The London East Asia Film Festival debuted last year with a preview event, an episode 0 if you will, which marked out its territory and lived up to its name by showcasing films from East Asia. With a focus on bringing directors over and premiering the latest titles to emerge from Japan, Korea, China, and Hong Kong, this festival is an exciting addition to London’s line-up of film-related events.
This year’s event takes place from October 20th to the 30th.
The Korean part is super-strong with a retrospective dedicated to the films of Park Chan-Wook who will be in attendance for Q&As but there are also a number of great Japanese films with the directors coming for Q&As as well!
Here’s the festival trailer:
Here’s the line-up:
Running Time: 130 mins.
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Chihiro Ikeda (Screenplay), Yutaka Maekawa (Original Novel)
Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yuko Takeuchi, Masahiro Higashide, Haruna Kawaguchi, Toru Baba, Misaki Saisho,
This is Kiyoshi Kurosawa best film this year out of the two he has made (the other is Daguerrotype and reviews are mixed). He has worked on great films with lead actors Hidetoshi Nishijima (License to Live) and Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata) separately and the two actors have collaborated on great doramas together (Mozu, Double Face). There’s also Masahiro Higashide (The Kirishima Thing) and Haruna Kawaguchi (POV: A Cursed Film). Reviews for this one have been excellent and Kurosawa will be in attendance for a Q&A.
Synopsis: Detective Inspector Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) decides to quit the force after a psychopath almost kills him. He takes up work as a university lecturer in criminal psychology and delves into cold cases, one involving a missing family where only one person survived, Saki (Haruna Kawaguchi). Life changes when Takakura and his wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi) move house and introduce themselves to their next door neighbour Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa) who hides his wife and daughter from the outside world. Nishino is suspicious enough as a person but when his “daughter” confronts Takakura and tells him that she has no idea who her “father” is, things get really dangerous…
深田晃司 「Fuchi ni Tatsu」
Running Time: 118 mins.
Director: Koji Fukada
Writer: Koji Fukada
Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Tadanobu Asano, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Takahiro Miura, Momone Shinokawa,
Koji Fukada’s stars Kanji Furutachi (au revoir l’ete, The Woodsman & the Rain) and the awesome Tadanobu Asano (Watashi no Otoko, Vital, Bright Future, Survive Style 5+). This is a psychological mystery where audiences try to understand the characters. The film is popular with critics that I read and it sounds like a good choice.
Synopsis from IMDB: Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) and Akie (Mariko Tsutsui) and their daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa) live a quiet life which is disrupted when Toshio hires old-friend Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano) to work in his workshop. This old acquaintance, who has just been released from prison, begins to meddle in Toshio’s family life with a threat of violence but Toshio owes Yasaka a large debt.
火 Hee「Hi Hee」
Running Time: 72 mins.
Director: Kaori Momoi
Writer: Kaori Momoi, Miyuki Takahashi, Daisuke Kamijo (Screenplay) Fuminori Nakamura (Original Story)
Starring: Kaori Momoi, Yugo Saso, Ayako Fujitani, Brian Sturges, Melody Thi,
Director Kaori Momoi is a trailblazer in Japanese film if this interview is anything to go on. She has worked with Akira Kurosawa (Kagemusha), Takashi Miike (Sukiyaki Western Django), Shunji Iwai (Swallowtail Butterfly) and others and has appeared in all sorts of films. She is making films (writing, directing) all around the world as well as in Japan. Kaori will be attending the festival for a Q&A.
Synopsis: The film’s story involves a psychiatrist named Dr. Sanada (Yugo Saso) investigating an old patient named Azusa (Kaori Momoi) who thinks she is crazy and blames herself for the death of her parent’s in a fire. The reason he is investigating is because he has come into contact with her again after he is called to Los Angeles where she is a prostitute accused of murder. Sanada must decide whether Azusa is mentally ill or not and whether he failed her.
There will also be three episodes of the dorama Shinya Shokudo (Midnight Diner) and the director Joji Matsuoka will be in attendance for a Q&A.
Here’s a trailer for the film that was released last year:
Here’s the write-up from the festival site:
From its humble beginnings in its late-night time slot in Japan, Midnight Diner – Tokyo Stories – became a growing sensation with each episode and is now a big hit across Asia.
Based on the Yaro Abe manga Midnight Diner (currently serialized in Shogakukan Big Comic Original, a Japanese magazine) winner of the 55th annual Shogakukan Manga Award and the 39th annual Japan Cartoonists Association Grand Award, the bestselling manga has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
The live-action drama stars Kaoru Kobayashi as the Master and features a lineup of talented, unique actors as the diner’s regulars. On the staff are seasoned veterans in the world of film, headlined by director Joji Matsuoka of the Japanese Academy Award-winning Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad; fellow directors Nobuhiro Yamashita, Shotaro Kobayashi, Tatsushi Omori, Yasuhiro Yoshida and Fumio Nomoto; and production designer Mitsuo Harada. The upcoming season will feature a guest appearance by talented Korean actress Go Ah-sung (The Host, Snowpiercer) and, in a first for the series, shooting on location outside Japan.
The human drama that unfolds at a small diner will be portrayed with a greater sense of fulfillment than ever before.