A Preview of the Films at Kanazawa Film Fest 2017

The Kanazawa Film Festival will be taking place across Japan soon! It launches atKanazawa Film Festival 2017 Image the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (details) in Kanazawa city and its run will last from July 15th to the 17th. The film fest will then pop up in various city from July to November with venues in Yamaguchi, Kitakyushu, Hakui, Kyoto, and Sendai all screening films. It starts in Kanazawa this month and so I want to report on it now but if you live or are visiting any of the aforementioned cities this year then you can get some cinematic goodness from some indie films.

Apparently, there are 22 works selected from the 89 entries but despite the large amount of material on offer there are no female directors. Despite this reservation, the line-up consists of some incredibly intriguing-looking indie films with nearly all of them looking well-made. Also gratifying to see is my favourite film from the Osaka Asian Film Festival showing up. After complaining about a lack of stories in Japanese cinema a few weeks ago, I’m pleased to see a wide variety on display in these indie features and I hope I get to see some of them very soon.

Here are the details with trailers for some of the films and links to various websites and Twitter feeds dotted around. A lot of this information is rough around the edges so I encourage you to look at the festival’s official site and check the links I have provided:

Bamy   bamy-film-poster

バーミー Ba-Mi-   

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Jun Tanaka

Writer: Jun Tanaka

Starring: Hironobu Yukinaga, Hiromi Nakazato, Misaki Tsuge, Toshi Yanagi, Yuki Katsuragi,

I really want more people to see BAMY because it is brilliantly made and it has a fun story. It comes off like a pastiche of a Kiyoshi Kurosawa film since the director exhibits same exquisite horror atmosphere which he evinces from his precise control of his material and the cast and crew but then it goes off in a completely unexpected direction that made me give it a round of applause. Even before the ending, I was laughing over the fun scenes and shivering at the creepy scenes. It’s a great experience! My review for BAMY will explain more.

Synopsis: One day, Fumiko runs into Ryota – an old acquaintance from college – outside the library where she works. Brought together by a mysterious red umbrella, they find themselves drawn to one another, and before long they are set to get married but their relationship slowly ruptures because Ryota is troubled by his secret ability to see the dead. He soon becomes worn out by his daily encounters with ghosts, entities that Fumiko cannot see. One day, Ryota meets Sae Kimura, a woman with the same ability as him, who is terrified by the apparitions. Ryota becomes increasingly involved with Sae causing his relationship with Fumiko to head towards breaking point.


Dynamite Wolf   Dynamite Wolf Film Poster

おっさんのケーフェイ 「Ossan no Ke-fei

Running Time: 71 mins.

Director: Kohei Taniguchi

Writer: Natsu Hashimoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Yota Kawase, Yusuke Matsuda, Haruto Kobayashi, Susumu Noda, Shuriya Jinbo,


I saw this one at the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well and had a good time. It’s an easily accessible story that involves adults and children who dream of nothing but wrestling as a way of making sense of the world and it was filmed with support from the Dotonbori Pro Wrestling League – so real wrestlers and the real feel of pro-wrestling are on the screen. Solidly shot, easily accessible in terms of story, and with entertaining performances from the cast (especially the children – the one kid from Tokyo kept me laughing) this is an easy one to recommend.

Synopsis: Hiroto lives in the quiet city of Izumi in Osaka prefecture. He has no particular hopes or dreams unlike his classmates and this causes him to feel a deep sense of crisis. Consider the crisis over when he sees a wrestling match with popular masked fighter named Dynamite Wolf. Hiroto becomes a mega-fan and discovers that even Dynamite Wolf has failed dreams and he can help out.


Dokuro to Tsume (Skull and Nails)

髑髏と爪 「Dokuro to Tsume

Running Time: 35 mins.

Director:  Shuhei Sugimoto

Writer: Shuhei Sugimoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Takuto Eisei, Yumiko Terradansu, Yuriko Tanaka, Yoshi Inaba

Synopsis: A normal man finds his life takes a dangerous turn when he meets a killer.



歯まん 「Haman

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director:  Tetsuya Okabe

Writer: Tetsuya Okabe (Screenplay),

Starring: Nonoka Baba, Yusuke Kojima, Shohei Uno, Mizui Maki,

Synopsis: Ever seen the 2007 American horror-comedy Teeth (trailer)? If so, you’ll be right at home with this story of a woman with teeth in her lady-parts only this Japanese film is much more serious. Sex has never been so dangerous… for men, that is.

Kawaranai de. Hyakunichisou

変わらないで。百日草Kawaranai de. Hyakunichisou

Running Time: 49 mins.

Director:  Yumeki Kawakita

Writer: Yumeki Kawakita (Screenplay),

Starring: N/A

DO Not change film Image

Synopsis: This short is all about the pains of growing from adolescence to adulthood…

Youkai Ageba no Shi to

養貝揚場の死斗Youkai Ageba no Shi to

Running Time: 35 mins.

Director:  Shota Fujii

Writer: Shota Fujii (Screenplay),

Starring: Takahisa Arai, Hironobu Saito, Kenji Nakano, Hideaki Tani,

Synopsis: This one involves criminals locked in a Mexican stand-off.


Until the Day You Gain Freedom

自由を手にするその日までJiyuu o te ni suru sono hi made

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director:  Yuji Amano

Writer: Yuji Amano (Screenplay),

Starring: Miyabi, Kyoko Miyauchi

Synopsis: Yuji Amano wants to explore negative feelings and he does so in a film where a woman seeks revenge over workplace bullying. This one looks pretty good with plenty of gore. Perhaps a Seven like atmosphere. I want to see more of this on the big screen.

Uri Futatsu

瓜二つUri Futatsu

Running Time: 14 mins.

Director:  Tomoki Yamakawa

Writer: Tomoki Yamakawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Haruki Hamaguchi, Shunzo Yamakawa,

Synopsis: In this fourteen minute thriller, there’s a foreigner hiding in some farmer’s barn! 


Walk in the Room

Running Time: 14 mins.

Director:  Atsuro Shimoyashiro

Writer: Atsuro Shimoyashiro (Screenplay),

Starring: Haruki Hamaguchi, Shunzo Yamakawa,

Walk in the Room Film Image

Synopsis: A story about an employee in a record store with a language disorder…

Hangman’s Knot

ハングマンズノットHangu manzu notto

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director:  Yuugo Sakamoto

Writer: Yuugo Sakamoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Kengo Yoshii, Yu Yasuda, Takuya Matsumoto,

Synopsis: A madman fights some yankees. That’s the story but the trailer makes it look like a lot of fun plus it has Trap music – Trap music has reached Japan…

White Wave


Running Time: 70 mins.

Director:  Atsushi Nagao

Writer: Atsushi Nagao (Screenplay),

Starring: Takuto Kawasaki, Ai Sekine, Shoji Omiya,

Synopsis: Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and a group of people are trapped together on an island.


Running Time: 30 mins.

Director:  Daisaku Takanaka

Writer: Daisaku Takanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaoru Fujii, Muneaki Yoshimura,

Synopsis: A film about the belief in superheroes and the growth from childhood into adulthood, dood.

Mori no Kumasan

もりのくまさん 「Mori no Kumasan

Running Time: 18 mins.

Director:  Shun Ito

Writer: N/A (Screenplay),

Starring: Sachiko Mori, Shun Ito,

Synopsis: A female hitch-hiker is attacked by a man in a forest but she fights back! Awesome! I hope she wins.

Aho no Mai

阿呆の舞 「Aho no Mai

Running Time: 10 mins.

Director:  Takahiro Sakata

Writer: Takahiro Sakata (Screenplay),

Starring: Takehi Watabe, Nanami Honda,

Synopsis: Takahiro Sakata was inspired to create this dystopian sci-fi tale of people being monitored after the introduction of the My Number system in Japan. It’s possible to live there without one…



Running Time: 31 mins.

Director:  Kei Ichihara

Writer: Kei Ichihara (Screenplay),

Starring: Kazuko Wadam Yuji Nakane, Yasuhiro Kato,

Synopsis: Director Kei Ichihara has been working on indies for a number of years (as can be seen on this film production company’s website) and his oeuvre consists of sci-fi action movies with home-made CG. This one is set in a near-future Nagoya.

I’m not entirely clear on what is going on but apparently, he is inspired by Mamoru Oshii, the director of Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor, and The Sky Crawlers so that’s a sign of someone with good taste in my book!


Amanojaku Puberty

アマノジャク・思春期 「Amanojaku Shishunki

Running Time: 32 mins.

Director:  Mitsuteru Okakura

Writer: Mitsuteru Okakura (Screenplay),

Starring: Haku Yamamto, Tomomi Kono,

Synopsis: This one is all about a schoolboy who is ostracised. The director has released another short film in the meantime called Goblin and the trailer can be found here.


腰抜け 「Koshinuke

Running Time: 23 mins.

Director:  Yasumi Terada

Writer: Yasumi Terada (Screenplay),

Starring: Lee Sun-yee, Suon Koushin,

Synopsis: Two outlaws wandering around Korea meet.


Samenai Yume

覚めない夢 「Samenai Yume

Running Time: 10 mins.

Director:  Yoshi Ito (Twitter)

Writer:  Yoshi Ito (Screenplay),

Starring: Chihiro Kato, Miori Mai,

Samenai Yume Film Image

Synopsis: A movie inspired by the Roman Porno movement.



はりこみ 「Harikomi

Running Time: 28 mins.

Director:  Yusuke Itagaki (Twitter)

Writer:  Yusuke Itagaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaori Ikeda, Hiroyuki Toritani, Yusuke Itagaki,

Harikomi Film Image

Synopsis: Police detectives have a humorus conversation in a car.


How Does Steel Shine?

鋼鉄はいかに輝くかKoutetsu wa Ikani Kagayaku ka

Running Time: 91 mins.

Director:  Makoto Inagaki

Writer:  N/A

Starring: Masato Arimura, Masayuki Shida,

Synopsis: See the darker side of Tokyo-life. Not necessarily a new thing but this indie looks well-done. The lead actor has a cool set of eyes which are pretty distinctive. There are some stylistic things that are cool such as locales is that the Red Room (Twin Peaks)? – and the dark parts of Tokyo I don’t recognise despite staying out until crazy 0’clock in the morning so that’s cool (not that I want to see bad things). Other than that it’s a modern-day psycho noir set in that miraculous metropolis that dominates Japan!

I Cannot See the Same Moon

同じ月は見えない Onaji Tsuki ha Mienai

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director:  Daichi Sugimoto

Writer:  N/A

Starring: Takanori Suzaki, Masanori Ishikawa, Minase Shimane, Takeshi Ikeda,

Onaji Tsuki ha Mienai Film Image

Synopsis: Daichi Sugimoto. Okay. Around this time last year, I reviewed his film A Road and was impressed by what I saw. This one is his latest and went along the crowd funding route to get to the screen. Just like his award-winning debut, he asked friends and family to take part but there’s no trailer so you’ll have to make do with an image in a story about a guy drawn into a dangerous job.

Yorozuya Tantei   Yorozuya Tantei Film Poster

よろずや探偵談 「Yorozuya Tantei

Running Time: 91 mins.

Director:  Toujii Sawamura 

Writer:  Yousuke Toriumi (Screenplay),

Starring: Tomoyuki Miura, Kurita Kuriko, Mame Yamada, Mitsuru Akashi,


This one got a theatrical release in Japan last year and looks really well-done. The trailer shows a film that appears to be visually unique in parts and well-shot, great characters and good musical choices. Toujii Sawamura made this while working in a car factory. How awesome is that? I’d love to see this one.

Synopsis: Shiro Shijima is a 40-year-old man who was inspired to become a detective as a child due to his love of the show “Science Detective Yagyu Jubei”. Alas, he’s not very good and is stuck doing low-end jobs but when a monstrous phenomenon occurs in the streets where Shima lives, he’s on the case!

2 thoughts on “A Preview of the Films at Kanazawa Film Fest 2017

  1. “Ryota is troubled by his secret ability to see the dead.”

    Here’s what her Long-Island NY mother would say if she had one:

    “So he channels the dead once in a while… You can’t be so picky when you are approaching 30 Ryota”

    1. It’s definitely an unconventional romance movie and I like the fact that the ability to see the dead is handled in a deadpan comedic fashion!

      There’s quite a lot of films on this list that I’d love to see.

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