Featured

Japanese Film Festival Los Angeles (August 18 – 19)

Japan Film Festival in Los Angeles will run on August 18 to 19 at the Japanese American National Museum and then at Orange County’s Newport Beach Higashi Honganji.

It’s an event that has been running since 2003 and it’s stated aim is to strengthen understanding of Japanese culture through screening films for Japanese and American people to watch together. It’s laudable and it highlights the power of cinema: to take us into the lives of others. As such there are many different films programmed each year and in doing research for trailer posts, I’ve stumbled upon this festival and want to support it.

The films selected are really eclectic and run the gamut from largeish commercial feature to indie titles that hit the festival circuit. If you’re in the LA area, this could be the best chance to catch these films on the big screen.

Here are the details:

Continue reading “Japanese Film Festival Los Angeles (August 18 – 19)”

Advertisements
Featured

Code Blue, Imagination Game, Katachi no Nai Hone, 1999 – Nen no natsu yasumi, There is no gender! Queer days of intersex cartoonists, Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, dear reader!

I hope you are all well.

It has been a busy week for J-film fans in North America because the while the New York Asian Film Festival has finished, Japan Cuts is still in full swing on the East Coast of the States in New York and the Asian Film Festival Dallas has been making waves down south in Texas. There’s another festival due to start next week called the Batsu Film Festival in Denver, Colorado. Each festival has had a fantastic selection of films, many of which I have reviewed (yay!) and can recommend. V-Cinema has been publishing reviews of mine:

Hanagatami (2017)

Amiko (2017)

Towards a Common Tenderness (2017)

Born Bone Born (2018)

Of Love and Law (2017)

Older ones from the V-Cinema archive which I covered last year or at Osaka earlier this year:

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (2017)

Passage of Life (V-Cinema Review) (2017) 

Kushina, what will you be (V-Cinema Review) (2018) Here’s an interview with the director: Hayami Moet (V-Cinema)

Dear Etranger (2017) (V-Cinema)

Nagisa (2017)

TOURISM (V-Cinema Review) (2018) Here’s an interview with the director: Miyazaki Daisuke (V-Cinema

My reviews from the New York Asian Film Festival were also published at V-Cinema:

The Scythian Lamb (2017)

The Blood of Wolves (2018)

The Hungry Lion (2017)

Dynamite Graffiti (2018)

Some of the older reviews and the Osaka ones I have published here over the last year, the newer ones will be published over the next couple of months. A couple of these will make my top ten films of the year!

As for the UK, we get a lot of films screened for free by the Japan Foundation as part of their Pre-Summer Explorers and Summer Explorers run.

Right, that’s enough of a catch-up with here, what’s released in Japanese cinemas this weekend?

Continue reading “Code Blue, Imagination Game, Katachi no Nai Hone, 1999 – Nen no natsu yasumi, There is no gender! Queer days of intersex cartoonists, Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa Japanese Film Trailers”

A Preview of BATSU FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (AUGUST 03-05)

Here’s a brand new festival for North America that is totally dedicated to Japanese films. It’s called the BATSU FILM FESTIVAL and it runs from August 03rd to 05th at the Alamo Drafthouse in Denver Colorado. It’s aim is to go beyond the films of familiar names that tend to make the rounds on the festival circuit and get releases and expose the hidden talents in the Japanese film industry. With this mission, the festival programmer has dived into indie films as well as commercial features that weren’t given a wide distribution or shown outside of the bigger festivals to bring audiences in Denver a great selection of films all in one weekend in August.

There are many highlights amongst the 12 features and 4 shorts that have been selected and I have trailers for them all and links to reviews. I have watched (and reviewed) some but haven’t published any info yet so check out the notes above the trailers for some thoughts. As always, click on the titles to be taken to the festival page to see more info:

Continue reading “A Preview of BATSU FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (AUGUST 03-05)”

Japan Foundation’s Free Film Screenings: “Summer Explorers!”

The Japan Foundation in London are putting on a series of free film screenings the first of which I posted about yesterday – Pre-Summer Explorers! – and this is the second series of screenings which has three films that aren’t screened in the UK all that often, or at all! Just click on the title to be taken through to the page to book tickets.

Sunday 12th August 2018: Courthouse Hotel Cinema
19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

His Master’s Voice   Mouichido Film Poster

もういちど  「Mo ichido」

Release Date: August 23rd, 2014 (Japan)

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Hiroyuki Itaya

Writer: Hiroyuki Itaya (Screenplay/Original Story),

Starring: Nayuta Fukuzaki, Gori, Taihei Hayashiya, Mami Kumagai, Hisashiro Ogura, Momoka Ohno, Yasuko Tomita,

IMDB   Website

This film will be screened twice on August 12th, 14:00 and 18:40.

Synopsis: A, Edo Period drama focussing on the comic storytelling art of Rakugo, the story begins when Sadakichi (Nayuta Fukuzaki) returns home to take a holiday from his work after being bullied there. In order to cheer up their little son, his parents ask their gloomy looking neighbour, Taihei (Taihei Hayashiya), a former Rakugo storyteller, to give a performance for him. Sadakichi is deeply moved by his performance and hopes to become Taihei’s apprentice and learn the art.

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s Free Film Screenings: “Summer Explorers!””

Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August

The Japan Foundation are running their Summer Explorers full of anime and live-action films that are set during the summer. This is a free event which you have to register for. I repeat, this is a free event. Free films!!! To find out more about it, visit the Japan Foundation’s website.

Saturday, 4 August 2018: Soho Hotel Cinema
4 Richmond Mews (via Richmond Buildings), London, W1D 3Dh

NHK WORLD DOUBLE BILL PART ONE

A Tale of Love & Honour: Life in Gion
Dir. Maki Kubochi, 2017, 49min

Take a peek into the distinct district of Gion in Kyoto and witness the proud and wistful stories of people belonging to this secret world in this fascinating documentary from NHK WORLD-JAPAN.

Living Ninja Legend Masaaki Hatsumi
Dir. Fuyuhiko Nishi, 2016, 41 min

Masaaki Hatsumi, 84 years old, is a living ninja in modern times. What is the essence of his astonishing art? This documentary investigates the hidden power of this ninja master.

House    House Film Poster

ハウス 「Hausu」

Released: July 30th, 1977 (Japan)

Running time: 88 mins.

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi,

Writer: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Chiho Katsura (Screenplay),

Cast: Kimiko Ikegami – Oshare,  Miki Jinbo – Kung-Fu, Kuniko Oba – Fantasy, Ai Matsubara – Prof., Kiyohiko Ozaki – Mr. Togo, Yoko Minamida – Auntie,

IMDB

The highlight, in my opinion. This film is a riot of fun and good music with a haunted house setting to die for as a bunch of girls will find out. It comes from Nobuhiko Obayashi and his daughter and features so much imagination and flair for visual spectacle and cool music that it is a delight to watch. I highly recommend it. Here’s my review.

Synopsis: The summer holidays have arrived and for seven high school girls named Melody, Prof, Sweetie, Kung-fu, Mac, Fantasy and Oshare (Kimiko Ikegami) they have the chance to go camping with their teacher Mr. Togo. Oshare declines because her father is back from Italy and she’s looking forward to staying at a villa with him. Her plans are ruined when he introduces her to his potential new wife. Oshare is upset at the presence of the woman and decides to visit an eccentric spinster aunt, inviting her friends along for the trip. After a long journey the girls arrive at the aunt’s house but find their presence has triggered a hostile force that immediately attacks them, picking them off one by one while the eccentric aunt watches.

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August”

Bleach, Mirai of the Future, Still Life of Memories, Ame no kubi furizaka, Engine Sentai Go-Onger: 10 Years Grand Prix, Anna (Kidnapper), Sukabro Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

The Suffering of Ninko Kazama

I hope everyone is feeling fine.

I’ve just finished a six-day working week at my regular job and I’m in the middle of film festival work for Kotatsu. I finished crafting PR stuff weeks ago but getting it set in motion is happening now. Since the last trailer post, I watched ten films and written about Third Window Films’ release of Suffering of Ninko, posted a review for The Path Leading to Love and posted an interview with the director of that film, Takayama Kohei.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Bleach, Mirai of the Future, Still Life of Memories, Ame no kubi furizaka, Engine Sentai Go-Onger: 10 Years Grand Prix, Anna (Kidnapper), Sukabro Japanese Film Trailers”

An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Takayama Kohei OAFF Interview

Kohei Takayama was born in Chiba prefecture in 1987. After graduating from Waseda University, he began making indie films such as Ni naru (2015) and Kudaranai kudaranai kono sekai (2016). He was at the Osaka Asian Film Festival to present the world premiere of his latest work, The Path Leading to Love (2018). The story is a downbeat tale of a talented manga artist wasting his skills thanks to alcohol. The main protagonist, Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka) lacks the ability to overcome his alcoholism even though it has ruined relationships with his family, his ex-girlfriend Sawako (Mika Dehara) and threatens his relationship with his current girlfriend Yasuko (Yumi Mukai). The story refuses to look away from the negative aspects of alcoholism and asks the audience to follow a man on his self-destructive path. What makes it a gripping watch is the powerful acting performances from the cast.

Kohei Takayama kindly gave an interview on the penultimate day of the festival at the press centre. Acting as interpreter was Kayoko Nakanishi who was invaluable in helping the conversation flow smoothly and always offering nuanced interpretation of what turned into a philosophical conversation based on the intelligent and thoughtful work of Takayama.

Continue reading “An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

The Path Leading to Love

アイニ向カッテ Ai ni Mukatte

Running Time: 76 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Kohei Takayama

Writer: Kohei Takayama (Screenplay),

Starring: Ippei Tanaka, Yumi Mukai, Mika Dehara, Suzuka Minagawa, Koichi Sakaguchi,

Alcohol addiction and writers go together like cookies and cream, or so it seems. The combination of self-destructive artist and liquid fire has been the subject of films like The Lost Weekend (1945), Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and works based on the life and novels of Charles Bukowski. The need to blot out reality comes from many sources and The Path Leading to Love is a quietly powerful film that shows how alcohol blights the life of someone too filled with doubt, cowardice, weakness, and selfishness to overcome it for the sake of others.

The drunk is Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka). He could be a promising manga artist but he cannot even approach the foothills of creativity because his alcoholism pushes away his desire to work. It also pushed away his ex-girlfriend Sawako and threatens his relationship with his current partner, the loyal but lovelorn Yasuko.

Continue reading “The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD

Third Window Films are having a cracking year releasing great films what with three Sono titles The Whispering Star/The Sion Sono and Antiporno and the Osamu Tezuka anime. Here’s a great title which I reviewed last year called Suffering of Ninko which will get released on July 23rd on Blu-ray and DVD.

Special Features:
Dual format DVD & BLURAY
45 minute interview with the director
“Strawberry Jam” Short film

Director Norihiro Niwatsukino trades in combining animation and live-action to make a fun horror comedy with shades of shunga and samurai action as well as plenty of earthy humour. With beautiful women and ghosts aplenty, this comes close to being like the 70s exploitation films many fans of Japanese cinema will recognise. Here’s more about the film:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD”

Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Dynamite Graffiti Tasuku Emoto

I hope everybody is doing well!

Think about the people who live in the western part of Japan who have lost a lot due to the heavy rain and consider donating to relief efforts if you can spare the money. Times are tough so prayers and positive energy and raising awareness is also good. Here’s a link to Time Out which has a number of options. Good news came in the form of the boys and the coach rescued from the cave in Thailand. Well done rescuers and the people who supported them.

As for me, I ducked out of some social engagements due to a physical injury I’ve had since last week Monday but I watched three films and got three film reviews done. I also watched Sicario II: Soldado in a cinema with my mother and sister and really enjoyed what turned out to be a thrilling film. Great performances from Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro and some hair-raising action scenes! I posted a preview of the awesome-looking Asian Film Festival Dallas which has lots of great Japanese films. I also posted an old interview from the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) involving Rina Tanaka and her cast and crew from her film, Filled with Steam. The Fantasia International Film Festival launched this week in Canada and it has some killer titles!

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers”