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.
Japanese Title: クロユリ 団地
Romaji: Kuroyuri Danchi
Running Time: 106 mins.
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.
Japanese Title: リルウの冒険
Romaji: Riruu no Bouken
Running Time: 117 mins.
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.
Japanese Title: こっぴどい 猫
Romaji: Koppidoi Neko
Running Time: 130 mins.
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.
Running Time: 93 mins.
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.
Running Time: 83 mins.
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.
Running Time: 82 mins.
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?