Featured

Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 07th to the 17th and I intend to keep providing coverage of this particular festival because there is usually a good line-up of Japanese films. This year, there are two. Or, two that have been announced so far. In previous years which I have covered (Toronto 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011), there have been many more programmed so it might be the case that more will be announced at a later date but the festival organisers cut up to 20 per cent (60) films that will be screened (source). What has resulted is that Asian films have been hit very hard. See the update for some exciting additions!

I may be missing something so I’m making this post a sticky and will update it if anything crops up. For now, two films, one feature and one short. One horror and one drama.

UPDATE: 16/08/2017

I spoke too soon about there being too few Japanese films! Radiance, Birds Without Names, and The Third Murder have been added! This year’s slate of Japanese films at Toronto is shaping up to be a nice bunch!

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017”

Featured

Japanese Films at the Venice Film Festival 2017

The Venice International Film Festival launches its 74th edition on August 30th and it lasts until September 09th and the line-up was announced earlier this week. I’ve missed the last couple editions of the festival because there have been few Japanese films (the last edition I covered was in 2014). Anyway, there are two Japanese films from current directors and three classics from the golden age present this year. One if the modern ones is a Hirokazu Koreeda film which is in the international competition section which has many world premieres. Takeshi Kitano has his latest film screened out of competition, a section dedicated to already-established directors.

There are a couple of other Asian movies. To find out more about them, head over to Windows on Worlds.

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Venice Film Festival 2017”

Featured

A Preview of the Films at Japan Cuts 2017 (July 13th-23rd)

The 2017 edition of JAPAN CUTS, is the 11th since the creation of the festival and it takes place from July 13th to the 23rd.

Japan Cuts 2017 Banner

It is one of the best places not in Germany (Nippon Connection) or Holland (Camera Japan) to see the latest and most interesting contemporary films with experimental indies programmed alongside big-budget titles, as well as documentaries, shorts and recently restored classics. Not only is this a place to view films, the festival also hosts special guest filmmakers and stars, post-screening Q&As, parties and more. I have covered it in the past to help people get in contact with great films and this year’s edition has lots of great titles on offer that show the diversity of talents operating in the country and reveal that, contrary to what I have felt recently, the Japanese film industry has the potential to tell more than the same stories over and over (if only Japanese financiers could see beyond adapting manga and anime and take risks). Here’s more from the organisers of the festival:

For ten years, JAPAN CUTS’ richly diverse slates have offered audiences a window into the breadth and depth of contemporary Japanese cinema. This eleventh installment of JAPAN CUTS presents a wide-ranging selection of films across each programming section that reveal the multiplicity of identities and layers of culture that shape Japanese film today—including international co-productions and adaptations, new LGBTQ cinema, female directors, and deeply relevant histories of WWII and nuclear trauma.”

I have pulled together a preview of the full line-up from old previews I have written and from the festival’s website to show potential audience members that there is so much worth going to see. Thanks go out to the people at Japan Society New York for making things a easier and creating the event!

Over the Fence_main

I hope this helps inform you about the films and inspires you to go and see some and if you do, please come back and tell me what you think. You might also want to check out the Japanese films screening at the New York Asian Film Festival. After a long period of writing news stories, I will be writing reviews for various films that have screened and will be screening at various festivals and ones in my collection.

Here’s the full line-up:

Continue reading “A Preview of the Films at Japan Cuts 2017 (July 13th-23rd)”

Featured

Japanese Films at the New York Asian Film Festival 2017

The 16th New York Asian Film Festival takes places from June 30th until July 16th. There are almost 60 films on the programme with many highlights from Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and elsewhere. 

This year’s festival features a new Main Competition from which seven films from first- and second-time directors are receiving their Nort American premiere and the festival will honour many actors such as the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement awardee Tony Leung Ka-fai (Hong Kong).

I am interested in the Japanese films on the bill and have watched a few. All of the Japanese films screen in July and there are some really good titles on offer. Not only that but some directors and an actor will be in town. People, if you love films and want to find out more, go see Naoko Ogigami when she does her Q&A.

Here are more details (click on the titles to be taken to the festival page for the film you want to find out more about):

NYAFF 2017 OFFICIAL POSTER

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the New York Asian Film Festival 2017”

Featured

Japanese Films at the 2017 Annecy International Film Festival

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has been running since it was established in 1960. It is the world’s oldest and largest animation film festival and it has become one of the best places to glimpse early footage of upcoming anime. This year, it runs from the June 12th to the 17th and the programme line-up has already been announced and there are many Japanese titles both in and out of competition.

There will be many presentations including works in progress as well as a celebration of 100 years of anime.

Here’s what’s on offer:

In This Corner of the World Film Image

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 2017 Annecy International Film Festival”

Featured

Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Poster

This year’s Cannes Film Festival (17th – 28th May) is the 70th edition of the event and the festival head Thierry Fremaux announced the Official Selection of films programmed last week. Critics are salivating over the fact that there are two Netflix films: the monster movie Okja by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) and The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach (writer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and director of Mistress America). There will be two TV series for audiences to watch: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake and lots more familiar faces such as Sofia (Somewhere) Coppola’s The Beguiled, Michael (Code Unknown/Cache) Haneke’s Happy End (knowing Haneke, it’s probably an ironic title…). More importantly, there are also nine first-time filmmakers getting their works screened.

Why is that important?

The Cannes Film Festival comes into 2017 with a need to find fresh blood and this is seemingly strong selection because may be it. Since this is the 70th anniversary of the festival and the fact that, last year, organisers faced fierce criticism last year for their lack of female directors, commentators identified that they needed to do a couple of things: broaden out its programme so that there are filmmakers other than the old guard (Campion, Haneke, Kawase, Haynes, the Dardennes brothers etc.) and increase the number of female-centric stories and female-led films across the programme. The old guard are back but just by glancing at the lists of announced films, it is clear that the festival has achieved some of its goals and will probably avoid the criticism it faced last year – hopefully, no high-heels and breast-feeding baby incidents will crop up). Things are a bit of a mixed picture when it comes to the Japanese films.

So far, there are four Japanese films programmed, and three come from festival regulars: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Naomi Kawase, and Takashi Miike. Two of the four are adaptations while the other two are original dramas. Out of the dramas, one is made by a seasoned professional while the shorter one at 45 minutes is from a student. The presence of a fresh director is always something to cheer when it comes to Japanese films at international festivals and this director is a lady to boot: Aya Igashi. She is a graduate from Toei Gakuen Film College’s movie production department and is already working on her third film.

So, while we can all sigh and shrug our shoulders at the lack of original content, we can take comfort in the fact that Aya Igashi is on the radar of people who programme the festival.

What are the films playing this year?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017”

Featured

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up

oaff2017_posterart_english

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

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

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

Venues:

Umeda Burg 7 (March 3-12),

ABC Hall (March 8-12),

Cine Libre Umeda (March 4-12),

Hankyu Umeda Hall (March 6-10)

Tickets are on sale from the end of February.

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

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

The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “La vie en Rose” on August 24th and Special Talk on August 25th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The final film is La vie en Rose from 1994. There’s not much out there about this award-winning film but if you want convincing that this might be worth a watch then read this interesting review.

SPECIAL EVENT

That this is the final film in the series is fitting because it was the debut film of Kim Hong-joon, the celebrated professor and film scholar whose documentaries and books have helped inspire this season of films being screened at the Korean Cultural Centre. There is a special event being held at Birkbeck Cinema on August 25th at 19:00 where Kim Hong-joon will give a talk about Korean cinema and his work and he will screen five films. If you have a deep interest in Korean films then this is the event to go to since he is a member of the Korean Film Commission, and the founder of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). Find out more at this webpage. You can book tickets for the talk here.

Here’s information on the final film in this season as pulled from the website:

La Vie en Rose    La Vie En Rose Korean Film Poster 1994

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: August 06th, 1994

Director: Kim Hong-joon

Writer: Yook Sang-hyo (Screenplay),

Starring: Choi Myeong-gil, Choi Jae-sung, Cha Gwang-soo. Lee Jee-hyung. Hwang Mi-seon, Choi Jong-won,

Korean Film Archive IMDB KoBiz

Synopsis from the website: La Vie en Rose feels like a Tarantino movie set in a comic book shop. It’s a film that works over many genres, ranging from martial arts to vengeance, from coming-of-age to finding your place in life. Clerks (Kevin Smith: 1994) meets High Fidelity (Stephen Frears: 2000) as Seoul’s youth try to create and protect the place and

The community they’ve come to love. “Should I stay or should I go?” is a question many young people ask themselves, whether they are from the country or the city, from the east or the west. it is a story about refusing to give up even under impossible circumstances; it’s about refusing to give in to the destructive forces of everything from organised crime, to governmental bans and crackdowns on illegal activities; it’s also about trying to build something together, a community you feel you can belong to, where the outcasts, half criminals and homeless can also feel welcomed.

La Vie En Rose korean Film Image 1994

The Korean Cultural Centre hosts this event, and others in the season for free. This is the final season of Korean Film Nights in 2017 so make the most of the free films on offer. The film will begin at 19:00. so you had better arrive early to get a seat. The talk also takes place at 19:00 so get there early to get a prime seat as well. You can book tickets here. You can book tickets for the talk here.

The location of the film screening is:

Korean Cultural Centre UK

1-3 Strand

London

WC2N 5BW

United Kingdom

Visualized Hearts 可視化する心たち Dir: Akiko Igarashi (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival Review

Visualized Hearts

可視化する心たちKajika suru kokoro-tachi

Running Time: 76 mins.

Director:  Akiko Igarashi

Writer: Akiko Igarashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryuichi Yoshida, Nanami Shirakawa, Yoshio Shin, Aoi Ibuki, Yukina Aoyama, Seishiro Ishida, Riku Tokimitsu, Ayaka Matsui,

JFDB IMDB OAFF

While attending the Osaka Asian Film Festival I saw a whole host of indie films from directors making their debuts or sophomore titles. The festival provided the perfect platform for these new directors to showcase their work, many of which were funded by grants from the Housen Cultural Foundation or the Cineastes Organization Osaka (CO2), or through crowdfunding sites like Motion Gallery. One particular project, Visualised Hearts caught my attention. This film and its director Akiko Igarashi are, in filmic terms, the very definition of the idiom, “a diamond in the rough” but there’s enough potential here to warrant viewing the film and supporting Igarashi, allowing her to polish her talent and shine as a new voice in Japanese science fiction.

Visualised Hearts is Igarashi’s debut feature-length film. She based it on her short film, Kokoro wo Kashikasuru Kikai which was developed as she studied at film school while holding down her company job. Her feature was made on a tiny budget with limited resources and actors recruited from the CO2 Actor Scholarship Project and yet its ideas are big: the benefits and complications of being able to visualise what the human heart feels.

Continue reading “Visualized Hearts 可視化する心たち Dir: Akiko Igarashi (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival Review”

The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “Garak Market Revolution” on August 17th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. Garak Market Revolution is a tiny indie film that was shown on a handful of cinema screens according to the Korean film website. The fact that the Korean Culture Centre is showing these films makes it the best way to see indie films from Korea. This film looks like a lot of fun and also has a social critique about youth unemployment and a hopeful message about finding the strength to overcome it – through traditional Korean chess.

Here’s information on the latest film in this season as pulled from the website:

Garak Market Revolution   Garak Market Revolution Film Poster

Hangul: 장기왕: 가락시장 레볼루션

Running Time: 88 mins.

Release Date: February 02nd, 2017

Director: Jung Da-won

Writer: Jung Da-won (Screenplay),

Starring: Jung Doo-won, Choi Si-on, Park Ye-young, Jung Da-won, Kim Kyung-ik, Kim Jae-rok, Jung Do-Won, Ko Gyung-pyo,

KoBiz IMDB

Synopsis from the website: In this sweet alternative story of youth and protest, a young man with a college degree takes a job at the local Garak Market without telling his parents. Being teased by younger peers for not having a white collar job and getting harassed by his boss, his life is not exactly ideal, but after discovering his extraordinary gift for playing the traditional oriental chess game, jang-gi, and falling in love with a girl who fights to make the world a better place, he might have just found a possibility to change the world for himself and his friends.

The Korean Cultural Centre  hosts this event, and others in the season for free. This is the final season of Korean Film Nights in 2017 so make the most of the free films on offer. The film will begin at 19:00. You can book tickets at this website. The location is:

Korean Cultural Centre UK

1-3 Strand

London

WC2N 5BW

United Kingdom

Japanese Foundation Event: Culinary Culture & Gastronomy in Japanese Cinema

The Japan Foundation in London recently ran an event dedicated to Japanese food as shown in films and it seems to have been super popular because there is another helping of food-based films for audiences to salivate over and it’s all free to attend (you just need to book a place). Prepare to gorge yourselves on some really delicious looking food served up amidst some great stories by a myriad of cooks!

Tampopo Film Image

Continue reading “Japanese Foundation Event: Culinary Culture & Gastronomy in Japanese Cinema”

The Korean Culture Centre Will Screen the film “The March of Fools” on August 10th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The next film is The March of Fools from 1975 and it comes from Ha Gil-jong. It seems to be an important title in Korean film history. There’s a wealth of information out there thanks to different retrospectives and elements in the Korean film industry who are keen to promote some of their nation’s best works. If you cannot make it down to London, you can watch it legally on YouTube.

Here’s information on the first film in this season as pulled from the website and a clip from the film itself:

Continue reading “The Korean Culture Centre Will Screen the film “The March of Fools” on August 10th”

London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “A Taxi Driver” at the Picturehouse Central Cinema on Monday August 14th, 18:30

The UK premiere of A Taxi Driver will take place on Monday, August 14th at 18:30 as part of the London Korean Film Festivals teaser screenings in the lead-up to the next London Korean Film Festival which will be held from October 26th to November 19th.

A Taxi Driver is a road-movie based on the true story of a taxi driver named Kim Sa-bok taking a German reporter named Jurgen Hinzpeter to cover the Gwangju Uprising (May 18th – 27th, 1980). The film stars Song Kang-ho (The Quiet Family, Joint Security Area, Thirst) and Yu Hae-jin (Public Enemy, Kick the Moon, The Flu, Veteran). It’s released on August 02nd in Korea so to have it released in the UK so soon is a great deal!

Here are the details:

A Taxi Driver Film Poster

Continue reading “London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “A Taxi Driver” at the Picturehouse Central Cinema on Monday August 14th, 18:30”

The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “The Knitting Club” on August 03rd

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The latest film is a documentary about a knitting club but there’s more to it including the bonds that members of this club make and creating a union. The screening takes place on August 03rd from 19:00.

Here’s information on the first film in this season as pulled from the website:

Continue reading “The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “The Knitting Club” on August 03rd”

Suffering of Ninko 「仁光の受難」(2016) Dir: Niwatsukino Norihiro

Suffering of Ninko   

the-suffering-of-ninko-film-poster
the-suffering-of-ninko-film-poster

仁光の受難 Ninko no junan

Running Time: 70 mins.

Director: Niwatsukino Norihiro

Writer: Niwatsukino Norihiro (Screenplay)

Starring: Masato Tsujioka, Miho Wakabayashi, Hideta Iwahashi, Yukino Arimoto, Tomoko Harazaki, Qyoko Kudo,

IMDB  Website

Seeing someone suffer is rarely fun but this film all about a Buddhist priest who is cursed to be sexually irresistible to all around him is sure to amuse audiences.

Ninko (Masato Tsujioka) is a novice Buddhist monk living during the Edo period. He is based at Enmei-ji, a temple in the mountains. He is, in fact, a paragon of a monk, adhering to asceticism to learn his religion, dutifully cooking, cleaning, and praying every day.

The Suffering of Ninko Film Image 3

Continue reading “Suffering of Ninko 「仁光の受難」(2016) Dir: Niwatsukino Norihiro”