Japanese Films at the Glasgow International Film Festival 2018

The Glasgow Film Festival (February 21st – March 04th) will launch at the end of this month and it kicks off with Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a stop-motion animation set in a dystopian Japan and featuring the voices of lots of American actors. There’s also the documentary Haiku on a Plum Tree a documentary where the director tracks down what happened to her grandparent’s who were living in Japan during World War 2 and were interned in a prisoner of war camp when they refused to pledge allegiance to Mussolini. There plenty of films from Japan and it’s a pretty diverse slate in terms of subject-matter and medium.

Here is what is on offer:

The next film is in the CineMasters strand which is dedicated to master directors who have perfected their craft. This strand includes Wim Wenders and Claire Denis and the fantastic Kore-eda.

The Third Murder    The Third Murder Film Poster

三度目の殺人Sandome no Satsujin

Running Time: 124 mins.

Release Date: September 09th, 2017

Director:  Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay),

Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Koji Yakusho, Suzu Hirose, Yuki Saito, Kotaro Yoshida, Mikako Ichikawa, Izumi Matsuoka,

Website IMDB

Hirokazu Koreeda’s murder mystery will be travelling from the Venice Film Festival to Toronto (and hopefully on to London). This one sees him bring together a great cast, some of whom he has worked with before. Suzu Hirose was the eponymous little sister in Our Little Sister and Masaharu Fukuyama was one of the fathers in (Like Father Like Son) and there’s also the masterful Koji Yakusho who has worked with most of the great modern directors like Juzo Itami (Tampopo), Takashi Miike (Thirteen Assassins), and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure) and Tetsuya Nakashima (director of the still totally mind-blowing film The World of Kanako. There is also the wonderful underused actor Mikako Ichikawa who took the lead in the utterly charming Rent-a-neko!

Synopsis: Shigemori (Fukuyama) is a hot-shot lawyer on a mean winning streak but when he is compelled to take on defending a man named Mikuma (Yakusho) he finds the first case which could cause the wheels to fall off his career.

Mikuma is accused of a murdering the president of a company and setting fire to the corpse. It looks like an open and shut case since Mikuma has confessed and he was convicted of a murder that took place 30 years ago. The death penalty is almost a certainty but the more Shigemori investigates and the more he talks to Mikuma, the less certain he becomes of the man’s guilt and the case itself.

The truth lies with the daughter of the murdered president, Sakie (Hirose)…

The Modern Families strand features one of the hottest anime properties to have gone global and it should be a guaranteed hit for fans of Studio Ghibli.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower   Mary and the Witch_s Flower Film Poster

メアリと魔女の花 Meari to Majo no Hana

Running Time: 102

Release Date: July 08th, 2017

Director:  Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Riko Sakaguchi, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Screenplay), Mary Stewart (Original Novel),

Starring: Hana Sugisaki (Mary), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Peter), Yuki Amami (Madam Mumblechook), Fumiyo Kohinata (Doctor Dee), Hikari Mitsushima (The Red-Haired Witch), Eri Watanabe (Miss Banks), Shinobu Otake (Great-Aunt Charlotte),

Animation Production: Studio Ponoc


This is the UK premiere of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and animated by many talented people from Studio Ghibli.

Synopsis: When Mary is sent to live with her great aunt in the countryside she had no expectations about going on a magical adventure but when she ventures into the woods with her loyal cat Tib, she discovers a mysterious blue flower that only appears once every seven years, and an old broomstick which can fly. Soon Mary is soaring through the sky and deposited at the door of the Endor College of Magic which is run by the mysterious Madam Mumblechook. It seems like a nice place at first but she discovers dark experiments and Tib’s life is in danger!

Future Cult strand which collects films that are considered strange.

Let’s Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Farewell Morning

さよならの朝に約束の花をかざろう Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo KazarouLet's Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Farewell Morning Film Poster

Running Time: 115 mins.

Release Date: February 24th, 2018

Director:  Mari Okada

Writer: Mari Okada (Screenplay),

Starring: Manaka Iwami (Maquia), Miyu Irino (Ariel), Misaki Kuno (Medmel), Tomokazu Sugita (Izol), Hiroaki Hirata (Barlow), Yoko Hikasa (Dita), Rina Satou (Mido),

Animation Production: P.A. Works

Website ANN MAL

The film will be the directorial debut of anime screenwriter Mari Okada (The Anthem of the Heart, The Dark Maidens) and it will be animated at P.A. Works.

Synopsis: Maquia, comes from the elfin lolf race. They stop ageing in their mid teens. She isn’t as brave as Leilia, the most beautiful girl in her clan and the person she idolises. Although her days are peaceful she feels lonely, maybe because she has no parents and Leila has attracted the attention of Clear, the boy Maquia has secret feelings for. When an army of dragon-riding bandits invades seeking the legendary women who stop ageing, Maquia is able to escape, but she loses her friends and her home. Wandering alone in the forests of the outside world, a place she was warned to avoid, she finds Erial, a baby boy who has lost his parents. Unable to leave him behind, she adopts him, initially untroubled by the fact he will age like a human while she won’t…

Junk Head    Junk Head Film Poster

Running Time: 115 mins

Director:  Takahide Hori

Writer:  Takahide Hori (Screenplay),

Starring: Takahide Hori, Atsuko Miyake, Yuji Sugiyama,

IMDB Website

This is a stop-motion animation from Takahide Hori. It’s based on a short he spent four years developing by himself and it is available online to watchJunk Head has been invited to many different film festivals such as Raindance last year.

Synopsis: Some time in the future, humans have lost the ability to procreate. An explorer is sent underground to investigate tales of human mutants…

Vampire Clay   Vampire Clay Film Poster

血を吸う粘土Chi wo su nendo

Running Time: 80 mins.

Director:  Soichi Umezawa

Writer: Soichi Umezawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Asuka Kurosawa, Kanji Tsuda, Ena Fujita, Ryo Shinoda, Kyoka Takeda, Yuyu Makihara, Momoka Sugimoto,

Website IMDB

Vampire Clay is the feature-length film debut of writer/director Soichi Umezawa, a man who has had a long career as a special make-up effects artist on many doramas and films like those of the Tomie franchise, low-budget horror like the truly awful Alien vs Ninja and Dead Waves and the rather excellent Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Bright Future. This one looks more in line with his horror films and the special effects look pretty good – gooey and creepy dolls made from clay and some even creepier paintings!!! It was at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The trailer I found is a compilation one for a horror film festival with films like Jeepers Creepers and The Fog and a couple of other titles. The third film featured is Vampire Clay.

Synopsis: The students of a rural, run-down art school find that painting pretty pictures and sculpting pots is the least of their worries as they start disappearing one-by-one and it seems connected to some horrific looking clay statues… Could there be something in the clay itself?

Attack on Titan : The Roar of Awakening
at a Secret Location
Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3 Kakusei no Houkou Film Poster

劇場版 進撃の巨人 覚醒の咆哮 Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: January 13th, 2018

Chief Director:  Tetsuru Araki, Director: Masashi Koizuka,

Writer: Hiroshi Seko, Yasuko Kobayashi, (Screenplay), Hajime Isayama (Original Creator)

Starring: Yuuki Kaji (Eren Jaeger), Yui Ishikawa (Mikasa Ackerman), Marina Inoue (Armin Arlelt), Hiroshi Kamiya (Levi), Daisuke Ono (Erwin Smith),

Animation Production: Wit Studio

Website MAL ANN

I used to be a huge fan of this show. I read the manga, a light novel or two, and watched the anime. Now, I barely watch anime at all… This is a compilation film consisting of episodes from the second season.

Synopsis from My Anime List: Eren Yeager and others of the 104th Training Corps have just begun to become full members of the Survey Corps. As they ready themselves to face the Titans once again, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of Wall Rose—but all is not as it seems as more mysteries are unravelled. As the Survey Corps races to save the wall, they uncover more about the invading Titans and the dark secrets of their own members.

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