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: