starts in a couple of weeks time and there was one for Donation Theater, a way of donating money to a charity while also getting the chance of watching indie films. It’s all set up to help the people of western Japan recover after the rainfall. I hope you will help out.

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Sensei Kunshu, Ao-Natsu Kimi ni Koi Shita 30-nichi, My Hero Academia THE MOVIE: The Two Heroes, Doushiyoumonai Koi no Uta, The Exorcist Nurse, Poem of Seasons Woven Together / Flavors of Youth, K SEVEN STORIES Episode2 「SIDE: BLUE Tenrou no Gotoku」, Kamen Rider Build: Be The One, Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs. Keisatsu Sentai Patranger en Film, Zenra Resistance, Garandou, Fureto tsumori de, Tokyo Noir, Crazy Road of Love Japanese Film Trailers”

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Donation Theater: Help Western Japan Recover From the Flooding Through Film

Japan has a rainy season and typhoon season every year but this year’s has been pretty bad with record rainfall in July leading to widespread flooding and landslides in various areas of western Japan such as Okayama, Ehime, Hiroshima, and elsewhere. At least 140 are dead and others are missing. Millions of people have been have been ordered to evacuate and too many have lost their homes and access to utilities like electricity and water. With the weather calming down, the heat has returned so dangers are still present. People are now digging through mud and rubble to recover their communities and some are living in evacuation centres as the recovery efforts are underway with more than 70,000 rescue workers and lots of volunteers helping the relief effort.

You may be wondering what you can do. There is something.

http://donation-theater.eiga-infra.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/main-1024×386.png

Last month film Twitter started retweeting a link to something called Donation Theater, a fund-raising campaign handled by the CINEMA INFRASTRUCTURE ASSOCIATION OF JAPAN to support the victims of the “western Japan heavy rain disaster”. Essentially, you can use a Paypal account or bank transfer to donate some money to help people and then watch films, some of which have been made by people who come from these areas.

Continue reading “Donation Theater: Help Western Japan Recover From the Flooding Through Film”

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Japanese Film Festival Los Angeles (August 18 – 19)

Japan Film Festival in Los Angeles will run on August 18 to 19 at the Japanese American National Museum and then at Orange County’s Newport Beach Higashi Honganji.

It’s an event that has been running since 2003 and it’s stated aim is to strengthen understanding of Japanese culture through screening films for Japanese and American people to watch together. It’s laudable and it highlights the power of cinema: to take us into the lives of others. As such there are many different films programmed each year and in doing research for trailer posts, I’ve stumbled upon this festival and want to support it.

The films selected are really eclectic and run the gamut from largeish commercial feature to indie titles that hit the festival circuit. If you’re in the LA area, this could be the best chance to catch these films on the big screen.

Here are the details:

Continue reading “Japanese Film Festival Los Angeles (August 18 – 19)”

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Code Blue, Imagination Game, Katachi no Nai Hone, 1999 – Nen no natsu yasumi, There is no gender! Queer days of intersex cartoonists, Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, dear reader!

I hope you are all well.

It has been a busy week for J-film fans in North America because the while the New York Asian Film Festival has finished, Japan Cuts is still in full swing on the East Coast of the States in New York and the Asian Film Festival Dallas has been making waves down south in Texas. There’s another festival due to start next week called the Batsu Film Festival in Denver, Colorado. Each festival has had a fantastic selection of films, many of which I have reviewed (yay!) and can recommend. V-Cinema has been publishing reviews of mine:

Hanagatami (2017)

Amiko (2017)

Towards a Common Tenderness (2017)

Born Bone Born (2018)

Of Love and Law (2017)

Older ones from the V-Cinema archive which I covered last year or at Osaka earlier this year:

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (2017)

Passage of Life (V-Cinema Review) (2017) 

Kushina, what will you be (V-Cinema Review) (2018) Here’s an interview with the director: Hayami Moet (V-Cinema)

Dear Etranger (2017) (V-Cinema)

Nagisa (2017)

TOURISM (V-Cinema Review) (2018) Here’s an interview with the director: Miyazaki Daisuke (V-Cinema

My reviews from the New York Asian Film Festival were also published at V-Cinema:

The Scythian Lamb (2017)

The Blood of Wolves (2018)

The Hungry Lion (2017)

Dynamite Graffiti (2018)

Some of the older reviews and the Osaka ones I have published here over the last year, the newer ones will be published over the next couple of months. A couple of these will make my top ten films of the year!

As for the UK, we get a lot of films screened for free by the Japan Foundation as part of their Pre-Summer Explorers and Summer Explorers run.

Right, that’s enough of a catch-up with here, what’s released in Japanese cinemas this weekend?

Continue reading “Code Blue, Imagination Game, Katachi no Nai Hone, 1999 – Nen no natsu yasumi, There is no gender! Queer days of intersex cartoonists, Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa Japanese Film Trailers”

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A Preview of BATSU FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (AUGUST 03-05)

Here’s a brand new festival for North America that is totally dedicated to Japanese films. It’s called the BATSU FILM FESTIVAL and it runs from August 03rd to 05th at the Alamo Drafthouse in Denver Colorado. It’s aim is to go beyond the films of familiar names that tend to make the rounds on the festival circuit and get releases and expose the hidden talents in the Japanese film industry. With this mission, the festival programmer has dived into indie films as well as commercial features that weren’t given a wide distribution or shown outside of the bigger festivals to bring audiences in Denver a great selection of films all in one weekend in August.

There are many highlights amongst the 12 features and 4 shorts that have been selected and I have trailers for them all and links to reviews. I have watched (and reviewed) some but haven’t published any info yet so check out the notes above the trailers for some thoughts. As always, click on the titles to be taken to the festival page to see more info:

Continue reading “A Preview of BATSU FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (AUGUST 03-05)”

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Japan Foundation’s Free Film Screenings: “Summer Explorers!”

The Japan Foundation in London are putting on a series of free film screenings the first of which I posted about yesterday – Pre-Summer Explorers! – and this is the second series of screenings which has three films that aren’t screened in the UK all that often, or at all! Just click on the title to be taken through to the page to book tickets.

Sunday 12th August 2018: Courthouse Hotel Cinema
19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

His Master’s Voice   Mouichido Film Poster

もういちど  「Mo ichido」

Release Date: August 23rd, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Hiroyuki Itaya

Writer: Hiroyuki Itaya (Screenplay/Original Story),

Starring: Nayuta Fukuzaki, Gori, Taihei Hayashiya, Mami Kumagai, Hisashiro Ogura, Momoka Ohno, Yasuko Tomita,

IMDB   Website

This film will be screened twice on August 12th, 14:00 and 18:40.

Synopsis: A, Edo Period drama focussing on the comic storytelling art of Rakugo, the story begins when Sadakichi (Nayuta Fukuzaki) returns home to take a holiday from his work after being bullied there. In order to cheer up their little son, his parents ask their gloomy looking neighbour, Taihei (Taihei Hayashiya), a former Rakugo storyteller, to give a performance for him. Sadakichi is deeply moved by his performance and hopes to become Taihei’s apprentice and learn the art.

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s Free Film Screenings: “Summer Explorers!””

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Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August

The Japan Foundation are running their Summer Explorers full of anime and live-action films that are set during the summer. This is a free event which you have to register for. I repeat, this is a free event. Free films!!! To find out more about it, visit the Japan Foundation’s website.

Saturday, 4 August 2018: Soho Hotel Cinema
4 Richmond Mews (via Richmond Buildings), London, W1D 3Dh

NHK WORLD DOUBLE BILL PART ONE

A Tale of Love & Honour: Life in Gion
Dir. Maki Kubochi, 2017, 49min

Take a peek into the distinct district of Gion in Kyoto and witness the proud and wistful stories of people belonging to this secret world in this fascinating documentary from NHK WORLD-JAPAN.

Living Ninja Legend Masaaki Hatsumi
Dir. Fuyuhiko Nishi, 2016, 41 min

Masaaki Hatsumi, 84 years old, is a living ninja in modern times. What is the essence of his astonishing art? This documentary investigates the hidden power of this ninja master.

House    House Film Poster

ハウス 「Hausu」

Released: July 30th, 1977 (Japan)

Running time: 88 mins.

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi,

Writer: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Chiho Katsura (Screenplay),

Cast: Kimiko Ikegami – Oshare,  Miki Jinbo – Kung-Fu, Kuniko Oba – Fantasy, Ai Matsubara – Prof., Kiyohiko Ozaki – Mr. Togo, Yoko Minamida – Auntie,

IMDB

The highlight, in my opinion. This film is a riot of fun and good music with a haunted house setting to die for as a bunch of girls will find out. It comes from Nobuhiko Obayashi and his daughter and features so much imagination and flair for visual spectacle and cool music that it is a delight to watch. I highly recommend it. Here’s my review.

Synopsis: The summer holidays have arrived and for seven high school girls named Melody, Prof, Sweetie, Kung-fu, Mac, Fantasy and Oshare (Kimiko Ikegami) they have the chance to go camping with their teacher Mr. Togo. Oshare declines because her father is back from Italy and she’s looking forward to staying at a villa with him. Her plans are ruined when he introduces her to his potential new wife. Oshare is upset at the presence of the woman and decides to visit an eccentric spinster aunt, inviting her friends along for the trip. After a long journey the girls arrive at the aunt’s house but find their presence has triggered a hostile force that immediately attacks them, picking them off one by one while the eccentric aunt watches.

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August”

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Bleach, Mirai of the Future, Still Life of Memories, Ame no kubi furizaka, Engine Sentai Go-Onger: 10 Years Grand Prix, Anna (Kidnapper), Sukabro Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

The Suffering of Ninko Kazama

I hope everyone is feeling fine.

I’ve just finished a six-day working week at my regular job and I’m in the middle of film festival work for Kotatsu. I finished crafting PR stuff weeks ago but getting it set in motion is happening now. Since the last trailer post, I watched ten films and written about Third Window Films’ release of Suffering of Ninko, posted a review for The Path Leading to Love and posted an interview with the director of that film, Takayama Kohei.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Bleach, Mirai of the Future, Still Life of Memories, Ame no kubi furizaka, Engine Sentai Go-Onger: 10 Years Grand Prix, Anna (Kidnapper), Sukabro Japanese Film Trailers”

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An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Takayama Kohei OAFF Interview

Kohei Takayama was born in Chiba prefecture in 1987. After graduating from Waseda University, he began making indie films such as Ni naru (2015) and Kudaranai kudaranai kono sekai (2016). He was at the Osaka Asian Film Festival to present the world premiere of his latest work, The Path Leading to Love (2018). The story is a downbeat tale of a talented manga artist wasting his skills thanks to alcohol. The main protagonist, Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka) lacks the ability to overcome his alcoholism even though it has ruined relationships with his family, his ex-girlfriend Sawako (Mika Dehara) and threatens his relationship with his current girlfriend Yasuko (Yumi Mukai). The story refuses to look away from the negative aspects of alcoholism and asks the audience to follow a man on his self-destructive path. What makes it a gripping watch is the powerful acting performances from the cast.

Kohei Takayama kindly gave an interview on the penultimate day of the festival at the press centre. Acting as interpreter was Kayoko Nakanishi who was invaluable in helping the conversation flow smoothly and always offering nuanced interpretation of what turned into a philosophical conversation based on the intelligent and thoughtful work of Takayama.

Continue reading “An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

The Path Leading to Love

アイニ向カッテ Ai ni Mukatte

Running Time: 76 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Kohei Takayama

Writer: Kohei Takayama (Screenplay),

Starring: Ippei Tanaka, Yumi Mukai, Mika Dehara, Suzuka Minagawa, Koichi Sakaguchi,

Alcohol addiction and writers go together like cookies and cream, or so it seems. The combination of self-destructive artist and liquid fire has been the subject of films like The Lost Weekend (1945), Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and works based on the life and novels of Charles Bukowski. The need to blot out reality comes from many sources and The Path Leading to Love is a quietly powerful film that shows how alcohol blights the life of someone too filled with doubt, cowardice, weakness, and selfishness to overcome it for the sake of others.

The drunk is Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka). He could be a promising manga artist but he cannot even approach the foothills of creativity because his alcoholism pushes away his desire to work. It also pushed away his ex-girlfriend Sawako and threatens his relationship with his current partner, the loyal but lovelorn Yasuko.

Continue reading “The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD

Third Window Films are having a cracking year releasing great films what with three Sono titles The Whispering Star/The Sion Sono and Antiporno and the Osamu Tezuka anime. Here’s a great title which I reviewed last year called Suffering of Ninko which will get released on July 23rd on Blu-ray and DVD.

Special Features:
Dual format DVD & BLURAY
45 minute interview with the director
“Strawberry Jam” Short film

Director Norihiro Niwatsukino trades in combining animation and live-action to make a fun horror comedy with shades of shunga and samurai action as well as plenty of earthy humour. With beautiful women and ghosts aplenty, this comes close to being like the 70s exploitation films many fans of Japanese cinema will recognise. Here’s more about the film:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD”

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Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Dynamite Graffiti Tasuku Emoto

I hope everybody is doing well!

Think about the people who live in the western part of Japan who have lost a lot due to the heavy rain and consider donating to relief efforts if you can spare the money. Times are tough so prayers and positive energy and raising awareness is also good. Here’s a link to Time Out which has a number of options. Good news came in the form of the boys and the coach rescued from the cave in Thailand. Well done rescuers and the people who supported them.

As for me, I ducked out of some social engagements due to a physical injury I’ve had since last week Monday but I watched three films and got three film reviews done. I also watched Sicario II: Soldado in a cinema with my mother and sister and really enjoyed what turned out to be a thrilling film. Great performances from Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro and some hair-raising action scenes! I posted a preview of the awesome-looking Asian Film Festival Dallas which has lots of great Japanese films. I also posted an old interview from the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) involving Rina Tanaka and her cast and crew from her film, Filled with Steam. The Fantasia International Film Festival launched this week in Canada and it has some killer titles!

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers”

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An Interview with Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, and Kaori Takeshita, the Cast and Crew of the film “Filled With Steam” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

At the Osaka Asian Film Festival, Filled with Steam (2017) was one of the films screened at the Housen section, a place reserved for films that received support from the Housen Cultural Foundation. This organisation aims to further film study and production in graduate schools across Japan with the aim of “preserving and helping grow film culture in Japan” through funding shorts and features. This is the second year that OAFF ran a dedicated Housen section and this year there were three films, Girl Returned (2017), Protest (2016), and Filled with Steam.

Filled with Steam is a bittersweet 30-minute dramedy that details a relationship full of secrets as a woman named Midoriko (Ayako Mizuno) and her husband Daisuke (Takehito Sato) drift apart. Midoriko is visiting a pregnancy classroom run by a flamboyant teacher named Miho (Kaori Takeshita) unbeknownst to Daisuke but a series of twists forces the couple to confront the substance of their marriage. Directed by Rina Tanaka, the film displays a talented director working with great people and interesting material to make a thought-provoking human drama. It was warmly received by its audience at its world premiere at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, but questions remained for this correspondent about the use of comedy and the late-stage intervention of a baby. Fortunately. the cast and crew of the film provided answers in a group interview.

Filled with Steam Team
Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, KAori Takeshita

This interview was conducted after the screening with the help of Kayoko Nakanishi, a member of OAFF’s International Press team, who acted as an interpreter and got involved in the lively interview with some questions and comments due to her own enjoyment of the film. Taking part in the interview from the film’s cast and staff were the director, Rina Tanaka, a graduate with a Masters from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Film & New Media, Directing course, the actors Takehito Sato and Kaori Takeshita, the film’s writer Ryota Kato and the editor, Fixy Lee.

Continue reading “An Interview with Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, and Kaori Takeshita, the Cast and Crew of the film “Filled With Steam” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018″

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Japanese Films at the Asian Film Festival Dallas 2018 (July 19 – 26)

The Asian Film Festival Dallas runs from July 19th to 26th and is continuing its mission of bringing movies from Asian and Asian-American filmmakers living around the world to audiences in Dallas, Texas in order to celebrate and support emerging and established filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through films.

I’m here to cover the Japanese films and the selection is really surprising and good. Many of these Dallas Premieres and some US Premieres with the likes of Riding Uphill, 3Ft and Ball, and The Reverse Diaries being real surprises. These three look like solid dramas and offer an alternative look at Japan. There’s the entertainment movies like We Make Antiques and Laughing Under the Clouds and there’s a classic in the form of Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter.

There are some great non-Japanese films like Edward Yang’s phenomenal Yi Yi and the HK crime thriller The Brink and a bunch of Korean films like The Mimic and Believer. There’s a lot on offer!

America is a big place and you’re not going to be able to see many titles on the big screen if you’re not living in New York and able to enjoy Japan Cuts and the New York Asian Film Festival. If you’re in Texas or near it, this is going to be your best opportunity to see them especially since some of these may not be available on streaming services.

Anyway, here are the films! Just click on the titles to be taken to the corresponding page on the festival site!

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Asian Film Festival Dallas 2018 (July 19 – 26)”

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Room Laundering, The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine, Rainbow Days, 36.8°C Sanjurokudohachibu, One Man’s Son, You, Your, Yours, K SEVEN STORIES Episode1 「R:B BLAZE」, Okinawa 1965, Into the Shin Guu, Hooked on the Jomon, Hotaru no Kawa no Mamoribito Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, you lovely people!

Room Laundering Film Image

I hope you are well!

I’ve had a busy week packed full of fun things. Sunday started with VCinema posting my review of The Blood of Wolves and then I posted a review for Passage of Life. I then posted a preview for the Fantasia International Film Festival over in Montreal, Canada which looks absolutely fantastic. Vcinema also published my review for The Scythian Lamb. In the real world, the weather has been great and I continued with my day job and went to a funding meeting with a friend for her film festival. I also met Prince Charles at work and I had the chance to shake his hand and talk to him about my role in an exhibition! I have a couple of invites for drinks next week but I’ve got to get two film reviews filed away and do some more festival work before I can think about them.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Room Laundering, The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine, Rainbow Days, 36.8°C Sanjurokudohachibu, One Man’s Son, You, Your, Yours, K SEVEN STORIES Episode1 「R:B BLAZE」, Okinawa 1965, Into the Shin Guu, Hooked on the Jomon, Hotaru no Kawa no Mamoribito Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival (July 12th – August 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival starts in Montreal next week on July 12th and runs until August 02nd. The selection of Japanese films is simply stunning with titles from Miki Satoshi, Takashi Miike,  Nobuhiko Obayashi, Sion Sono and more. However, there are a selection of indie film titles that look absolutely killer as well.

Fantasia Header Image

This is the 22nd edition of the festival and it has become a focal point for filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists, and audiences eager to see a diverse slate of films before they hit the DVD or internet and take part in film culture. There are lots of guests and great experiences to be had and a chance to get involved with dictating which films get the hype behind them, so please choose Japanese, and try some of the titles listed here.

So what’s lined up?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival (July 12th – August 02nd)”

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Passage of Life  僕の帰る場所 Dir:  Akio Fujimoto (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Passage of Life    Passage of Life Film Poster

僕の帰る場所 「Boku no kaerubasho

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: November 25th, 2017

Director:  Akio Fujimoto

Writer: Akio Fujimoto (Screenplay)

Starring: Kaung Myat Thu, Khin Myat Thu, Issace, Htet Myat Naing, Yuki Kitagawa, Kanji Tsuda,

IMDB Website

Immigration is a thorny issue the world over and Japan is not immune to it since its tough stance and refusal to take large numbers of refugees draws criticism from nations which have more open policies. Whether this criticism is fair or not is put to the side in Passage of Life, as drama trumps politics.

One of two films at the Osaka Asian Film Festival looking at the immigrant experience of people who are of Burmese extraction and living in Japan, the other being My Country, My Home, it is shot with remarkable confidence considering it is the debut feature-film from Osaka-born director Akio Fujimoto who uses a documentary film style to show the uncertainties of life as an immigrant feeling the pull of two different cultures.

Continue reading “Passage of Life  僕の帰る場所 Dir:  Akio Fujimoto (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Punk Samurai Slash Down, The Name, Modern Love, The Trial, The Negotiator: Behind the Reversion of Okinawa, Let’s go! Anpanman: Shine! Kurun and the Star of Life, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad, MANDALAY STAR My Journey to Myanmar Folk Music, Bridge to Tomorrow Memories of 1989, Girls’ Encounter, The Second Security Unit Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tourism Film Image 2 Nina Endo and SUMIRE

I hope everyone is feeling great!

I’ve had a good week watching some fantastic films and enjoying the good weather the UK is experiencing. I also got a lot festival press work done months in advance of an event with a press release, synopses, and contacts ready to go out.

The New York Asian Film Festival kicked off yesterday and two of my reviews have gone live on V-Cinema: The Hungry Lion and Dynamite Graffiti and there are a couple more waiting to be published. Over here on this blog I published a review for TOURISM and an interview with the director of TOURISM, Daisuke Miyazaki.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Punk Samurai Slash Down, The Name, Modern Love, The Trial, The Negotiator: Behind the Reversion of Okinawa, Let’s go! Anpanman: Shine! Kurun and the Star of Life, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad, MANDALAY STAR My Journey to Myanmar Folk Music, Bridge to Tomorrow Memories of 1989, Girls’ Encounter, The Second Security Unit Japanese Film Trailers”

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An Interview with Daisuke Miyazaki, director of “TOURISM”, at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Daisuke Miyazaki was born in 1980 in Yokohama, Kanagawa. A passion for analysing films turned into a career when he started making them while studying at Waseda University. In 2004, he participated in New York University’s summer school that took place in Japan. His thesis The 10th Room won the Christine Choi Award, which is the grand prix at the KUT Film Festival held by the NYU. His following film Love Will Tear Us Apart was invited to be a special screening at the Image Forum Film Festival 2006, which is the largest experimental film festival in Japan.

The next stage in his career was to work his way up through the film world from lighting assistant to acting as an assistant director for Kiyoshi Kurosawa on Tokyo Sonata(2008). Miyazaki’s first feature film, End of the Night (2011), was exhibited at the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema International Film Festival, and received a special award at the Toronto Shinsedai Film Festival. His work on the omnibus film 5TO9 was screened at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2016 (OAFF) and his second feature Yamato (California) was screened at OAFF 2017.

He returned to OAFF in 2018 with his latest feature film, Tourism, an amusingly hip youth movie following two Japanese girls named Nina (Nina Endo) and Su (SUMIRE) who get lost in Singapore, which was shot in the space of five days. This is the first of a planned five film run which could take Miyazaki around the world.

Daisuke Miyazaki

Miyazaki kindly took part in an interview at the ABC Hall in Osaka midway through the festival where he went into detail about the shoot and his background.

Continue reading “An Interview with Daisuke Miyazaki, director of “TOURISM”, at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Tourism Dir: Daisuke Miyazaki (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Tourism    Tourism Film Poster

Running Time: 77 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Daisuke Miyazaki

Writer: Daisuke Miyazaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Nina Endo, Sumire, Takayuki Yanagi,

IMDB

Daisuke Miyazaki is fast becoming a director to watch., quickly following up his last film Yamato (California) (2017) with Tourism, the second of a two-part video installation commissioned by the ArtScience Museum in Singapore and Singapore International Film Festival for an exhibition called “Specters and Tourists”. The project aimed to explore the nature of contemporary life and an under-seen side of Singapore. Nina Endo, one of the stars of “Yamato (California)”, takes the lead role here (as well as acting as stylist and co-producer) and is paired up with SUMIRE, a popular fashion model and daughter of Tadanobu Asano, to make a cute double-act that Miyazaki sends to Singapore on a journey off the beaten track.

This story happened a while ago, in two countries on a certain planet.”

Continue reading “Tourism Dir: Daisuke Miyazaki (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Gyoza You Can Kiss, Yakiniku Dragon, Uta Monogatari CINEMA FIGHTERS project, Missions of Love, Neko wa Daku Mono, One Cut of the Dead, The World’s Longest Photograph, Under the Dog Jumbled, Kawaii Akuma, Shoujo Picaresque Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!!!

After the Storm Koreeda Kirin Abe

We made it to another one.

There was an earthquake in the Kansai region last Monday which resulted in some tragic news. I hope everyone who has been affected is coping or has recovered.

I’ve entered a new work period which is a little less intense so I’ve had time to watch films for pleasure. I’ve seen six since last weekend and I watched some of those twice. Two are by the same director. Reviews will materialise at some point. Other than that, business as usual. The weather has been good and I’ve been practising Japanese. My favourite discovery of the week is ほんまに which is 関西弁 apparently. I’m trying to remember times when people have said it around me. Fluency when speaking a language is partly about confidence and I’m speaking Japanese a lot so having fun ways to start sentences is great. I’m trying to arrange a get-together with friends I haven’t hung out with for a while and trying to get a handle on festival work I’ve put off for a while because of work elsewhere. 

I posted a news article about the New York Asian Film Festival and an interview with the guys behind Bad Poetry Tokyo.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Gyoza You Can Kiss, Yakiniku Dragon, Uta Monogatari CINEMA FIGHTERS project, Missions of Love, Neko wa Daku Mono, One Cut of the Dead, The World’s Longest Photograph, Under the Dog Jumbled, Kawaii Akuma, Shoujo Picaresque Japanese Film Trailers”

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An Interview with Anshul Chauhan, Orson Mochizuki, and Takaeshi Kawaguchi Director and Actors of “Bad Poetry Tokyo” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Bad Poetry Tokyo (BPT) is the debut feature film from Anshul Chauhan, an animator turned indie film director. Born in India in 1986, Anshul’s main job is working as an animator in Japan. His career stretches back to 2006 with work in both TV and film and it has progressed to include some recently released major titles such as Final fantasy XV: Kingsglaive and Gantz: O. Life as a live-action director began with short films which is how he met his lead actors for BPT. With his actors lined up and having gained some experience, he finally made the leap into features with this BPT, a dark drama built around an acting tour de force from a trio of talented actors, Shuna Iijima and her co-stars, Orson Mochizuki and Takashi Kawaguchi

Continue reading “An Interview with Anshul Chauhan, Orson Mochizuki, and Takaeshi Kawaguchi Director and Actors of “Bad Poetry Tokyo” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Japanese Films at the New York Asian Film Festival (June 29 – July 15)

The 17th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) will run from June 29 – July 15, 2018 and there are 14 Japanese films programmed for the event. There are many guests arriving in New York and a real variety of films which makes the Japanese content really exciting to see.

Indeed, the Opening Night film is the North American premiere of Tominaga Masanori’s Dynamite Graffiti, an earthy dramedy about the life of Suei Akira, who is described as “Japanese porn mag king”.

Dynamite Graffiti Film Image

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the New York Asian Film Festival (June 29 – July 15)”

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Dynamite Graffiti 素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Dir: Masanori Tominaga (2018)

Dynamite Graffiti   Dynamite Graffiti Film Poster

素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Suteki na Dainamaito Sukyandaru

Running Time: 138 mins.

Release Date: March 17th, 2018

Director: Masanori Tominaga

Writer: Masanori Tominaga (Screenplay), Akira Suei (Autobiographical Essay)

Starring: Tasuku Emoto, Atsuko Maeda, Toko Miura, Machiko Ono, Kazunobu Mineta, Yutaka Matsushige, 

Website IMDB

Adult magazines are big business worldwide, including in Japan where it is still possible to walk into some convenience stores and see them on open display although in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, this is getting cleaned up. Masanori Tominaga’s biopic Dynamite Graffiti tells the history of raunchy magazine mogul Akira Suei, starting from childhood to the peak of his infamy in the 1980s when his publications had a circulation of over 300,000 copies a month and he publicly challenged censors with his magazine’s content.

Tominaga aims big and scores some smiles with behind-the-scenes looks at the smut trade but the scale of his script’s ambitions in trying to capture changing times delivers a cast of characters who are little more than cyphers while Suei remains a joker.

Continue reading “Dynamite Graffiti 素敵なダイナマイトスキャンダル Dir: Masanori Tominaga (2018)”

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Kairai / Marionettes, Yuzuriha, Recall, East of Jefferson, Batman Ninja, B’z 30th Year Exhibition “SCENES” 1988-2018 Gekijouban, Dolmen X Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, people!

Thicker than Water Film Image

I hope everyone is well.

It’s a bit of a gloomy day today and I’m feeling under the weather because I caught a cold last week. It’s on its way out, thankfully, and it couldn’t come sooner because I am taking a friend out to a pub tonight so we can have a good time together. Earlier this week, I attended the opening of a gallery with the same friend and the Japanese ambassador was there. Other than that, business as usual with films and work at my day job. I saw two great titles last Sunday, a Sono film and a Junji Sakamoto one that both had me tearful and laughing. In terms of my writing, I published an old review of Bad Poetry Tokyo and a preview of Japan Cuts 2018 which has many excellent titles. Japan Cuts always programmes great films and this year looks stellar with titles like Night is Short, Walk on GirlKushina, Nagisa, Passage of Life, Dear Etranger, and TOURISM, being ones I have already seen and rated highly. Hanagatami, Thicker than Water, and Amiko are ones I am desperate to watch. Violence Voyager, the Geki-animation by Ujicha looks like a barrel of laughs!

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Kairai / Marionettes, Yuzuriha, Recall, East of Jefferson, Batman Ninja, B’z 30th Year Exhibition “SCENES” 1988-2018 Gekijouban, Dolmen X Japanese Film Trailers”

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2018 (JULY 19–29)

Japan Cuts 2018 is due to kick off in New York soon! This is the 12th edition of the festival which screens the largest collection of contemporary Japanese films in North America. It runs from JULY 19–29 and there is everything from indies to blockbusters, anime to documentaries and short films, and lots of off-screen action like parties, live music and more over a 10-day festival.

Trailer!

The full list of films can be found here and some features are preceded by short films. There is an impressive list of films covering a variety of topics from refugee-life to the fight for equality by people facing discrimination due to sexual orientation, the desire to create new worlds by travelling to places mainstream films never go, to a much-anticipated adaptation of a popular manga/anime. These films are made by people from different backgrounds and the guests at the festival include a lot of female filmmakers, proving that Japan is a hotbed of talent from all sorts of places.

There will be many guests including legendary screen veteran Kirin Kiki who will receive the 2018 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film.

Here is what has been programmed!

Continue reading “A Preview of Japan Cuts 2018 (JULY 19–29)”

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Bad Poetry Tokyo 東京不穏詩 Dir: Anshul Chauhan (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Bad Poetry Tokyo    Bad Poetry Tokyo Film Poster

東京不穏詩 Tōkyō fuon uta

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Anshul Chauhan

Writer: Anshul Chauhan, Rand Colter (Screenplay), Anshul Chauhan (Original Story)

Starring: Shuna Iijima, Orson Mochizuki, Takashi Kawaguchi, Nana Blank, Kohei Mashiba, Kento Furukoshi,

Website    IMDB

Fake it till you make it. It’s a useful mantra to live by. Appear confident and people will accept it. We all do it, but every once in a while the mask will slip. What happens when you simply run out of energy to hold that mask up?

Jun Fujita (Shuna Iijima) is 30 years old. She majored in English at Tokyo University and dreams of appearing in Hollywood movies. For the time being, though, she works as a hostess at a shady club where her boyfriend Taka (Orson Mochizuki) is employed as a barman. Some of that is true, some of that is false. Life hasn’t turned out the way Jun imagined when she fled her home in Nagano Prefecture five years ago. Still, she yearns to be an actress and is about to make it when betrayed by her lover. Broken and made savage by the experience, she heads back to her sleepy countryside hometown to lick her wounds. As far as she can tell, things seemingly haven’t changed much when she first arrives and is reunited with her father and her old lover Yuki (Takashi Kawaguchi), which is a problem because there are ugly secrets about her past that made her flee in the first place.CO01_BadPoetryTokyo

The drama of Bad Poetry Tokyo opens with a sequence showing Jun perpetrating a violent attack while her narration tells us some of what has driven her to this point. It then cuts back to an earlier period of time so viewers can trace the sequence of events that has to the moment that the weight of the world has become too heavy for Jun to bear.

Continue reading “Bad Poetry Tokyo 東京不穏詩 Dir: Anshul Chauhan (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)

Japannual Banner

This is the year when I try and give a little boost to smaller film festivals and the Japannual Japanese Film Festival in Vienna deserves one. The Austrian-Japanese Society is trying to bring some great films to the nation’s capital.

This could turn into a laborious cut-and-paste job from previous festival’s I’ve covered because I have information on all but four films but I’ll spare you by giving the highlights.

The program has a mix of classic titles restored to new and shiny life, to contemporary films still being talked about in film groups. Some of these have been on the festival circuit for a while there are others that pop up rarely. There are indies that need a push and anime that are too good to miss. I’m going to highlight independent cinema and hard to see classics as well as an anime that is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

INDIES AND FEATURES

Indie titles come thick and fast with a diverse array of stories and styles on offer from the excessively arty anti-war pic Hanagatami which set out on its festival tour a year ago at Tokyo, to the fresh and fun One Cut of the Dead, an award-winning zombie film where a horror production gets jumped on by real zombies. It is a film which has wowed audiences wherever it has played.

Amiko    Amiko Film Poster

あみこ Amiko

Running Time: 66 mins.

Release Date: September 01st, 2018

Director: Yoko Yamanaka

Writer: Yoko Yamanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Ai Sunohara, Hiroshi Oshita, Mineo Maiko,

This special gem won the Audience Award and Hikari TV Award at the Pia Film Festival and was featured at the Berlin International Film Festival and it will be at Japan Cuts this month as well. It’s an excellent debut film from Yoko Yamanaka and shows a filmmaker who is unafraid to use the camera and her actors in distinctive and, crucially, fun ways to deliver a quirky comedy about a sucky first love. My review for this film was published some time ago! All I have to say is…

SEE THIS FILM!!!

Synopsis: 16-year-old Amiko is convinced that “the Japanese are unable to dance spontaneously.” She’s just tried it out herself, with some strangers in a Tokyo underground passage. Believing that she’s had more than her fair share of days where she’d do absolutely anything, she’s left behind the provincial city of Nagano to head to the capital and take her heartthrob Aomi to task. A year before, she took a long winter’s walk with him and thought she’d met her soulmate, someone else like her who wonders in which phase of life there’s actually room for being happy. But then he disappeared, headed for Tokyo, together with Amiko’s nemesis Miyako of all people, the very “epitome of mass culture”, quite unlike her anti-bourgeois and wildly romantic self.

Our House    Watashitachi no ie Film Poster

わたしたちの家Watashitachi no ie

Running Time: 80 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Director:  Yui Kiyohara

Writer: Yui Kiyohara, Noriko Kato (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuki Kasai, Yukiko Anno, Mari Ozawa,

Website

This film comes from Yui Kiyohara, a graduate student at the Tokyo National University of the Arts and has studied with Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It took top prize at the The Pia Film Festival Award Winning Film and was at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year. It looks fascinating and mysterious!

Synopsis from the festival site: A mother named and daughter live on a boat in the city of Kure. They exist in two separate worlds in their house but as the two worlds start to merge, confusion develops.What will happen when they connect to each other?

Zan (Killing)     Killing Film Poster

センセイ君主 Zan

Running Time: 80 mins.

Release Date: November 24th, 2018

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Sosuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi, Shinya Tsukamoto, Tatsuya Nakamura, Ryusei Maeda

Website    IMDB

Shinya Tsukamoto is back writing, directing, editing and producing his own films after a short spell acting in features like Shin Godzilla and Over the Fence. I’m a big fan of his works thanks to Nightmare Detective(2007), Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Tokyo Fist (1995), and Vital (2003) and his film A Snake of June, which was given the Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Venice Film Festival. This was at Venice and Toronto earlier this year.

Synopsis: The ronin Mokunoshin Tsuzuki (Sosuke Ikematsu) is alive during the end of the Edo period where many samurai like him are finding their way of life losing its edge as the country exists in a state of peace. He lives in the suburbs of Tokyo where he helps out farmers and is acquainted with one farmer’s son named Ichisuke (Ryusei Maeda) who dreams of being a samurai. Tsuzuki spends his days farming and sparring with Ichisuke but, despite the tranquillity, Tsuzuki’s heart is in tumult because he is concerned about the questions of whether he could follow a lord’s orders and kill a man and, more importantly, passions are brewing as he is falling in love with Ichisuke’s sister Yu (Yu Aoi). Passions from further afield are also growing as the country is on the verge of a civil war when a mild-mannered and skilful ronin Jirozaemon Sawamura (Shinya Tsukamoto) arrives in town looking for warriors to take to Edo.

Bad Poetry Tokyo      Bad Poetry Tokyo Film Poster

東京不穏詩 「Tōkyō fuon uta

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Anshul Chauhan

Writer: Anshul Chauhan, Rand Colter (Screenplay), Anshul Chauhan (Original Story)

Starring: Shuna Iijima, Orson Mochizuki, Takashi Kawaguchi, Nana Blank, Kohei Mashiba, Kento Furukoshi,

Website    IMDB

Bad Poetry Tokyo is a stunning human drama with a tone reminiscent of The Light Shines Only There (2014). It is lead by a powerful performance from Shuna Iijima who has to deal with heavy issues and does so with a grace that is breathtaking. Her performance won her the Best Actress award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival and I can tell you now that it will keep you riveted to the screen. Here’s my review of the film and an interview with the director and cast. Highly recommended.

Synopsis: Jun Fujita is 30 years old. She majored in English at Tokyo University. That is the lie she tells people when she applies for acting jobs. In reality, she works as a hostess at a shady club. Life hasn’t turned out the way she wanted when she escaped home back in Nagano Prefecture five years ago. Still, she dreams of being an actress and is about to touch her dream when she is betrayed by her lover and things go wrong at the club. Broken and made savage by the experience, she heads back to her sleepy hometown in the countryside to lick her wounds. Things haven’t changed much there and she reconnects with an old flame but there are ugly truths about her past that lurk beneath the surface …

I think people who are paying attention to Japanese cinema would have noticed that Takumi Saitoh is, as well as starring in films, steadily building his experience as a writer and director with writing work on an animated short and directorial work on a live-action short. This time last year, he had his film Blank 13 screened at the London East Asian Film Festival and it has steadily toured the world. That’s a family drama about a man who had been missing returning to his family but in a hospital bed as he’s about to kick the bucket. His family find out what happened to him. Another family drama, and one I can recommend, is Dear Etranger which features some great performances from a cast led by Tadanobu Asano and Rena Tanaka as a couple trying to make their current marriage work while juggling responsibilities and people from past relationships. It doesn’t flinch from showing the selfish side of people and how people have to swallow pride and anger and it doesn’t flinch from showing the rewards that love can bring.

Another film that premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival a year ago is Akiko Ohku’s dramedy Tremble All You Want which has earned plaudits for its relationship shenanigans. There’s also a major scoop for the festival with another Akiko Ohku film that isn’t even supposed to be released until next year!

Marriage Hunting Beauty

美人が婚活してみたら Bijin ga Konkatsu Shite Mitara

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Akiko Ohku

Writer: Jiro (Original Screenplay), Arako Toaru (Original Manga)

Starring: Mei Kurokawa, Asami Usuda, Tomoya Nakamura, Kei Tanaka,

IMDB

Synopsis: Takako (Mei Kurokawa) is a beautiful designer who has hit thirty and is desperate to get hitched. She’s cautious despite this because she has been let down by a guy before but this time will be different! She’s got herself registered on a marriage site. Keiko (Asami Usuda) is in a similar boat and the two end up quarrelling as well as helping each other…

There are supernatural adventures with yokai and a private detective in Destiny: A Tale of Kamakura and a more realistic crime thriller based on a novel by Kanae Minato, Homecoming.

Pumpkin and Mayonnaise    Pumpkin and Mayonnaise Film Poster

南瓜とマヨネーズ 「Kabocha to Mayone-zu

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: November 11th, 2017

Director:  Masanori Tominaga

Writer: Masanori Tominaga (Screenplay), Kiriko Nananan (Original Manga)

Starring: Asami Usuda, Taiga, Joe Odagiri, Ryuya Wakaba, Koudai Asaka, Ritsu Otomo, Kurumi Shimizu, Ken Mitsuishi, Sario Okada, Emina Kondo,

Website IMDB

Masanori Tominaga (Rolling) assembles a great cast with Asami Usada (The Woodsman and the Rain) in a love triangle with Joe Odagiri (Mushishi) and Taiga (Japanese Girls Never Die).

Synopsis: Tsuchida (Asami Usuda) lives with her boyfriend Seiichi (Taiga). He is an aspiring musician but he has no job and is struggling to write new songs. Tsuchida decides to work at a hostess club to support them both but doesn’t inform Seiichi. Things blow up when she gets herself involved with her customer Yasuhara (Ken Mitsuishi) and Seiichi finds out. Arguments ensue and he decides to get a job but around this time, Tsuchida runs into her ex-boyfriend Hagio (Joe Odagiri)…

Other dramas include the motor vehicle insurance drama Recall and manga-inspired Teiichi: Battle of Surpeme High and “aftermath of 3-11”-inspired drama Side Job. There is also Passage of Life, a topical film about immigration.

With the sad passing of Kirin Kiki, auds might be interested in seeing one of her last roles, Mori: The Artist’s Habitat in order to see her talent at work.

ANIME

I mentioned anime earlier and here it is! It’s freaking awesome! It’s the phenomenal…

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

夜は短し歩けよ乙女 「Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome

Release date: April 07th, 2017    The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Poster

Running Time: 93 mins.

Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Writer: Masaaki Yuasa, Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay) Tomihiko Morimi (Original Novel),

Animation Production: Science SARU

Starring: Kana Hanazawa (Kurokami no Otome), Gen Hoshino (Senpai), Kazuya Nakai (Seitarou Higuchi), Yuuko Kaida (Ryouko Hanuki), Nobuyuki Hiyama (Johnny), Aoi Yuuki (Princess Daruma), Junichi Suwabe (Nise Jougasaki),

MAL     IMDB    Website

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl is probably the join-first best work from Masaaki Yuasa (the first being Mind Game). I can guarantee you will have a good time with this one having seen it with an audience of anime fans who were totally absorbed in its fantastic story. Others seemingly agree since it took top awards. The 41st Ottawa International Animation Festival was where it won Best Animated Feature and the 41st Japan Academy Prize Animation of the Year went to the film. This film is the very definition of the word exuberant in terms of story and style and should cement Yuasa as one of the best anime directors around. Here’s my review!

SEE THIS FILM!

Synopsis: The narrative is simple: A black haired girl (voiced by the ubiquitous and super-talented Kana Hanazawa) is attending the wedding reception of a friend. As far as she is concerned, the party doesn’t have to end there and she walks around the streets of Kyoto at night from the alleyways and izakayas of Pontocho to the university campus, following the Komagawa river and making detours along the way. She is pursued by a male admirer, Sempai (Gen Hoshino), who tries to catch her attention by appearing before her as often as possible. As this rather one-sided romantic dance unfolds, they experience surreal magical-realist moments that grow increasingly absurd thanks to a cast of unique characters, all of which tests Sempai’s resolve in love and the girl’s capacity for drink and fun because all the while, everyone keeps drinking and having a good time.

DOCUMENTARIES AND EVENTS

Goh Harada presents his films and a workshop. His works are both narrative and experimental cinema that are, to quote the site:

“equally accessible to audiences interested in practice and theory alike. HARADA does not focus on people as privileged actors or performers, but he does rather on the emotional network of relationships between the elements “technology” and “physical living worlds”. HARADA’s 16mm works captivate his craftsmanship without neglecting the lyrical aspects. If, for example, he makes a black pigment image surface meet a white one, he brings the materials onto the transparent film, image by image, with his fingertips. And exactly this film then chases 17,000 black and white images through the projector, generating  feverish movements, not contradicting those films in which HARADA documents an afternoon in Tokyo in the 2000s: cooking a favourite soup, washing dishes, listening to the radio and strolling through the park. His current video works combine different images with non-affiliated sounds (at a first glance), but then synchronize a time lapse within their montage and their interplay.”

There’s a music doc with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Coda, which came out a year ago.

Ramen Heads   Ramen Heads Film Poster

ラーメンヘッズ Ra-men Hezzu

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director:  Koki Shigeno

Starring: Shota Iida, Kumiko Ishida, Katsuya Kobayashi, Yuki Ohnishi, Tom Takahashi, Osamu Tomita,

Website IMDB

Synopsis from IMDB: In ‘Ramen Heads,’ Osamu Tomita, Japan’s reigning king of ramen, takes us deep into his world, revealing every single step of his obsessive approach to creating the perfect soup and noodles, and his relentless search for the highest-quality ingredients. In addition to Tomita’s story, the film also profiles five other notable ramen shops, each with its own philosophy and flavour, which exemplify various different aspects the ramen world. Mixing in a brief rundown of ramen’s historical roots, the film gives viewers an in-depth look at the culture surrounding this unique and beguiling dish. This is a documentary record of 15 months in the lives of Japan’s top ramen masters and their legions of devoted fans.

Inland Sea  Seto Inland Sea Film Poster

 港町 Minatomachi

Running Time: 122 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director:  Kazuhiro Soda

IMDB     Website

This one was at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

Synopsis: Documentarian Kazuhiro Soda has been touring around the world based on films like The Oyster Factory (2015). Here, he brings his camera to the fishing village of Ushimado on the coast between Honshu and Shikoku. It is famous for being the place Shohei Imamura shot two features but now it has an ageing population but fishermen and fish-traders who tour the village and knows the local’s habits and lives. With insiders leading the way, including the film’s producer Kiyoko Kashiwagi whose family hails from the village, many tales emerge.

Life Goes On    Life Goes On Film Poster

一陽来復 Life Goes On Ichiyouraifuku Life Goes On

Running Time: 81 mins.

Release Date: March 03rd, 2018

Director: Mia Yoon

Writer: N/A

Starring: Norika Fujiwara, Koichi Yamadera (Narration)

Website IMDB

Synopsis: This is a documentary looking at the people of Iwate si years on from the Great East Japan Earthquake. A farmer who works near a nuclear power plant, a couple who lost their children, and a child growing up in the area.

CLASSICS

There are three classics on offer with Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu and Sansho Dayu appearing. These two are bonafide classics so if you consider yourself a movie fan or a person of culture, get yourself down to them!!! There are also two films by the female director Kinuyo Tanaka, and these are rarely screened!

The Eternal Breasts 

乳房よ永遠なれ 「Chibusa yo eien nare

Release Date: November 23rd, 1955

Running Time: 106 mins.

Director: Kinuyo Tanaka

Writer: Sumie Tanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Yumeji Tsukioka, Ryoji Hayama, Yuko Sugi, Junkichi Orimoto, Choko Lida, Masayuki Mori, Hiroko Kawasaki

IMDB

Eternal Breasts Film Image

Synopsis: Not only one of Japan’s greatest actresses, Kinuyo Tanaka was also the director of six features, including this powerful, frank film about the poet Fumiko Nakajo, who died of breast cancer aged 31 in 1954. Tanaka brings an unmistakeably female perspective to recounting Nakajo’s life – from divorce through single motherhood, illness and her growing independence in life and love as her literary reputation grows

Love Letter   

恋文 Koibumi

Running Time: 98 mins.

Release Date: December 13th, 1953

Director: Kinuyo Tanaka

Writer: Keisuke Kinoshita (Screenplay), Fumio Niwa (Original Novel)

Starring: Masayki Mori, Yoshiko Kuga, Jukichi Uno, Juso Dozan, Kyoko Kagawa,

IMDB

Synopsis: Reikichi Mayumi (Masayuki Mori) is one of many struggling to make ends meet at the end of World War II. He finds a job where he will write love letters for other people but his own love life is far from the beautiful odes he creates for others and we see it when he rediscovers his former girlfriend, Michiko (Yoshigo Kuga), a woman who has also struggled with the war and the US occupation…

I could have included trailers and information for all but three films and Harada’s event but this post is long enough. It’s interesting seeing things I wrote a year ago and even further back and wondering how my writing style has changed. This is prep for a long post that is coming soon…

I hope I haven’t bored you! Thanks for taking the time to read the post.