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Kikoenakatta Ano Hi, That Day I Couldn’t Hear, Nijuu no machi koutai-chi no uta o amu, Redline, Tokyo 7th Sisters: Bokura wa Aozora ni Naru Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

The Taste of Tea Image

Welcome to the third and final trailer post of this week.

Here are links to PART ONE and PART TWO of the trailer post.

What are the final films released this weekend?

Continue reading “Kikoenakatta Ano Hi, That Day I Couldn’t Hear, Nijuu no machi koutai-chi no uta o amu, Redline, Tokyo 7th Sisters: Bokura wa Aozora ni Naru Japanese Film Trailers”

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March Comes in Like a Lion, Pornographer: Playback, Under the Turquoise Sky, You with a 1-meter Radius, Let’s Walk Upward Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Mind Game Film Image 5

Welcome to the second trailer post of the week.

You can find the first one here.

What else is released this weekend?

Continue reading “March Comes in Like a Lion, Pornographer: Playback, Under the Turquoise Sky, You with a 1-meter Radius, Let’s Walk Upward Japanese Film Trailers”

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Aristocrats, Face Forward, GET OVER JAM Project THE MOVIE, Samete Maboroshi, Explosive Cooking Every Day, Madotachi Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Colorless Yuka Tanaka (Ruka Ishikawa) and Shuji Oyamada (Daichi Kaneko) 2

I hope you are all well!

This week, I watched more Shohei Imamura films in preparation for a podcast. I also watched a bunch of Ryutaro Nakagawa films like Mio on the ShoreSummer Blooms, and Silent Rain. I also watched Eriko Pretended. The last four are on Amazon Prime. I’m transitioning to Osaka Asian Film Festival titles now. You can see the full programme here. I hope you take a look because I wrote the English-language synopses! I had a blast doing it. I’m still doing work for the festival.

This week I posted a review for the film Colorless.

This trailer post will be split into three parts. This is the first.

So, what is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Aristocrats, Face Forward, GET OVER JAM Project THE MOVIE, Samete Maboroshi, Explosive Cooking Every Day, Madotachi Japanese Film Trailers”

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colorless 猿楽町で会いましょう Dir: Takashi Koyama (2020)

colorless  colorless Film Poster

猿楽町で会いましょう  Sarugakuchou de aimashou

Release Date: 2021

Duration: 122 mins.

Director: Takashi Koyama

Writer: Takashi Koyama, Yu Shibuya (Screenplay), 

Starring: Ruka Ishikawa, Daichi Kaneko, Shuntaro Yanagi, Sakurako Konishi, Ikuma Nagatomo, Hitoe Ookubo,

Website IMDB

colorless is the directorial debut of Takashi Koyama. He adapted the winner of 2018’s Unfinished Movie Trailer Grand Prix MI-CAN, a competition where filmmaker’s can win a cash prize based on a trailer around 3 minutes. He makes a tragic love story involving two people who are drawn to Shibuya’s fashion culture. The resulting story is cynical, slightly cliched but lifted by the performers while the technicals convey the glitz and glamour of the district.    

Continue reading “colorless 猿楽町で会いましょう Dir: Takashi Koyama (2020)”

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Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie: Red Battle! All Sentai Rally!!, Peaceful Death, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates, Mashin Sentai Kiramager The Movie: Bee-Bop Dream, A Collection of Short Stories, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again!

Beneath the Shadow Ryuhei Matsuda and Gou Ayano 3

I hope you are feeling good.

This is the second of this week’s trailer post. It follows on from this one. Yesterday evening I watched The Shape of Red (2020) and this morning I watched Summer Bloom (2018).

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie: Red Battle! All Sentai Rally!!, Peaceful Death, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates, Mashin Sentai Kiramager The Movie: Bee-Bop Dream, A Collection of Short Stories, Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Murders of Oiso, In Those Days, Liar x Liar, The Pledge to Megumi, Shin Dekotora no Shu: Eagle Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

We’re back for more movies!

This week I posted a review for the “Kengo Kora plays a stalker” film Under Your Bed and I wrote about the Japanese films at the Berlin International Film Festival. I watched a grip of films, including Romance DollColorless, and Shohei Imamura’s The Eel because I will be recording the first episode of the second season of Heroic Purgatory soon.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Murders of Oiso, In Those Days, Liar x Liar, The Pledge to Megumi, Shin Dekotora no Shu: Eagle Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2021

 

Like Rotterdam earlier this month, the Berlin International Film Festival has had to change its format due to Covid-19 and so it launches in two sections. From the website:

From March 1 to 5, 2021, the 71st Berlinale is being launched with an Industry Event (European Film MarketBerlinale Co-Production MarketBerlinale Talents and Word Cinema Fund) for film professionals and accredited representatives of the press. All Industry Event activities will take place online.
Information on Participating in the Industry Event
Selected events from Berlinale Talents (talks and live workshops) and the World Cinema Fund (WCF Day) will be accessible online to the general public. The respective programmes will be published in mid-February.

From June 9 to 20, 2021, the Summer Special will give the general public the opportunity to see the majority of the 2021 selected films in Berlin cinemas in the presence of the filmmakers. The opening of the Summer Special will be celebrated with a gala event on June 9.

Check this festival page just before the Summer Special to see what will be screened in cinemas. I’ll update this post if more films are added.

What are the Japanese films programmed so far?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2021”

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Under Your Bed アンダー・ユア・ベッド (2019) Dir: Mari Asato

Under Your Bed   Under Your Bed Film Poster

アンダー・ユア・ベッド Anda- Yua Beddo

Release Date: July 19th, 2019

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: MarAsato

Writer: Tatsuya Ishii (Screenplay), Kei Ohishi (Novel)

Starring: Kengo Kora, Kanako Nishikawa, Kenichi Abe, Ryosuke Miyake, Yugo Mikawa,

Website IMDB

Handsome leading man Kengo Kora takes on a daring role in this film as he portrays a stalker who, when we first meet him, is living the dream the title suggests as he is under a bed. Not yours, but his target’s bed. However this movie directed by horror specialist Mari Asato subverts the idea of who the threat is as the peeping tom who prowls around a young woman’s home is the least frightening person lurking there.

Continue reading “Under Your Bed アンダー・ユア・ベッド (2019) Dir: Mari Asato”

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A Long Journey, The Guard From Underground, The New Prince of Tennis: Hyotei vs Rikkai Game of Future, A Neat Town Doctor Trailers

 

Happy Sunday!

Kontora Film Image

I’m almost at the end of a big writing project. One last push today!

What are the final films released this weekend?

Continue reading “A Long Journey, The Guard From Underground, The New Prince of Tennis: Hyotei vs Rikkai Game of Future, A Neat Town Doctor Trailers”

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First Love, Tsunagare Radio Our Rainy Days, Princess Principal: Crown Handler 1, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Saturday!

Dreams on Fire 2021 Film Image

I hope you are well.

Following on from yesterday’s trailer post, this is part two! Part three comes tomorrow.

What else is released this weekend?

Continue reading “First Love, Tsunagare Radio Our Rainy Days, Princess Principal: Crown Handler 1, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion Japanese Film Trailers”

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Under the Open Sky, Patlabor 2: The Movie (4DX Release), Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet, Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal 2 Part 2 Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Body-Remember-3 Film Image

I hope you are all well.

This week’s trailer post is going to be split into three because there are a lot of trailers. There will be one tomorrow and one on Sunday. I posted about the Glasgow International Film Festival and the Keita Yamashina film Body Remember. I am working on material for the Osaka Asian Film Festival so stay tuned for more on that.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Under the Open Sky, Patlabor 2: The Movie (4DX Release), Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet, Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal 2 Part 2 Japanese Film Trailers”

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Body Remember (2020)

Body Remember

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 85 mins.

Director: Keita Yamashina

Writer: Ippei Miyake, Keita Yamashina (Script), 

Starring: Yume Tanaka, Yohei Okuda, Ryuta Furuya,
Takaya Shibata, Momoka Ayukawa, Keita Yamashina,

Website IMDB

A trend in recent Japanese indie films is the use of self-reflexive stories that prompt both the characters and the audience to constantly interrogate what is real. Body Remember, the directorial debut by actor Keita Yamashina, is one such example as it blurs the lines between dream, reality, and fantasy from start to finish in a playful adventure in interpretation as experienced by an artist and writer committing to the page a sultry woman’s murky past.

Continue reading “Body Remember (2020)”

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Satsui no Michinori, Murderous Intent’s Journey (Movie Version), Horimiya, Light from There ~ From Me in the Future to Me ~ , Moruerani no kiri no naka, Gekijouban Eguchi Takuya no Oretachi datte Iyasaretai! Osaka no Tabi Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend! Again!

Sleeping Insect Ryo Matsuura on the Bus

I hope you are still feeling good.

This is part two of my trailer post (part one came out yesterday) because there were a lot of films to get through. I also posted information about the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021, how it will operate and the opening and closing films.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Satsui no Michinori, Murderous Intent’s Journey (Movie Version), Horimiya, Light from There ~ From Me in the Future to Me ~ , Moruerani no kiri no naka, Gekijouban Eguchi Takuya no Oretachi datte Iyasaretai! Osaka no Tabi Japanese Film Trailers”

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021 Announces Opening/Closing Films

The key visual of OAFF 2021 is an original art by Vancouver-based cartoonist Marc Bell.

The Organisers of the Osaka Asian Film Festival have announced details of the 2021 edition. The top headlines are:

It is going ahead in two forms, one physical and one digital

  • On screen (OAFF 2021 programs in cinemas): March 5 – March 14
  • Online (Selected films from previous OAFF programs): February 28 – March 20

The screen programs will consist of the Competition, Indie Forum, and other sections and special programs dedicated to emerging trends in Asian cinema.

The Online Programs will have a rich selection of works that have been screened at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in the past. These films will be available to rent for a limited time through VOD (video on demand) services via a streaming platform. The viewing period for these films is from February 28 to March 20 as “Osaka Asian Film Festival Online” and it will be available in Japan. The first title to bee announced for online screening is WHOLE, a drama about biracial people searching for their identity in Japan (here’s my review).

Due to the Coronavirus situation, there will be rules in place at cinemas to keep people safe and the festival’s program might change at short notice, so please keep an eye on the official site and also SNS: Twitter, Facebook etc.

Also announced were the OPENING and CLOSING films.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021 Announces Opening/Closing Films”

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Endless SHOCK, Jukai Village, Suicide Forest Village, The Cinderella Addiction, Utsusemi no Mori, Gekijouban utsuhime obakamiko Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Sleeping Insect Ryo Matsuura

I hope you are all well.

This week I was in work for a few days as I helped set up an exhibition. I’ve also continued work on writing material for a film festival coming up in March. Expect more details soon.

This week I posted a review of the film Stay (2019) and a preview of the Japanese films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. I’ll have another post later today but for now…

What is released this weekend? Look below in part one of a two-part trailer post!

Continue reading “Endless SHOCK, Jukai Village, Suicide Forest Village, The Cinderella Addiction, Utsusemi no Mori, Gekijouban utsuhime obakamiko Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021

Rotterdam International Film Festival Logo

From February 01st – 07th and June 2nd – 06th 2020, the 50th edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival will screen their films online. It’s going to be an online experience available to people in Holland, however, some of the screen talks will be available worldwide. These are all available to view over a certain number of days via the festival’s own streaming platform.

Check out this page for more details.

There are three films programmed. One of the films here was at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, one looks relatively brand new while the other comes from France and they are all in the Big Screen Competition.

Here are the Japanese movies:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021”

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Stay (2019) Dir: Naoya Fujita

Stay   

Release Date: September 05th, 2020

Duration: 38 mins.

Director: Naoya Fujita

Writer: Suzuyuki Kaneko (Script), 

Starring: Keita Yamashina, Ruka Ishikawa, Takaki Uda, Yumi Endo, Kenta Yamagishi, Kohei Nagano, Suzuyuki Kaneko,

Stay, by director Naoya Fujita, has been screened at the Tama New Wave Festival, Skip City D-Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival which is where I saw it as part of the package of films supported by the Housen Cultural Foundation, an organisation which provides financial backing to students in graduate schools across Japan. The inspiration for the story comes from the time when Fujita encountered a traditional Japanese-style home and was immediately taken with it, imagining what it would be like for a community to form around it and this idea evolving into one asking the question of what constitutes a family.

Featured

Woman of the Photographs, Aru Youmuin, To Heal Wounds of Heart Theatrical Version, Smoky & Bitter Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Tailwind Film Image

Welcome to part two of the trailer post.

I forgot to mention in part one of my trailer post that my review for Keita Yamashina’s fun metatextual drama Body Remember is up at V-Cinema. It plays at the San Francisco Indie Fest next month. Also, I’m still working on festival stuff which launches in February/March!

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Woman of the Photographs, Aru Youmuin, To Heal Wounds of Heart Theatrical Version, Smoky & Bitter Japanese Film Trailers”

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The End of the Tiny World, Yakuza and The Family, I Fell in Love Like A Flower Bouquet, Omoide Shashin Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Terrarium Locker Film Image

I hope you are all well.

This week, I posted news on the blu-ray/digital release of gekimation films from Ujicha – Violence Voyager and Buddha Burning Man so expect a review soon. I also posted details about the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2021 which has 18 features that people in the UK can stream for free.

The website for the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021 has been released and I am involved with the fest again so expect coverage of as many films as I can do! It’s a physical event and also a digital one for this year. Stay tuned for more details.

Here is part one of my trailer post about what is released this weekend:

Continue reading “The End of the Tiny World, Yakuza and The Family, I Fell in Love Like A Flower Bouquet, Omoide Shashin Japanese Film Trailers”

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Third Window Films Unleashes the Weird and Wild World of Director UJICHA with His Films “Violence Voyager” & “Burning Buddha Man” on January 25th 2021

Kyoto Saga Art University graduate Ujicha is a talented artist who uses hand-made and painted paper cut-outs for models and moves them by hand like marionettes to tell horror stories. He has dubbed it “Geki-mation” and he directs, writes, draws, edits, his own work and it is clear to see his skill is undeniable. Third Window Films are going to release a set of his works entitled UJICHA: Violence Voyager / Burning Buddha Man on January 25th on blu-ray & digital. 

Here are the details!

2 DISC LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY CONTENTS    

 

Disc 1: Violence Voyager
Wonderful World of Ujicha VV

Uncut original Japanese language version
Audio commentary from director Ujicha and producer Reo Anzai
Interview with director Ujicha (20min)
Short Film: Tempura (4min)
Storyboards
Teaser of Ujicha’s latest film
Original Trailer

Disc 2: The Burning Buddha Man  Wonderful World of Ujicha Blu-ray cases

Short Film: The Retnepac2 (16min)   
Short Film: Space Yokai War (9min)
Original Trailer

Reversible sleeve artwork
Slipcase
Region B

Here are the trailers and synopses and a little extra info that I wrote when each film came out:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Unleashes the Weird and Wild World of Director UJICHA with His Films “Violence Voyager” & “Burning Buddha Man” on January 25th 2021″

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Gekijouban hontou ni atta kowai hanashi jiko bukken geinin, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, Coming Out Chugoku LGBT no Sakebi, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Corsaire” in Cinema Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Donten Town Image 3

I hope you are all safe and well.

This week I reviewed the films Dong Teng Town and Terrarium Locker and I’m helping prep a film festival. I watched a lot of films recently such as WidowsThe Never-ending Story, and lots of Universal horror movies like Frankenstein and Dracula.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Gekijouban hontou ni atta kowai hanashi jiko bukken geinin, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, Coming Out Chugoku LGBT no Sakebi, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Corsaire” in Cinema Japanese Film Trailers”

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Terrarium Locker テラリウムロッカー (2019) Dir: Rika Aoi

Terrarium Locker    Terrarium Locker Film Poster

テラリウムロッカー  Terariumu Rokka-

Release Date: 2019

Duration: 30 mins.

Director: Rika Aoi

Writer: Rika Aoi (Screenplay),

Starring: Kanako Miyashita, Osuke Tokunaga, Takashi Okado, Anju Oda,

Website     Twitter

Rika Aoi’s Terrarium Locker was first picked up for the Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 before it was re-edited for the MOOSIC LAB 2019 programme. She made it while also working as a manga editor and did so with a main staff made up of women in their 20s (source). The film is a quiet and quirky small-scale human drama about a young woman finding her place in the world.Terrarium Locker Film Image

“Is there anything in this world that only I can do?”

Continue reading “Terrarium Locker テラリウムロッカー (2019) Dir: Rika Aoi”

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Dong Teng Town ドンテンタウン (2020) Dir: Kouhei Inoue

Dong Teng Town    Dong Teng Town Film Poster

ドンテンタウン Donten Taun

Release Date: July 17th, 2020

Duration: 61 mins.

Director: Kouhei Inoue

Writer: Kouhei Inoue (Script),

Starring: Ryo Sato, Sho Kasamatsu, Ai Yamamoto, Ryui Ushio, Saki Iwasaki, Gantsu Morita, Ryo Anraku,

Website

Director Kohei Inoue’s Dong Teng Town netted the Actor Award for Sho Kasamatsu’s performance, and was the runner up for the MOOSIC LAB Grand Prix prize, which ultimately went to Sleeping Insect. His work is, nonetheless, strong, as it gives a dreamlike tale with lead performances full of poignancy that rises above a confused narrative of two lost souls communicating through time and space through cassette tapes as themes of absence and meetings, common in all of the MOOSIC LAB films, are played out quite nicely.

Continue reading “Dong Teng Town ドンテンタウン (2020) Dir: Kouhei Inoue”

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Etsunen: Lovers, Nezura 1964, Totsuzen shitsurei itashimasu!, Natsume Yuujinchou: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihousha, Raika Rorin Suton IDOL AUDiTiON, Koi no Haka Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

Shell and Joint Film Image

I hope everyone is doing well.

I hope you are all staying safe and looking for ways to make a positive change in the world. I’ve taken to studying Japanese for a couple of hours as soon as I get up in the morning (05:00) and in the evening (17:00) and I am feeling a little better about myself. I hope to unlock more of my potential.

This week I posted reviews for Tailwind and My Lovely Days. The director of Tailwind kindly commented and retweeted my review on Twitter so I was happy to see my words have a positive effect! It’s a good drama, so check it out. I also posted a preview of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2021 over at Anime UK News. Expect a preview here next week.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Etsunen: Lovers, Nezura 1964, Totsuzen shitsurei itashimasu!, Natsume Yuujinchou: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihousha, Raika Rorin Suton IDOL AUDiTiON, Koi no Haka Japanese Film Trailers”

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My Lovely Days, Yuka-chan no Aishita Jidai ゆかちゃんの愛した時代  (2018) Dir: Yun Hayama

My Lovely DaysYuka-chan no Aishita Jidai Film Poster

ゆかちゃんの愛した時代 Yuka-chan no Aishita Jidai

Release Date: July 11th, 2020

Duration: 30 mins.

Director: Yun Hayama

Writer: Yun Hayama, Nishio Hiroshi (Script),

Starring: Yun Hayama, Keita Yamashina, Sayu Higashi, Marc Panther, Shiho Tanaka,

With the retirement of Emperor Akihito and the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum throne, the transition from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era¹ sparked a lot of nostalgia in Japanese who looked back over the cultural shifts felt during the 80s and 90s. Yun Hayama indulges in the same thing and is clearly writing from experience with this film which is a flashback to the fun of the 90s.

It is April 30th, 2019, and the Heisei era will end in an hour. At one coffee shop in Osaka, Yuka Yukawa, a local talent born in 1989 (the first year of the Heisei era) is having a meeting with her manager Masao (Keita Yamashina). While Masao is pressuring her to do work (including, quite cynically, a film with an erotic scene), Yuka is more interested in talking about her memories of the Heisei era and as she talks her sweet and infectious desire for the Heisei era begins to overflow into the conversation.

Continue reading “My Lovely Days, Yuka-chan no Aishita Jidai ゆかちゃんの愛した時代  (2018) Dir: Yun Hayama”

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Tailwind 追い風 (2020) Dir: Ryo Anraku

Tailwind    Oi-kaze Film poster

追い風 Oikaze

Release Date: August 07th, 2020

Duration: 71 mins.

Director: Ryo Anraku

Writer: Ryo Katayama, Ryo Anraku (Script), 

Starring: DEG, Ryo Katayama, Ryo Anraku, Hyoma Shibata, Hiroki Sato, Ritsu Ootomu, Mebuki Yoshida,

Website

Winner of the Best Actor and Musician Award in the feature film category of MOOSIC LAB 2019, Tailwind was shot in just three months by up-and-coming indie film makers Ryo Katayama and Ryo Anraku. Their story is based upon shared real-life experience with their friend DEG, a hip-hop artist whose friendly persona and musical performance fits perfectly into both this youth drama and the MOOSIC LAB mantra of combining filmmakers and artists.

28-year-old Tokyo-based rapper DEG is struggling with his career and feeling frustrated. A decent rhyme-smith, his songs lack fire since the lyrics are inoffensive (and maybe even a little bland) to win listeners over and so he isn’t making any progress beyond friend’s parties and izakaya gigs. His affability on the mic is reflected off the stage as he masks his frustrations and disappointments behind his smile. Any inconvenience, insult, or disagreement from someone is met with a big grin and a laugh and so he is suffering on the inside while others advance their lives and move on without him, sometimes at his expense. However, with his frustrations mounting DEG’s smile begins to fade and his inner voice beings to emerge. When he is invited to a friend’s wedding which Hikari, the love of his life, will attend, he decides to use the event as the catalyst for him to realign his personal and professional personas and make his own tailwind and seize his own happiness. 

Continue reading “Tailwind 追い風 (2020) Dir: Ryo Anraku”

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Angry Rice Wives, Adult’s Situation, Gintama: The Final, Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal 2, Otenmon no Hen, Musubi no Shima and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

I hope you are all well.

I’m leading in with politics because… After the crazy events of the last week at the US Capitol (and numerous state houses across America), I am not sure what to write other than this was the inevitable escalation of right-wing thought which is dominated by racism and a severe ignorance of history. None of this is new. People knew it was going to happen but nobody stopped it. Indeed, politicians encouraged it. And let’s not think that countries in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere are better or immune to this madness. I hope that we hold the leaders and commentators accountable and part of this is moderate conservatives need to own what has happened and stop this culture war/grievance culture BS they have initiated. This needs to lead to a paradigm shift in how we engage with politics and people and we see people inspired to organise against hatred and poverty otherwise this will escalate.

Society is only as strong as the measure of everyone’s engagement with it and for too long many people have been checked out or convinced that only certain people belong which leads to division. We need unity. I recommend watching Majority Report videos to get more perspective.

This week I reviewed the films Soul Music and The Sleeping Insect.

What is released this weekend? Lucky Chan-sil, one of the best films I saw in 2020!

Continue reading “Angry Rice Wives, Adult’s Situation, Gintama: The Final, Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal 2, Otenmon no Hen, Musubi no Shima and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

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Soul Music ソウル・ミュージック (2020) Dir: Masaki Soejima

Soul Music    Soul Music Film Poster

ソウル・ミュージック Souru Myu-jikku

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 30 mins.

Director: Masaki Soejima

Writer: Masaki Soejima (Script),

Starring: Teruyuki Oshima, Kazuaki Koyama, Yoshio Otani, Miki Aoyagi,

Website

Director Masaki Soejima is both a psychiatrist and filmmaker who combines the two to make a funny mockumentary in which a duo of bumbling middle-aged men make a supernatural song recording.

“Can you write a song with a ghost?” This is a request sent into a late-night radio show by an elementary schoolgirl. What she is doing up late at night listening to Teruyuki Oshima and Kazuaki Koyama, two musicians with laidback radio personalities is anyone’s guess but in the middle of a ratings slump, their producer sees her challenge as a chance to get a bump in listeners and so he sends his reluctant charges out into a haunted forest with a small crew to make music with a ghost.

Continue reading “Soul Music ソウル・ミュージック (2020) Dir: Masaki Soejima”

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The Sleeping Insect 眠る虫 (2019) Dir: Yurina Kaneko

The Sleeping Insect    The Sleeping Insect Film Poster

眠る虫Nemuru Mushi

Release Date: September 05th, 2020

Duration: 62 mins.

Director: Yurina Kaneko

Writer: Yurina Kaneko (Script), 

Starring: Ryo Matsuura, Takeo Gozu, Kaoru Mizuki, Yura Sato, Hirobumi Watanabe,

Website

This is the feature film debut by director Yurina Kaneko. She received attention for her 2019 Pia Film Festival Award winning short Walking Plants, which screened at Nippon Connection last year, and also for her part in the omnibus film 21st Century Girl (2018). Sleeping Insect won the 2019 MOOSIC LAB Grand Prix. Like other MOOSIC LAB films released that year, it features the ghosts as the main character as Kaneko has her go on a Lynchian adventure where the border between normality and the supernatural dissolves

The film takes place during the summer and our lead character is Kanako Seri (Ryo Matsuura), the front-woman of a three-piece band. As well as strumming the guitar, she has a heightened, maybe preternatural ability to hear sounds. During a break in practice they discuss how ghosts feel and this is the lead-in for the strange day that follows for Kanako.

Continue reading “The Sleeping Insect 眠る虫 (2019) Dir: Yurina Kaneko”

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To the Ends of the Earth 旅のおわり世界のはじまり (2019) Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

To the Ends of the Earth        To the Ends of the Earth Film Poster

旅のおわり世界のはじまり  「Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari」

Release Date: June 14th, 2019

Duration: 120 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Atsuko Maeda, Ryo Kase, Shota Sometani, Tokio Emoto, Adiz Rajabov,

Website     IMDB

To the Ends of the Earth is an international co-production that was commissioned to commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Uzbekistan. It’s written and directed by horror auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who eschews using serial killers and ghosts as sources of fear and turns to tourism as he makes a moving travelogue-cum-character study of an introverted young woman overcoming anxieties in an alien environment and coming to understand herself better.

We follow Yoko (Atsuko Maeda), the young host of a Japanese TV show who is on assignment in Uzbekistan with a small crew (played by Shota Sometani, Ryo Kase, Tokio Emoto, Adiz Rajabov) as they seek out interesting places to go and exciting things to do. Rather than the glamour and fun of the finished product, we witness a light satire surrounding the drudgery of a production where nothing quite works out. A mythical fish is a no-show at a mountain lake, food is undercooked in a culinary section, and, in one wince-inducing bit, Yoko boards a seemingly innocuous ride at a theme park only to end up being tossed around like a rag doll. Throughout it all she shows professionalism by following her director’s orders and hosting everything with a grin (or gritted teeth when it comes to the ride) but as the assignment grinds on, we see her positive façade fade and her authentic side emerge.

There is considerable downtime between filming and Kurosawa emphasises these moments in his narrative to show that the real Yoko is more introspective than her onscreen personality lets on. She often opts to eat alone and skips production meetings to stay in her hotel room so she can spend time messaging her boyfriend in Tokyo for comfort. Her anxieties are most pointedly felt when she goes on solo daytime jaunts. Alone and with just a map and a few words of English to communicate, a trip to somewhere like Chorsu Bazaar becomes nightmarish as she loses confidence in herself, finds crowds of hagglers harrowing and gets lost in back streets because she is too intimidated by the locals to ask for help. To build the intensity of panic to match the increasing tension Yoko feels, Kurosawa uses techniques familiar from his horror repertoire, transitioning from touristic locations to uninviting urban areas shaded by fluctuating light, menacing shadows, and scary sounds, while he also refrains from subtitling Uzbek dialogue to reflect Yoko’s incomprehension as well as to make circumstances opaque for the audience. 

Yoko’s alienation and distress is conveyed so well in these sequences that they will ring true to anyone who has travelled and felt the buzz of tension and shrivelling of the heart that comes with encountering and shrinking from the unknown. However, after these tumultuous situations, we see Yoko develop as she reflects upon her angst and it is tourism that allows her to push past her fears.

During her wanderings she often encounters something or someone that teaches her to move forward with these sequences skilfully allowing her journey, her dreamlife and Uzbekistan to intersect. The most impactful moment, and the turning point in the film, comes when Yoko is drawn to explore the Navoi theatre in Tashkent by the sound of a woman singing. Tracking shots follow her journey through ornate rooms beautifully decorated in the style of different regions of Uzbekistan until there is a seamless segue to fantasy as she reaches a stage and suddenly bursts out with the Edith Piaf song Hymne à l’Amour (愛の讃歌) while accompanied by an orchestra. This display of confidence runs counter to our impressions of her true nature and reveals her dream that surpasses presenting travel shows. Her ability to bridge the gap between dream and reality soon comes after as she learns that the theatre was built by Japanese POWs after World War II and seems to relate to their story of finding release from fear through dedicating themselves to art. This message is reinforced when she takes the time to have a frank conversation with her taciturn cameraman who reveals his own career dilemmas and offers philosophical advice amounting to the journey is just as important as the destination. It is an honest and insightful look at how people can grow from experiences. While the remainder of the film is dedicated to Yoko struggling to master herself and still making mistakes, a growing understanding of herself allows her character arc to have a positive trajectory. 

To the Ends of the Earth Image Yoko (Atsuko Maeda) with a Camera

None of this would work if ex-AKB48 idol Atsuko Maeda wasn’t a good actor and she gives a compelling performance here. This is her third film with Kurosawa following the offbeat thriller Seventh Code (2013) and alien invasion drama Before We Vanish (2017) and it is her most complex role to date. Kurosawa keeps the camera focussed on her and she reveals how much she has grown as a performer as she displays a sensitivity and vulnerability that guarantees audience empathy that keeps us riveted as we watch her stumble through various Uzbek locations to stride towards an uplifting conclusion that sees her achieve some self-realisation after which she can belt out a full rendition of Hymne à l’Amour with a dazzling shine of confidence that caps her character’s journey. It’s said that travel helps people find themselves and it turns out to be true here.

My review was first published over at V-Cinema on December 03rd.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2021 is the year we can master ourselves and improve the world.

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First Trailers of 2021: Gekijouban Seitokai Yakuindomo 2, Tou Ouji 2-Man-nen no Tabi Ceramic Road Japanese Film Trailers and New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to the last post of 2020 and the first Japanese films of 2021.

After the plague year of 2020, I’m sure we’re all eager to start afresh. I know I am. We can look at this year and see what needs to be improved and it may come down to having a greater regard for the people we live with and our wider society/environment and to be more active in fighting hate and suffering. Treat other people, creatures, and our world with respect and try to display empathy. We need to work together to solve problems.  

I need to change my life and I’m sure there are many others out there who feel the same. I hope we can all do it in 2021 and make the world a better place to live in.

This week I posted my review for The Tale of Iya and my fourteen favourite films of 2020.

These are the first films to be released in Japan in 2021:

Continue reading “First Trailers of 2021: Gekijouban Seitokai Yakuindomo 2, Tou Ouji 2-Man-nen no Tabi Ceramic Road Japanese Film Trailers and New Year’s Resolutions”

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Genkina hito’s Top Fourteen Films of 2020

祖谷物語 おくのひと Rina Takeda

Wow, I had no idea that 2020 would turn out like this when I wrote last year’s end post. We’re a few days away from the end of what has been a plague year. I almost got caught out at the start when I was in Japan and the borders were going to be closed, back at the end of March, but I escaped with the help of some friends. Since then, I have been in work on reduced duties or at home waiting to be called in for odd jobs. When not working, I was doing shopping with my mother and checking in on my grandmother.

During this time of waiting, I watched a lot of films, some as part of the Osaka Asian Film Festival, Nippon Connection, Japan Cuts and the New York Asian Film Festival, a lot just for pleasure. I took part in a physical film festival in Japan and I helped organise and execute an online film festival twice and during all of this I wrote a lot of reviews. Probably more reviews than in previous years. On top of it all, I also helped start a podcast about Asian films called Heroic Purgatory where I discuss films with fellow writer John Atom (the Christmas special is already out and the second season coming in 2021!).

When I was able to go to the cinema I watched a wide variety of things. In the UK, the last film I watched was Parasite with my mother. In Japan, I went to numerous screenings at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and an animation festival at the Yujiku Asagaya (just before Tokyo’s lockdown). At home with a lot of time on my hands I got into the cinema of Mario Bava and re-watched lots of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento movies. I waded through hours of 70s and 80s horror movies from America and I went back to some tried and trusted Japanese classics. Most of all, I tried to get more Japanese indie films out there and so I think this is reflected in my list of top films from 2020.

So, what are they?.  

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top Fourteen Films of 2020”

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The Tale of Iya 祖谷物語  おくのひと Dir: Tetsuchiro Tsuta (2014)

The Tale of Iya                                          

The Tale of Iya Film Poster
The Tale of Iya Film Poster

祖谷物語 おくのひと 「Iya Monogatari – Oku no Hito」

Running Time: 169 mins.

Release Date: February 15th, 2014

Director: Tetsuchiro Tsuta

Writer: Tetsuchiro Tsuta, Masayuki Ueda (Screenplay),

Starring: Rina Takeda (Haruna), Min Tanaka (Grandpa), Shima Ohnishi (Kudo), Sachi Ishimaru (Kotomi), Hitoshi Murakami (Akira), Reika Miwa, Takahiro Ono, Naomi Kawase, Christopher Pellegrii, Keiko Taoka, Shigeru Kimura

Website    IMDB

The landscape of Japan is caught in all of its resplendent beauty during the four seasons in The Tale of Iya, a drama shot in a remote valley in Shikoku about life in the countryside. While a sense of nostalgia is movingly evoked over the course of the narrative it also remains clear-eyed about how tough such an environment can be and where its future may lie.

Our first view of this environment comes in a fairy tale-like opening in the middle of a blizzard one winter. A man (Min Tanaka) in traditional clothes that look like something out of a jidaigeki is hunting in the snowy forests around the valley of Tokushima Prefecture’s Iya valley. He adheres to the old ways and avoids the modern world but that intrudes into his life when he stumbles upon a crashed car and discovers a dead woman on the bonnet and, in what could only be described as a miracle, a baby girl lying unharmed on the frozen sparkling surface of a lake. The man takes her in and gives her the name Haruna. For the next 15 years, they live in harmony with nature in the mountains in a cottage without electricity or running water, surrounded by vegetable plots and verdant forests.

Continue reading “The Tale of Iya 祖谷物語  おくのひと Dir: Tetsuchiro Tsuta (2014)”

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Josee the Tiger and the Fish, Poupelle of Chimney Town, Pocket Monster Koko, HoneyWorks 10th Anniversary “LIP×LIP FILM×LIVE”, World Trigger 2nd Season, AWAKE, Hong Kong-Ga, Tokyo Breed, The Rise of One, Japanese Film Trailers

Merry Christmas

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Image Ran Taniguchi, Yusuke Inaba, Goichi Mine

I hope you are all well and full of festive cheer.

I’ve had the good fortune to have been given lots of Japan and writing-related gifts from my mother and sister with a collection of books about Japanese cinema (like the phenomenal first edition of Tom Mes’s Agitator. The Cinema of Takashi Miike), a bonsai tree and more. During this week I posted reviews of Hold Your Breath Like a LoverGFP Bunny and also a news article about the Himeji Cinema Club’s annual festival Animation Runs! which I’ve updated with videos that will last until the end of this week.

What are the final theatrical releases of 2020?

Continue reading “Josee the Tiger and the Fish, Poupelle of Chimney Town, Pocket Monster Koko, HoneyWorks 10th Anniversary “LIP×LIP FILM×LIVE”, World Trigger 2nd Season, AWAKE, Hong Kong-Ga, Tokyo Breed, The Rise of One, Japanese Film Trailers”

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Hold Your Breath Like a Lover 息を殺して Dir: Kohei Igarashi (2014)

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover   

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Poster
Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Poster

息を殺して  「Iki wo Koroshite」

Release Date: June 20th, 2015

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Kohei Igarashi

Writer: Kohei Igarashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Ran Taniguchi, Goichi Mine, Yusuke Inaba, Koji Harada, Tomomitsu Adachi, Ran Arai, Rina Tanaka, Yuki Inagaki

Tumblr   IMDB

This has been a film that has haunted me ever since I first saw the trailer back in 2014 and it was one of the films I was hoping to find in 2020. Well, I did. I ended up viewing it a couple of times. My initial impressions from the trailer was that this felt like it had “shades of Pulse (2001)” and an “apocalypse angle” but it turned out to be something else entirely, a subtle, gorgeous and melancholy take on the anxiety felt on the path of adulthood and a gradual maturation of its characters. It’s story is simple, perfect for allowing the powerful atmospherics to wash over me and pull me along.

Continue reading “Hold Your Breath Like a Lover 息を殺して Dir: Kohei Igarashi (2014)”

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GFP Bunny タリウム少女の毒殺日記 Dir: Yutaka Tsuchiya (2012)

GFP Bunny                               GFP Bunny Thallium Girl                    

タリウム少女の毒殺日記  「GFP Bunny Tariumu shojo no dokusatsu nikki」 

Running Time: 82 mins.

Release Date: July 06th, 2013

Director: Yutaka Tsuchiya

Writer: Yutaka Tsuchiya

Starring: Yuka Kuramochi, Makiko Watanabe, Kanji Furutachi, Takahashi,

Website    IMDB

Not for the faint of heart, GFP Bunny is the third film directed by media activist Yutaka Tsuchiya. Following on from his debut The New God (1999) and sophomore feature Peep “TV” Show (2003), GFP Bunny is a continuation of his exploration of alienated youth using media to shape their personalities. It finds its troubling story in a real-life criminal case from 2005 where a 16-year-old girl poisoned her mother with thallium and documented the act online.

Crowned winner of the Best Picture Award in the Japanese Eyes section of the 2012 Tokyo International Film Festival, GFP Bunny is challenging viewing in both story and style. It opens confrontationally with the stomach-churning sight of a frog being dissected before deluging audiences with scientific research, scenes of bullying and near-murder and a girl’s search for identity but, instead of a straight retelling of the case via a lurid drama or factual documentary, director Yutaka Tsuchiya opts for a metafiction that is delivered through a docu-drama format which he uses to address ideas of  “Surveillance in a Marketing-orientated Society”, “Characterisation of Identity” and “Biotechnology” (Source).

Continue reading “GFP Bunny タリウム少女の毒殺日記 Dir: Yutaka Tsuchiya (2012)”

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Animation Runs! – Watch Japanese Indie Animation Online (Dec 25 – 28)

Animation Runs Header Image

Animation Runs! is an annual event hosted by Himeji Cinema Club where people can enjoy a variety of short films created by indie animators. Due to Covid-19, the event will be going online via a YouTube channel which will host 19 films across four programmes, all of which are listed on the official website.

The films announced are a mixture of narrative and non-narrative with music videos thrown in, all done in a variety of styles like 2D anime (闘え!!ハクマイダーフォー), beautiful illustrations (MELVAS), abstract images (LFL) and stop motion (City Has a Hill/Case of ONOMICHI) and even an animation using LINE stamps and the memo function of the iPhone (memo anime). Furthermore, there will be a short talk given by each of the directors following the screening of each film.

You can get a taste of the films with City Has a Hill/Case of ONOMICHI with the embedded video below.

At the time of writing, the YouTube videos have not been released but what has been confirmed is that the films are all available to view for free on the channel and people from around the world can watch them from December 25 – 28:

25(Fri) 18:00 in JP/9:00, 25th in UK
28(Mon) 6:00 in JP/21:00, 28th in UK

To find out more, please visit the site and follow the Twitter account to get more information such as info on the animators and the screening links.

I originally posted this news item on Anime UK News.

UPDATE: Here are the films!

Programme A:

Programme B:

Programme C:

Programme D:

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To Sleep So as to Dream, Independence of Japan, Akogare no sora no shimo kyokasho no nai shogakko no ichinen, Seasons of Woman, Chosa-ya Mao-san no koibumi Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again!

I hope you are still feeling good.

I’ve been watching short films this week but also got a bit of Karaoke Terror for my feature fill. This is the follow-up instalment to yesterday’s trailer post.

What else is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “To Sleep So as to Dream, Independence of Japan, Akogare no sora no shimo kyokasho no nai shogakko no ichinen, Seasons of Woman, Chosa-ya Mao-san no koibumi Japanese Film Trailers”

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Hold Me Back, The Promised Neverland, Kamen Rider Zero-One: REAL×TIME, Kamen Rider Saber: The Phoenix Swordsman and the Book of Ruin, Densha o tomeru na! Noroi no 6. 4 Km, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Matango Film Image 4

I hope you are all well and getting hyped for Christmas.

Since I last did a trailer post I recorded the Christmas episode of the Heroic Purgatory podcast where I spoke with John Atom about films we associate with Christmas. As with previous years, I will have a film review lined up for the big day which is a week away. I have been watching lots of short films and a handful of features and I posted review for An Actor’s Revenge (1963) and Matango (1963).

This is the first of a two-part trailer post asking a very important question… What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Hold Me Back, The Promised Neverland, Kamen Rider Zero-One: REAL×TIME, Kamen Rider Saber: The Phoenix Swordsman and the Book of Ruin, Densha o tomeru na! Noroi no 6. 4 Km, Japanese Film Trailers”

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Matango マタンゴ Dir: Ishiro Honda (1963)

Matango      Matango Film Poster

マタンゴ Matango

Release Date: August 11th, 1963

Duration: 89 mins.

Director: Ishiro Honda

Writer: Takeshi Kimura (Script),

Starring: Akira Kubo (Professor Kenji Murai), Kumi Mizuno (Mami Sekiguchi – singer), Miki Yashiro (Akiko Soma – Student), Hiroshi Koizumi (Naouyuki Sakuta – Captain), Kenji Sahara (Senzo Koyama – Sailor), Hiroshi Tachikawa (Etsuro Yoshida – Writer), Yoshio Tsuchiya (Masafumi Kasai – Owner), Yutaka Oka (Doctor),

IMDB

While Ishiro Honda may be better known as the man who directed Godzilla and numerous other kaiju eiga, he has an extensive filmography that covers different genres. Quite interestingly, he even worked as second unit director on Akira Kurosawa’s later films like Madadayo (1993), Rhapsody in August (1991), Dreams (1990), and Ran (1985). This is a rather long-winded wind up to say that Honda’s a bit of a filmic renaissance man who jumps around genres and roles but the first film of his that I will review on my blog is not anything obvious but Matango (1963), a merciless horror flick that takes a slow-burn approach to its telling.

Light spoilers.

Continue reading “Matango マタンゴ Dir: Ishiro Honda (1963)”

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An Actor’s Revenge 雪之丞変化 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1963)

An Actor’s Revenge  An Actor's Revenge 1963 Poster

雪之丞変化 「Yukinojo Henge」

Release Date: January 13rg, 1963

Duration: 114 mins.

Director: Kon Ichikawa

Writer: Otokichi Mikami (Newspaper Serial), Daisuke Ito, Teinosuke Kinugassa (Adaptation), Natto Wada (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuo Hasegawa, Fujiko Yamamoto, Ayako Wakao, Eiji Funakoshi, Saburo Date, Kikue Mori,

IMDB

Kon Ichikawa’s 1963 version of An Actor’s Revenge is a remake of the 1935 film starring Kazuo Hasegawa who came back to reprise a role that helped make him a star. Hasegawa, already a major kabuki and movie actor, must have thought this story special as this is his 300th film appearance. Far from being a staid jidaigeki adaptation, Ichikawa fuses period verisimilitude with colourful art direction and abstract framing to create a vision where the borders between the theatrical and real no longer exist.

Continue reading “An Actor’s Revenge 雪之丞変化 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1963)”

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Tengaramon, New Interpretation Records of the Three Kingdoms, Bolt, Yes ka no ka hanbunka / Yes, No, or Maybe Half?, Masaka no Kintarou, Burai, Our Sweetest Murder Plan, Lady to Lady, Sensha Toso Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Ten Dark Women Beach Scene

One step closer to Christmas.

I have spent this week watching some of the freshest Japanese films that are due out soon as part of festival work while, in a stark contrast, I posted reviews for two films from the golden age of Japanese cinema: Fires on the Plain and Ten Dark Women. Both films are by Kon Ichikawa and I highly recommend them.

This is what has been released this weekend:

Continue reading “Tengaramon, New Interpretation Records of the Three Kingdoms, Bolt, Yes ka no ka hanbunka / Yes, No, or Maybe Half?, Masaka no Kintarou, Burai, Our Sweetest Murder Plan, Lady to Lady, Sensha Toso Japanese Film Trailers”

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Ten Dark Women 黒い十人の女 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1961)

Ten Dark Women    Ten Dark Women Film Poster

黒い十人の女  Kuroi Junin no Onna

Release Date: May 03rd, 1961

Duration: 103 mins.

Director: Kon Ichikawa

Writer: Natto Wada (Script) 

Starring: Fujiko Yamamoto, Mariko Miyagi, Tamao Nakamura, Kyoko Kishida, Eiji Funakoshi, Mayumi Kurata,

IMDB

The 1950s and 60s were boom years for Japan when its economic miracle began and new consumer goods and lifestyles emerged. With this age came a new breed of media people who used television to construct dreams designed to charm the masses. Kon Ichikawa takes a satirical glance at the sort of dream-merchant that emerged and layers it on the timeless psychology of men and women and the lack of commitment fellas have to the fairer sex as a TV producer finds himself the target of a murder from his wife and nine girlfriends, all of whom are aware of each other, and all of whom are so fed up with his flippant attitude to love they want to kill him.

In the opening ten minutes we are introduced to their scheme in media res and, in a fourth wall breaking moment, one of the plotters reveals how it has already gone badly awry before we get treated to an extended flashback to show us how it all began.

Continue reading “Ten Dark Women 黒い十人の女 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1961)”

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Fires on the Plain 野火 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1959)     

Fires on the Plain (1959)      Fires on the Plain 1959 Film Poster

野火  Nobi

Release Date: November 03rd, 1959

Duration: 94 mins.

Director: Kon Ichikawa

Writer: Natto Wada (Script) Shohei Ooka (Original Novel)

Starring: Eiji Funakoshi, Osamu Takizawa, Mickey Curtis, Mantaro Ushio, Hikaru Hoshi,

IMDB

Kon Ichikawa is one of the big name Golden Age directors. A contemporary of Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, Ichikawa tried his hand at a wide variety of films (including a documentary for the Olympic Games!). He is perhaps most famous for three films in the West, two highly realistic anti-war films, The Burmese Harp (1956) and Fires on the Plain(1959), and the period drama An Actor’s Revenge (1963), all three made with the scriptwriter Natto Wada, his wife and frequent collaborator, all of which have received subtitled releases and widespread festival play.

Fires on the Plain is a stunner of a film. It is bleak and harrowing and it is the sort of film that the Japanese movie industry probably won’t ever make again because it would be considered box-office suicide to have something as largescale by as grim and realistic as well as being something unafraid to show war as something calamitous, shambolic, and inhuman.

The film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel written in 1951 by Shohei Ooka who, to write the story, channelled his traumatic experiences and emotions as a soldier who survived the Philippines theatre during the closing stages of the war. The Americans are invading Leyte Island in the Philippines and are hot on the heels of the demoralised soldiers of the Japanese army, all of whom are looking to evacuate from the island. We see their increasingly desperate struggle from the perspective of an army conscript, Private First Class Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi), who is sick with tuberculosis.

Continue reading “Fires on the Plain 野火 Dir: Kon Ichikawa (1959)     “

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Mrs. Noisy, Silent Tokyo, Town Without Sea, Takizawa Kabuki Zero 2020 The Movie, A Beast in Love, I Want to Be Loved, Fate/Grand Order The Movie Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot, Saredo kissho to suru Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Heroic Purgatory Film Image 2

I hope you are all well.

This week has been all go. I posted previews for the London International Animation Festival and the London East Asian Film Festival. I’m on the last few missions of Front Mission 3 and I’m getting Christmas presents. I’ve got other film-related things going on and I’m trying to get back into teaching again. I hope your weeks have all been good!

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Mrs. Noisy, Silent Tokyo, Town Without Sea, Takizawa Kabuki Zero 2020 The Movie, A Beast in Love, I Want to Be Loved, Fate/Grand Order The Movie Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot, Saredo kissho to suru Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the London East Asian Film Festival 2020

The London East Asian Film Festival announced its programme last month and while it has a varied selection of films, there is only one Japanese film programmed. It is a physical event that will run at various cinemas and it will open with the Korean film Beasts Clawing at Straws which I reviewed earlier this year. Order tickets through Eventbrite.

Here are the details on the one Japanese film programmed:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the London East Asian Film Festival 2020”

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Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2020

Genki London International Animation Film Festival 2013 Banner

This year’s London International Animation Festival (LIAF 20) is online this year and there are a number of Japanese films on offer. Tickets break down like this:

A standard virtual tickets costs £6 while a festival pass (covering 24 screenings and talks) costs £45 waged/£35 student and unwaged.

Here are the films: Continue reading “Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2020”

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Gunbuster, Gekijouban HAYABUSA2 REBORN, Kimi wa Kanata, Perfect Education: etude, Grisaia: Phantom Trigger The Animation – Stargazer, Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Nagiko Tsuji

This is the third and final trailer post of the week. There was one on Friday and Saturday due to the number of films. Next week, there will be one trailer post.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Gunbuster, Gekijouban HAYABUSA2 REBORN, Kimi wa Kanata, Perfect Education: etude, Grisaia: Phantom Trigger The Animation – Stargazer, Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe, Japanese Film Trailers”

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Memory’s Technique, Shin Samejima Jiken, Shibuya Shadow, Issho de ichiban nagai kubu, Kakurenbo, She is Alone Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

This is the second part of the weekend trailer post following yesterday’s instalment which had six films listed. So that makes 12 out of 19. There will be another post tomorrow. Since I last wrote, I watched the Chinese film Devils on the Doorstep (2000) for the Heroic Purgatory podcast.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Memory’s Technique, Shin Samejima Jiken, Shibuya Shadow, Issho de ichiban nagai kubu, Kakurenbo, She is Alone Japanese Film Trailers”