The full line-up for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) was revealed earlier today and for the 12th edition of OAFF, the number of selected films has reached an impressive 58 in total, including 16 films in Competition. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun) and there will be films from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. There will be 16 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 Asian premiere and lots of guests, so if you love Asian films, this is definitely the festival to attend. Not only are there films but there are many other events and guests. To find out more, please visit the Guest Page, the events page, and my preview.
To get more of an insight into the films, head over to the festival’s programme page or scroll down where I give more information, links in the titles of each film, plus links to previews of different sections.
Down to some nitty-gritty: every film will have English subtitles.
Umeda Burg 7 (March 3-12),
ABC Hall (March 8-12),
Cine Libre Umeda (March 4-12),
Hankyu Umeda Hall (March 6-10)
Tickets are on sale from the end of February.
Here’s the line-up. I will make this post a sticky and update it with information as it is released:
The Osaka Asian Film Festival is really the place to be to experience cinema culture from Asia with many different sections hosting many films. Mainland China puts in a strong showing with the lead actor in I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016), Fan BingBing, making an impact in an understated black comedy that showcases the beauty of China as one woman battles the absurdity of China’s legal system. Something in Blue (2016) is less political but its story is just as good. It is sort of like a Hong Sang-soo film which has been shot in Guangzhou and it is full of actors portraying everyday life so there’s lots of talking and naturalistic acting.
Filmmakers from the Philippines demonstrate they are part of a vibrant and exciting cinematic culture producing challenging films full of substance. I’m thinking specifically of the slightly politics slightly supernatural film Birdshot (2016) but there are also newcomers with more personal dramas like Singing in Graveyards and Saving Sally (both from 2016). There are also some documentaries included that provide an insight into people smuggling from the perspective of a tough-as-nails North Korean woman.
The Japanese film selection has a nice range of films focusing on females with Daisuke Miyazawa’s Yamato (California) taking a sideways look at US-Japan relations through the friendship between a Japanese and a half-Japanese half-American girl, both of whom like Hip Hop. Miyazawa has form in the industry having worked as an assistant director with Kiyoshi Kurosawa on Tokyo Sonata (2008). There’s also Natsuki Seta, an Osaka girl who is making a successful return home with her latest film, Parks (2017), a film that stars super-famous actors Ai Hashimoto and Shota Sometani. At the other end of the scale is Koji Segawa, whose film Tamayura Mariko (2016) is pure indie strangeness as it’s a story told from the increasingly twisted POV of the titular Mariko, a woman on the edge of breaking (or possibly already well over it) due to suspected infidelities committed by her husband. One stand-out for me is Bamy (2016), a brand-new supernatural indie film which takes its cues from Kiyoshi Kurosawa in terms of mise-en-scene but uses it as the basis of a genuinely strong romance which questions the nature of fate. With plenty of black humour and great direction, the director, Jun Tanaka, is definitely one to watch.
What is on the programme, then? I’ll break it down into sections to make it easier to navigate:
Opening and Closing Films | Competition | Special Screenings |
In & Out of Work Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment | New Action! Southeast Asia | Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017 |
130th Anniversary of Thailand-Japan Diplomatic Relations: Thai Film Promotion | Indie Forum |Housen Cultural Foundation: Support for film study and production
Films: [WP]: World Premiere [IP]: International Premiere [AP]:Asia Premiere
Opening and Closing Films
To see trailers and read synopses, the guest list and and more, click here or click on the titles to access the festival pages.
Opening: MRS K Dir: Yuhang Ho (何宇恆)/2016/Malaysia, Hong Kong
Closing: Parks [PARKS パークス] Dir: Natsuki Seta/2017/ Japan [WP] REVIEW
To see trailers and read synopses, the guest list and more, click here or click on the titles to access the festival pages.
This section will present 16 films chosen from films completed on or after 1st October 2015 and unreleased in Japan. The international jurors will choose the winners of the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent Award.
1. 10,000 MILES [一萬公里的約定] Dir: Simon HUNG/2016/Taiwan
2. 29+1 Dir: Kearen PANG/2016/Hong Kong[AP]
3. 77 HEARTBREAKS [原諒他77次] Dir: Herman YAU/2017/Hong Kong [WP]
4. BLISS Dir: Jerrold TAROG/2017/Philippines [WP]
5. BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK [DAO KHANONG] Dir: Anocha SUWICHAKORNPONG/2016/Thailand, Netherlands, France, Qatar
6. COME, TOGETHER Dir: SHIN Dong-il/2016/Korea [IP]
7. INTERCHANGE Dir: Dain ISKANDAR SAID/2016/Malaysia, Indonesia
8. KITA KITA [I SEE YOU] Dir: Sigrid Andrea P. BERNARDO/2017/Philippines [WP]
9. MAD WORLD [一念無明] Dir: WONG Chun/2016/Hong Kong
10. ONE DAY Dir: Banjong PISANTHANAKUN/2016/Thailand
11. REVELATIONS Dir: Vijay JAYAPAL/2016/India
12. SISTERHOOD [骨妹] Dir: Tracy CHOI/2016/Macao, Hong Kong [IP]
13. SOMETHING IN BLUE [呼吸正常] Dir: LI Yunbo/2016/China
14. SOUL MATE [七月與安生] Dir: Derek TSANG/2016/Hong Kong, China
15. TISAY Dir:Borgy TORRE/2016/Philippines [IP]
16.YAMATO (CALIFORNIA) [大和（カリフォルニア)] Dir: MIYAZAKI Daisuke/2016/Japan, USA, Netherlands, Taiwan
This was covered in a recent preview post which contains for information such as trailers and posters and plot synopses.
1. 52HZ, I LOVE YOU Dir: WEI Te-Sheng/2017/Taiwan
2. AFTER SPRING, THE TAMAKI FAMILY… Dir: HUANG Yin-Yu/2016/Taiwan, Japan
3. HEMA HEMA: SING ME A SONG WHILE I WAIT Dir: Khyentse NORBU/2016/ Bhutan, Hong Kong
4. I AM NOT MADAME BOVARY [我不是潘金蓮] Dir: FENG Xiaogang/2016/China REVIEW
5. Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman [Madame B., histoire d’une Nord-Coréenne] Dir: YUN Jero/2016/France, Korea REVIEW
6. PARKS Also to be screened as Closing Film
7. SORI: VOICE FROM THE HEART Dir: LEE Ho-Jae/2016/Korea
In & Out of Work Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment
This program will reveal the true face of Asian societies and people through films that depict their labours. This was covered in a recent preview post which contains for information such as trailers and posters and plot synopses.
1. APOCALYPSE CHILD Dir: Mario CORNEJO/2015/Philippines
2. BRUTAL (JAGAT) Dir: Shanjhey Kumar PERUMAL/2015/Malaysia
3. MY STUPID BOSS Dir: Upi/2016/Indonesia, Malaysia
4. PING PANG [ ピンパン] Dir: TANAKA Yoichi/2016/Japan REVIEW
5. THE REFUGEE [亡命記] Dir: NOMURA Yoshitaro/1955/Japan
6. SUMMER NIGHT Dir: LEE Ji-won/2016/Korea REVIEW
New Action! Southeast Asia
This special program features new movements in film bringing action to art films to heat up Southeast Asian Cinema. This was covered in a recent preview post which contains for information such as trailers and posters and plot synopses.
1. BAKA BUKAS (MAYBE TOMORROW) Dir: Samantha LEE/2016/Philippines
2. BIRDSHOT Dir: Mikhail RED/2016/Philippines, Qatar REVIEW
3. A GIFT Dir: Chayanop BOONPRAKOB, Jira MALIGOOL, Nithiwat THARATORN, Kriangkrai VACHIRATAMPORN/2016/Thailand
4. GOODBYE MR LOSER [令伯特煩悩] Dir: Adrian Kean Kok TEH(/2017/Malaysia [WP]
5. MRS K Also to be screened as the Opening Film
6. PATINTERO: THE LEGEND OF MENG THE LOSER Dir: Mihk VERGARA/2016/ Philippines
7. SAVING SALLY Dir: Avid LIONGOREN/2016/Philippines, France[IP]
8. SINGING IN GRAVEYARDS Dir: Bradley LIEW/2016/Malaysia, Philippines
9. SUDDENLY TWENTY Dir: Araya SURIHARN/2016/Thailand
10. TAM CAM: THE UNTOLD STORY [Tam Cam: Chuyen Chua Ke] Dir: NGO Thanh Van/2016/Vietnam REVIEW
11. A YELLOW BIRD Dir: K RAJAGOPAL/2016/Singapore, France REVIEW
Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017
This program will present Hong Kong films by a new generation of filmmakers in cooperation with Hong Kong Special Administration Region Economic and Trade Office Tokyo. This was covered in a recent preview post which contains for information such as trailers and posters and plot synopses.
There’s a strong showing from Hong Kong with an interesting father and son appearance for Eric and Derek Tsang. Both are actors with the former being of the same generation with and a collaborator of Jackie Chan, taking a leading role in an indie film called Mad World (2016), a film looking at the pressures of working-class society in Hong Kong as well as mental health. The latter is also a popular actor (see The Thieves) but he has moved into directing with the award-winning Soul Mates (2016), a film about the bond between two female best friends. It looks a lot like the Shunji Iwai classic Hana and Alice (2004) thanks to it two leading ladies who put in strong performances that critics raved about.
1. HUSBAND KILLERS [女士復仇] Dir: Fire LEE (火火)/2017/Hong Kong[WP]
2. 29+1 Also to be screened as a Competition film
3. 77 HEARTBREAKS [原諒他77次] Also to be screened as a Competition film
4. MAD WORLD [一念無明] Also to be screened as a Competition film/HONG KONG NIGHT Screening
5. SISTERHOOD [骨妹] Also to be screened as a Competition film
6. SOUL MATE [七月與安生] Also to be screened as a Competition film
130th Anniversary of Thailand-Japan Diplomatic Relations: Thai Film Promotion
To celebrate the 130th Anniversary, this program will focus on Thai films including the masterpiece DUAY KLAW (THE SEED)(1987). This was covered in a recent preview post which contains for information such as trailers and posters and plot synopses.
1. DUAY KLAW (THE SEED) Dir: Bundit RITTAKOL/1987/Thailand
2. BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK Also to be screened as a Competition film
3. A GIFT Also to be screened as a [New Action! South East Asia] film
4. ONE DAY Also to be screened as a Competition film/THAI NIGHT Screening
5. SUDDENLY TWENTY Also to be screened as a [New Action! South East Asia] film
This program will present 12 films by new innovative and challenging Japanese talents including 3 CO2 (Cineastes Organization Osaka) supported films. The JAPAN CUTS AWARD will be presented by Japan Society to the selected film from this section. You can find out more about each title in this preview post complete with posters, trailers, synopses and some director biographies.
1. Dynamite Wolf [おっさんのケーフェイ] Dir: TANIGUCHI Kohei/2017/Japan/13th CO2 Grant-recipient Film [WP]
2. Hizume [蹄] Dir: KIMURA Asagi/2017/Japan/13th CO2 Grant-recipient Film [WP]
3. Visualised Hearts [可視化する心たち] Dir: IGARASHI Akiko/2017/Japan /13th CO2 Grant-recipient Film [WP]
4. Bamy [バーミー] Dir: TANAKA Jun/2016/Japan [WP] REVIEW
5. Breathless Lovers [息ぎれの恋人たち] Dir: SHIMIZU Shumpei/2017/Japan/Supported by Housen Cultural Foundation [WP] REVIEW
6. Good-Bye [さよならも出来ない] Dir: MATSUNO Izumi/2016/Japan
7. Her Mother Dir: SATO Yoshinori/2016/Japan
8. I Want to be Loved [海の底からモナムール ] /Besoin d’ amour] Dir: Ronan GIRRE/2017/Japan, France
9. Love and Goodbye Hawaii [恋とさよならとハワイ] Dir: MATSUMURA Shingo/2017/Japan [WP] REVIEW
10. PING PANG [ピンパン] Also to be screened as a [In & Out of Work: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment］film
11. Poetry Angel [ポエトリーエンジェル] Dir: IIZUKA Toshimitsu/2016/Japan (REVIEW)
12. Tamayura Mariko [たまゆらのマリ子] Dir: SEGAWA Koji/ 2016/ Japan
Housen Cultural Foundation: Support for film study and production
Based in Osaka, the Housen Cultural Foundation supports film study and production in graduate schools. This program will show the films supported by the Housen Cultural Foundation. One of the films has been selected to be screened in the Indie Forum section. You can find out more about each title in this preview post complete with posters, trailers, synopses and some director biographies.
1. Cooperation and Community [績（う）みの村] Dir: IKEDA Keishiro/2015/Japan [WP]
2. Icarus and the Son [イカロスと息子] Dir: SANADA Kohei/2015/Japan
3. Promises [子供たち] Dir: ENDO Mikihiro/2015/Japan [WP]
4. Bright Night [レンコーンの夜] Dir: KONNO Yasumasa/2016/Japan [WP]
5. Sweetest Truth [スイーテスト・トゥルース] Dir: Evdoxia KYROPOULOU/2015/Japan, Greece [WP]
This list will be updated with more information as and when I get it. I hope to add reviews to the blog and then update the list as well so if you’re a fan of Asian films, you might want to check back every so often.