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The Girl and the Gun Director: Rae Red, Philippines, (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Girl and the Gun  The Girl and the Gun Film Poster

Release Date: March 07th, 2020

Duration: 80 mins.

Director: Rae Red

Writer: Rae Red (Script),

Starring: Janine Gutierrez, Elijah Canlas, Felix Roco, JC Santos,

OAFF IMDB

Rae Red was introduced to the world through co-writing Birdshot (2017) with her cousin Mikhail Red. Since then, she has quickly accrued projects, collaborating with Mikhail on the scripts for his features Neomanila (2017) and Eerie (2018). In terms of directing, her debut was the short film Luna (2016) which was screened at the CineFilipino Film Festival while her debut feature, which she co-directed, Si Chedeng at Si Apple (2017), was screened at the Far East Film Festival and Kansai Queer Film Festival. The Girl with the Gun is her solo directorial debut and it displays a distinctive style that marks her out as a director of immense talent.

Continue reading “The Girl and the Gun Director: Rae Red, Philippines, (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Akira, Keanin: Kokoro ni Saku Hana, Suzushii Kokage Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Akira End

I hope you are all well.

This is my first trailer post in a month and it’s because I am back in the UK after my month-long holiday in Japan.

While I was over there I worked at one film festival, the Osaka Asian Film Festival (as can be seen from my reviews), and I attended another in the place I used to live, Asagaya. I stayed in Osaka and Tokyo with friends, eating and drinking whilst the rest of the world was undergoing Coronavirus shock and social distancing. I was ever aware of the dangers and so I was prepared when I had to cut my time in Japan short by nine days due to British Foreign Office advice recommending people return home before too many countries closing their borders and airlines cancelling routes. I managed to get back home due to the help of two very special women who provided support at a critical time. I owe them a lot. I will continue to do my best for them and for everyone else.

What is released this weekend? Fewer films than we’ve seen in a while, probably due to Coronavirus.

Continue reading “Akira, Keanin: Kokoro ni Saku Hana, Suzushii Kokage Japanese Film Trailers”

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Interview with The Murders of Oiso Director Misawa Takuya [OAFF 2020]

Takuya Misawa hails from Kanagawa and is a graduate from the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. He worked on various film productions as crew including as assistant director to Koji Fukada on Au Revoir L Éte (2013) before making his debut feature with the Kanagawa-set relationship comedy drama Chigasaki Story (2015). Produced by Kiki Sugino’s Wa Entertainment, it made waves on the festival circuit for not only for its well-engineered story of a group of academics and students stuck together at a beach resort but also its directorial style which evoked Yasujiro Ozu. Four years on, Misawa’s second feature The Murders of Oiso demonstrates a complete change of tone despite again  being set in Kanagawa.

Taking place in another seaside town, The Murders of Oiso is a noirish slice-of-life story set in the picturesque location of Oiso. It concerns how small-scale corruption is revealed when four friends, Tomoki (Haya Nakazaki), Shun (Koji Moriya), Kazuya (Yusaku Mori), and Eita (Shugo Nagashima) confront the crimes of the people around them and themselves after the death of an influential man in the town. The construction company they work for is used for illegal activities, Eita’s girlfriend far worse abuses are revealed.

Using a number of different narrators and multiple perspectives to reveal what is going on beneath the pretty exterior, the film features lots of twists, turns and social issues and asks for viewers to pay attention. Working with a Hong Kong film crew to create an unusual atmosphere for his actors, Misawa has made a unique and challenging film that brings the audience into worrying space. The film won the Japan Cuts Award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival and it will play at the festival in New York later this year. Misawa took the time to have an interview to explain more about the story, creating the atmosphere and how he got his cast to perform.

Continue reading “Interview with The Murders of Oiso Director Misawa Takuya [OAFF 2020]”

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The Murders of Oiso ある殺人、落葉のころに Dir: Takuya Misawa (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Murders of Oiso

ある殺人、落葉のころに Aru satsujin, rakuyo no koro ni

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 79 mins.

Director: Takuya Misawa

Writer: Takuya Misawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Koji Moriya, Haya Nakazaki, Yusaku Mori, Shugo Nagashima, Natsuko Hori, Ena Koshino, Chun Yip Lo, Toko Narushima,

OAFF Link

Debuting at last year’s Busan International Film Festival, The Murders of Oiso took the Japan Cuts Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020. It is the sophomore feature from director Takuya Misawa who made waves with his 2015 debut Chigasaki Story. He returns with a slice-of-life film shot with a Hong Kong crew in a cut-up narrative that has a noirish atmosphere as he looks at the shadowy side of the titular town and its citizens.

Oiso is a quiet and pristine seaside town in Kanagawa which is nestled between a beautiful coastline and scenic countryside. The location is marked by the colours of fall as the season unfolds under cold and clean sunlight with a chill in the air. This is where prime ministers of Japan retire to, a pleasant place chosen by Misawa because it could be emblematic of Japan. Beautiful on the outside, hidden inside are various instances of small-scale corruption as conducted by seemingly average people that make life harder for everyone.

Continue reading “The Murders of Oiso ある殺人、落葉のころに Dir: Takuya Misawa (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Way Back Home 비밀의 정원 Dir: Park Sun-joo (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Way Back Home    Way Back Home Film Poster

비밀의 정원 Bimilui jeongwon

Release Date: October 05th, 2019

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Park Sun-joo

Writer: Park Sun-joo (Script), 

Starring: Han Woo-yun, Jun Suk-ho, Jung Da-eun, Oh Min-ae, Yeom Hye-ran, Yoo Jae-myung,

OAFF IMDB Korean Film

Director Park Sun-joo graduated from making short films to her debut feature by adapting her 2017 short Mild Fever, winner of the Asian Short Film & Video Competition Grand Prize at the 19th Seoul International Women’s Film Festival, to make Way Back Home. Taking on the potentially incendiary topic of a woman confronting the emotional fallout from her rape, the film uses a more subdued tone to deliver a realistic depiction of survivors moving on.

Continue reading “Way Back Home 비밀의 정원 Dir: Park Sun-joo (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Miss Andy 迷失安狄 Dir: Teddy Chin (Malaysia-Taiwan, 2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Miss Andy  Miss Andy Film Poster

迷失安狄

Release Date: 2020

Duration: 108 mins.

Director: Teddy Chin

Writer: Ryan Tu (Script),

Starring: Lee Lee-zen, Ruby Lin, Jack Tan, Keshap Suria, Tou Kyzer,

OAFF Wikipedia

The human heart can be the most powerful thing as it always burns with the embers of hope for love, companionship and empathy even in the most difficult circumstances. That is what links all humans. Miss Andy is all about that hope in the face of such awful loneliness.

Continue reading “Miss Andy 迷失安狄 Dir: Teddy Chin (Malaysia-Taiwan, 2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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KAMATA PRELUDE 蒲田前奏曲 Dirs: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe (Japan, 2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

KAMATA PRELUDE

蒲田前奏曲 Kamata Sensoukyoku

Release Date: Autumn 2020

Duration: 115 mins.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe

Writers: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe (Script)

Starring: Urara Matsubayashi, Kotone Furukawa, Kumi Takiuchi, Ren Sudo, Sairi Ito, Mayuko Fukada, Noa Kawazoe, Ryutaro Ninomiya, Ryutaro Kondo,

OAFF Link

Receiving its world premiere as the closing film of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020, Kamata Prelude is an omnibus movie split between four different directors with four distinct styles separated simply by an edit and a change in visual approach. Each director is part of a new generation of talent from the Japanese movie industry and this mix of approaches ensures a change of pace occurs often enough to keep interest in the film high.

Keeping all of these disparate elements together is the depiction of the life of a struggling actress named Machiko who lives in Kamata. Portrayed by Urara Matsubayashi (lead actress in The Hungry Lion), she is the film’s producer as well as the centre of these stories which depicts her learning what it means to be a “woman” and an “actress” in contemporary Japanese society through showing the behaviour and perceptions of those who surround her. Comic, dramatic, all sorts of emotional hues are touched upon.

Continue reading “KAMATA PRELUDE 蒲田前奏曲 Dirs: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe (Japan, 2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Your Name Engraved Herein 刻在你心底的名字 Director: Liu Kuang-hui (2020) Taiwan Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

Your Name Engraved Herein    Your Name Engraved Herein Film Poster

刻在你心底的名字 

Release Date: June 26th, 2020

Duration: 118 mins.

Director: Liu Kuang-hui

Writer: Chu Yu-ning (Script), Keralino Sandrovich (Original Novel)

Starring: Tseng Chin-hua, Chen Hao-sen, Wang Shih-sian, Leon Dai, Fabio Grangeon, Edward Chen, Mimi Shao,

OAFF IMDB

The first LGBTQ+ film since the legalisation of gay marriage in Taiwan, Your Name Engraved Herein makes itself emblematic of the gay experience by tacking its story of characters accepting their homosexuality and coming out to the easing of cultural conservatism in the 1980s and the embrace of a new openness in Taiwanese society experienced now.

Continue reading “Your Name Engraved Herein 刻在你心底的名字 Director: Liu Kuang-hui (2020) Taiwan Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020”

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Heavy Craving 大餓 Dir: Hsieh Pei-ju (2019, Taiwan) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Heavy Craving    Heavy Craving Film Poster

大餓  Daikatsue

Release Date: June 30th, 2019

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Hsieh Pei-ju

Writer: Hsieh Pei-ju (Script), 

Starring: Tsai Jia-Yin, Samantha Ko, Yao Chang, Chang En-Wei, Lai Lene, Hsieh Tsu-wu,

OAFF IMDB

One woman’s battle to lose fat forms the basis of this heavy drama that comes wrapped with some light comedy as the weight of societal expectations on the physical appearance of people is skewered.

Continue reading “Heavy Craving 大餓 Dir: Hsieh Pei-ju (2019, Taiwan) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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My Prince Edward Dir: Norris Wong (Hong Kong, 2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

My Prince Edward    My Prince Edward Film Poster

Release Date: November 17th, 2019

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Norris Wong

Writer: Norris Wong (Script),

Starring: Stephy Tang, Chu Pak-hon, Jin Kaijie, Paw Hee-ching , Hailey Chan, Eman Lam, Hui So-Ying, Creamy Yick,

OAFF IMDB

Continue reading “My Prince Edward Dir: Norris Wong (Hong Kong, 2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020”

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Lucky Chan-sil 찬실이는 복도 많지 Director: Kim Cho-hee (South Korea, 2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Lucky Chan-sil    Lucky Chan-sil Film Poster

찬실이는 복도 많지 Chan-sil-i-neun Bok-do-man-ji

Release Date: October 04th, 2019

Duration: 96 mins.

Director: Kim Cho-hee

Writer: Kim Cho-hee (Script), 

Starring: Kang Mal-geum, Youn Yuh-jung, Kim Young-min, Yoon Seung-ah, Bae Yu-ram,

OAFF IMDB Korean Film

The old writer’s adage that it is better to write what you know is put into perfect effect by director Kim Cho-hee in her sprightly and amusing debut feature film, a somewhat autobiographical movie full of wry comedy and existential angst which won both the KBS Independent Film and CGV Arthouse awards at the 2019 Busan International Film Festival. 

Continue reading “Lucky Chan-sil 찬실이는 복도 많지 Director: Kim Cho-hee (South Korea, 2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Happy Old Year, Dir: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Happy Old Year    Happy Old Year Film Poster

Release Date: December 24th, 2019

Duration: 105 mins.

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Writer: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Script),

Starring: Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Sarika Sartsilpsupa, Thirawat Ngosawang, Apasiri Chantrasmi,

OAFF IMDB

Perched perfectly between satire and drama, Happy Old Year sees writer/director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit test the limits of ruthlessness needed to conduct the Marie Kondo minimalist lifestyle with a main character who is wholly unlikeable and yet, by the end, quite sympathetic.

Continue reading “Happy Old Year, Dir: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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The Garden of Evening Mists 夕霧花園 Dir: Tom Lin (2019, Malaysia) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Garden of Evening Mists    The Garden of Evening Mists Film Poster

夕霧花園  Yugiri Hanazono

Release Date: January 16th, 2020 (Malaysia)

Duration: 120 mins.

Director: Tom Lin

Writer: Richard Smith (Script) Twan Eng Tan (Novel)

Starring: Lee Sinje, Hiroshi Abe, Sylvia Chang, Julian Sands, John Hannah, Serene Lim, David Oakes,

OAFF IMDB

The opening film of the 2020 Osaka Asian Film Festival is a handsomely shot historical drama featuring an international array of talent as they bring to life the same-named novel by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng. The Booker Prize shortlisted story takes place during decades of conflict in Malaysia and is seen from the perspective of one character caught in the grasp of its history and a risky romance. It is a hefty work so Taiwanese director Tom Lin and British writer Richard Smith adapt the material with a schematic approach that uses flashbacks to gradually reveal wartime secrets, traumas and the redemptive effect of love in a slow-burn story that ends on a satisfying note.

Continue reading “The Garden of Evening Mists 夕霧花園 Dir: Tom Lin (2019, Malaysia) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Recommendations

It’s almost March and that means the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) is about to launch for its 2020 edition.

The festival plays from March 6-15 and comes at a time when the international community is convulsed with the spread of the Coronavirus. However, despite the cancellation of part of the programme (a decision taken by one of the festival’s co-hosts), the rest of the event is scheduled to go with 58 films to be screened and a whole host of guests to attend. It’s a ballsy move typical for a fest that screens hard-hitting works that challenge audiences. Also typical is the way the programmers continue to search out and provide a platform for talented individuals and stories that contain thorny issues.

If OAFF has an identity, it’s a rebellious guy or gal standing up for someone else as borne out by the films programmed with the fiery fight for democratic rights in Hong Kong seen in Apart (2020), a myriad of LGBTQ+ stories from across Asia, the biggest title this year being the Taiwanese romance Your Name Engraved Herein (2020) which gets its world premiere at the fest. Nearly half of all festival berths given to female directors and it is on the basis of quality rather than tokenism as seen with the moving drama Way Back Home (2019) and there are a lot of pure entertainment film, many from the Philippines which bring some absolutely charming romances for audiences to relax to like Write About Love (2019) and Last Song Syndrome (2019).

Here’s a trailer for the fest:

The line-up for this year’s festival is as exciting as it has ever been and while the slate features names from returning directors, there is a deep well of new talent on display in various sections and if you want to see the cinematic output of Asia in one place, this has to be it, especially since the films will have English subs.

I’ll be on the ground at the festival to review films. Although post-film Q&As have been cancelled, if any of the filmmakers are present I still might have the chance to interview creatives to highlight some of the gems that may be gracing other festivals and cinemas around the world.

Please check the full line-up of OAFF 2020 which can be found here on the official site (complete with synopses I have written) and here is a summary on my blog.

Here are my recommendations:

The Girl with the Gun (Rae Red, 2019, Philippines)

A fearsome performance from Janine Gutierez helps propel Rae Red’s solo feature directorial debut which also stars an ensemble of great actors who play a group of characters all connected to the titular gun as we look at the lifespan of a weapon passing through the hands of people from the politically turbulent 1980s to the crime-ridden era of now.

While the crime genre is typically male-dominated, in the Philippines, filmmakers have recently tackled it from a female perspective with “Buy Bust” (2018) and “Neomanila” (2017) and “Birdshot” (2016), which Rae Red helped write, being some standout titles. “The Girl and the Gun” offers a thrilling, visually crisp narrative with a message about power dynamics between people, and the gender analysis, with the inflection of violence, proves to be most gripping.

Kontora (Anshul Chauhan, 2019, Japan)

Anshu Chauhan — whose film “Bad Poetry Tokyo” (2018) won Best Actress at OAFF 2018) — returns to the competition with “KONTORA”, a movie which takes in a family drama and the echoes of World War II.

Set in rural Japan, the movie follows a high school girl who loses the one family member she can talk to, her grandfather, is left trying to make sense of the stifling reality surrounding her and the distant relationship from her father but hidden treasure and a vagrant who only walks backwards promises to change the dynamics in her life. Chauhan again explores the clashes between past and present and the frustration of youth stuck with older generations that are inflexible and selfish but with black and white visuals and majestic camerawork and it has a mysterious tone to it which proves absorbing.

Lucky Chan-sil (Kim Cho-hee, 2019, South Korea)

Following the Oscar wins for “Parasite” If you want to sound smart when talking about South Korean cinema, you can bring up the work of Hong Sang-soo and wow any neophyte cinephiles and impress the slightly more clued up who are familiar with his talky and repetitive films. If you want to sound even smarter, try selling them on the debut film of Hong’s former producer, Kim Cho-hee who takes his style and peoples it with genuinely lovely characters.

For her debut, Kim casts actors familiar from Hong’s films and a relatively new actress, Kang Mal-geum, who is the titular Chan-sil, a movie producer who hits hard times and goes through an emotional crisis when a director dies. Plenty of amusement is to be had as Chan-sil tries to get back on track but the film has drama lurking underneath as the main character experiences some bleak and humiliating moments that gets her to question her life choices and it turns out to be a harrowing to go through it with her and proves to have deeper things to say about the human experience than a Hong film.

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (Khyentse Norbu, 2019, Nepal and Mexico)

“Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache” has to have one of the best titles of the year and if it sounds barking mad, it makes complete sense at the end of the film. Almost. The semi-abstract story is full of philosophy as a thoroughly modern man living in Kathmandu goes on a mystical journey to save his life. There is a  lot of introspection over the clash between modernity and tradition in Nepal as the film tracks the plight of the psychologically ailing character divided between his attraction to western and city lifestyle and his home culture but the chief pleasure of the experience are the majestically beautiful images shot by Khyentse Norbu. Each frame is a painting that could adorn a wall so while the philosophising might drive you crazy, you can luxuriate in a relaxing and beautiful experience.

VIDEOPHOBIA (Daisuke Miyazaki, 2019, Japan)

Nobody makes stories about the youth of Japan like Daisuke Miyazaki and his latest feature (following “TOURISM“) is completely different. A shadowy tech film that comes with a David Lynchian twist where the world we see is our own but made alien through how technology makes the main character powerless. The movie follows a young woman named Ai whose night out at a club results in a sex video being made. The only thing is, she had no idea she was being filmed. What’s worse is that the video is spread online like a virus.

The narrative sees Ai become disassociated from herself in a disturbing psycho-sexual narrative that leaves many ideas for the audience to mull over once the film is over. Anchored by a great performance from Tomona Hirota and set in Osaka, it’s an original idea made effective by the mise-en-scene and electro soundtrack. The film’s genre-defying nature positions Miyazaki as one of the filmmakers to watch in this year’s edition.

Made in Bangladesh (Rubaiyat Hossain, 2019, France, Bangladesh, Denmark and Portugal) 

Director Rubaiyat Hossain, a new and brave feminine voice in Bangladeshi cinema. With three titles to her name, she challenges the male-dominated space to create socially conscious films told from a female perspective. This film is vital in an age of resistance against corporate exploitation and challenges to patriarchy as it looks at female garment factory workers unionising against hazardous working conditions, male oppression and global capital. It serves up an insight into Bangladeshi workplace and society and how we get our cheap goods in the West at the expense of the workers.

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First Love, Fictitious Girl’s Diary The Movie, Okazaki Renai Shikyou, Gekijou tokubetsuhan Kafuka no Tokyo zetsubou nikki, Gon, the Little Fox, Kamen Rider Zi-O NEXT TIME: Geiz, Majesty, Shirobako Movie, Mama o yamete mo ii desu ka!?, Gekijoukoukai-ban Eastern Youth Hibiya Yagaidai Ongaku do Koen 2019. 9. 28, DUMB TYPE Shiro Takatani: Between Nature and Technology, Samashoal Testament Chapter 6, Kodomo-tachi o yoroshiku Japanese Film Trailer

Happy weekend, everyone!

The Wild Bunch

I hope you are all well

A much better weekend of films than we have seen in a long time, mostly because of Miike and an interesting mix of documentaries rather than the usual over-reliance on TV spin-offs and anime. I recently watched a mix of films – Samurai Shifters (cute), The Wild Bunch (awesome), Blow Up (not a murder mystery, go watch Deep Red for that) and Vanishing Point. I’ll watch 1917 at some point.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “First Love, Fictitious Girl’s Diary The Movie, Okazaki Renai Shikyou, Gekijou tokubetsuhan Kafuka no Tokyo zetsubou nikki, Gon, the Little Fox, Kamen Rider Zi-O NEXT TIME: Geiz, Majesty, Shirobako Movie, Mama o yamete mo ii desu ka!?, Gekijoukoukai-ban Eastern Youth Hibiya Yagaidai Ongaku do Koen 2019. 9. 28, DUMB TYPE Shiro Takatani: Between Nature and Technology, Samashoal Testament Chapter 6, Kodomo-tachi o yoroshiku Japanese Film Trailer”

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Red, New Directions in Japanese Cinema 2020, COMPLY+-ANCE, Gundam: G no Reconguista Movie II – Bellri’s Fierce Charge, The World’s Greatest First Love: Proposal Arc, Stolen Identity 2, Renren in Taiwan, Woman Woman Woman Full Version and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy postponed weekend…

Parasite Film Image

This is last weekend’s trailer post. Not much else to say other than apologies for the delay. I’m aiming to get back on track and deliver regular trailer posts but there is a lot of content every week and I will be travelling. On a tangentially connected note, I finally saw Parasite at a cinema and was blown away by it.

What was released last weekend?

Continue reading “Red, New Directions in Japanese Cinema 2020, COMPLY+-ANCE, Gundam: G no Reconguista Movie II – Bellri’s Fierce Charge, The World’s Greatest First Love: Proposal Arc, Stolen Identity 2, Renren in Taiwan, Woman Woman Woman Full Version and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Book of Shadow, Goodbye: Life Comedy of Starting From a Lie, Roar, Thank You for Coming and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy postponed weekend!

Seventh Code Atsuko Maeda After the Drop

This should have come out two weekends ago but I was busy writing for a film festival and I am going to continue being busy for the next two months so please bear with me if you like the trailer posts. I posted a few things since the last trailer post:

Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival

Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival

Programme Announcement for the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

The Temple of Wild Geese

What was released last weekend?

Continue reading “The Book of Shadow, Goodbye: Life Comedy of Starting From a Lie, Roar, Thank You for Coming and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement

Earlier this month, the organisers of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) 2020 announced the full line-up for the festival which takes place from March 6-15. This is the best event to see a cross-section of Asian cinema and nearly all of the films will have English subs – the only exceptions we know so far are “Birthday”, ” House of Hummingbird”, and “Malmoe The Secret Mission”.

Despite the issues surrounding Coronavirus, the festival is still going ahead but one section, the co-hosted event “Come to Life! vol.2 Gutai and Nakanoshima”, has been cancelled due to the decision of the co-host organiser. This means six films have been removed which brings the number of selected films screened from a record 64 to 58 in total. This number includes 12 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, and 3 Asian Premieres with films submitted from countries and regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland, South Korea, Japan, and South East Asia.

Continuing on from previous editions of the festival, OAFF remains a beacon of progressive programming as 25 female directors find their works selected with over half the films in the Competition section directed by women. The festival programme features characters from across the world contesting with issues such as war, crime, bullying, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and unionising in the workplace. OAFF continues to give a platform to filmmakers who face challenging issues, whether the films reckon with historical injustice or paint a brighter future through showing diverse characters navigating their way in our tumultuous world.

Please check the full line-up of OAFF 2020 which can be found here. Tickets for the films screening at the fest are already on sale.


Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement”

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The Temple of Wild Geese 雁の寺 Dir: Yuzo Kawashima (1962)

The Temple of Wild Geese    Temple of Wild Geese Film Poster Gan no Tera

雁の寺  Gan no Tera

Duration: 96 mins.

Release Date: December 26th, 1962

Director:  Yuzo Kawashima

Writer:  Kazuo Funabashi, Yuzo Kawashima (Screenplay), Tsutomu Minakami (Original Novel)

Starring: Ayako Wakao, Masao Mishima, Kuniichi Takami, Isao Kimura, Ganjiro Nakamura, Kunikazu Takami, Ryoko Kamo, Mineko Mandai, Kiwami Sazanka,

IMDB

One of the chief ironies of life is that those who profess to be the most morally upstanding often end up being the most immoral. With this in mind, director Yuzo Kawashima, chief satirist of post-war Japan, finds great material to work with when it comes to those in the religious orders. However, instead of laughs it is all menace as dark passions surge out of control. His film’s dark material finds its match with its aesthetic, a charcoal-like texture and look and foreboding music which make this a chilling film as we venture into the moral hypocrisy of the inhabitants in a Buddhist temple, all of which affects one boy’s warped mentality.

Continue reading “The Temple of Wild Geese 雁の寺 Dir: Yuzo Kawashima (1962)”

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Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2019

 

The Berlin International Film Festival launches at the end of this week and runs from February 20th to March 01st. There are a fair few films from Japan on display with two classics mixed in with contemporary titles. If there is a general theme, it is the deconstruction of family as each of the titles looks at that topic from a particular angle. There is also a special talk event featuring Ang Lee and Hirokazu Koreeda with the film After Life screened.

What are the Japanese films programmed?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2019”

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37 Seconds, It Stopped Raining, Howling Village, Fancy, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Fake Plastic Planet, Tsumugu, Mirai no Uta and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope everybody is fine and dandy!

I am in a zero time dilemma, as ever, as I try and fit in copious amounts of writing around my normal work routine so this trailer post is going to be short and sweet despite having so many titles. I posted about the Winter Showcase of foodie movies from the New York Asian Film Festival and I posted about the opening and closing films of the Osaka Asian Film Festival which takes place next month.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “37 Seconds, It Stopped Raining, Howling Village, Fancy, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Fake Plastic Planet, Tsumugu, Mirai no Uta and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Announces Opening and Closing Films: The Garden of Evening Mists and Kamata Prelude

OAFF2020 top_main1_e

Earlier today, the organisers of the 2020 edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival announced their opening and closing films, both of which are completely different in form and content. Here’s the information direct from the festival website.

Everything kicks off on March 06th with the Malaysian film, The Garden of Evening Mists, a historical drama featuring a pan-Asian cast and crew who have adapted the award-winning novel by Twan Eng Tan.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Announces Opening and Closing Films: The Garden of Evening Mists and Kamata Prelude”

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New York Asian Film Festival Winter Showcase 2020: Love at First Bite (February 14th to 16th, 2020)

Here’s a press release for a fantastic looking event fit for foodies who love films:

WINTER SHOWCASE 2020 Logo-01

The New York Asian Film Festival ushers in the new decade with the second annual edition of its Winter Showcase. Held at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre over Valentine’s weekend, this year’s showcase celebrates our love of Asian films by turning the spotlight on food cultures through cinema. At a juncture when America still obsesses over Bong Joon-ho’s award winning Parasite, and some of its more minute plot points such as the wonders of Ram-Don (jjapaguri), it is timely to show that when it comes to putting food front and center, Asian movies do it best.

To celebrate a time-honored tradition of storytelling and the romantic holiday, this year’s lineup brings together trends-and-time-transcending classics as well as some remarkable foodie films of recent years, spanning several decades and different strands of filmmaking: regardless of where and when they are from, these stories pack in full plates of heart and soul, feasts for the eyes, and more than a few surprises demanding to be seen on the big screen.

Continue reading “New York Asian Film Festival Winter Showcase 2020: Love at First Bite (February 14th to 16th, 2020)”

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AI Amok, We Make Antiques! Kyoto Rendezvous, Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown, Maeda Construction Fantasy Sales Department, Rolling Marbles, Last Lover, Watch out for Patriots! Kunio Suzuki, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

The Graceful Brute Film Image

I hope you are all well!

I managed to make it through the week with very little sleep and worked on film stuff as well as doing my regular job. I’ve reviewed Her Sketchbook and The Actor for VCinema and then posted the reviews on my blog.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “AI Amok, We Make Antiques! Kyoto Rendezvous, Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown, Maeda Construction Fantasy Sales Department, Rolling Marbles, Last Lover, Watch out for Patriots! Kunio Suzuki, and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Actor 俳優亀岡拓 Dir: Satoko Yokohama (2016)

The Actor

The Actor Film Poster俳優亀岡拓次 「Haiyuu Kameoka Takuji」

Release Date: January 30th, 2016

Duration: 123 mins.

Director: Satoko Yokohama

Writer: Satoko Yokohama (Screenplay), Akito Inui (Original Novel)

Starring: Ken Yasuda, Kumiko Aso, Shohei Uno, Yoshiko Mita, Shota Sometani, Hirofumi Arai, Youki Kudoh,

Website    IMDB

It is fair to say that most people go into acting with the expectation that they will be cast in a leading role at some point. However, not everyone can be centre stage and some are relegated to a career of supporting roles. In a profession where acting in the limelight is what actors pursue, how does being in the shadows feel? This is a question that the titular actor, Takuji Kameoka, faces when a mid-career crisis meets an existential crisis as he takes stock of his life in this melancholy comedy, or should that be, melancomedy.

Takuji Kameoka (Ken Yasuda) is a lonely thirty-something bachelor who plays bit-parts in movies and dramas. His only interest outside of cinema is drinking. One day, on a shoot in snowy Nagano, he gets drunk and sadder than usual at an izakaya where a woman named Azumi Murota (Kumiko Aso) runs the bar in her father’s stead. Takuji and Azumi talk while sharing saké. He quietly falls in love with her and it happens just at the point he begins to wonder if he will ever be the leading man in his own life and in the acting profession.

Continue reading “The Actor 俳優亀岡拓 Dir: Satoko Yokohama (2016)”

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Her Sketchbook 世界は今日から君のもの Dir: Masaya Ozaki (2017)

Her Sketchbook    Her Sketchbook Film Poster

世界は今日から君のもの  Sekai ha Kyou Kara Kimi no Mono

Release Date: June 15th, 2017

Duration: 106 mins.

Director: Masaya Ozaki

Writer: Masaya Ozaki (Script) 

Starring: Mugi Kadowaki, Takahiro Miura, Yu Hirukawa, Junpei Yasui, Ryusuke Komakine, Makita Sports, You, Takeaki Shima,

Website IMDB

Japan is a densely populated country and in order to survive living there it is important to make connections with others as well as finding your niche. Achieving both can be exhausting, especially for those who lack confidence and find themselves in schools and workplaces where fierce competition drives everything. With so much pressure many people drop out of society and become hikikomori or NEETs. Her Sketchbook dramatises this for a story about a young woman making incremental improvements to her life, usually at odds with those around her, to find her voice and integrate with the regular world.

Continue reading “Her Sketchbook 世界は今日から君のもの Dir: Masaya Ozaki (2017)”

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Signal 100, Saint Young Men Third Century, The Phone of the Wind, Our 30 Minute Sessions, His, Romance Doll and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

I hope you are all well.

I have the weekend off work so I’m happy. This week, I’ve been focusing more on movies with prep work for a lot of reviews and actually watching films. I also went to see 1917 after work with some colleagues.

In terms of this blog, I posted reviews for My Dad and Mr. Ito (2016) and The Graceful Brute (1962). My reviews for Her Sketchbook (2017) and The Actor (2016) were also posted on VCinema.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Signal 100, Saint Young Men Third Century, The Phone of the Wind, Our 30 Minute Sessions, His, Romance Doll and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Graceful Brute しとやかな獣 Dir: Yuzo Kawashima (1962)

The Graceful Brute   The Graceful Brute Film Poster

しとやかな獣  Shitoyakana kedamono

Release Date: December 26th, 1962

Duration: 96 mins.

Director:  Yuzo Kawashima

Writer:  Kaneto Shindo (Screenplay),

Starring: Ayako Wakao, Yunosuke Ito, Hisano Yamaoka, Manamitsu Kawabata, Yuko Hamada, Eiji Funakoshi, Kyu Sazanka, Chocho Miyako, Hideo Takamatsu,

IMDB

A possible tag line for this film could be, “a family that embezzles together, stays together”, such is the content of this film which shows a day in the life of a greedy family as they swindle from subjects in their social circle. Ten actors, one location, and a narrative that takes place over 24 hours, Graceful Brute (1962) is a masterful black comedy that critiques the changing morals of Japanese people during the economic miracle of the post-war years.

The film almost exclusively takes place in the fifth floor apartment of the Maeda’s. They live in a danchi (housing complex) designed by Kunio Maekawa¹, the sort of forward-thinking utilitarian building that was meant to serve every need of its residents and promote community and harmony but the values of the Maeda’s are far from these ideals. They seem to be a stable family unit of two conservative parents (who wear kimono and listen to traditional music) and their hip son and daughter (out on the town in Ginza’s bars) but as the narrative unfolds we see the depth of their duplicity, selfishness, and materialistic behaviour which unites them. They are a product of the age.

Continue reading “The Graceful Brute しとやかな獣 Dir: Yuzo Kawashima (1962)”

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My Dad and Mr. Ito お父さんと伊藤さん Dir: Yuki Tanada (2016)

My Dad and Mr. Ito

お父さんと伊藤さんOtoo-san to Itoo-sanMy Dad and Mr Ito Film Poster

Release Date: October 08th, 2016

Duration: 119 mins

Director:  Yuki Tanada

Writer: Hinako Nakazawa (Screenplay/Original Novel),

Starring: Juri Ueno, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Sei Ando, Lily Franky, Tomoharu Hasegawa, Eri Watanabe,

Website IMDB

Nothing binds people together as tightly as family ties and those ties can hurt when they really bite into you, something which the characters in this drama experience when an old man moves in with his daughter and her boyfriend in their small apartment. It may be a cramped space but a wide range of issues are raised as these three try to learn to live together.

Continue reading “My Dad and Mr. Ito お父さんと伊藤さん Dir: Yuki Tanada (2016)”

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Higanbana in the Rain, The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time, Tokyo Paralympics: Festival of Love and Glory, The Return, Bad Poetry Tokyo, Complicity, Mellow, Last Letter and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

I hope you are all well.

This week, I’ve been diligently writing reviews and prepping them as well as getting ready for a Japanese film festival. I posted my reviews for Erica 38 and the Hirokazu Koreeda film Distance.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

A whole lot of films. Thankfully, a lot were played at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2019 or are older films so I could just copy and paste from past articles I wrote!

Continue reading “Higanbana in the Rain, The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time, Tokyo Paralympics: Festival of Love and Glory, The Return, Bad Poetry Tokyo, Complicity, Mellow, Last Letter and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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Distance ディスタンス Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2001)

Distance    Distance Film Poster

ディスタンス Disutansu

Release Date: May 26th, 2001

Duration: 132 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Script) 

Starring: Yui Natsukawa, Yusuke Iseya, Arata, Susumu Terajima, Tadanobu Asano, Ryo, Kenichi Endo, Kanji Tsuda,

IMDB

Hirokazu Kore-eda made Distance after he became interested in the disciples of Aum Shinrikyo, the group which committed the Tokyo subway sarin attack¹. He wanted to comment on how everyone in society could be responsible for it in some way. In so doing, he strikes at a universal fear surely felt by everyone which is that perhaps those who should be the closest to us are sometimes the ones furthest away.

This idea of distance is given to us through the story of a group of people who are ostensibly disconnected from each other but each has a deep personal connection to a terrorist incident described at the start of the film by a radio announcer.

Continue reading “Distance ディスタンス Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2001)”

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Erica 38 エリカ38 Dir: Yuichi Hibi (2019)

Erica 38    Erica 38 Film Poster

エリカ38  Erika 38

Release Date: June 07th, 2019

Duration: 103 mins.

Director: Yuichi Hibi

Writer: Yuichi Hibi (Screenplay),

Starring: Miyoko Asada, Miu Suzuki, Kirin Kiki, Nahana, Juri Manase, Hajime Yamazaki, Shizuo Yamazaki, Hinako Saeki, Takehiro Hira,

Website IMDB

Inspired by true events, Erica 38 tells the story of a con-woman named Satoko Watabe who defrauds 50 billion yen from unsuspecting dupes in a pyramid scheme before finally being caught. The lead character, played by former pop idol Miyoko Asada, may have a silver tongue that can deceive others but in the end the biggest dupe turns out to be her.

Continue reading “Erica 38 エリカ38 Dir: Yuichi Hibi (2019)”

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Stare, Kaiji: The Final Game, On-Gaku: Our Sound, King of Prism All Stars: Prism Show Best 10, Ashita, Kimi no inai sekai de, The Island of Giant Insects, Beyond the Blue, Apparel Designer and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, people!

Resident Evil 2 Remake Image

I hope you are all well.

This is the second weekend of the decade and we’re all still here. I have been playing Resident Evil 2: Remake, a Christmas present from my mother and sister, and I’ve been having a blast. I got past Mr. X without dying – although he did punch me as I walked through a door to evade a licker. It’s very cinematic thanks to the moody lighting and brilliant level design and character animation. After getting to the sewer, I’ve shelved it for now because I have films to do. I watched the film Erica 38 and reviewed it for V-Cinema. I also wrote about the films playing at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival and 10 films I hope to pick up in Japan this year.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Stare, Kaiji: The Final Game, On-Gaku: Our Sound, King of Prism All Stars: Prism Show Best 10, Ashita, Kimi no inai sekai de, The Island of Giant Insects, Beyond the Blue, Apparel Designer and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020

Rotterdam International Film Festival Logo

From January 22nd to February 02nd 2020, the Rotterdam International Film Festival will screen a diverse mix of films from old masters and new talents and the Japanese contingent epitomises this with familiar names like Kazuo Hara and Nobuhiko Obayashi having their latest works picked up, after they had their premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, alongside the freshest titles from newer voices like documentarian Kaori Oda and Isamu Hirabayashi who has worked a lot in anime.

Here are the Japanese movies, the newest titles first:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020”

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Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films to Get in 2020

I have been writing about films here for a decade and ever since I started writing badly translated synopses to highlight interesting films, I have had a list in my mind of titles that I want to watch. I add and subtract films from said list but many listed here have remained in my mind. These ten films I have never forgotten and since it has been ten years since I first started blogging, I want to make an effort and track them down to review them the next time I am in Japan. Which is… SOON!

Will I see any of these films? Who knows, but I want to watch them.

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films to Get in 2020”

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Sayonara TV, Kappa 2 But we have to rest, Cinema Kabuki Letters to the Red-Light District, Kono yo wa arikitari Japanese Film Trailers

Welcome to the first trailer post of 2020 and the new decade!

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Film Image

I hope you are well.

My New Year’s Day was spent watching films and writing about them and eating some good home-cooked food made by my mother. Some Kon Ichikawa and Naomi Kawase to start the year! I then went back to work the very next day so that was a bit of a drag after 11 days off work relaxing. Oh well, I can’t complain about my job.

2020 might be the year when I switch.

As for this blog, business as usual. I spent the week reminiscing about the last decade with Monday’s post dedicated to my Top Ten Films of 2019 and Wednesday’s post given over to the Top 25 Films of the Decade. It’s a unique list compared to a lot of others I have seen on social media but that’s because I focus mostly on Japanese films.

Enough about the past! What about the present?

There’s a small but very diverse selection of films released this weekend, most of which look genuinely interesting. So…

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Sayonara TV, Kappa 2 But we have to rest, Cinema Kabuki Letters to the Red-Light District, Kono yo wa arikitari Japanese Film Trailers”

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Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade

My WordPress blog birthday was December 20th and it has been a decade since I first started writing reviews and news articles here about what interests me.

Cure Yakusho Stares at City

It started with book reviews like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse and big screen Hollywood fare such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. It shifted to American indies like Stake Land and 2 Days in New York with some European and central/South American films like Submarine, Certified Copy, I Am Love and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I transitioned quickly into Asian cinema, long a passion of mine from childhood, and I took to covering the latest UK releases and festival news for Asian movies and writing about my favourite filmmakers like Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinya Tsukamoto. My taste has changed from horror and action to more contemplative and experimental works but my passion for cinema burns bright and for good reason.

Through ten years of writing on this blog I have made friends and watched lots of great films. Indeed, I’ve covered a quite a range of titles and, as the years progressed, actually got involved with film culture through writing for magazines and other websites, doing festival press work at the likes of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well as doing plenty of writing like interviews at UK festivals like Raindance, Terracotta and the London Film Festival. It has almost always been fun and I’ve even had the chance to live and travel in Japan. I can honestly say this blog has been amazing for me by helping me make friends and find my voice in this world.

So, thanks to film and writing about it, I’ve had a fun time. Indeed, sometimes the process of writing about films has been just as much fun as the viewing experience and now I want to highlight my fifteen favourite films to watch and also write about.

Strap yourself in and turn on some music for the ramblings of a film fan:

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade”

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Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2019 and He Says Goodbye to a Tumultuous Year

Welcome to my penultimate post of 2019

Miss Hokusai Image 1

This is a melange of things including my New Year’s Resolution and my top ten films of 2019 rolled into one.

We’re about to start a new decade and I think we all managed to hold on to our collective sanity having lived through an era of austerity, unprecedented corporate greed and malfeasance and political extremism with fascism and chauvinist/supremacist politics back in vogue. Of course, we’ve been here before many times in the past such as the 30s and 50s so we can beat this. All it takes is organising, holding officials, business and media to account and protecting our democratic institutions.

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2019 and He Says Goodbye to a Tumultuous Year”

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Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Mirai Kara Shinsoku no ALFA-X, Looking for Yutaka Ozaki, A Horse is Born Somewhere Today Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Shoplifters Film Image 2

I hope you are well.

Welcome to the last trailer post of 2019!

This week was spent Christmasing with my mother and sister which involved getting a new pet and eating lots of good food. I managed to start watching films again, a couple of classics and and a new one and I hope to get some reviews done.

In terms of published content, two reviews for Hirokazu Koreeda films, the first being The Third Murder and the second being Shoplifters.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Mirai Kara Shinsoku no ALFA-X, Looking for Yutaka Ozaki, A Horse is Born Somewhere Today Japanese Film Trailers”

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Shoplifters 万引き家族 Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2018)

Shoplifters   Shoplifters Film Poster

万引き家族 Manbiki Kazoku

Release Date: June 08th, 2018

Duration: 121 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Screenplay),

Starring: Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Kirin Kiki, Miyu Sasaki, Mayu Matsuoka, Kairi Jyo, Yoko Moriguchi, Yuki Yamada, Moemi Katayama, Akira Emoto, Kengo Kora, Chizuru Ikewaki, Sosuke Ikematsu,

Website IMDB

Hirokazu Kore-eda is often compared to Yasujiro Ozu due to his depictions of families in Japan but he is quite political. Through various detailed tapestries of the rich and poor, nuclear and unconventional family units and different individuals, he has charted a myriad of lives all over the archipelago of his home nation and captured the changing dynamics of a country where tradition, social mores and people’s bonds are seemingly degrading as society adapts to new ways of thinking about work and family and people live atomised lives. Shoplifters tells the story of a most unconventional family by normal Japanese standards and, in so doing, it offers some quite stringent critiques of the exploitation of labour, the indifference of authorities and the resulting breakdown of relationships. It is a refreshingly open politicisation of content for a Japanese mainstream film and it feels akin to the social realist films of Ken Loach. This political bite could partly be the reason why the film went on to wow critics and net the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival but, as in all Kore-eda films, it is the performances that sway hearts and make audiences cry.

Continue reading “Shoplifters 万引き家族 Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2018)”

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The Third Murder 三度目の殺人 Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda (2017)

The Third Murder    The Third Murder Film Poster

三度目の殺人Sandome no Satsujin

Release Date: September 09th, 2017

Duration: 124 mins.

Director:  Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay),

Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Koji Yakusho, Suzu Hirose, Yuki Saito, Kotaro Yoshida, Mikako Ichikawa, Izumi Matsuoka,

Website IMDB

This film from Hirokazu Kore-eda feels like a departure from his usual interests of family dynamics because it is an exploration of the Japanese justice system but it still features his familiar interest in the atomisation of Japanese society.

Set in the snowy northern island of Hokkaido, this is an almost coldly analytical tale of a public defender taking on what should be an open and shut case and discovering that the truth is hard to pin down and that those who mete out justice sometimes aren’t interested in truth at all.

Shigemori (Fukuyama) is an elite lawyer who has been given the task of defending a man named Misumi Mikuma (Yakusho), an ex-con only just released from prison after serving a term for a murder he committed in 1986. Misumi has been arrested and charged with murdering the manager of the canning factory he works at. Misumi seems guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt because he was caught with the victim’s wallet and has confessed to the murder. A violent background, circumstantial evidence and confession. That is enough to warrant the death penalty. Shigemori has been drafted in to save Misumi.

Continue reading “The Third Murder 三度目の殺人 Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda (2017)”

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Last War of Heavenloids and Akutoloids, In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World, My Hero Academia the Movie 2: Heroes: Rising, Go To Okinawa, Kamen Rider: Reiwa The First Generation, FOR REAL    Modoranai shunkan, nokosa reru mono., Sasori to Kaeru, Mipo Rin, Witness to the Gegenmiao Massacre Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Forest of Love Joe Murata 2

Just a few days more until Christmas.

I’ve been helping my mother with Christmas preparations and buying presents whilst also watching lots of Japanese indie films. I saw one revelatory title which had me in tears and a couple of interesting ones. I have also managed to sneak in some horror movies.

This week I reviewed Sion Sono‘s latest movie, The Forest of Love, which cynics might see as a retread of Cold Fish. I also posted a preview of next year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme which has many interesting titles.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Last War of Heavenloids and Akutoloids, In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World, My Hero Academia the Movie 2: Heroes: Rising, Go To Okinawa, Kamen Rider: Reiwa The First Generation, FOR REAL    Modoranai shunkan, nokosa reru mono., Sasori to Kaeru, Mipo Rin, Witness to the Gegenmiao Massacre Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020 Preview – Joy and Despair in Japanese Cinema

The Japan Foundation announced the details of their Touring Film Programme for 2020. The tour lasts from January 31st to March 29th and the theme that connects them all is “love”. The films look at the emotions of joy and despair and, presumably, there will be every other emotion in between as people seek happiness. According to the organisers, there are stories of “love, social inclusion, the resilience of humankind through times of hardship, and unconventional paths to achieving and maintaining joy”.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020 Preview – Joy and Despair in Japanese Cinema”

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The Forest of Love 愛なき森で叫べ Dir: Sion Sono (2019)

The Forest of Love    Forest of Love Film Poster

愛なき森で叫べ  Ai naki mori de sakebe

Release Date: October 11th, 2019

Duration: 151 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Script) 

Starring: Kippei Shiina (Joe Murata), Shinnosuke Mitsushima (Shin), Kyoko Hinami (taeko), Eri Kamataki (Mitsuko), Young Dais, Natsuki Kawamura, Denden, Hiroko Yashiki,

Website IMDB

American streaming services like Netflix have given a new lease of life to Japanese creatives who have access to greater financial muscle and creative freedom and a wider audience so that means the fetters of the traditional Japanese system are off for the visionaries and the sky is the limit. That Sion Sono, simultaneous enfant terrible and wunderkind of Japanese cinema, was tapped to make a movie for Netflix was exciting news especially after his heart attack this year. What he turns in is a long and ornate tale of murder that sometimes plays like a greatest-hits of his previous work but is delivered with such aplomb and dexterity as well as some special performances it remains entertaining.

Sono channels a rather horrific series of real-life murders into a film much like he did with Cold Fish but makes the most of the budget to craft a rather rambling and highly theatrical story split into chapters.

Continue reading “The Forest of Love 愛なき森で叫べ Dir: Sion Sono (2019)”

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Talking the Pictures, Yokai Watch Jam the Movie: Yokai Academy Y – Can a Cat be a Hero?, Dai kanran-sha, Woozoo be Alright?, book-paper-scissors, Seven Days War, Murder at Shijinso, Tunguska Butterfly, Necktie, Seventeen Motors, and other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Tag Film Image

We are closer to Christmas.

This week I reviewed two Sion Sono movies, Tag and Virgin Psychics, both from 2016 and while the former is more meaningful than the latter, both are worth watching.

Get past what we all know is inevitable and let’s make a start dealing with this stuff and making a change for the better in society.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Talking the Pictures, Yokai Watch Jam the Movie: Yokai Academy Y – Can a Cat be a Hero?, Dai kanran-sha, Woozoo be Alright?, book-paper-scissors, Seven Days War, Murder at Shijinso, Tunguska Butterfly, Necktie, Seventeen Motors, and other Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Virgin Psychics 映画みんな!エスパーだよ Dir: Sion Sono (2015)

The Virgin Psychics    The Virgin Psychics Film Poster

映画みんな!エスパーだよ「Eiga Minna! Esupa- Dayo!」

Release Date: September 04th, 2015

Duration: 114 mins.

Director: Sion Sono,

Writer: Sion Sono, Shinichi Tanaka (Screenplay), Kiminori Wakasugi (Original Manga),

Starring:  Shota Sometani, Elaiza Ikea, Erina Mano, Makita Sports, Anna Konno, Motoki Fukami, Ai Shinozaki, Tokio Emoto, Megumi Kagurazaka,

Website IMDB

This is directed by Sion Sono one of the world’s great contemporary directors who built a career on existential drama/horror like Suicide CircleStrange Circus, and Noriko’s Dinner Table. 2015 saw the release of six of his films, three of which were froma  franchise including this one. This is based on a TV dorama that is based on a manga written by Kiminori Wakasugi, creator of the hilarious Detroit Metal City. After a first viewing I was tempted to write it off as an insincere cash-in on a smutty comic book and Tenga sex toys but I will be generous and say that the film is an unashamed celebration of raging hormones and naive love (as well as Tenga sex toys) wrapped up in a knowingly stupid story.

We’re not watching Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, we’re watching the misadventures of Yoshiro “Yocchan” Kamogawa (Shota Sometani), ordinary (virgin) high school boy in Toyohashi. It is a city with more good-looking women than anywhere else in the world, apparently, but he can’t get laid because he’s a bit of a nerd. He finds his life literally changes overnight when he wakes up with the ability to read other people’s minds. Sounds awesome! But he cannot use it effectively since he is caught up in an obsession with the idea that a classmate named Sae (Erina Mano) is his destined girl. He has a dream that they formed a mental connection while their mothers sat next to each other in the hospital when they were both still in the womb. Destiny does seem to have a hand in their meeting because she is the daughter of a travelling scientist (Ken Yasuda) who is in town to discover psychics!

Continue reading “The Virgin Psychics 映画みんな!エスパーだよ Dir: Sion Sono (2015)”