A Preview of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland

The Japanese Film Festival Ireland takes place throughout April and visits many cities across the Emerald Isle: Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Sligo and Dundalk. Each venue will play a different selection of films from a list packed full of excellent and diverse stories.

This is the eighth year that the festival has run but the first I have covered. With 22 films across 45 screenings in seven locations there’s a lot to see but one thing is for certain: whoever programmed this festival knows what they are doing with indie titles like Three Stories of Love and Sanchu Uprising side-by-side with anime hits like The Boy and the Beast, and mainstream comedies like The Apology King. I’ve previewed many of these for trailer posts and added them to reports on film festivals and while I have not seen many of these I have heard and read critics praising them at various points like end of year top ten lists. I’ve highlighted what I think are the more interesting titles at the top (plus Hana and Alice at the end) and I’ll admit there’s a drama bias. Talk to the version of me from five years ago and it would be Sion Sono all the way. Tastes change but this is also a great chance to catch some great dramatic acting from some of the best actors in Japan and a chance to see and support indie films!

The festival starts on April 03rd and lasts until April 21st. To find out more of what’s on offer including venues, times and dates, trailers (and how to purchase tickets, head on over to the festival website.

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A Season of Japanese Musicals at Japan Society New York

The Happiness of the Katakuris Film Image 3

There’s a very exciting season of films that will be played at the Japan Society New York building throughout April. This season is called:

JAPAN SINGS! THE JAPANESE MUSICAL FILM

10 films will be screened from April 08th to the 23rd and audiences will get to experience films from the golden age of the “popular song film” to some more recent entries. That means titles from the ‘50s and ‘60s where Japanese cinema had Hollywood style musicals all the way through to the weird genre-mashup that is The Happiness of the Katakuris, one of Takashi Miike’s most popular films.

It looks like it’s going to show how Japanese cinema utilised Hollywood musical styles and American musical genres, marrying them up with elements found in the bedrock of Japanese culture to create unique films– Buddhist chanting, pop-idols battling to save a geisha from businessmen, samurai and courtesans singing jazz songs. Romances, commercialism, parodies, party-times and politics are all on screen and there are interesting social themes at play in these musicals with the relationship between Japan and the US, globalisation, the economic boom and wish fulfilment as well as an interesting contrast between the glitz and glamour and the down and dirty realities of the characters in some of the films.

The mission of the film season is to help audiences to uncover the little-known world of Japanese musical films and, by extension, Japan at the time. The mission of the films when they were first released was to help audiences understand the massive changes in Japan. To help there are parties and talks. It sounds so exciting!

The trailer for the season should give you a taste of what’s on offer but here’s a bit more from me which I got from the season’s website and IMDB. The trailers and clips won’t be a patch on what audiences will see since they will be watching the musical on the big screen and the films are all on 35mm:

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The Bride of Rip Van Winkle, Sweetheart Chocolate, Mubanso, Assassination Classroom: The Graduation, Dorome: Boys, Dorome: Girls, The Masked Rider #1, Yukata Cowboy, Koko no Toboe Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

A Dangerous Method Film Image 4

I took the time to sign up to letterboxd (I’m Genkinahito), an online service where people can list the films they have watched. Since I have watched lots and lots of films I haven’t even dented my lists plus I want to post reviews as well. This will be a year-long project or maybe even decades at the rate I watch films… I’ve added to that list this week with A Dangerous Method, Vampire Hunter D, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and Disciples of Hippocrates. I posted two articles this week, both about the legendary director Akira Kurosawa. The first was about a screening of the film Stray Dog in New York and then second was about the cinematic and Blu-ray release of the jidaigeki epic Ran in the UK.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Bride of Rip Van Winkle, Sweetheart Chocolate, Mubanso, Assassination Classroom: The Graduation, Dorome: Boys, Dorome: Girls, The Masked Rider #1, Yukata Cowboy, Koko no Toboe Japanese Film Trailers”

Akira Kurosawa’s Jidaigeki Epic Ran in UK Cinemas in April, Blu-ray in May

Ran 4K restoration banner

Ran is Akira Kurosawa’s 1985 historical epic, a colourful and chaotic involving a cast of hundreds in the story of three sons battling for total control of their father’s domain.

Based partly on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear and the legend of the feudal lord Mori Motonari, Ran has gone down as one of Kurosawa’s masterpieces winning many awards, a lot for categories like make-up, art direction, costume design and so on which makes the prospect of seeing a 4K restoration on the big screen too good to miss.

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Akira Kurosawa Classic Stray Dog Screened at Japan Society New York

If you are in New York and of the opinion that black and white films are boring then I have a screening to recommend for you thanks to the Japan Society.

Stray Dog (1949) is the famous classic police procedural from Akira Kurosawa where a cop goes looking for his missing gun. It is set during a sweltering summer in a bombed-out post-war Tokyo which is suffering from a heatwave. The characters, all sweating and seething in the heat and at their circumstances, search high and low for the missing weapon or try their best to conceal what has happened to it leading to a detailed investigation which creates a highly atmospheric and eye-opening view of Japan. We see soldiers returning from war, criminality, black markets and get a glimpse of a wrecked city and you see the police trying to keep order. Tension runs high all the way to a messy and breathless climax.

Stray Dog Film Image

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Chihayafuru, The Town Where Only I Am Missing, Jogging Wataridori, Tsumugu, Convenience Store Yume Monogatari, Kaikou, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Introductory Chapter, Tenshi ni “I’m Fine” and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

Dolls Miho Kanno and Hidetoshi Nishijima
Dolls Miho Kanno and Hidetoshi Nishijima

I posted quite a few articles this week including one about a film screening at the Japanese Embassy in London – Acacia Walk, a series of Events Commemorating the Anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami at the Japan Society New York and a review of the Takeshi Kitano film Dolls. I watched plenty of other films for fun this week including In the House (2012, Dir: Francois Ozon), and The Witch (2015, Dir: Robert Eggers).

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Chihayafuru, The Town Where Only I Am Missing, Jogging Wataridori, Tsumugu, Convenience Store Yume Monogatari, Kaikou, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Introductory Chapter, Tenshi ni “I’m Fine” and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

The Japanese Embassy in London to Screen Acacia Walk on March 22nd

Acacia Walk is the next film to get screened at the Japanese embassy in London during the free screening on March 22nd and it’s a tough tale talking about the growing problem of providing nursing care for elderly parents. It does so through a tale of abuse created by isolation and pressure that filters down from mother to daughter and back again. Director Joji Matsuoka is famous for the Shinya Shokudo dorama and movie.

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Commemorating the 05th Anniversary of 3/11 at Japan Society New York

In the Wake Spiral

There have been a number of programmes around the world dedicated to remembering the tragic impact of The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the subsequent recovery but the most interesting and the greatest concentration of events I have seen so far has been the Japan Society, New York’s commemoration events. There is a wide range of talks and screenings and more given over to remembering the disaster and charting the return to some kind of normality that people in the region are attempting.

Many of the events run from March and last into April and June and all are centred around how art responds to crisis. To find out more and purchase tickets, click on the links provided.

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Dolls ドールズ (2002)

Dolls   Dolls Film Poster

ドールズ 「Do-ruzu

Release Date:  2002 (Japan)

UK Release Date: March 14th, 2016

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano (Screenplay),

Starring: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Chieko Matsubara, Kyoko Fukada, Kanji Tsuda, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Yuko Daike,

IMDB

Dolls is a beautiful film about love, love that is betrayed and love that is lost and regained. It is a gorgeous film visually and aurally, absolutely stunning at points.

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What a Wonderful Family!, Everest: The Summit of the Gods, Devotion to Cinema, Kiori, Digimon Adventure tri. 2: Ketsui, Little Performer: The Pulse of Winds and other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

Dolls Film Poster

I posted a lot of news items like the Blu-ray release of Dolls and the screening of the Yoji Yamada movie Final Take and there was the news item for the director talk involving Aya Hanabusa (Tale of a Butcher Shop) which takes place later this month. Expect more news items in the coming weeks.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “What a Wonderful Family!, Everest: The Summit of the Gods, Devotion to Cinema, Kiori, Digimon Adventure tri. 2: Ketsui, Little Performer: The Pulse of Winds and other Japanese Film Trailers”