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Japanese Films at the London Film Festival 2017

The BFI revealed their programme earlier today and for this year’s festival which runs from October 04th to October 15th. The festival is separated into different strands such as Thrill, Laugh, and Debate and there is a huge range of titles to choose from. Japan comes up good with a mix of films with Takashi Miike, a festival regular, showing up with Blade of the Immortal. He’ll be in town to talk about his career! Even more exciting is the presence of Masaaki Yuasa, an anime auteur who is blowing up after years of us otaku screaming out he is a genius. Many of these films have been at other festivals and won awards but it’s great that they are in London!

Visit Windows on Worlds to see films from other Asian countries.

Here are the Japanese films that have been selected!

Close Knit Film Image 3

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London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “The Villainess” at the Regent Street Cinema on Monday September 11th, 19:30

A screening of The Villainess will take place on Monday, September 11th at 19:30 at the Regent Street Cinema. This is the final teaser screening in the run-up to the London Korean Film Festival which will be held from October 26th to November 19th. The film screening coincides with the programme launch so attendees will be able to see what else has been programmed for the festival!

The Villainess has got glowing reviews for its action making it one of the Here’s the first paragraph from Maggie Lee’s review over at Variety.

Channeling “La femme Nikita,” “Kill Bill,” Nikkatsu’s ’70s female exploitation films and a gazillion Hong Kong martial arts heroines, “The Villainess” nonetheless succeeds in being one-of-a-kind for its delirious action choreography and overall narrative dementia. Writer-director Jung Byung-gil indulges in all the excesses of South Korean screen violence, punishing his avenging angel played by Kim Ok-vin as much as she does her foes, the cumulative effect of which is a brain-melting daze for the audience.” (Maggie Lee, Variety)

Kim Ok-Vin is Gorgeous

It stars Kim Ok-Vin, who I adore but I’ve only reviewed two of her films: Thirst (in which she gives a barnstorming performance as a woman freshly turned into a vampire and insane with the lust and power) and Behind the Camera (a comedy involving the top actors in Korea making a train-wreck of a film.

The Villainess was at FrightFest where a couple of friends of mine saw it and one wrote a review which you can read here.

Here are the details on The Villainess:

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Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2017 Preview

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival is back this Autumn and like in previous years (2016, 2015, 2014) I’m working for and covering it! Here’s information on this year’s event!The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Image

Chapter – September 29th – October 1st, 2017

Aberystwyth Arts Centre – October 28th, 2017

The Largest Festival of Japanese Animation in Wales Announces Dates, Locations and Films for 2017

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival returns to Wales for another edition in 2017 with audiences able to enjoy a whole host of Welsh premieres, a Japanese marketplace, and a Q&A and special film screening hosted by an important figure from the Japanese animation industry.

The festival begins in Cardiff at Chapter Arts on the evening of Friday, September 29th with a screening of Masaaki Yuasa’s film The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (2017), a charming romantic romp featuring a love-sick student chasing a girl through the streets of Kyoto, encountering magic and weird situations as he does so. Festival head, Eiko Ishii Meredith will be on hand to host the opening ceremony and a party to celebrate the start of the festival which will last until October 01st and include a diverse array of films from near-future tales Napping Princess (2017) to the internationally famous mega-hit Your Name (2016). The Cardiff portion of the festival ends with a screening of another Yuasa film, the much-requested Mind Game (2004), a film definitely sure to please fans of surreal and adventurous animation. This is the perfect chance for people to see it on the big-screen since it is rarely screened. A selection of these films will then be screened at the Aberystywth Arts Centre on October 28th as Kotatsu helps to widen access to Japanese animated films to audiences in different locations.

We are also very excited to welcome a very special guest to Wales, Professor Yuichi Ito. He is an award-winning animator who works in television and film as well as teaching at Tokyo National University of Arts. He will be travelling from Japan to Europe where he will present films and a Q&A to the public. He has graciously chosen Kotatsu (September 30th) as one of his two UK dates the other will be at the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol on September 22nd.

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“A Page of Madness” (1926) on 35mm with benshi, live score, discussion 24th September in London

On Sunday 24th September 2017, a brand new film festival, the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival (JAEFF) – WEBSITE – will host a special screening of the Teinosuke Kinugasa film A Page of Madness at the Arthur & Paula Lucas Lecture Theatre, King’s College London. This screening will include a live score and benshi narration in English and it will be followed by a panel discussion. 

Booking open from 6pm Thursday 24th August on Eventbrite:

                                                                  Book here

Here are more details:

JAEFF logo

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Japanese Films at the Raindance International Film Festival 2017

Raindance 2017 Poster

The Raindance International Film Festival returns to London on September 20th and runs until October 01st and it is celebrating 25 years of screening independent films. The venue has changed to the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square but there’s still a megaton of indie films for people to gorge themselves on. Here’s the amusing trailer for you to get hyped with!

This year’s line-up of Japanese films is pretty awesome. The opening film is Oh Lucy! which will be shown prior to a 90s-themed party at Cafe de Paris. There are seven other feature films and one documentary which will be screened over the course of the festival. I’ll list them below (click the title to be taken to the film you want to see).

Here are the details:

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Masters of Cinema Release of the Naomi Kawase Film “The Mourning Forest” on August 21st

Eureka Entertainment will release Naomi Kawase’s award-winning film, The Mourning Forest in a dual format blu-ray and DVD set on August 21st (you can order it on Amazon). It is released as part of The Masters of Cinema Series and Naomi Kawase has certainly earned that title since she is a stalwart of the festival circuit and has won many awards. Here are the details on the film:

Mogari no Mori Film Image Machiko Ono

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Extra J-Food Film Screening of A Tale of Samurai Cooking at Rich Mix on August 26th

Prepare Yourself for Another Helping of Samurai Cooking! The Japan Foundation in London recently ran two events dedicated to Japanese food and they proved to be super popular. Well, good news! The organisers have announced that there will be one more free film screening of A Tale of Samurai Cooking – A True Love Story due to the insatiable appetites of J-film fans. It will take place at the Rich Mix cinema on August 26th at 12:00. Tickets were quickly snapped up for the film’s first showing so you had better book now to avoid disappointment!

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The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “La vie en Rose” on August 24th and Special Talk on August 25th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The final film is La vie en Rose from 1994. There’s not much out there about this award-winning film but if you want convincing that this might be worth a watch then read this interesting review.

SPECIAL EVENT

That this is the final film in the series is fitting because it was the debut film of Kim Hong-joon, the celebrated professor and film scholar whose documentaries and books have helped inspire this season of films being screened at the Korean Cultural Centre. There is a special event being held at Birkbeck Cinema on August 25th at 19:00 where Kim Hong-joon will give a talk about Korean cinema and his work and he will screen five films. If you have a deep interest in Korean films then this is the event to go to since he is a member of the Korean Film Commission, and the founder of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). Find out more at this webpage. You can book tickets for the talk here.

Here’s information on the final film in this season as pulled from the website:

La Vie en Rose    La Vie En Rose Korean Film Poster 1994

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: August 06th, 1994

Director: Kim Hong-joon

Writer: Yook Sang-hyo (Screenplay),

Starring: Choi Myeong-gil, Choi Jae-sung, Cha Gwang-soo. Lee Jee-hyung. Hwang Mi-seon, Choi Jong-won,

Korean Film Archive IMDB KoBiz

Synopsis from the website: La Vie en Rose feels like a Tarantino movie set in a comic book shop. It’s a film that works over many genres, ranging from martial arts to vengeance, from coming-of-age to finding your place in life. Clerks (Kevin Smith: 1994) meets High Fidelity (Stephen Frears: 2000) as Seoul’s youth try to create and protect the place and

The community they’ve come to love. “Should I stay or should I go?” is a question many young people ask themselves, whether they are from the country or the city, from the east or the west. it is a story about refusing to give up even under impossible circumstances; it’s about refusing to give in to the destructive forces of everything from organised crime, to governmental bans and crackdowns on illegal activities; it’s also about trying to build something together, a community you feel you can belong to, where the outcasts, half criminals and homeless can also feel welcomed.

La Vie En Rose korean Film Image 1994

The Korean Cultural Centre hosts this event, and others in the season for free. This is the final season of Korean Film Nights in 2017 so make the most of the free films on offer. The film will begin at 19:00. so you had better arrive early to get a seat. The talk also takes place at 19:00 so get there early to get a prime seat as well. You can book tickets here. You can book tickets for the talk here.

The location of the film screening is:

Korean Cultural Centre UK

1-3 Strand

London

WC2N 5BW

United Kingdom

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 07th to the 17th and I intend to keep providing coverage of this particular festival because there is usually a good line-up of Japanese films. This year, there are two. Or, two that have been announced so far. In previous years which I have covered (Toronto 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011), there have been many more programmed so it might be the case that more will be announced at a later date but the festival organisers cut up to 20 per cent (60) films that will be screened (source). What has resulted is that Asian films have been hit very hard. See the update for some exciting additions!

I may be missing something so I’m making this post a sticky and will update it if anything crops up. For now, two films, one feature and one short. One horror and one drama.

UPDATE: 16/08/2017

I spoke too soon about there being too few Japanese films! Radiance, Birds Without Names, and The Third Murder have been added! This year’s slate of Japanese films at Toronto is shaping up to be a nice bunch!

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

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Visualized Hearts 可視化する心たち Dir: Akiko Igarashi (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival Review

Visualized Hearts

可視化する心たちKajika suru kokoro-tachi

Running Time: 76 mins.

Director:  Akiko Igarashi

Writer: Akiko Igarashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryuichi Yoshida, Nanami Shirakawa, Yoshio Shin, Aoi Ibuki, Yukina Aoyama, Seishiro Ishida, Riku Tokimitsu, Ayaka Matsui,

JFDB IMDB OAFF

While attending the Osaka Asian Film Festival I saw a whole host of indie films from directors making their debuts or sophomore titles. The festival provided the perfect platform for these new directors to showcase their work, many of which were funded by grants from the Housen Cultural Foundation or the Cineastes Organization Osaka (CO2), or through crowdfunding sites like Motion Gallery. One particular project, Visualised Hearts caught my attention. This film and its director Akiko Igarashi are, in filmic terms, the very definition of the idiom, “a diamond in the rough” but there’s enough potential here to warrant viewing the film and supporting Igarashi, allowing her to polish her talent and shine as a new voice in Japanese science fiction.

Visualised Hearts is Igarashi’s debut feature-length film. She based it on her short film, Kokoro wo Kashikasuru Kikai which was developed as she studied at film school while holding down her company job. Her feature was made on a tiny budget with limited resources and actors recruited from the CO2 Actor Scholarship Project and yet its ideas are big: the benefits and complications of being able to visualise what the human heart feels.

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