Sky Society, Catching Father, Sado Tempest, Become Ancestors, The Lifetime of Poison Wine in Nabari Incident Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart

Biomega Nihei (3)This week was spent catching up with reviews of some of the films I saw at the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme. I gave a 4 to Ninja Kids!!!, a great little kids films by Takashi Miike while I gave a perfect 5 to Mai Mai Miracle which, despite initial scepticism, won me over. The more I thought about it the more I loved it. I also posted a trailer for the dorama xxxHOLiC. Film-wise I watched the Edward Norton film The Painted Veil and found that I loved it. I also watched the great little crime thriller Heat After Dark – an Austrian DVD but with English subtitles thankfully (always check before you order!) – and I watched more of Robotics;Notes and Arch-enemy and Hero. I have also been ploughing through Resident Evil 6! Tonight I watch The Twilight Samurai directed by Yoji Yamada who has a film in the Japanese chart and at the Berlin Film Festival called Tokyo Family

What does the Japanese film box-office chart look like this week (Feb 9th/10th)?

  1. Ted
  2. Brain Man
  3. Strawberry Night
  4. Life of Pi
  5. Jack Reacher
  6. Les Miserables
  7. Tokyo Family
  8. Yellow Elephant
  9. One Piece Film Z
  10. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Last week’s release, Brain Man takes second place while older films switch positions by dropping down a place. There aren’t too many interesting films there and I can’t see this week’s releases having much of  major impact…

What Japanese films are released this week?

Sky Society                                     Sky Society Film Poster 

Japanese Title: 空の境界

Romaji: Sora no Kyoukai

Release Date: February 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 92 mins.

Director: Kei Horie

Writer: Kei Horie (Screenplay),

Starring: Mayuko Kawakita, Masahiro Inoue, Tengai Kuramoto, Ayano Kudo, Tetsuya Makita , Kazue Ito, Miyabi Endo, Makoto Ashikawa

Kei Horie is a bit of a journeyman director and actor who has been involved in low-budget v-cinema shockers like Shibuya Kaidan 1 and 2 and The Suicide Manual (shocking because they are terribly dull). He has come a long way since then with great dramas added to his name such as Sentimental Yasuko and Tomorrow, both released last year. This is another drama although it is based on a real-life incident. It is packed full of love and suspense and diving!

Yuko (Kawakita) works as a clerk in a prefectural swimming pool. She was once a high diver with a promising future but cannot do it anymore due to a traumatic incident that occurred in the past. She cannot even contemplate marrying her lover Satoshi (Makita) and so she decides to get counselling. 

Catching Father                        Catching Father Film Poster

Japanese Title: チチの撮りに

Romaji: Chichi no Tori ni

Release Date: February 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 74 mins.

Director: Ryota Nakano

Starring: Makiko Watanabe, Nanoka Matsubara, Erisa Yanagi, Kenichi Takito, Satoshi Nikaido, Tomokoi Kimura

Ryota Nakano’s award winning film Capturing Dad was recently playing in Berlin at the film festival. It took the award for best film and best director at the 09th Skip City International D-Cinema Festival in Kawaguchi city. It is a family drama that mixes a little light comedy and a lot of drama in a film about the absence of a father and the creation of relationships from that loss. The film stars Makiko Watanabe (Love Exposure), Erisa Yanagi (A Gentle Breeze in the Village), Kenichi Takito (Fish Story, Fish on Land), Satoshi Nikaido (Guilty of Romance) amongst others.

Koharu (Matsubara) and Hazuki (Yanagi) are sisters who live in a rural town with their mother Sawa (Watanabe). The father abandoned the family for a new woman fourteen years ago which has caused huge resentment in Sawa but when she discovers that he has terminal cancer she sends Koharu and Hazuki to the hospital with a camera to take a picture of him. When they arrive at the hospital he s dead and his new family are in mourning. Koharu and Hazuki both discover things about their father and their step-family.


Sado Tempest                                                     Sado Tempest Film Poster

Japanese Title: Sado Tempest

Romaji: N/A

Release Date: February 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: John Williams

Writer: John Williams (Screenplay),

Starring:, Noriko Eguchi, Minoru Sado, Hirotaro Honda, Yoji Tanaka, Takashi Watanabe, Akira Hiroshi Izumi, Ryota Tsuchiya

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest gets a futuristic fantasy update which plays out as a contemporary rock musical starring musician Arashi and incorporates the history of Sado island and Noh theatre. Who is brave enough to undertake such a project? John Williams, the director of Starfish Hotel. I may have been lukewarm about his film but I respect the man for going out to Japan and carving a career for himself and having the guts to do something like this! It played at last year’s Raindance Film Festival in London. It stars Hirotaro Honda (Zero Focus) and Noriko Eguchi (Loft, One Missed Call) amongst others.

Japan, 2042, the nation has collapsed and reverted back to being an autocracy. Jun is a popular rock singer and critics of the government and is exiled to the island of Sado with his band. He finds that the volcanic island has been ruined by a storm and  his prison is run by Caliban and is forced to record new songs for a public who think he is dead but decides to rebel with the aid of a woman named Miranda who may be insane. To rebel he attempts to recreate ancient Demon songs which have the power of reviving spring on the island or bringing back the storm…


Become AncestorsBecome Ancestor Film Poster

Japanese Title: 先祖になる

Romaji: Senzo ni Naru

Release Date: February 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Kaoru Ikeya

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

One thing I have noticed since starting these trailer write-ups is that Japan produces a lot of documentaries. A fortnight ago there was something like three and while most won’t travel outside Tokyo, the documentary scene seems to be thriving. One exponent s Kaoru Ikeya who directed Chizuru, a documentary about a girl with autism and Soldier Ants, a documentary that looked at the fate of some of the 2,600Japanese soldiers left behind in China on government orders who were later called deserters. This is his new project:

先祖 -Senzo – Ancestor なる -ならいます Naru – Naraimasu – To become 

It follows 77-year-old Naoshi Sato in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture and his struggle to recover from the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. He has lost is son and house but has since then fought to build a new one.


The Lifetime of Poison Wine in Nabari IncidentPoison Wine Incident Film Poster

Japanese Title: 約束 名張毒ぶどう酒事件 死刑囚の生涯

Romaji: Yakusoku Nabari Dokubudou Shuji Ken Shikeishuu no Shougai

Release Date: February 16th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 120 mins.

Director: Junichi Saito

Writer: Junichi Saito (Screenplay),

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Kiki Kirin, Shizuo Amano, Taro Yamamoto

Unwieldy title! This is based on a real life case involving a man convicted of killing five women and making twelve others ill with wine poisoned with pesticide in the rural town of Nabari, Mie Prefecture in 1961. The man sent down for the crime was Masaru Okunishi and it is thought he was the perpetrator because he was seen delivering the wine and his wife and his lover were two of the women killed.  It might be a case of wrongful conviction since evidence is shaky at best and he has been fighting for freedom since 1972. Junichi Saito has made films about this incident in the past and his latest one stars Tatsuya Nakadai (Zatoichi the Last and Tsunagu), Kiki Kirin (Still Walking, Tsunagu) and Taro Yamamoto (Battle Royale, Millenial Rapture).

Sado Tempest 2 Poster

2 thoughts on “Sky Society, Catching Father, Sado Tempest, Become Ancestors, The Lifetime of Poison Wine in Nabari Incident Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart

  1. goregirl

    Sado Tempest looks sorta interesting. The Lifetime of Poison Wine in Nabari Incident…Unwieldy title INDEED! Sounds fascinating though!

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