Third Window Films Release Takeshi Kitano’s “Getting Any?” on October 16th

Third Window Films continue to release the newly restored films of Takeshi Kitano on sparkly blu-ray in the UK with Getting Any? on October 16th.

I remember watching this film for the first time around five years ago and just being stunned at how monumentally unfunny it was after the Ghostbusters sketch. It’s undisciplined and tries to do too much, the humour hasn’t dated well and there’s little that’s funny to begin with. But then maybe that’s the point and there’s a lot more going on than I realised:

In an interview Kitano actually draws parallels to Kurosawa, who, in the hindsight of Kitano, should have made a total bullshit film, instead of attempting suicide after “Dodes Kaden”. To Kitano, “‘Getting Any?’ is a beautiful disastrous failure and “suicide”.

Henrik Sylow (kitanotakeshi.com)

Whatever, of you’re a completionist or adventurous this is definitely for you. The material covers so much since it’s a send-up of the Japanese film industry and it certainly is memorable. Perhaps, after living in Japan, I might find more elements of this funny. It certainly has a good cast with Kitano leading familiar actors like Yurei Yanagi and Susumu Terajima astray and both Dankan and Ren Osugi appeared in the Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie Eyes of the Spider!

Getting Any Film Image

Here are the details:

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Sion Sono’s “Tag” will be screened at Nottingham’s Mayhem Film Festival on October 14th

Eureka have scored a coup by getting Tag as part of their catalogue following on from Tokyo Tribe. The release will be on dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on November 20th 2017 after getting shown at festivals around the UK. One of those festivals is Nottingham’s Mayhem Film Festival (October 12th – 15th) on October 14th. The festival takes place at Nottingham’s Broadway cinema and there are a couple of other Asian films on show.

Here are the Japanese and Japanese-themed entries in the programme:

Tag Film Image 3

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Japanese Girls Never Die  「アズミ・ハルコは行方不」Dir: Daigo Matsui 2016

Japanese Girls Never Die  

japanese-girls-never-die-film-poster
japanese-girls-never-die-film-poster

アズミ・ハルコは行方不  Azumi Haruko wa yukue fumei

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Daigo Matsui

Writer: Mariko Yamauchi (Original Novel), Misaki Setoyama (Screenplay)

Starring: Yu Aoi, Mitsuki Takahata, Maho Yamada, Shono Hayama, Taiga, Kanon Hanakage, Ryo Kase, Motoki Ochiai, Tomiyuki Kunihiro, Akiko Kikuchi,

IMDB Website

In this film, Japanese girls are mad. Justifiably so if you look at reality. Despite Japan being a country on the bleeding edge of culture and cool, the way women are treated leaves a lot to be desired. Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan (I’m dating this review with a reference to him), has pledged to make Japan’s economy boom again and one of his methods is to get more women into the workplace and not just in menial positions but in leadership roles – womenomics. Rather contradictorily, he wants this whilst also trying to persuade women to boost the birthrate of a country with workplace environments that often penalise people for taking time off to look after family matters. Unfortunately, his grand plans have faltered and women still find themselves trapped in lowly positions never mind other issues such as stalkers and whatnot. Japanese Girls Never Die, based on the novel Haruko Azumi Is Missing by Misaki Setoyama, manages to tackle many issues of that women face in a bright neon blaze of righteous anger and anime-inspired visuals that will drive home the injustices that women endure.

Continue reading “Japanese Girls Never Die  「アズミ・ハルコは行方不」Dir: Daigo Matsui 2016”

“Audition” an Arrow Video Club presentation on September 19th at the Prince Charles Cinema

I have already retweeted this but I wanted to write a quick post about an Arrow Video Club presentation of Takashi Miike’s classic horror film Audition which will be screened at the Prince Charles Cinema at 20:45 on September 19th. Here’s a link to more information on the cinema’s site.

This film is incredible and I have already written a review full of praise so I want to hype this screening up because it deserves to be seen on the big screen! Also, scariest use of a sack in a film!

Audition's Yoshikawa and Aoyama

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“Nowhere Man” (1991) will be screened at the Japanese Embassy on September 27th

The Japanese Embassy in London is continuing to screen Japanese films from the ‘90s and this one sounds absurd because it involves a guy who sells rocks. It’s based on a manga of the same name. The event is free to attend but anyone interested in being part of the audience must book in advance to secure a place (which you can do through this link).

Here’s the information:

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Third Window Films Release Shinya Tsukamoto’s “Fires on the Plain 野火” (2014) on September 11th

Third Window Films will add Shinya Tsukamoto’s last film, Fires on the Plain to their catalogue of titles further making their releases the definitive editions! Fires on the Plain is an astonishing war film because of its relentlessly dwells on death and destruction and shows the pointlessness of war and the way it dehumanises people through a series of gruelling actions (gory battle scenes, murder, suicide, and worse) broken up by suspenseful periods of non-action in the beautiful jungle environs of the Philippines.

Nobi Fires on the Plain Film Image 4

The film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Shohei Ooka and Kon Ichikawa’s seminal 1959 war film and for director Shinya Tsukamoto it was a passion project he spent ten years bringing to life. It may be a war film but it fits in perfectly with his oeuvre since he has made films full of body-horror and he loves to explore the psychologically twisted aspects of human nature. Just watch his hyper-violent horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) and dark dramas like Vital (2003) and A Snake of June (2003) and lets not forget Ichi the Killer and Nightmare Detective. Despite the fearsome reputation of the films… well…

I met Shinya Tsukamoto before this movie was screened and he was remarkably laid back. I didn’t get the chance to interview him but I did get my picture taken with him and an autograph which lies safely in a DVD case… I have reviewed a lot of his films and you can see which ones be looking at my profile of the director. I pulled this information from my review of the film and information from Third Window Films. I hope this helps!

Fires on the Plain        

Fires on the Plain Film Poster
Fires on the Plain Film Poster

野火   Nobi

Duration: 87 mins.

Release Date: July 25th 2015 Seen at Raindance

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto (Screenplay), Shohei Ooka (Original Novel)

Cast: Shinya Tsukamoto, Lily Franky, Tatsuya Nakamura, Yuko Nakamura, Dean Newcombe, Yusaku Mori,

Website   IMDB

The film Fires on the Plain takes place during the closing stages of the war. The Americans are invading Leyte Island in the Philippines and are hot on the heels of demoralised soldiers of the Japanese army, all of whom are looking to evacuate from the island. We see their increasingly desperate struggle from the perspective of an army conscript named Tamura (Shinya Tsukamoto) who is sick with tuberculosis.

He is forced into the field with a grenade by a commander who cannot waste resources on keeping a dying man alive and suggests Tamura blows himself up. Tamura doesn’t want to give up so easily and clings to life. He wanders around the jungle and bounces between broken platoons and brutal battles as everybody heads to the port at Palompon to be evacuated to Cebu but it is a journey that will lead him down a dark path where he will have to hold on to his humanity as he encounters betrayal, extreme violence, and worse…

Japan / 2015 / 87 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / HD / Colour

Out as a  DUAL FORMAT DVD & BLURAY 
September 11th, 2017
Special Features:
Dual format DVD & BLURAY
1 hour extensive making of
Audio commentary by Tom Mes, author of “Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto”
First 1000 copies come with LIMITED EDITION slipcase illustrated by Mathieu Bablet
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Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2017

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Logo

On the day the Toronto International Film Festival launches, we get word from another great Canadian film festival! The Vancouver International Film Festival takes place from September 28th to October 13th and the organisers launched the programme today. The festival has long had a great love of East Asian cinema and supported various filmmakers both indie and mainstream and it continues to do so with this selection of films.

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Tak Sakaguchi’s “Re:Born” to get its UK premiere at The Fighting Spirit Festival, September 16th

Eureka recently announced their slate of newest acquisitions and it included two Japanese fims – Tag (2015), Sion Sono’s carnival of chaos as Japanese schoolgirls take part in epic death-games, and Re:Born (2017), the recent return of action-man Tak Sakaguchi (Versus, Deadball) where he plays an ex-special-forces soldier fighting for his loved ones. Re:Born will have its UK premiere on September 16th as the main film of The Fighting Spirit Festival which takes place at the Boleyn Theatre in London.

The Fighting Spirits Festival is a relatively new event which is in its second year of operation. It celebrates and promotes Martial Arts Culture and those who have made martial arts as a careerthrough films and demonstrations. The films screened range from feature-length titles to shorts, classics like Shaw Brothers titles like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) to more modern takes such as Herman Yau’s 2013 movie Ip Man. It has support from the Chinese Visual Festival, East Winds Film Festival, Arrow Video and Eureka so it’s guaranteed a lot of great films. Show some love for East Asian movies and take a look at the festival.

It’s pretty exciting to see a Japanese martial arts movie take the top spot, especially with Tak Sakaguchi in the lead role which is what drew my attention to it. Here are more details:

Re: Born   Re Born Film Poster

RE:BORN リボーン 「RE:BORN Ribo-n

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director:  Yuji Shimomura

Writer: Benio Saeki (Screenplay),

Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Yura Kondo, Issei Ishida, Mariko Shinoda, Takumi Saito, Hitomi Hasebe, Masaya Kato, Akio Otsuka, Makoto Sakaguchi, Kenta, Rina Takeda,

IMDB Website

RE:BORN stars Tak Sakaguchi. Even if the films he is in are gore-fests where the main highlight are the special-effects and humour, he tends to make an impact because he can act and he has the charisma and martial arts skills to make a good action hero. He has been making horror and action movies for a while as an action director (he worked on High & Low: The Red Rain (2016) and Sion Sono’s movies Tag and Love Exposure, Himizu) and an actor (Osaka Snake Road: Snake of Violence, Tokyo Gore Police, Alive, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade and Meatball Machine: Kodoku). He was fantastic in Sion Sono’s (yes, him again,) Why Don’t You Play in Hell? which, if you had to watch one performance, is the one I’d recommend.

He is working with another prolific action director named Yuji Shinomura (Library Wars, Strayers Chronicle, I Am a Hero) and the fight choreographer Yoshitaka Inagawa, a former close combat instructor for U.S. Special Forces and other international commando units. The film showcases Inugawa’s Zero Range Combat System – a technique focused around extremely quick and efficient movements at close range.

The action in the trailer looks breathtaking and Tak Sakaguchi looks focused and cool in the lead role. Hardcore action films like this seem to be in short-supply from Japan and so it’s great seeing this on the big screen in the UK!!!

Synopsis: Toshiro (Tak Sakaguchi) is a seemingly normal guy who runs a convenience store in a small town. He lives a quiet life with his young niece Sachi but in the past, Toshiro was known as “Ghost” and was a lethal member for a special covert forces unit. He thought he had left that life behind but when his ex-comrades kidnap Sachi, he has to be reborn as a beast to get her back!

Camera Japan 2017 Preview: Feature Films

Same Old Same Old Film Image 1

Camera Japan 2017 starts in just under a months time in Rotterdam and Amsterdam and there is plenty to dig into so having the festival programme is a must. You can also read about the various films and events here on this site where I will have this guide which acts as an overview and comes complete with addresses and links. There are other, more detailed posts covering

Feature Films  |  Anime and Short Anime Films |  Documentaries

Special Screenings and Short Films   |   Workshops and Events

This particular post covers feature-length films which will be shown in Rotterdam (21st– 24th September) at LantarenVenster and Amsterdam from (29th September 01st October) and there will be lots to see.

Continue reading “Camera Japan 2017 Preview: Feature Films”

Camera Japan 2017 Events

My Camera Japan 2017 coverage continues with this quick round-up of events that will be taking place during the festival. Some of these are not listed on the website or have been mentioned in earlier posts such as the general overview. Everything except a Filmbrunch takes place in Rotterdam.

Events kick off on the 15th of September with a warm-up of the festival at WORM in Rotterdam which is a multidisciplinary evening, consisting of the experimental black-and-white movie Gui aiueo:S A Stone from Another Mountain to Polish Your Own Stone by Go Shibata (see the documentary section for more) and a concert by Krautrock band Minami Deutsch.

Hāfu2Hāfu – Portraits of half Japanese people and their unique question to you.

Tetsuro Miyazaki is a half-Belgian half-Japanese photographer whose project involved photographing hāfu (Japanese mixed with another ethnicity) from every country in the world and sharing their most significant questions about identity, sense of belonging and growing up with two different cultures. This is an interesting follow-up to the 2013 documentary Hāfu – The Mixed Race Experience in Japan.

SUIHA / Water Wave • 水波

Yasuhito Arai is a Japanese artist currently residing in the Netherlands. He is known for his sound installations and concerts in which the audience often finds “nature” within and around themselves. His passion is to express his feelings that resonate with the place and audience at a particular moment. His latest installation

The Smell of the Tale of Genji

Maki Ueda devles into the world’s first modern novel, The Tale of Genji, through smells. Home fragrances (or soradakimono) play a big role. They are used as metaphors for the seasons, characters or emotions. During this workshop people will first learn about the scents described in the story, after which they will get to make them using traditional materials. The result is a “fragrant sachet” that they can use as a home fragrance.

Sencha Workshop

Green tea is everywhere in Japan! It’s consumed more than Coca-Cola! It’s only rival is water and beer but even then you don’t see them handed out every few seconds during meetings in Japan!Takahide Suzuki will lead a workshop where he will teach students everything there is to know about sencha, a very popular kind of Japanese green tea. There will also be the chance to taste many varieties of sencha inclduing the most high grade sencha known as “Gyokuro”. Takahide Suzuki hails from Shizuoka, the tea capital of Japan so he knows what he’s talking about!.

Interventions At Camera Japan

Interventions sound menacing – like rescuing someone from a cult – but fear not, these are short acts which will “transport you briefly to another world” through dazzling feats of comics, martial artists, and dancers who will appear at random during the festival.

Miso Workshop

Do you know what else is common in Japan? Miso soup. Every meal I had with Japanese people usually had miso involved. What is Miso? Fermented soybean paste and it’s an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking. It’s great stuff and Camera Japan is the place to learn how to make miso with an expert from Malicafe Organic Vegan Food in Amsterdam and find out about its importance in Japanese society.

Performance by Noriko Tujiko,

She is often described as the Japanese answer to Björk and Mum because of her mix of poppy tunes and experimental electronics which she has developed over the course of releasing 15 albums. She is a musician, songwriter and filmmaker based in Paris and visitors to Camera Japan will see her as she performs as the lead actor in the film Kuro. After the screening, she will perform a concert after the screening!

Filmbrunch

Camera Japan are pairing up two films with a food fest stocked with delicious Japanese inspired goodies. Make a Sunday special with a screening of ‘Oh Lucy!’, nd ‘Her Love Boils Bathwater’ and some delicious treats!!!

Japanese Craft Beer Tasting

One of the many things that unites Europe and Japan is a love of beer. We Europeans are now getting used to big Japanese brands like Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin (usually brewed over here but whatever) but what is the Japanese craft beer market really like. Unless you travel to Japan you may never taste it… Unless you go to Camera Japan! There will be a tasting session where you will get to try some of the best Japanese craft beers. The evening includes a short documentary titled Craft Beer in Japan, co-director by Dutch filmmaker Maarten Roos.

Kids’ Day

Kids love hands on activities and both Nippon Connection and Camera Japan provide them. This year, the festival will provide a special afternoon for children and their parents full of workshops, games, and, yes, films!

Opening Traditions (Installation + lecture + film)

This is a collaborative project between designers Emilie Pallard (FR), Makiko Shinoda (JP) and Niels Heymans (NL). The three worked together over a period of two years and investigated the craft of Kurume Kasuri: a weaving technique typical to the Kurume region of Fukuoka prefecture, Kyushu. The technique requires yarn to be tied and dyed before weaving, resulting in lush patterns with a subtle, hazy appearance. Pallard and Heymans will present both a film and a book about their project, and the textile will be displayed in an installation. The images on the website make it look rather interesting.

Camera Japan Logo

Camera Japan 2017 starts in just under a months time in Rotterdam and Amsterdam and there is plenty to dig into so having the festival programme is a must. You can also read about the various films and events here on this site where I will have this guide complete with addresses and links to other, more detailed posts covering

Overview | Feature Films  |  Anime and Short Anime Films |  Documentaries    |   Special Screenings and Short Films   |  Workshops and Events