Third Window Films Release “Lowlife Love” on DVD/Blu-Ray on November 21st

Lowlife Love has been reported on here multiple times. I tracked it from its inception as a Kickstarter Project (which I backed) and then I wrote about it four img_0827times when it featured at a number of prestigious film festivals and got it’s theatrical release in Japan. It has been a long road and I got the chance to watch it at the Tollywood Cinema in Shinjuku after being invited by the film’s producer, the ever-cool Adam Torel. The film was an interesting ride to say the least. I was expecting a comedy but it is dark, a rather grimy expose of some of the horrible things that go on in the world of cinema in Japan. Despite having seen the director Eiji Uchida’s previous film, Greatful Dead, I was taken aback by this. It’s a must-see for anyone who wants a dose of reality. Thankfully it has a veneer of comedy and some great performances to keep it from being unbearable.

I am still in Tokyo and still writing about films and still getting press releases so here’s the information for its UK release on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Here’s the press release:

The first 100% Third Window Films production!
Third Window films team up with GREATFUL DEAD director Eiji Uchida to produce a darkly comic satire of Japan’s no-budget film industry!

Dual format bluray & dvd set out November 21st
Featuring a Making Of, Cast interviews, Deleted Scenes, Alternate ending, Music video, Theatrical Trailer

“A nasty peek at the underbelly of the Japanese independent film scene.” – Screen Anarchy
“Lowlife Love is a fantastic piece of Japanese indie cinema, and a bold offering from the talented and creative Eiji Uchida.” – Eastern Kicks
“Presents uncomfortable truths in sharp, funny ways.” – The Japan Times

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Japanese Author Mitsuyo Kakuta (Rebirth, Pale Moon) in London on October 26th

Ah, being in Japan means I get to miss so many cool Japan-related events in the UK such as this talk with the writer Mitsuyo Kakuta that will take place in London. She is a name that film fans may know of thanks to the adaptations of her works Pale Moon and Rebirth. She is a highly respected author who is visiting London on October 26th for a talk hosted by the Japan Foundation which sent an email out to alert anybody interested about the event. I’m in Tokyo right now but I know a few people who will be interested. Here are the posters for the film adaptations and the details of the talk:

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A Road あるみち (2015)

I have been reviewing films for V-Cinema but when it came to Japan Cuts I had a car-crash moment when my computer suffered a breakdown during a teaching course. Problem solved but two months late, here’s the review… and I’m publishing it from Japan…

A Road

あるみち「Aru michi」 

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Daichi Sugimoto

Writer: Daichi Sugimoto (Screenplay)

Starring:  Daichi Sugimoto, Yuta Katsukura, Rika Sugimoto,

Website IMDB

Aru Michi Film Image Daichi Sugimoto

A Road is the debut feature-length film directed, produced by and starring Daichi Sugimoto. He is a young tyro still at university but already making a name for himself based on this film which has toured major international film festivals such as Berlin and Japan Cuts and it has won major awards such as the 2015 PIA Film Festival’s Grand Prize. Taking inspiration from his own life Sugimoto has made what is essentially a mixture of documentary and drama, asking the questions of at what point on the road to adulthood do we stop trembling with excitement at the prospect of the mundane things and greet the world with a sigh of indifference and is this change in feelings inevitable?

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Veteran (2015)

Veteran   Veteran Film Poster

Release Date: August 05th, 2015

Running Time: 123 mins.

Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan

Writer: Ryoo Seung-Wan (Screenplay)

Starring: Hwang Jung-Min, Yoo Ah-In, Yu Hae-Jin, Oh Dal-Su, Jang Yoon-Ju, Kim Shi-Hoo, Jung Woong-in, Cheon Ho-Jin, Jeong Man-Sik,

Ryoo Seung-Wan follows up The Berlin File (2013) with this much more light-hearted action romp taking aim at the Chaebol, family-run mega-conglomerates that dictate much of the financial and business side of Korea. There is little sophistication in terms of its story which uses broad brushstrokes to illustrate a world where a dedicated team of cops take on an extremely violent, criminally corrupt and callous corporate playboy who abuses his powers in ludicrous ways.

Veteran Bad Guys 3

The playboy in this film is the baby-faced Cho Tae-Oh (Yoo Ah-In), an executive at Sin Jin Trading who dresses sharply and has a smile to die for. As the son of the CEO’s second wife he is battling his siblings for control of the company and must be seen to be doing a good job if he wants the glory. While most people can accept being denied something or having to work hard, Tae-Oh’s family connections see him treated like a prince and so when he doesn’t get what he wants, oh boy.  Beneath the cute exterior lies a cocaine-fuelled sadistic psycho who trashes his office, beats up his bodyguards, threatens his staff. His biggest problem is his hair-trigger temper which is unleashed whenever he doesn’t get his way in business and life. Normally, he is a spoilt brat who has no problem humiliating people in order to dominate them and likes to throw parties where underage girls and hard drugs are passed around by politicians, plastic surgeons and pretty boys looking to go wild for a night. Nobody is untouchable in his world…apart from him. This leads to him putting a man in a coma.

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The Yellow Sea (2010)

The Yellow Sea   The Yellow Sea Film Poster

Release Date: December 22nd, 2010

Running Time: 156 mins.

Director: Na Hong-Jin

Writer: Na Hong-Jin, Hong Won-Chan (Screenplay)

Starring: Ha Jung-Woo, Kim Yun-Seok, Cho Seong-Ha, Lee Cheol-Min, Jeong Man-Sik, Jung Min-Sung,

Director Na Hong-Jin followed up his astounding debut, The Chaser (2008) with this film which proves to be even more macho, nihilistic, and violent as if inspired by the absurd cruelty of the split suffered by Koreans since the Korean War’s ceasefire. It is all played out through the misfortune of a simple taxi driver who finds himself caught between ethnic Korean Chinese and South Korean gangsters after he crosses the eponymous Yellow Sea on a mission to kill.

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The Chaser (2008)

The Chaser   

The Chaser Film Poster
The Chaser Film Poster

Release Date: February 14th, 2008

Running Time: 123 mins.

Director: Na Hong-Jin

Writer: Na Hong-Jin, Hong Won-Chan, Lee Shinho, (Screenplay)

Starring: Kim Yun-Seok, Ha Jung-Woo, Seo Young-Hee, Park Hyo-Joo, Jung In-Gi, Kim You-Jung, Ko Bon-Woong, Min Kyung-Jin,

South Korea has produced a number of high quality serial-killer films like I Saw the Devil (2010) and Memories of Murder (2003) but The Chaser is one of the darkest and most thrilling. It is based on a real life case where a murderer named Young-chul Yoo struck fear in Seoul by murdering rich old men and then prostitutes before being brought to justice in 2005. He was convicted of the killing of 20 people and was caught thanks mostly to pimps and prostitutes rather than the police. Apparently he was inspired by films like Public Enemy. That case is replicated here in a story where the characters and the world are so brilliantly crafted that you are plunged into the middle of this drama which turns into a relentless tale of brutality.

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Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s “Kids Return” on Blu-ray on October 24th

Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s brilliant coming-of-age drama Kids Return (1996) at the end of October. This is the latest film to be released on Blu-ray by Third Window Films thanks to Office Kitano updating their titles with 2K masters.

Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-bi and Kikujiro and Dolls, but I missed the last release, A Scene at the Sea.  This is the second film he directed but does not star in after A Scene at the Sea (1991) and much like that one, it is one of his best as it charts the relationship between two friends at high school who face tough choices in life. It has an excellent story and a fantastic soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi. Here’s a track.


Here’s some information from the press release:

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Japanese Films at the 2016 London East Asia Film Festival

The London East Asia Film Festival debuted last year with a preview event, an episode 0 london-east-asian-film-festival-posterif you will, which marked out its territory and lived up to its name by showcasing films from East Asia. With a focus on bringing directors over and premiering the latest titles to emerge from Japan, Korea, China, and Hong Kong, this festival is an exciting addition to London’s line-up of film-related events.

This year’s event takes place from October 20th to the 30th.

The Korean part is super-strong with a retrospective dedicated to the films of Park Chan-Wook who will be in attendance for Q&As but there are also a number of great Japanese films with the directors coming for Q&As as well!

Here’s the festival trailer:

Here’s the line-up:

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Japanese Films at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

BFI London Film Festival LogoThe BFI London Film Festival (LFF) has reached 60 years of age and this year’s edition launches on October 05th and ends on October 16th. There are 274 films and Japanese filmmakers have contributed six to that number. Festival favourites Hirokazu Koreeda and Kiyoshi Kurosawa are in town with two features while there are a couple of documentaries, an anime and an anime short named Achoo to make up the rest of the numbers. Some of these have been previewed already for the Vancouver International Film Festival, Cannes, and Berlin and this is a decent line-up for cinephiles who love Japan and those who want to get into a Japanese film or two.

Here’s the line-up!
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Japanese Films at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver International Film FestivalThe Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) launches soon and lasts from September 29th to October 14th and, as is usually the case, there are a heck of a lot of great films from East Asia with some top-notch Japanese content programmed. There is a strong line-up of films for the Japanese cinema specialist with titles new and old, some seen at festivals like Cannes and Nippon Connection and others that got their premiere at Toronto.

The VIFF website has had a facelift and you can track down the titles with a quick search or by selecting the relevant stream from the myriad of cool-sounding options.

Thanks go out to the programmers of the VIFF for picking a good selection of films and I hope you, dear reader, can find something that interests you!

Here’s the line-up!


This strand, better known as Dragons & Tigers, has feature-films and shorts from East Asia and the Japanese contingent is made up of titles that have been at Berlin and Cannes with festival favourites Koreeda and Fukada showing up. As is usually the case there are a number of short films from Japan and they play with the features. To find out more head to the festival site.

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