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Joy of Man’s Desiring 人の望みの喜びよ  Dir: Masakazu Sugita (2014)

Joy of Man’s Desiring   Joy of Man's Desiring Film Poster

人の望みの喜びよ  Hitono Nozomino Yorokobiyo

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Masakazu Sugita

Writer: Masakazu Sugita (Screenplay),

Starring: Ayane Omori, Riku Ohishi, Naoko Yoshimoto, Koichiro Nishi

Website    IMDB

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, Director Masakazu Sugita put into production a film dedicated to the orphans left behind after natural disasters. It was something he had long planned since he himself was a survivor of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and was only 14 years old at the time. The result is Joy of Man’s Desiring, a gentle yet deeply powerful human drama which received Special Mention at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, as well as being nominated for the Best First Feature Award in 2014.

The story revolves around two siblings, twelve-year-old Haruna (Ayane Omori) and her brother, five-year-old Shota (Riku Ohishi). When an earthquake strikes their town, their house collapses and buries their family alive. Haruna was able to escape but was unable to save her parents while Shota survived by some miracle.

Joy of Man's Desiring Film Image

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Sword of the Stranger ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚- Dir: Masahiro Ando (2007)

Sword of the Stranger    Sword of the Stranger Film Poster

ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚- Mukou Hadan

Running Time: 82 mins.

Release Date: September 29th, 2007

Director:  Masahiro Ando

Writer: Fumihiko Takayama (Screenplay),

Starring: Tomoya Nagase (Nanashi), Yuri Chinen (Kotarou), Atsushi Ii (Bailuan), Kouichi Yamadera (Luolan Rarou), Junko Minagawa (Mu-You),

Animation Production: STUDIO BONES

Website MAL ANN

Sword of the Stranger is an incredible action spectacle built around a good old fashioned chambara story brought to life with a flair and dedication to the details of the era and the characters in it through an incredible anime aesthetic that accentuates the physical world, a place of movement, passion, lies, loyalty, and action!

The story kicks off in Sengoku era Japan with intrigue and excitement as the first thing we see is a temple set ablaze and a boy named Kotaro (Yuri Chinen) and his loyal dog Tobimaru fleeing the scene. He is being pursued by the royal army of China’s Ming Dynasty. They have been hunting him for over a year and the net is closing as the boy and his dog run through the bleak wintry countryside and along the coast of the small state of Akaike. When Tobimaru is injured in an ambush, Kotaro reluctantly recruits a mysterious, nameless samurai as his bodyguard with the promise of payment. However, “No-name” (Tomoya Nagase) has a guilty past and his own inner demons to battle, all of which comes out in the open in an epic chase narrative. 

Continue reading “Sword of the Stranger ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚- Dir: Masahiro Ando (2007)”

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Midnight Bus, Between Men and the Gods, Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch, Ramen Heads, The Swan is Laughing, Inabe, Sato-kun, Saraba Seijaku, Hoshi Meguri no Machi, CINEMA FIGHTERS, The Crimes That Bind, Kaze no Iro, Chotto Mate Yakyubu!, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi “Tenmei-hen” (Karma Chapter), The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures, Ryuichi Sakamoto PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK: async, Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue Sosuke Ikematsu and Friends

I hope everyone is doing fine.

I managed to watch a couple of films but have spent most of my free time editing documents. Nevertheless, I’m happy to be doing such a thing and I hope to complete it today.

On Monday I went to the cinema to see Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri. It was a really powerful black comedy about breaking the cycle of violence. It has a fantastic script and performances given by the cast who are all perfect as characters who endure tragicomic and complex lives but, most importantly, they keep going and never give up. The ironic and violent situations veer between scary and amusing and there’s that cracking dialogue in the early part of the film before it segues into something gently philosophical as characters contemplate how they can move on from bad events. The film treats them tenderly, thankfully. Great performances from all. McDormand and Rockwell for the Oscar wins!

Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri Film Image

I really want to watch A Silent Voice (2017) again. I last saw it at Kotatsu but often think about it. It has been a pretty busy week for me. I posted a review for Memoirs of a Murderer (2017) and The Dark Maidens (2017).

I’m reconsidering my top ten films of 2017 a lot because I want to move a few films around. Blade Runner 2049 will remain at the top but The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue is pure wonder and I think it should be joint number one.

This post has a lot of films and the highlights are the shorts and Rokuroku.

So, what’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Midnight Bus, Between Men and the Gods, Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch, Ramen Heads, The Swan is Laughing, Inabe, Sato-kun, Saraba Seijaku, Hoshi Meguri no Machi, CINEMA FIGHTERS, The Crimes That Bind, Kaze no Iro, Chotto Mate Yakyubu!, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi “Tenmei-hen” (Karma Chapter), The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures, Ryuichi Sakamoto PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK: async, Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Dark Maidens 暗黒女子 Dir: Saiji Yakumo (2017)

The Dark Maidens    The Dark Maidens Film Poster

暗黒女子 Ankoku Joshi

Running Time: 105 mins.

Release Date: April 01st, 2017

Director: Saiji Yakumo

Writer: Mari Okada (Screenplay), Rikako Akiyoshi (Original Novel),

Starring: Fumika Shimizu, Marie Iitoyo, Yudai Chiba, Yuna Taira, Nana Seino, Tina Tamashiro, Riria Kojima.

Website IMDB

You can never truly know another person. This well-worn adage applies really well to this amusing adaptation of Rikako Akiyoshi’s novel where the pristine surface presented by places and people hide the ugliest of human behaviour.

Continue reading “The Dark Maidens 暗黒女子 Dir: Saiji Yakumo (2017)”

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Memoirs of a Murderer 22年目の告白―私が殺人犯です― Dir: Yu Irie (2017)

Memoirs of a Murderer  

22年目の告白―私が殺人犯です― 「22-nenme no kokuhaku: Watashi ga satsujinhan desu」   Memoirs of a Murderer Film Poster

Running Time: 117 mins

Director:  Yu Irie

Writer: Yu Irie, Kenya Hirata (Screenplay), Byung-gil Jung (Original Film)

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Hideaki Ito, Koichi Iwaki, Kaho, Mitsuru Hirata, Anna Ishibashi, Shuhei Nomura, Toru Nakamura,

Website IMDB

Memoirs of a Murderer is an exciting thriller based on the Korean movie Confession of Murder (2012) and made with the backing of Warner Bros. This one comes packed with stars like Tatusya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Parade), Hideaki Ito (Princess Blade), Kaho (Our Little Sister), and more, all of whom take on this is a visually engaging film with a plot that will suck you in. I must admit not having watched the Korean original but perhaps this helped me to enjoy the silly spectacle.

Everything starts in 1995 and a serial killer is on the loose in Tokyo at the same time that the Great Hanshin Earthquake strikes Kobe. The killer’s M.O. is to strangle his victims and have a witness, preferably someone related to the victim, close at hand to see his awful work and powerless to do anything about it, then walk away to tell the tale.

Continue reading “Memoirs of a Murderer 22年目の告白―私が殺人犯です― Dir: Yu Irie (2017)”

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BAMY, The Lies She Loved, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Pinkerton ni aini iku, The Memory of the Seasons (Tentative), Kisei Shinryaku PARASITE WAR, Yamikin gurentai, Mawari Kagura, Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku, Lady Ninja: A Blue Shadow, Saki Achiga-hen episode of side-A, Full Metal Panic! Into the Blue Japanese Film Trailers    

Happy weekend, people!

Yohei Suzuki Yeah

I hope everyone is doing well!

It was a quiet week for me although I did learn a boatload of Kanji and built my confidence in speaking Japanese up by talking a lot to myself during work throughout the week and then one friend yesterday. I’ll be meeting her again today and another one tomorrow to speak more. I published a review for Gukoroku – Traces of Sin and my annual look at the Japanese films at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. I also updated my Rotterdam and Berlin festival posts by replacing trailers that had been taken down.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “BAMY, The Lies She Loved, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Pinkerton ni aini iku, The Memory of the Seasons (Tentative), Kisei Shinryaku PARASITE WAR, Yamikin gurentai, Mawari Kagura, Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku, Lady Ninja: A Blue Shadow, Saki Achiga-hen episode of side-A, Full Metal Panic! Into the Blue Japanese Film Trailers    “

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Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018

The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 runs from  January 24th to February 04th and it includes a massive amount of titles which all look really special. Some are so new, there’s little information. Without further ado, here are the titles!

Yeah Yohei Suzuki

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018”

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Gukoroku – Traces of Sin 愚行録 Dir: Kei Ishikawa (2017)

Gukoroku – Traces of Sin   Gukoroku Film Poster

愚行録  Gukoroku」    

Running Time: 120 mins.

Director: Kei Ishikawa

Writer: Kosuke Mukai (Screenplay), Tokuro Nukui (Original Novel),

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Keisuke Koide, Asami Usuda, Yui Ichikawa,

Website IMDB

A brutal crime is committed in Tokyo where a picture-perfect family is knifed to death by an unknown assailant. With the killer having disappeared, questions are left unanswered but the central protagonist of this film aims to answer them. Kei Ishikawa’s tightly controlled directorial debut ostensibly looks like a murder mystery similar to Rage (2016) where an ensemble cast lead the audience into the conclusion of a terrible atrocity but this is a mystery where it is less about the how and more about the why the perpetrator committed the crime. Based on a novel by Tokuro Nukui and adapted by veteran scriptwriter Kosuke Mukai, this is a disturbing film gives us a chilling portrait of people driven to murder by issues of class and background in a society where hierarchy is everything. In this tale, lies and deceit are inherent in everyone who bears traces of sin.

Continue reading “Gukoroku – Traces of Sin 愚行録 Dir: Kei Ishikawa (2017)”

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Ito-kun A to E, Evil and the Mask, Our House, Watashitachi no Ie, Hopeiro no Yuutsu, Left Fly, Legend of the Stardust Brothers, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Mazinger Z Infinity, Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand, Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou, Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji / The Dancing Girl at the Dojoji Temple, Cinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

Kako My Sullen Past Film Image Kyoko Koizumi Fumi Nikaido

I hope everyone is well!

Work has been okay, writing has been better, movie viewing has been fantastic. I posted a review for the wonderful drama, Kako: My Sullen Past, posted my top ten films from last year and watched a whole lot of Japanese movies, usually before going to work. Various things are being put into place this week as I book tickets for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 event at the ICA and something else.

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Ito-kun A to E, Evil and the Mask, Our House, Watashitachi no Ie, Hopeiro no Yuutsu, Left Fly, Legend of the Stardust Brothers, Brand New Legend of Stardust Brothers, Hoshikuzu kyodai no aratana densetsu, Mazinger Z Infinity, Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand, Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou, Cinema Kabuki Kyouganoko Musume Gonin Doujouji / The Dancing Girl at the Dojoji Temple, Cinema Kabuki Ninin Wankyu Japanese Film Trailers”

Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2017

Welcome to my top ten films of 2017.

The Long Excuse Mistress

LAst year was dominated by work/fun at two festivals. There was the Osaka Asian Film Festival at the start of the year while I was in Japan and the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2017 during the autumn when I returned to the UK. Both experiences were great because I got to do what I love the most, writing about films. I also got to work with some really great people and made friends. I have to say thank you to all of them. I hope these people stay with me. As far as I’m concerned, they have my loyalty for what it’s worth. Once I got back from Japan, I made sure to take my family to see as many films as possible. Going to the cinema was something we already did as a family but spending more time together is important. As a result of all this activity, I saw lots of films this year. Due to the type of films I cover or circumstances or pure choice, I flit between years so not everything has been released in 2017. Here’s an article on VCinema I contributed to about a year in cinema and here are my top ten for 2017:

I hope you discover something in this list that interests you.

I’ve updated my Top Ten Films page for these entries.

FINAL JUSTICE

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2017”