Japanese Films at the Locarno Film Festival 2019 (07th-17th August)

The Locarno Film Festival runs from August 07th to the 17th and they have announced their selection of films. There are two Japanese films in the mix. Here they are!

To the Ends of the Earth      To the Ends of the Earth Film Poster

旅のおわり世界のはじまり  Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari

Release Date: June 14th, 2019

Duration: 120 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Atsuko Maeda, Ryo Kase, Shota Sometani, Tokio Emoto, Adiz Rajabov,

Website     IMDB

Kiyoshi Kurosawa teams up with a great cast to make a movie which is a co-production between Japan and Uzbekistan to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Two of the leading actors have worked in his films, Atsuko Maeda being the lead in Seventh Code and Shota Sometani having a supporting role in Real.

Synopsis: Yoko (Atsuko Maeda) is a reporter for a TV variety program and her assignment is to find a mythical fish in a huge lake in Uzbekistan, a country that once flourished as the centre of the Silk Road. Things don’t quite go according to plan for Yoko and her crew and, one day, drawn by a mysterious voice, she departs from their company and loses herself in the wonders of the country…

A Girl Missing        A Girl Missing Film Poster

よこがお  Yokogao

Release Date: July 26th, 2019

Duration: 111 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada, Kazumasa Yonemitsu (Screenplay),

Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Mikako Ichikawa, Sosuke Ikematsu, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Hisako Okata, Ren Sudo, Miyu Ogawa,

Website     IMDB

Back in March when I was in Japan I posted a clutch of reviews for Koji Fukada’s films:

Human Comedy Tokyo (2008)

Hospitalite (2010)

Au revoir l’ete (2013)

Sayonara (2015)

Harmonium (2016)

The latter won the Prix du Jury in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival of that year. It stars Mariko Tsutsui who has been doing stellar work as seen in Jam (2018) and Antiporno (2016) and she returns here with a bonkers cast including Mikako Ichikawa (Rent-a-cat (2012)), Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish (2011)) and two newbies both in NDJC 2019 films, Ren Sudo (Last Judgement) and Miyu Ogawa (Quiet Hide-and-Seek). This has awards potential as it lets Tsutsui off the leash and looks like it has decent direction but Fukada will have to present a reigned-in story!

Synopsis: Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui) is a visiting nurse who has earned the trust of her patients. She has been helping Motoko (Mikako Ichikawa) study for the purpose of becoming a care worker. Ichiko is the only person with whom Motoko is open with. One day, Motoko’s younger sister Saki (Miyu Ogawa) disappears. A week later Saki returns hom unharmed, but the person arrested for her kidnapping is an unexpected person and Ichiko is suspected of being involved in the abduction. This causes Ichiko to collapse…

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