Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2018

This year’s BFI London Film Festival is going to run from October 10th to the 21st and various cinemas across the city will be screenings films from around the world. There are three Japanese films listed and I have brought them together here. The only one I have seen is Of Love and Law and, in an era that is often marked by nationalism, division, and hate, it’s a refreshing and heartwarming film that reminds us there are good people trying to build bridges and protect others. There is also the anime film Mirai from Mamoru Hosoda which looks swell.

Click on the titles to get to the festival page:

Mirai of the Future    Mirai of the Future Film Poster

未来のミライ Mirai no Mirai

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: July 20th, 2018

Director:  Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda (Screenplay/Original Work)

Starring: Haru Kuroki (Mirai-chan), Moka Kamishiraishi (Kun-chan), Gen Hoshino (Father), Koji Yakusho (Father), Kumiko Aso (Mother), Mitsuo Yoshihara (Mysterious Man), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Grandmother)

Animation Production: Studio Chizu

Website ANN MAL

Probably film of the week by a long-shot. The reviews from this year’s Cannes film festival paint this to be a home-run for Mamoru Hosoda.

Synopsis: A family living in a small house in a corner of a Yokohama dotes on a spoiled four-year-old boy named Kun-chan. When he gets a little sister named Mirai, he feels that his new sister stole his parents’ love from him. Jealousy and resentment well up until he meets an older version of Mirai, who has come from the future and takes him on an adventure.

 

Of Love & Law

愛と法 「Ai to hou」    

Of Love and Law Film Poster

Running Time: 94 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director:  Hikaru Toda

Writer: N/A

Starring: Kazuyuki Minami, Masafumi Yoshida, Yae Minami, Kazumi Tsujitani, Rokudenashiko, Hiroko Tsujitani, Masae Ido, Natsuo Yamamoto,

Website     IMDB    JFDB

Hikaru Toda is a documentary director/editor based in London and Osaka who has had her worked screened on BBC Storyville, France Televisions, NHK, The Guardian and at major international film festivals, including Hot Docs, CPH DOX and Melbourne International Film Festival. Hikaru moved back to Japan for the first time in 22 years to make Of Love & Law. Here’s my review.

It was premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year before it went on its global journey, heading to Ireland, the Philippines, Germany at Nippon Connection, America at Japan Cuts and now London. Here’s the Kickstarter trailer I used for Tokyo:

Here’s a trailer released last week:

Synopsis: Fumi and Kazu are partners in love and law; they run the first law firm in Japan set up by an openly gay couple. Together for 15 years, the lawyers want to raise a family of their own in a country where their partnership has no legal recognition or protection. Driven by their own experience of being ‘outsiders’, they attract a range of clients who reveal the hidden diversity of a country that prides itself on its obedience, politeness and conformity. Tired of being silenced and made to feel invisible, the lawyers and their misfit clients expose and challenge the archaic status quo.

Asako I & II / Sleeping or Waking (literal title)    Asako I & II Nete mo samete mo Film Poster

寝ても覚めても Netemo sametemo

Running Time: 119 mins.

Release Date: September 01st, 2018

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Writer: Sachiko Tanaka, Ryusuke Hamaguchi(Screenplay), Tomoka Shibasaki (Original Novel)

Starring: Masahiro Higashide, Erika Karata, Koji Seto, Rio Yamashita, Sairi Itoh, Daichi Watanabe, Koji Nakamoto, Misako Tanaka,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Asako (Erika Karata) is a 21-year-old woman who lives in Osaka with her boyfriend Baku (Masahiro Higashide), a free-spirited man, but when he disappears he leaves a permanent shadow in her memories.

Two years later and Asako now lives in Tokyo where she meets a salaryman named Ryohei (Masahiro Higashide). He looks just like Baku, but he has a completely different personality with sincerity being the biggest difference. Asako falls in love with Ryohei, but tries her best to avoid him because of her memories of Baku.

Here’s past coverage of the London Film Festival:

BFI London Film Festival 2011

BFI London Film Festival 2012

BFI London Film Festival 2013

BFI London Film Festival 2014

BFI London Film Festival 2015

BFI London Film Festival 2016

BFI London Film Festival 2017

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