Happy weekend, everyone!
I hope you are all feeling good.
This week it was announced Japan is due to ease the lockdown in prefectures least affected by Covid 19. After more than a month of closure, some cinemas will reopen. They are a mix of big chains like Toho Cinemas and Aeon Cinemas and, according to this article by Mark Schilling over at Variety, there are some independent cinemas, too. Looking at the cinema listing for Toho, the titles include recently released titles that were still being screened at the time they were closed like the latest Psycho-Pass movie, Midsommar, Akira 4K , Katsuben and Ossan’s Love Love or Dead (which is massively popular) and some others like The Wizard of Oz.
The reopening comes with caveats such as hand sanitiser and plastic screens to limit interactions between staff and customers and spacing assigned seats to maintain social distancing. One Twitter user, @garamanhall, gave an image of what a concert with social distancing will look like:
So you can imagine a cinema screening might be similar – a seat free either side and the row in front and behind free…
Since Covid 19 is here to stay until a vaccine is developed, it is reasonable to say that this will be the standard operating procedure of festivals for the foreseeable future. At least we can go and see Tenet on the big screen which opens in July.
Since cinemas are closed and I’ve been at home, I’ve watched lots of anime. This last fortnight I watched season four of Haikyu!! and re-watched Bakemonogatari and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. I posted about the film’s Good-bye and On the Edge of Their Seats and interviewed the directors Aya Miyazaki and Hideo Jojo.
What new film is scheduled to be released this weekend?
心霊喫茶「エクストラ」の秘密 The Real Exorcist 「Shinrei kissa “ekusutora” no himitsu The Real Exorcist」
Release Date: May 15th, 2020
Duration: 108 mins.
Directors: Shokyo Oda
Writers: Sayaka Okawa (Script),
Starring: Yoshiko Sengen, Mirai Irako, Rin Kijima, Joe, Hyuga, Nao Hasegawa, Ryuichi Ohura, Yoshimi Ashikawa, Ayumi Orii,
The information for this was found at the Monaco International Film Festival which took place at the end of February.
Synopsis: Sayuri, a coffee shop waitress, uses her supernatural powers to help those who are troubled by spiritual phenomena. She gradually gets involved in serious matters, eventually facing a fierce battle with the devil…
Also, here’s a film I missed writing about:
春を告げる町 「Haru o tsugeru machi」
Release Date: March 21st, 2020
Duration: 130 mins.
Directors: Ryuichi Shimada
Starring: Katsuyuki Watanabe, Ryohei Niitsuma, Koichi Tatewaki,
Synopsis: A documentary about people living in Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture, a place hit by both the tsunami and the evacuation order after the meltdown at the nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Nine years on and with the evacuation order lifted, people have returned and there is progress in rebuilding infrastructure and decontaminating the area and it was supposed to be the starting point of the 20th Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay. To understand the town, we see the effortsof high school students who are doing a play with the motif of the earthquake and all of the lives it disrupted.