Over the Town, My Blood & Bones in a Flowing Galaxy, A Garden of Camellias, Supporting Actors 2: Moshimo 100-nin Meiwakiyaku ga Eiga o Tsukuttara, BLUE ブルー, Osaka Loan Shark, Yako Aru Teiji Seikoko no Monogatari, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Over the Town Yuki (Moeka Hoshi) and Ao (Ryuya Wakaba)

I hopee you are doing good!

While I was watching Wong Kar-Wai films last week, this week was all about Osaka Asian Film Festival titles and Peninsula, the sequel to Train to Busan, which is on Amazon Prime. In terms of the Osaka films, I posted an interview with Hiroshi Gokan, director of Gotō-san and I rewrote my review here and sent it to V-Cinema where it was published alongside the interview – a similar case with JOINT and that film’s director Oudai Kojima. Thanks go out to the directors for making the films and to everyone involved in taking part in the interviews!

I also posted a review of the documentary Green Jail and the drama Over the Town.

What was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Over the Town, My Blood & Bones in a Flowing Galaxy, A Garden of Camellias, Supporting Actors 2: Moshimo 100-nin Meiwakiyaku ga Eiga o Tsukuttara, BLUE ブルー, Osaka Loan Shark, Yako Aru Teiji Seikoko no Monogatari, Japanese Film Trailers”

Over the Town 街の上で Dir: Rikiya Imaizumi [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Over the Town    Over the Town Film Poster

街の上で Machi no Ue de

Release Date: April 10th, 2021

Duration: 130 mins.

Director: Rikiya Imaizumi

Writer: Rikiya Imaizumi, Hiroyuki Ohashi (Script), 

Starring: Ryuya Wakaba, Moeka Hoshi, Kotone Furukawa, Minori Hagiwara, Seina Nakata, Ryo Narita, Hirobumi Watanabe,

OAFF Website IMDB

Very rarely the setting of a film, Shimokitazawa is a trendy little district in western Tokyo that lies in the shadow of Shibuya and Shinjuku. Home to independent shops, theatres, cinemas, live music venues, bars, and restaurants, the place vibes with youthful energy as students, actors, second-hand booksellers, and bar owners, all with a seemingly average age of 20-something, engage in artistic revelry and nights of frolicking. It is also a place constantly changing as commercial redevelopment is ongoing – when I last visited, a new station and an adjacent department store were being constructed – and it has its quiet parts. It is a slice of Tokyo different from everywhere else in the city.

Using Shimokitazawa as his sandbox, director Rikiya Imaizumi brings us Over the Town, his latest film and his second in 2021, which is full of characters and locations you would encounter in real life.

Continue reading “Over the Town 街の上で Dir: Rikiya Imaizumi [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Green Jail 緑の牢獄 Dir: Huang Yin-yu [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Green Jail   Green Jail Film Poster 2

緑の牢獄 Midori no Rogoku

Release Date: March 27th, 2021

Duration: 101 mins.

Director: Huang Yin-yu

Writer: N/A

Starring: Yoshiko Hashima, Louis Leslie Kimura,

Website IMDB

Getting its world premiere in the Indie Forum section at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021, Green Jail sees Okinawa-based Taiwanese documentarian Huang Yin-yu continue to trace the flow of people between Taiwan and Japan by using personal stories to illustrate a wider historical picture. 

In some ways, it bears a strong resemblance to his 2016 work After Spring, the Tamaki Family in that it touches upon issues of immigration and discrimination, and it also features an elderly woman as the central figure but the tone in Green Jail is markedly different due to the tragic history it uncovers.

Continue reading “Green Jail 緑の牢獄 Dir: Huang Yin-yu [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

An Email Interview with Hiroshi Gokan, Director of “Gotō-san” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

The Osaka Asian Film Festival has a number of sidebars and one of the more exciting is dedicated to works supported by the Housen Cultural Foundation, a funding body that provides support to students at the graduate school level. It is here that you will get challenging, deeply personal, or experimental works from a new generation of voices. This year’s crop of titles were all particularly involving and unique. One film that really spoke to me was Gotō-san from writer/director Hiroshi Gokan which struck at the heart of the uncertainty of our age.

Gotō-san is the story of a young man who has chosen to pursue an unconventional life. The titular character, Gotō (Hirofumi Suzuki 鈴木浩文), lives and works in a 24-hour internet café in Tokyo. He seems to have struck the jackpot when it comes to leading a laidback lifestyle and he even gets into a romance with a fellow internet café resident, a young woman named Riko (Tomomi Fukikoshi 吹越ともみ). Beneath this quirky narrative, director Gokan subtly shows trouble brewing in the background with glimpses of a deteriorating jobs market and the Covid-19 pandemic rearing their head until they eventually turf Gotō out into the harsh reality of life. It’s a breath-takingly bleak series of unfortunate events that radically alter the narrative and causes our lead character’s lifestyle to unravel.

You can read my review here, but I felt that Hiroshi Gokan made an astute assessment of the fragility of society that worked because it used an offbeat set-up and characters to take in many socio-economic details without belabouring any points.

So, who is the director? Hiroshi Gokan earned a Master’s in directing at the Graduate School of FilmGoto-san_Gokan_portrait and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts. Teto, his first feature and graduation project, starred Sakura Ando. His 2012 short Aohige was a co-production between Tokyo University of the Arts and Korean Academy of Film Arts. He has worked on making-of videos for directors such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Masayuki Suo and Shinobu Yaguchi. He generously participated in an email interview where he provided a lot of answers that revealed why he cast lead actors Hirofumi Suzuki and Tomomi Fukikoshi, how he created the space of the internet café, and also his stance on weaving real-life into his stories and the impact of Covid-19 on the production. 

This interview was done with the invaluable help of Takako Pocklington who translated between English and Japanese.

Continue reading “An Email Interview with Hiroshi Gokan, Director of “Gotō-san” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Ura Aka – L’Aventure, Sower of Seeds 4 Tanemaku Tabibito Karen (Hasu) no Kagayaki, Good-bye, Farmer’s Wife, Handle with Care! Part 1 Angel Advent and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again!

Days of Being Wild Cast Together

This is the follow-up post to yesterday’s. Since I posted it, I watched a couple of Wong Kar-Wai films and more episodes of the anime adaptation of Blade of the Immortal.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Ura Aka – L’Aventure, Sower of Seeds 4 Tanemaku Tabibito Karen (Hasu) no Kagayaki, Good-bye, Farmer’s Wife, Handle with Care! Part 1 Angel Advent and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

ZOKKI, Signal The Movie, Masamune Datenicle the Movie, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time 4DX, Homunculus, Wasted Eggs Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

The Eel Film Image Takura (Koji Yakusho) and Keiko (Misa Shimizu)

I took some time out this week to do other stuff, so there were no posts. I’ve skipped straight to the trailers. In viewing news, I’ve re-watched a number of Wong Kar-Wai films and also started watching the anime adaptation of Blade of the Immortal. Also, the Heroic Purgatory podcast episode covering Shohei Imamura’s The Eel has gone live.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “ZOKKI, Signal The Movie, Masamune Datenicle the Movie, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time 4DX, Homunculus, Wasted Eggs Japanese Film Trailers”

Green Jail, Ogawa Dorama Tokugawa ☆ Ieyasu, Searching for the Wolf, Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai, Hitsuji to Mikan to Nichiyoubi, Lost Fist Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again.

The Day of Destruction Film Image 2

I hope that you are all well this Saturday!

This is the second part of my weekend trailer post. You can find the first part here.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Green Jail, Ogawa Dorama Tokugawa ☆ Ieyasu, Searching for the Wolf, Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai, Hitsuji to Mikan to Nichiyoubi, Lost Fist Japanese Film Trailers”

Junk Head, The Blue Danube, Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 3, K4 Company THE MOVIE Cardboard of the Day, SHORT TRIAL PROJECT 2020, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Pop Rina Ono

I hope everyone is doing fine.

This is the first of a two-part trailer post (six trailers today, six tomorrow) and it comes almost a week after recording a podcast about the Shohei Imamura film The Eel. I spent most of last week watching Imamura films.

This week just flew by and I haven’t consumed as much, just the anime for Blade of the ImmortalI Think We’re Alone Now, and Leaving DC, which are on Amazon Prime, and POP! which was at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. Here’s my review for POP!. I also posted a news item about a double-bill of Toshiaki Toyoda films playing in Chicago’s Music Box cinema and a new project by the director.

What are some of the first films of the weekend?

Continue reading “Junk Head, The Blue Danube, Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 3, K4 Company THE MOVIE Cardboard of the Day, SHORT TRIAL PROJECT 2020, Japanese Film Trailers”

POP! Director: Masashi Komura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

POP!    Pop Film Poster

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 86 mins.

Director: Masashi Komura

Writer: Masashi Komura (Script), 

Starring: Rina Ono, Yugo Mikawa, Katsuya Kobayashi, Masumi Nomura, Kenta Kiguchi,

Website

POP! is part of the line-up of MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021. Like entries in the film festival’s previous editions, it pairs together up-and-coming movie and music talents so that they can create a film where music plays a large part in the proceedings, whether through being performed on screen or through a soundtrack that is a very prominent part of the film. In practice, while the fest may feature a slate of films that share similar themes or story set-ups, since each work is coming from different combinations of creatives, the results tend to be unique and a good showcase of the strengths of all involved.

While many of the last round of MOOSIC LAB releases pondered mortality, they each did it in a completely different way, from a laugh-out-loud supernatural mockumentary to a hip-hop infused family comedy, a heart-breaking time-slip movie done through cassette tapes to a gentle post-rock Lynchian adventure. Some are simply music videos stretched out to 30 minutes. A glance at MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021 shows that it is no different as each film looks tonally different with dramas and comedies, some pushing into the experimental and surreal, words which could be used for POP!.

Making his debut feature with this POP! is Masashi Komura, a relatively new filmmaker who has worked on a number of projects including co-writing the screenplay for The Man Who Was Eaten, which was featured at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2016, writing and directing the 2017 film LEO, and appearing in Ken Ninomiya’s The Matsumoto Tribe (2017). His script and direction for POP! create a quirky coming-of-age tale of a young woman experiencing existential drift as she stands on the cusp of adulthood. The final result is a mixed bag of ideas and one that requires patience but it certainly has an atmosphere.

Continue reading “POP! Director: Masashi Komura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago and A New Toyoda Film

“Only those rescued by movies will save movies” – Dir: Toshiaki Toyoda

Source: https://www.kodo.or.jp/cms/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Profile_toshiaki-toyoda_credit_Keisuke-Nagoshi.jpg

That’s a pretty cool mantra and one I can believe in and I hope that you do, too. You wouldn’t be reading this post if it were otherwise. Anyway, earlier this month I saw information on an event called The Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago. This is a physical screening of Wolf’s Calling (2019) and The Day of Destruction (2020) on Friday, April 09th, at 19:00 at Chicago’s MUSIC BOX THEATRE – THEATRE1.

Seeing these two films on the big screen would be an incredible experience as they present blisteringly unique and challenging visions of cinema thanks to director Toshiaki Toyoda who is one of Japan’s most challenging voices. He brought together top-line actors to grace the screens and rock groups to bring bone-shaking sounds to blow out speakers in a couple of short films that shook the world.

Here is information on the films:

Continue reading “Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago and A New Toyoda Film”