Japanese Films at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2013

Genki Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 Banner

I did not cover the Edinburgh Film Festival last year and that turned out to be a major mistake because there were a lot of Japanese films shown. Well this year I’m ahead of the game and here is a post previewing Japanese films and films involving Japan at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2013. Tickets went on sale at the beginning of the week so take a gander at the titles.


The Complex                              The Complex Film Poster 2

Japanese Title: クロユリ 団

Romaji: Kuroyuri Danchi

Running Time: 106 mins.

Venue: Cineworld,

Screening Date: June 22nd, 21:45 (Cineworld 5), June 25th, 20:40 (Cineworld 11)

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Hideo Nakata, Junya Kato, Ryuta Miyake (Screenplay)

Starring: Atsuka Maeda, Hiroki Narimiya, Masanobu Katsumura, Naomi Nishida, Sosei Tanaka, Masaya Takahashi, Satomi Tezuka, Taro Suwa, Yurei Yanagi, Megumi Sato, Mayumi Asaka

Hideo Nakata, the director of J-horror classic Ringu and Dark Water returns with another urban supernatural chiller with The Complex which premiered at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. Reviews suggest this is a return to horror form for the director and the trailer strikes all the right notes for me! It stars the beautiful Atsuka Maeda who is a former member of AKB48 and starred in The Drudgery Train. Hiroki Narimiya, Tooru in Mirror Hell part of Rampo Noir and the titular character in the Phoenix Wright movie Ace Attorney is her male co-star. The supporting cast include Naomi Nishida (Library Wars, Swing Girls) and Megumi Sato (Cyborg She, Exte).


Asuka (Maeda) has moved into the Kuroyuri apartment complex. It is a place with a chequered history as mysterious deaths occurred there 13 years ago. It isn’t long before she starts hearing the sound “garigarigari” from the apartment next door where an old man lives and it isn’t long before he is found dead! This is the start of a series of horrifying events that strike the apartment. Asuka calls upon Sasahara (Narimiya), a man who cleans up the homes of the recently deceased, to help solve the mystery.

Lilou’s Adventure                              Lilous Adventure Film Image

Japanese Title: リルウの冒険

Romaji: Riruu no Bouken

Running Time: 117 mins.

Venue: Cineworld,

Screening Date: June 23rd, 14:50 (Cineworld 11), June 25th, 18:10 (Cineworld 05)

Director: Izuru Kumasaka

Writer: Izuru Kumasaka (Screenplay)

Starring: Lilou Diabate, Saera Nakandakari, Lamine Youl Diabate, Lily

This film strikes me as the most interesting at Edinburgh. It is tagged as being a “surrealistic story of two children’s journey across Japan” and while the story comes across as a simple adventure things are complicated by the fact that the main protagonist, the eponymous Lilou, is mixed-race. Not your usual white/Japanese mix but black and Japanese. Amidst the cool Twin Peaks dream sequences scenes of kawaii-Japan, 8-bit videogames and neon lights look to be darker ones where Lilou is challenged by others, perhaps because she is different. If the film explores this aspect of her character then consider me eager to watch it. Enough about my personal interests, here’s the trailer and synopsis.

Lilou is 10-years-old and half Japanese, half Guinean. She lives in Okinawa and has a friend named Kokoro. When Kokoro disappears, Lilou goes on a journey to find her, using clues from a video game.

I Catch a Terrible Cat                       I Catch a Terrible Cat Film Poster

Japanese Title: こっぴどい 猫

Romaji: Koppidoi Neko

Running Time: 130 mins.

Venue: Cineworld, Filmhouse

Screening Date: June 21st, 20:20 (Filmhouse 2), June 26th, 20:15 (Cineworld 11)

Director: Rikiya Imaizumi

Writer: Rikiya Imaizumi (Screenplay)

Starring: Moto Fuyuki, Kazuha Komiya, Haruka Uchimura

Rikiya Imaizumi has been working hard in the indie scene working with the likes of Nobuhiro Yamashita and has won awards for his efforts. His first commercial film was Tama no Eiga (2010), It’s Over Now (2011) and Tuesday Girl (2011) which was part of Nippon Collection 2011. Lead actor Moto Fuyuki is a singer and guitarist. It looks like a well-observed drama/comedy with the emphasis placed on drama from this trailer.

Takada (Moto) is a succesul novelist who is about to turn 60. He has lived a solitary life since his wife passed away and struggles with writer’s block. When Sayo (Komiya), a new hostess at a bar he frequents, shows interest in him, he thinks he mght beat his loneliness. Meanwhile, he reluctantly becomes involved in the love lives of his son and daughter and has a male admirer.

Breathing Earth Susumu Shingu’s Dream       BReathing Earth Susumu Shingu's Dream Film Poster

Running Time: 93 mins.

Venue: Filmhouse, Cineworld,

Screening Date: June 26th, 18:00 (Filmhouse 1), June 30th, 12:40 (Cineworld 8)

Director: Thomas Riedelsheimer

Starring: Susumu Shingu, Yasuko Shingu

This is a German film focussing on the artist Susumu Shingu and the story of his move into architecture. It is described as “a moving exploration of creativity, and a remarkably sweet and engaging human being. The artist’s lifelong “dialogue with the wind and with water” is evoked through beautiful, lustrous imagery and the wisdom of a man who has lived a long life with his eyes wide open.” German trailer but you can get a sense of what the film will be like from it, a contemplative documentary where architecture and nature combined to make something beautiful.


Black Box 2: Patterns and Repetitions

Running Time: 83 mins.

Venue: Filmhouse

Screening Date: June 26th, 21:45 (Filmhouse 3)

This is a programme of short films which represents “a broad approach to the aesthetics of repetition, re-presentation, sequentiality, and the relationship between stillness and motion. Questions of reproduction, remaking, and creative image recycling are at the forefront of many of these films, where various technological interventions turn existing images – photographs, found footage – into meditations on form and structure.”

2012, Makino Takashi/Japan/2012/30 min
Makino Takashi returns to EIFF with another perceptual treat – moving from abstraction to figuration, and from analogue to digital, 2012 tells the story of a year that developed subconsciously.

Black Box 3: Matter and Metamorphosis

Running Time: 82 mins.

Venue: Filmhouse

Screening Date: June 27th, 18:25 (Filmhouse 3)

In this programme of short films, directors/artists look at the transformational potential of organic matter like earth, water, salt and snow and reveal what is described as “uncanny mystical worlds” where “Ecological concerns combine with meditations on artistic materials…” Where does Japan come into this? The first film which is…

Sou, Tatsuto Kimura/Japan/2012/10 min
Intricate study of rock formations and strata through a series of animated still images revealing the layers and textures of time.

Japan crops up again in a German film named 10 by Telemach Wiesinger. The director took his 16mm camera to cities twined with is German hometown of Freiburg and recorded film in each city. One of those cities is in Japan. A documentary film poem on travel, eh?

8 thoughts on “Japanese Films at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2013

  1. I totally blanked on this festival…. you just reminded me! I’m actually more interested in the Korean selection this year, they’ve got loads of good stuff on – Juvenile Offender, Pluto, etc.

    Anyhow, I’m still marking, so I’m going back to my exams…… A few more days!

    1. I forgot last year when there were a lot of Japanese films so I made it a point to remember. I didn’t check the Korean selection but I do like the Japanese titles. I’ll check out the Korean selection.

      Good luck with the marking 🙂

  2. The Hideo Nakata one intrigues me.

    anyway, this is supposed to be a comment for your next post, but I can’t post it because of the kana in the title:

    Have fun at the festival 🙂

    I really like the poster for Hal, very colorful. And the translation for Hakoiri Musuko is very funny, I meant I know it meana literally like that but to see it in translation makes it funny. I think that one could be a sweet romance

    1. I had fun at the festival. Out all day and late into the night talking about and watching films! WIN! The translation reminded me of the anime Tatami Galaxy actually 🙂

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