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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Poster

This year’s Cannes Film Festival (17th – 28th May) is the 70th edition of the event and the festival head Thierry Fremaux announced the Official Selection of films programmed last week. Critics are salivating over the fact that there are two Netflix films: the monster movie Okja by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) and The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach (writer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and director of Mistress America). There will be two TV series for audiences to watch: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake and lots more familiar faces such as Sofia (Somewhere) Coppola’s The Beguiled, Michael (Code Unknown/Cache) Haneke’s Happy End (knowing Haneke, it’s probably an ironic title…). More importantly, there are also nine first-time filmmakers getting their works screened.

Why is that important?

The Cannes Film Festival comes into 2017 with a need to find fresh blood and this is seemingly strong selection because may be it. Since this is the 70th anniversary of the festival and the fact that, last year, organisers faced fierce criticism last year for their lack of female directors, commentators identified that they needed to do a couple of things: broaden out its programme so that there are filmmakers other than the old guard (Campion, Haneke, Kawase, Haynes, the Dardennes brothers etc.) and increase the number of female-centric stories and female-led films across the programme. The old guard are back but just by glancing at the lists of announced films, it is clear that the festival has achieved some of its goals and will probably avoid the criticism it faced last year – hopefully, no high-heels and breast-feeding baby incidents will crop up). Things are a bit of a mixed picture when it comes to the Japanese films.

So far, there are four Japanese films programmed, and three come from festival regulars: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Naomi Kawase, and Takashi Miike. Two of the four are adaptations while the other two are original dramas. Out of the dramas, one is made by a seasoned professional while the shorter one at 45 minutes is from a student. The presence of a fresh director is always something to cheer when it comes to Japanese films at international festivals and this director is a lady to boot: Aya Igashi. She is a graduate from Toei Gakuen Film College’s movie production department and is already working on her third film.

So, while we can all sigh and shrug our shoulders at the lack of original content, we can take comfort in the fact that Aya Igashi is on the radar of people who programme the festival.

What are the films playing this year?

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Economic Migrant Documentary “Burmese on the Roof” at the Korean Cultural Centre in London on April 27th

The documentary Burmese on the Roof will be screened at the Korean Cultural Centre in London on Thursday, April 27th at 19:00. This is the UK premiere of a film that has played at the Busan International Film Festival. It is one of six films selected by students attending the National Film and Television School. Each film was made in a different genre but all touch on the economic draw of Korea and it looks to be an interesting programme that will introduce audiences into the lives of a diverse array of characters. Burmese on the Roof is the first in this series of films.

Here are the details on the film:

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Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017 – First Programme Highlights Revealed

Fans of Japanese films will know that one of the biggest and best film festivals in the world for such delights is held every May in Germany. It’s called Nippon Connection and this year’s event marks the seventeenth edition.

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. Exactly a month ago today, the organisers teased some of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened. You can count on there being a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce their works to the audience for the first time. According to the organisers, this year’s focus is on documentaries but there are many great dramas that have already been announced.

Here is what has been released so far:

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Terror-Cotta to Release “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” AKA “The Japanese Evil Dead” on April 24th

It looks like over-the-top splatter fun and it lasts 62 minutes so the balance sounds about right when compared to the overly-long and incredibly gory splatter-fests released by Sushi-Typhoon (some of which I reviewed during a Summer of Splatter – that burnt me out in terms of Japanese horror films…).

Reviews for this one from horror aficionados such as Ken Wynne over at Attack from Planet B, are glowing:

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell meshes the SFX style of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s cult horror Hausu (1977) with the comedy and splatter associated with Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead series.”

It’s well worth reading the rest of the review not least because it has more information on the director who runs his own movie site. Terror-cotta are really getting behind this one by including a lot of interesting extras such as two “behind-the-scenes” clips and a step-by-step look at the work of Graham Humphreys did in making the cover for this. He is a legendary horror movie poster/VHS cover illustrator (THE EVIL DEAD, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) and his work here hits the mark. There are also the original Japanese trailers, an extensive behind-the-scenes photo gallery and two ‘making of’ video clips.

The film will be released on April 24th and this will be the first time it is available on DVD with English subtitles.

Continue reading “Terror-Cotta to Release “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” AKA “The Japanese Evil Dead” on April 24th”

CAMERA JAPAN to Screen Two Films at Shofukan in Rotterdam on April 07th

This year will be the twelfth that CAMERA JAPAN has been in operation and it is great that the festival is operating since it offers one of the most comprehensive collections of current Japanese cinema. The 2017 festival dates have already been announced:

September 21st-24th  Rotterdam
September 29th – October 01st Amsterdam

In the run-up to the festival, CAMERA JAPAN are screening a grip of films and this week’s titles are interesting. To find out more about each individual screening, click on the titles/links:

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London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen the Korean Film “Missing” at the Picturehouse Central On April 10th

The London Korean Film Festival will have a special screening of E Oni’s 2016 thriller “Missing” at the Picturehouse Central cinema in London’s West End. This is the UK premiere and it will take place on Monday, April 10th at 18:30. It is one of two screenings in the lead-up to the next London Korean Film Festival held later in the year to tease audiences as to some of the great films that will be programmed.

Missing Film Posters

Here are the details:

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Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up

It’s 23:49 in Osaka and I want to go to sleep but I have important news! The Japan Film Festival Ireland has reached its ninth year and this year’s addition features anime, dramas, and mediums. There are 21 in all and each movie I would like to see. The screenings take place in Dundalk, Cork, Galway, Maynooth, Sligo, Limerick, Dublin, and Waterford and so people in Ireland will get to see really great examples of Japanese cinema.

Here’s the lowdown on the various films being screened. Click on the titles to be taken to the festival page which has more information:

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