There is a small selection of Japanese films at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 with two in the Competition section. The biggest name is Hirokazu Kore-eda who has appeared at Cannes six times in the Competition and Un Certain Regard sections, picking up the Jury Prize for Like Father, Like Son (2013). Due to his focus on families in films like I Wish (2011) and Our Little Sister (2015), he is often called the Ozu of modern Japanese cinema by critics and this one features an unconventional family by normal Japanese standards since it features a group of people living happily together on the margins through a mixture of grit and graft. Initially a gentle and heartwarming film, the tone changes as it shines a light on the failings of society and individuals. So, what are the highlights of the reviews?
Running Time: 68 mins.
Release Date: 2018
Director: Moët Hayami
Writer: Moët Hayami (Screenplay),
Starring: Miyuki Ono, Tomona Hirota, Yayoi Inamoto, Ikumi Satake, Suguru Onuma,
Director Moët Hayami’s Kushina received its world premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018 where it won the Japan Cuts award, an accolade given to films that display a unique vision. It was a well-deserved win because it is a drama put together with such profound vision and dedication that it creates a world wholly different from what many people will expect from Japanese cinema and features a beautifully realised tale about three women fighting over the fate of a pure girl.
I hope everyone is well!
I’m in work but I have an art talk at an embassy to attend in London on Monday which is my next day off. I’m putting the finishing touches to a review and studying Japanese regularly. This week I posted reviews for Night Working and Filled with Steam here and Jimami Tofu over at V-Cinema. The Cannes film festival has kicked off and there are a lot of interesting titles to read about once the reviews come through.
What’s released this weekend in Japan?
Continue reading “The Blood of Wolves, Sweating the Small Stuff, Summer Blooms, Garden in Movement, Mifune: The Last Samurai, Hiragana Danshi – Prelude -, Kamen Rider Amazons Season 2 the Movie: Reincarnation, Kujira no Shima no Wasuremono, Love x Doc, Kuchisan, Technology, SHOOT X Spiritual Game, Butterfly Sleep, Last Hold!, Clingy Girlfriend Japanese Film Trailers”
湯気満ちて 「Yuge michite 」
Running Time: 30 mins.
Release Date: 2017
Director: Rina Tanaka
Writer: Ryota Kato (Screenplay),
Starring: Ayako Mizuno, Takehito Sato, Yoko Kakegawa, Shigeru Harihara, Hisato Hayashi, Kaori Takeda,
And oh, after the love has gone
How could you lead me on
And not let me stay around?
Oh, after the love has gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that’s lost be found?
AFTER THE LOVE IS GONE / Earth,Wind & Fire
Filled with Steam is one of the latest works by Rina Tanaka, an up-and-coming filmmaker with a Masters from Tokyo University of the Arts, Film & New Media’s Directing course who already has a feature film to her name and is developing a distinct style. With this short, audiences at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018 got to taste her sensibility, which favours creating ambiguity through the use of clashing tones. Here we see quite a clash. Filled with Steam is a tale of love on life-support featuring a visceral undercurrent of tragedy masked by comedic elements that culminates in a powerful ending.
夜間勤務 「Yakan kinmu 」
Running Time: 27 mins.
Director: Kim Jung-eun
Writer: Kim Jung-eun (Screenplay),
Starring: Sreng Vuchny, Kim Yae-eun, Gil Hae-yeon,
The Osaka Asian Film Festival is a fun event to attend and also serves as a highly informative window into migration of Asians around the world. One short film that really struck a chord with me was Night Working (2017). Set in Korea, it takes two women, Lyn, a young Cambodian migrant worker, and a working-class Korean named Yeonhee, and shows how the youthful generation are facing the same hardships and have the same desires and are looking for hope elsewhere.
Their stories are told with simplicity and heartfelt kindness through mirroring and parallelism of lives and actions. Both work the night shift at a small port-side factory in Incheon. They are trying to earn as much money as possible to send back to their families and better their lives.
Narration from a letter Lyn is in the process of writing to her mother opens the film along with scenes of her daily life and as she narrates we see how she overcame initial fears of being alone and established a bond with Yeonhee and we get a lovely shot of them cycling to work during the onset of dusk.
The story shows the friendship the two have built and how, for Lyn, her shared sense of kinship with the seemingly confident Yeonhee helps her cope with their boss’ unfair treatment at work. Lyn is in a stable place. Lyn is happy. This connection means a lot. All she wants is simple. She tells Yeonhee:
“I want to go to the sea. With you.”
Happy weekend, people!
I hope everyone is feeling fine.
This week has been one of clearing the decks in order to get going with research and studying for my day job so I got through my last Sono film review for this half of the year with Antiporno, which was released in the UK at the beginning of the week and then I started my month-and-a-bit-long catch-up on some of my work at the Osaka Asian Film Festival with a round-up post and then a review of Ordinary Everyday (2017). That’s enough about me.
What’s released this weekend?
Continue reading “Laplace’s Witch, D5 5 Detectives, Kokoro ni yorisou, Kamen Rider Amazons Season 1 the Movie: Awakening, Gekijouban PriPara & Kiratto Pri☆Chan ~Kira Kira Memorial Live~, Digimon Adventure tri. 6: Our Future, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Rise of the Red Comet Japanese Film Trailers”
優しい日常 「Yasashii Nichijou」
Running Time: 27 mins.
Release Date: October 14th, 2017
Director: Noriko Yuasa
Writer: Noriko Yuasa, Rie Mashiko (Screenplay),
Starring: Shinnosuke Abe, Tamae Ando, Karin Ono, Motohiko Kawano, Eito Suda, Shizuri Okayama, Sayuri Hosokawa,
Ordinary Everyday is a 27-minute film featuring that idealised fantasy many people have: the perfect family. Is there such a thing? We all have hidden sides which we conceal, something which proves to be the case with one family in down-town Tokyo who suck in a naive outsider into their seemingly ordinary everyday lives in a tale where the ambiguous is mined for horror.
It’s the month of May!
I hope everybody is feeling top of the line!
After the chaos of April which turned out to be a bit of a Sion Sono month, I’m reaching back into March and my film work in Japan.
Thanks to the kindness of the organisers I worked at the Osaka Asian Film Festival as a writer/journalist again and I dove deep into finding out more about the Japanese indie film scene. To do this, I watched many films and interviewed directors, actors, and editors. It was a great experience meeting so many gifted people. Inspiring, uplifting, and fun!
I beat my last attempt and hit a new year’s resolution!