Japanese Film and Dorama at the East End Film Festival June 25 – July 10

I was overjoyed when I saw Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s dorama Penance getting screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice. It’s because it seemed that there would be a chance it would get screened in the UK. So I spend most of the second half of 2012 wishing that the film would show up at a UK festival and lo and behold it does, just not the one I’m attending, no. Penance is getting screened at the East End Film Festival at the end of June!!!

The East End Film Festival has an eclectic line-up of films but the only interesting ones (as far as I’m concerned) are an indie film named Kuro and Kurosawa’s dorama Penance. Here are the details! 

Click on the title o the film for more information and the location for tickets.

Penance                   Shokuzai Drama Poster

Japanese Title: 

Romaji: Shokuzai

Location: Barbican Cinema, Screening Dates: July 07th, 5:00 PM

Running Time: 270 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Script), Kanae Minato (Original Novel)

Starring: Kyoko Koizumi, Eiko Koike, Sakura Ando, Chizuru Ikewaki, Yu Aoi, Mirai Moriyama

Kiyoshi Kurosawa followed the magnificent Tokyo Sonata with this five-episode TV drama based on Kanae Minato’s novel of the same name (Minato also wrote the novel which the film Confessions is based on). It stars a collection of some of the best actresses in Japan including Kyoko Koizumi (Tokyo SonataAdrift in Tokyo), Sakura Ando (Love ExposureCrime or Punishment?!?), Yu Aoi (Memories of MatsukoAll About Lily Chou-Chou), Eiko Koike (Kamikaze Girls2LDK) and Chizuru Ikewaki (Haru in The Cat Returns).

When a girl named Emiri moves from Tokyo to Ueda she makes friends with four girls named Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuka. One day when the five girls are playing volleyball at school they are approached by a man dressed in work clothes who asks for their help in repairing the ventilation system. He picks Emiri. The two head towards the gym. When there is no sign of Emiri returning her friends head in the same direction and discover her dead. When questioned by the police they cannot describe the man which means leads to the investigation grinding to a halt. Several months later, Emiri’s mother Asako (Koizumi) invites the four girls to her house on Emiri’s birthday. It is there that she tells them that they will have to atone for their inability to describe the man and help in his capture. Fifteen years later, Sae (Aoi), Maki (Koike), Akiko (Ando) and Yuka (Ikewaki) are leading troubled lives and live in fear of the penance expected of them.


Kuro                                                  Kuro Film Image

Japanese Title: はなればなれに

Romaji: Hanare Banareni

Location: Rich Mix, Screening Dates: June 29th, 8:30 PM

Running Time: 100 mins.                                              Kuro Beach Image

Director: Daisuke Shimote

Writer: Daisuke Shimote (Screenplay),

Starring: Airi Kido, Yu Saitoh, Hideo Nakaizumi, Wakana Matsumoto

This one screened at last years Tokyo International Film festival where it accrued a series of mixed reviews like this from Megan Lehmann of the Hollywood Reporter,

A trio of Tokyoites jitterbugs through a series of absurdist set pieces on their way to self-discovery in Kuro, the self-consciously quirky debut feature by Japanese director Daisuke Shimote. Insubstantial but occasionally diverting, it’s a comic drama whose purely physical comedy comes in fits and starts, seemingly independent of the narrative.

After watching the trailer, that excerpt from review seems to be a good summary.

Three people recently traumatised meet up: Kuro once had dreams of being a baker until she was fired, Eito has recently broken up with his fiancé and Gou’s career as a theatre director is in imminent danger of dying when the lead actress of his own play goes missing. The three retreat from the world to a remote seaside hotel where a schoolgirl named Momo falls in with them and they all indulge in silly games.