Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Trailers

I ended last week with a review for The Cabin in the Woods and kicked off this week with news about the Japanese films screening at Cannes. Although the selection of films is small it is still interesting. I’ll probably have more to say on the selection next week. I released news on the UK release of Hara Kiri and the forthcoming Japanese theatrical release in Blood-C: The Last Dark.

What’s happening with the Japanese box-office charts?

  1.  Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen
  2.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  3.  We Were Here: Part 2
  4.  SPEC: The Movie
  5.  Battleship

There’s an alarming abundance of bad Hollywood movies in the top ten but it is pleasing to see A Letter to Momo break into the top ten. What are some of the titles released today?

Thermae Romae

Release Date:  28th April 2012 (Japan)テルマエ&スパワールド

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hideki Takeuchi

Writer: Mari Yamazaki (manga), Shogo Muto

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Aya Ueto, Masachika Ichimura, Kai Shishido, Kazuki Kitamura

The live-action adaptation of Mari Yamazaki’s manga of the same name has time travel, culture clash comedy. It was partly filmed in Cinecitta in Rome but features Japanese actors who don’t look too Japanese playing principal Romans characters. This looks like a lot of fun and the recent anime wasn’t too bad. I’m also a fan of Hiroshi Abe so I’d definitely like to give this a go.

Roman bath house architect Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) is a perfectionist and traditionalist who gets fired from his architectural practice. In order to cheer him up, a friend takes him to a bathhouse but Lucius slips through a time portal and ends up in modern day Japan. Although initially bewildered Lucius takes inspiration from modern day Japanese baths and implements the designs in his Roman bathhouses. This sees him become favoured by Emperor Hadrian (Ichimura) but clash with emperor-in-waiting Antoninus (Kazuki Kitamura). Lucius soon finds himself caught up in political intrigue in between his time travel adventures but it is not all bad as he has met a beautiful aspiring manga artist named Mami (Ueto) who loves to sketch him.


Chronicle of My Mother

Release Date:  28th April 2012 (Japan)Chronicle of my Mother Poster

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Masato Harada

Writer: Yasushi Inoue

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Kirin Kiki, Aoi Miyzaki, Kaho Minami, Midoriko Kimura, Akiko Kikuchi, Takahiro Miura

Masato Harada (The Suicide Song) directs a family drama based on a 1977 novel by Yasushi Inoue which has a star-studded cast led by Koji Yakusho (Cure) and Kirin Kiki (Villain) and dominated by so many women.


When ultra-successful novelist Kosaku Igami (Yakusho) visits his dying father at the family home in Yugashima he finds himself troubled by an event from childhood: his mother, Yae (Kirin), had him sent to be raised by his great-grandfather’s mistress while she took his younger sisters, Shigako (Kimura) and Kuwako (Minami) to Taiwan. It puzzles and hurts him so much that he has never been able to understand it but asking his mother is getting harder and harder to do as she descends into senility.



Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi

Release Date:  28th April 2012 (Japan)Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Poster

Running Time: N/A

Director: Seiji Izumi

Writer: Hiroshi Ogiwara (Novel), Narito Kaneko

Starring: Yutaka Mizutani, Narumi Yasuda, Tatsuomi Hamada, Ai Hashimoto, Mitsuo Kusabue

This is another film based on  a novel, this time it is one by Hiroshi Ogiwara and it was released in 2008. The only name I recognise is Ai Hasimoto (Mei Misaki in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the light-novel/anime Another.


When Koichi Takahasi (Miutani) is transferred from Tokyo to a small village in Iwate Prefecture, they set up hoe in a two-hundred year-old farmhouse. The family is split between those who hate the move and those who are happy. Fumiko (Yasuda), the wife,  is unhappy at the change and doesn’t get on with her elderly neighbours, Azumi (Hashimoto) is sad about having to transfer to a new school. Koichi’s mother, Sumiyo (Kusabue), rather likes the new community while young Tomoya Takahashi (Hamada) really enjoys the new move because he can play outdoors. Koichi takes note of the split in the family but finds himself struggling at his new job. Thankfully the house has Zashiki Warashi (yokai) living there who will unite them with their antics. Judging by the poster these antics won’t be terrifying.

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