The 13th Asian Film Festival of Dallas will be launched in just over a month’s time and I have been contacted with some of the line-up. Looking at last year’s festival one can see a rich mix of titles from East Asia with anime making a huge impact. I like the look of the Japanese selection which included Berserk: Golden Age Arc I, Rurouni Kenshin, and Key of Life. The films I have been told about point to a diverse bunch which means that there should be something for everyone.
This year’s festival takes place from July 10th to July 17th at the Angelika Theatre which will be the place that Asian film fans can watch 40 feature films and shorts. There is a mixture of titles from Japan and Korea, some of which have been featured on this blog. Here are the films that were revealed so far:
Japanese Title: ゲキ X シネ髑髏城城 の 七 にん
Romaji: Geki x Shine Dokuro Shiro no Shichi nin
Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 179 mins.
Director: Kazuki Nakajima, Hidenori Inoue
Writer: Kazuki Nakajima, Hidenori Inoue
Starring: Shun Oguri, Mirai Moriyama, Taichi Saotome, Eiko Koike, Ryo Katsuji, Riisa Naka
If you want to do a historical epic, why not try doing it by maing a stageplay? This is the big-screen showing of the Gekidan Shinkansen theatre troupe’s production and it stars big names like Shun Oguri, Eiko Koike and Mirai Moriyama.
It is the Sengoku Period and Oda Nobunaga is old news as Toyotomi Hideyoshi tries to unify Japan. Hideyoshi (Moriyama) finds his path to glory taking a sticky turn when he runs into a group of samurai holed up in a fortress known as Skull Castle which stands near a village known as Salvation which has overthrown its feudal lord. Cue epic siege and a cast of characters including a wandering samurai (Oguri), a prostitute (Eiko) and a girl (Naka) who knows the secrets of the seven samurai.
Japanese Title: 蠢動 しゅんどう
Release Date: October 19th, 2013
Running Time: 102 mins.
Director: Yasuo Mikami
Writer: Yasuo Mikami (Screenplay),
Starring: Yuki Meguro, Tamao Sato, Takehiro Hira, Go Wakabayashi, Tomohito Wakizaki
This is a serious samurai film written directed and self-financed by former industrialist Yasuo Mikami and a remake of a 16mm film of the same title which he produced when he was 24 years old. Set after a time of famine when the Shogunate was cracking down on potential unrest by sending warriors to different clans to check on their loyalty.
Running Time: 119 mins.
Release Date: January 18th, 2014
Director: Kentaro Otani, Keiichi Sato
Writer: Tsutomu Kuroiwa (Screenplay), Yana Toboso (Original Manga)
Starring: Hiro Mizushima, Ayame Gouriki, Mizuki Yamamoto, Takuro Ohno, Yuka, Ken Yasuda
Just in time for the new series of Black Butler, this is a great chance to see the live-action movie adaptation of Yana Toboso’s hugely popular manga. It deviates considerably since the original was set in 19th Century England and this one is set in the present day but the characters are still the same.
The year is 2020 and the place is an Asian city where western and Asian cultures mix. In this society exist the ancient English aristocratic Phantomhive family and it’s a very traditional one (especially for 2020!) where only males can run the family business. Alas, the only person available for the job is a woman named Shiori (Gouriki) who dresses as a boy and takes the name Kyoharu and takes on the job of solving cases for the Queen who now rules the Western nations who wants to unify the world. Cases like a “Serial mummified murder spree” and the disappearances of women. Shiori finds evidence that links the two together but requires the help of her demonic butler Sebastien (Mizushima) who is awesome in every aspect from cooking to good looks but comes with the downside of devouring Shiori’s soul!
Running Time: 135 mins
Release Date: April 30th, 2014 (Korea)
Director: Lee Jae-Kyu
Writer: Choi Sung-Hyun (Original Screenplay)
Starring: Hyun-Bin, Jung Jae-Young, Cho Jung-Seok, Han Ji-Min, Cho Jae-Hyun, Park Sung-Woong, Kim Sung-Ryoung, Jung Eun-Chae
The first entry from Korea is a historical epic which looks just as lavish and as familiar as all the rest.
King Jeongjo (Hyun-Bin) has been targeted for assassination several times despite the fact he has been in power for only one year. His hold on power is fragile at best and the only person he trusts is his eunuch named Sang-Chaek (Jung Jae-Young) and a military officer named Hong Kook-Young (Park Sung-Woong).
Who wants him dead? Queen Jungsoon (Han Ji-Min)!
Enter another assassin in the form of Eul-Soo (Cho Jung-Seok) who is forced to do this mission otherwise his love Wol-Hye (Jung Eun-Chae) will be killed.
Running Time: N/A
Release Date: February 20th, 2014 (Korea)
Director: Jang Hyeong-yoon
Writer: Jang Hyeong-yoon (Original Screenplay)
Starring: Jung Yu-mi, Yoo Ah-in
The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow is the debut animation by Jang Hyeong-Yoon and stars the voices of Jung Yu-mi and Yoo Ah-in.
Il-ho is a satellite who gazes down on Earth and is curious about people and love. When she falls to Earth she transforms into the Satellite Girl. Meanwhile, a shy songwriter named Kyung-chun is turned into a cow when he suffers heartbreak after his girlfriend leaves him. Worse is to come when an evil machine known as Incinerator chases him. Fortunately, Merlin the Wizard shows up to enlist Kyung-chun and Il-Ho in his campaign to save the world from a black monster.
Running Time: 112 mins.
Release Date: February 20th, 2014 (Taiwan)
Director: Yi-chi Lien
Writer: Shang-min Yu, Jia-jhen Chen, Yi-chi Lien (Original Screenplay)
Starring: Alec Su, Ariel Lin, Chung-tien Wu, Tsu-Jun Lang, Ruby Lin,
Fresh from Taiwan is a police comedy where a cowardly and thus inefficient veteran detective named Chi-yi (Su) and his overzealous rookie partner Yi-ping (Lin), who just happens to be the daughter of the head of the National Police Agency, are teamed up to fight crime. Alas, Chi-yi’s poor record and the possibility of anything bad happening to Yi-ping, means their chief gives the pointless cases such as one involving a puppy dying after eating chocolate… Investigating this leads to a series of mysterious deaths…