So the Rotterdam Film Festival ends today…
My interest in Rotterdam stretches back to the early 2000’s when I first discovered Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s horror work. Rotterdam was frequently the festival in which his films and those of other Japanese directors would get an international premiere. 2012’s Rotterdam saw the only one major Japanese premiere (unless I missed something which is always a possibility…) but what a film…
Release Date: 11th February, 2o12
Running Time: 113 mins.
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Takeharu Sakurai, Yukiko Ohguchi
Starring: Hiroki Narimiya, Takumi Saito, Mirei Kiritani, Akiyoshi Nakao, Shunsuke Daito, Akira Emoto, Rei Dan, Mitsuki Tanimura, Ryo Ishibashi
I reported this earlier in the week for another website so here’s the brief version: Rotterdam was where the world premiere of Takashi Miike’s adaptation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney took place.
In the near future, serious crime is on the rise and in response the justice system has changed the rules of court-room trials:
Cases last a maximum of three days and sentences are usually imposed immediately.
This change has led to exciting face-offs between public prosecutors and defenders who have to score points with the judge rapidly in order to win the case.
Takashi Miike, confirmed during a Q&A session that there are plans to release the Ace Attorney movie worldwide, with “each region receiving subs and dubs using the character names from the Phoenix Wright games for that region.” So far no concrete deals have been announced but surely it is only a matter of time.
Takashi Miike’s version of Phoenix Wright won over a lot of festival goers with its over the top nature and early reviews indicate that it has captured the spirit of the game. Some people were puzzled by his selection but he’s a perfect fit due to his skill at making big-budget films, his interest in cartoonish outsiders and ability to subvert genres and mas them up which should be good at capturing the quick changes in mood that the game has. Elaborating on his reasons for taking on the director’s job he commented,
“Japanese films and novels often embody the message that as long as you work hard, you will develop and improve. What I loved about this game is the fact that it had none of that. The lead doesn’t develop, doesn’t get better over time. He is driven by the desire to help others, but doesn’t know much about the legal system.”
Other Japanese films included:
Release Date: N/A
Running Time: 128 mins.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Koki Maeda, Oshiro Maeda, Nene Otsuka, Jo Odagiri, Yoshio Harada, Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, Masami Nagasawa, Kirin Kiki, Isao Hashizume
Hirokazu Koreeda became a favourite director of mine when I watched a BBC Four screening of his quirky second film After Life followed by the emotionally shattering Nobody Knows. Since then he has dabbled in a samurai tale and a family drama with his last film, Still Walking, which had shades of Ozu. A lot of his skill comes from his documentary background which allows him to create scenes and foster performances that seem naturalistic. Kiseki has a lot of actors from Still Walking so I’m eager to see what the results are.
Two young brothers find themselves caught in the aftermath of a messy divorce between their parents on the island of Kyūshū. (Koki Maeda) Koichi lives with his mother (Nene Otsuka) and her parents in Kagoshima at one end while younger brother Ryunosuke (Oshiro Maeda) lives with his musician father (Odagiri) in Fukuoka at the other end. Now separated and at opposite ends of the island of Kyushu they hatch a plan to unite their parents through a miracle that the Kyūshū Shinkansen (bullet train) can create.
Release Date: N/A
Running Time: 113 mins.
Director: Keiichi Kobayashi
Writer: Keiichi Kobayashi
Starring: Ai Ikeda, Ena Koshino, Reiko Fujiwara, Tsubasa Takayama, Hakusyu Togetsuan
This is Keiichi Kobayashi’s debut film and it comes with some hype after winning Japanese Eyes best picture at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year and was screened at Sundance last month.
Izumi is a cheerfully cynical high-school girl who has a strange hobby: rating newspaper articles for positivity and negativity. One day she finds a wallet containing 300,000 yen and the owner’s ID: Sato, a wealthy schoolmate. Izumi decides to lend it to a friend in financial straits but her classmates Hasumi and Kaoru force to return the wallet to Sato, but, unable to return the money she agrees to help Sato console a sick friend by creating a good news newspaper.
While the feature-length films didn’t win any awards a short animation did.
Generator by Takashi Makino. He has been touring his work around the UK recently including and it’s great to see him win a Tiger Award for Short Films award. This work is described as “a response to the disaster in Fukushima and visualises Tokyo as an eroding metropolis accompanied by Jim O’Rourke’s dark soundscapes… Generator may well be the earthiest of his films so far, made as a reaction to the Fukushima disaster. A reality check, but in the world that Makino shows, this can never be achieved without looking inwards too.”