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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)”

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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

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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

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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?

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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:

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Atsuko Hirayanagi’s “Oh Lucy!”

It has been a while since I last did a review round-up of any festival but fellow cinephile and Twitter-user FelixAguirre regularly collects links to reviews and alerts them to me and with such a treasure-trove of opinions from the most recent Cannes Film Festival on offer, I’d be mad to turn them down. Following on from Blade of the Immortal, Radiance, and Before We Vanish is…

Oh Lucy!

Oh Lucy Film Image 3

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Naomi Kawase’s “Radiance”

It has been a while since I last did a review round-up of any festival but fellow cinephile and Twitter-user FelixAguirre regularly collects links to reviews and alerts them to me and with such a treasure-trove of opinions from the most recent Cannes Film Festival on offer, I’d be mad to turn them down. Following on from Blade of the Immortal and Before We Vanish is…

Radiance

Radiance Film Image 2

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Anime Wins Big at the Annecy International Film Festival 2017

The Annecy International Film Festival is one of the biggest animated film festival in the world and anime have taken top awards in this year’s edition. The “Cristal for a Feature Film” award went to Masaaki (Mind Game, Tatami Galaxi, Ping Pong the Animation) Yuasa’s Lu Over the Wall.

Lu Over the Wall Annecy

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Before We Vanish”

It has been a while since I last did a review round-up of any festival but fellow cinephile and Twitter-user FelixAguirre regularly collects links to reviews and alerts them to me and with such a treasure-trove of opinions from the most recent Cannes Film Festival on offer, I’d be mad to turn them down. Following on from Blade of the Immortal and Radiance is…

Before We Vanish

Before We Vanish Film Image

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Yasujiro Ozu’s Film “I Was Born, But… ” will be screened with live piano and Benshi Narration at the Barbican on June 25th

The Barbican’s exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture, The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945, began on March 23rd and it finishes on June 25th with this special film which is one of Ozu’s earliest and his held in high regard by film critics.

Actually, every film screening has been well-picked and seems well-placed to compliment the exhibition by giving a myriad of stories connected to the Japanese home and show different living environments. The films that have been screened so far are Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, The Crazy Family, Whisper of the Heart, and Only Yesterday. The final film is Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 black-and-white silent film I Was Born, But… and it will be screened on June 25th at 16:00. What makes this screening even more special is that there will be benshi at the screening.

Here is the information:

Yasujiro Ozu

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Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

The 2017 edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place from June 21st until July 02nd and the films have been announced. There is a mix of titles that give a good indication of what is happening with the Japanese film industry – the best film is an anime, all the rest are adaptations of books and familiar stories.

Here’s what’s on offer.

In This Corner of the World

この世界の片隅に Kono Sekai no Katasumi niIn This Corner of the World Film Poster

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Sunao Katabuchi

Writer: Sunao Katabuchi (Screenplay), Fumiyo Kono (Original Creator)

Animation Production: MAPPA

Starring: Rena Nounen (Suzu Urano), Daisuke Ono (Akira), Mayumi Shintani (San), Shigeru Ushiyama (Entaro), Megumi Han (Sumi), Minori Omi (Michiko), Natsuki Inaba (Harumi), Yoshimasa Hosoya (Shuusaku),

Website   ANN   MAL   UK Site

This is the UK premiere of an award-winning film that I had the pleasure of seeing in Hiroshima, the setting for part of the film, a couple of months ago. It took the Animation of the Year award at the 40th annual Japan Academy and I am not surprised since it is a beautiful and stately film about an absent-minded artistic young woman trying to survive the hardship of war. I wasn’t the only one impressed since the film won the Hiroshima Peace Film Award at the Hiroshima International Film Festival in November last year and the film magazine Kinema Jump named it the best Japanese movie of 2016 and it awarded Katabuchi the Best Director Award.

The film was orchestrated by Sunao Katabuchi who directed the awesome Mai Mai Miracle and the TV anime Black Lagoon. It was animated by the studio MAPPA (Shingeki no Bahamut: GenesisTerror in Resonance).

Synopsis: Suzu Urano is a Hiroshima girl from a close-knit family but when she marries a naval officer, she has to move from Hiroshima City to Kure, the city which launched the battleship Yamato and the site of one of Japan’s largest naval bases. As a new housewife, she encounters uncertainty in her new family, her new city, and her new world but she perseveres and finds happiness even as the war grinds on and comes closer to home.

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The Studio Ghibli Film “Only Yesterday” will be screened at the Barbican on June 24th

The Barbican is running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. There will be films screened as part of the exhibition. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, and Sogo Ishii’s (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) The Crazy Family. The most recent film was Studio Ghibli’s 1995 title Whisper of the Heart and Ghibli leads the way again with Only Yesterday which will be screened on June 24th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

Only Yesterday Film Image 2

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Takashi Miike’s “Blade of the Immortal”

It has been a while since I last did a review round-up of any festival but fellow cinephile and Twitter-user FelixAguirre regularly collects links to reviews and alerts them to me and with such a treasure-trove of opinions from the most recent Cannes Film Festival on offer, I’d be mad to turn them down. First up…

Blade of the Immortal Film Poster 3

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Takashi Miike’s “Blade of the Immortal””