Kamata Prelude, Midnight Swan, My Sweet Grappa Remedies, Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! Live-Action, How Neya Ryoka Became a Director, ATEOTD – At the End of the Day and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

We have made it through another week.

I have been busy posting things such as a round up of the Japanese films at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, Skip City D-Cinema Festival and an interview with Urara Matsubayashi and Mayu Akiyama for their work on Kamata Prelude and a post about the Kickstarter campaign for Noriko Yuasa’s latest project, Performing Kaoru’s Funeral. In terms of films watched, I have ploughed through the MOOSIC Lab works that are free to view for the remainder of this month and I have watched John Woo’s The Killer and a Japanese film from 2018, Lovers on Borders. Oh, also more episodes of The Boys season 2!

What is released this weekend?

Kamata Prelude    Kamata Prelude Film Poster

蒲田前奏曲  Kamata Sensoukyoku

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 115 mins.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe

Writers: Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, Hirobumi Watanabe (Script)

Starring: Urara Matsubayashi, Kotone Furukawa, Ren Sudo, Sairi Ito, Mayuko Fukada, Noa Kawazoe, Ryutaro Ninomiya, Ryutaro Kondo,

Website    IMDB

The directors involved are a new generation of talent from the Japanese movie industry including Ryutaro Nakamura whose work ranges from Plastic Love Story to Silent Rain, the latter of which was screened at both the 2019 Busan International Film Festival and Tokyo Filmex where it won the Audience Award. Mayu Akiyama’s debut work, Rent a Friend, won the MOOSIC LAB Grand Prix and was screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018. Hirobumi Watanabe’s film Cry won Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2019 in the Japanese Cinema Splash section. Yuka Yasukawa was one of a number of emerging talents tapped to helm one of the shorts from 21st Century Girl which has been screened around the world.

Urara Matsubayashi, the film’s producer and one of its cast, is a rising star active on the stage, TV drama, and on film. She will be most familiar with her performance in The Hungry Lion which was screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and New York Asian Film Festival in 2018. She is joined by many seasoned actors, including Sairi Ito (Love & Other Cults) and Kumi Takiuchi (It Feels So Good, Greatful Dead) and Ren Sudo (Last Judgement).

Here’s my review and, again, here’s my interview with producer/star Urara Matsubayashi and director Mayu Akiyama.

Synopsis: A four-part film done in the unique style of each director, Urara Matsubayashi gives a portrayal of a struggling actress named Machiko who lives in Kamata. Machiko is the central axis of the movie as the film comically depicts what it means to be a “woman” and an “actress” in society through showing the patterns of life as conducted by her and the people that surround her.

Midnight Swan    Midnight Swan Film Poster

ミッドナイトスワンMiddonaito Suwan

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 124 mins.

Director: Eiji Uchida

Writer: Eiji Uchida (Script), 

Starring: Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Misaki Hattori, Asami Mizukawa, Tomorowo Taguchi, Sei Matobu, Eriko Sato, Toshie Negishi, Yusuke Hirayama,

Website IMDB

From Eiji Uchida, the director of Love and Other Cults (2017) and Greatful Dead (2014), a film that sounds a little like Close Knit (2017), the quietly affecting transgender drama from Naoko Ogigami. It stars Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, former member of SMAP in the lead role, Asami Mizukawa (A Beloved Wife) and Tomorowo Taguchi (Tetsuo: The Iron Man).

Synopsis: Nagisa (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) started life as a guy in Hiroshima but moved to Shinjuku, Tokyo, and transitioned to a woman. Her life is changed when a distant relative named Ichika (Misaki Hattori) comes to stay with her. She has been neglected by her mother Saori (Asami Mizukawa) and has nowhere else to go but it won’t be easy for Ichika and Nagisa to get along. However, over time, a bond develops between the two as they influence each other and Nagisa discovers her maternal instincts.

My Sweet Grappa Remedies   My Sweet Grappa Remedies Film Poster

甘いお酒でうがいAmai osake de ugai

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 107 mins.

Director: Akiko Ooku

Writer: Jiro (Script), Yoshiko Kawashima (Original Novel)

Starring: Yasuko Matsuyuki, Hana Kuroki, Hiroya Shimizu, Kanji Furutachi, Kozo Sato, Tomoya Maeno,

Website IMDB

The writer of the film is Jiro. He is a member of the manzai group Sissonne and he has written a novel in the voice of a woman named “Yoshiko Kawashima”. The novel is a diary that notes her thoughts and it has been adapted for the big screen. This is Jiro’s second collaboration with Akiko (Tremble All You Want) Ohku after they worked on Marriage Hunting Beauty.

Synopsis: Yoshiko (Yasuko Matsuyuki) is a single woman in her 40s who works in a publishing company and enjoys drinking grappa and writing in her diary. She enjoys her simple life but when she is introduced to a younger guy in his 20s, she falls in love and a new, welcome complexity changes her easy days…

Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! Live-Action    Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! Live-Action Film Poster

映像研には手を出すな!Eizouken niwa Te wo Dasuna!

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa

Writer: Tsutomu Hanabusa, Minato Takano (Script), Sumito Oowara (Original Manga)

Starring: Minami Hamabe, Minami Umezawa, Yura Someno, Asuka Saito, Eiji Akaso, Wakana Matsumoto,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Midori Asakusa dreams of making an anime, but is too timid to try it herself. However, with her friend, the money-mad Sayaka Kanamori, and Tsubame Mizusaki, one of the school’s elite who secretly harbours dreams of becoming an animator, Midori set up the Eizouken (Video Research Club) to make an anime.

How Neya Ryoka Became a Director    How Neya Ryoka Became a Director Film Poster

根矢涼香、映画監督になる。Neya Ryōka, eiga kantoku ni naru.

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: N/A

Director: Naho Kamimura

Writer: N/A

Starring: Ryoka Neya, Atomu Mizuishi, Misao Ueda, Saya Kobayashi, Arisa Kunugi, Koji Seki,

Website

Ryoka Neya is an up-and-coming actress and I reviewed her latest film, Idol, last week Friday. She gave a riveting performance in that and she takes the lead in this film which was originally set for a release in May.

Synopsis: Ryoka Neya plays a version of herself, a person who loves movies and has a dream of becoming a director. So far, she has risen through the ranks to work as an assistant director, but has not been able to make any of her own works. She also struggles to convey her love to Keita, who she has been in love with since college. Will Ryoka be able to seize her dreams and her man?

Moshi moshi Atashitachi ga Saisai Janakattara. HERO DOCUMENTARY FILM    Moshi moshi Atashitachi ga Saisai Janakattara. &HERO DOCUMENTARY FILM Film Poster

もしもあたしたちがサイサイじゃなかったら。&HERO DOCUMENTARY FILMMoshi moshi Atashitachi ga Saisai Janakattara. HERO DOCUMENTARY FILM

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Tomohiro Takahashi

Writer: Tomohiro Takahashi (Script),

Starring: Sumire Yoshida, Hinako Umemura, Aina Yamauchi, Yukako Kurosaka,

Website

The four-member girl band Silent Siren, nicknamed “Sai Sai”, is celebrating its 10th anniversary since its formation in 2010 with this movie which asks “What if we weren’t Saisai?” This is an adaptation of an original drama of the same name which stars the members of the band. It contains footage from their concerts, such as Year-end Special Live 2019, as well as an alternate timeline story.

Synopsis: During a Silent Siren concert, a performance by lead vocals & guitarist Su (Sumire Yoshida) stops time sends the band to a parallel world where Saisai doesn’t exist…

Mouseman: Ai no Katamari    Mouseman Ai no Katamari Film Poster

マウスマン 愛の塊Mausuman: Ai no Katamari

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 51 mins.

Director: Pierre Ito

Writer: Pierre Ito, Takumi Yagihashi (Script), 

Starring: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Mikio Nezumi/Mouseman), Akane Fujisaki (Hiroko), Miwako Natsukawa (Rika), Ai Hoshikawa (Ai no Katamari), Shinji Ozaki (Mama), Ai Fujisawa (rena),

Website ANN

A self-produced animation made remotely, this is the movie culmination of a series of shorts (numbering 70) that director Pierre Ito has been working on between 2016 and 2018. It has been released in the year of the rodent, which is perfect.

Synopsis: 32-year-old Mikio Nezumi lives a dull life until he is suddenly transformed into a cyborg by a mysterious national institution. He is thrust into a battle with an unknown invader as the cyborg “mouseman.” He cannot leave his old life behind as he is reunited with his former lover in a battle…

ATEOTD – At the End of the Day    ATEOTD Film Poster

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 25 mins.

Director: Takumi Saitoh

Writer: Takumi Saitoh (Script),

Starring: Mugi Kadowaki, Hio Miyazawa,

Website

Actor/director Takumi Saitoh has been very busy both in front of and behind the camera and this short film is his latest work and it stars the super-talented actress Mugi Kadowaki (Double Life, Her Sketchbook).

Only a music video is available.

Synopsis: “ATEOTD” is an abbreviation of the phrase “At the end of the day”. It’s the title of a story set in the year 2120. Similar to our world, there is an epidemic once every 100 years, only this one seems to signal the end world as people have been forced to live in shelters. The story focuses on two people, a man and a woman, both of whom live lonely lives after losing their family to this new sickness. Only hope carries them individually but they do form a connection…

Eiga Ningen Isu Bando Seikatsu San Juu-nen    Eiga Ningen Isu Bando Seikatsu San Juu-nen Film Poster

映画 人間椅子 バンド生活三十年 Eiga Ningen Isu Bando Seikatsu San Juu-nen

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: Yuichiro Iwaki

Writer: N/A

Starring: Ningen Isu: Shinji Wajima, Kenichi Suzuki, Nobu Nakajima,

Website

Synopsis: NINGEN ISU (which translates to “The Human Chair” Edogawa Rampo) formed in 1987 and made their major debut in 1990 with their first album “Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human)”. This documentary celebrate 30 years of their adventures mixing Japanese classical literature, the folk culture of their place of birth, Aomori, and various forms of rock music, the most consistent being progressive. The film shows a live performance at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo from their 30th anniversary tour. There are also snippets from the bands tours in Germany and the UK in 2008 and behind-the-scenes moments.

HARAJUKU Seven Days Given by an Angel    HARAJUKU Seven Days Given by an Angel Film Poster

HARAJUKU 天使がくれた七日間HARAJUKU tenshi ga kureta nanukakan

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: 94 mins.

Director: Keita Matsuda

Writer: Keita Matsuda (Script), 

Starring: Ryoma Baba, Izo Shinata, Ryo Hirano, Akane Sakanoue, Aki Takajou,

Website

This film was shot entirely on an iPhone.

Synopsis: The main character of this movie inherits a public bath which is located in the middle of Harajuku. It is here that an angel appears to take the main character to heaven, but the angel becomes fascinated by the hip and fashionable surroundings of Harajuku and this allows the main character to negotiate an extension to his life with the promise that he will teach the angel about the area.

Yume wo Ataeru    Yume wo Ataeru Film Poster

夢を与える Yume wo Ataeru

Release Date: September 25th, 2020

Duration: N/A

Director: Isshin Inudo

Writer: Izumi Takahashi (Script), Risa Wataya (Original Novel)

Starring: Nana Komatsu, Rinko Kikuchi, Shingo Ohta, Tasuku Nagaoka, Min Tanaka,

Website IMDB

All four episodes of WOWOW’s serial drama will be screened at a cinema and divided into an A (1 and 2) and B (3 and 4) screening.

Synopsis: Mikiko (Rinko Kikuchi) had grand ambitions for her daughter Yuko to become a star and, after getting spotted at an audition, it seems it will come to pass. As a young woman, Yuko (Nana Komatsu) is popular and appears on the cover of magazines, variety shows and drama series but Yuko feels torn inside about the difference between her professional and personal feelings. When she meets and falls in love with a dancer, things start to go wrong…

The Name of that God is Jealousy    Sono Kami no na wa Shitto Film Poster

その神の名は嫉妬 Sono Kami no na wa Shitto

Release Date: September 26th, 2020

Duration: 85 mins.

Director: Kensuke Ashihara

Writer: Kensuke Ashihara (Script), 

Starring: Kensuke Ashihara, Tomoaki Nakagawa, Iku Arai, So Kusakabe, Yumi Goto, Ryutaro Ninomiya, Koji Matsushita,

Actor Kensuke Ashihara has appeared in films for Hirokazu Kore-eda (After the Storm) and Ryutaro Ninomiya (Ojo-chan) and now he will make his directorial debut with a film he starred in, wrote and edited which is a cynical drama about a man who is jealous of a friend’s success.

Synopsis: Masuda diligently works at a real estate company and has a nice quiet life with his girlfriend Tomoko. However, there is a problem: Masuda’s friend Muto is a TV star and it seems that Tomoko likes him a lot. Furthermore, Muto is on TV a lot. Masuda is becoming jealous and this is when a suspicious man who calls himself a priest appears in front of Masuda at a point when he cannot control his jealousy.

3 thoughts on “Kamata Prelude, Midnight Swan, My Sweet Grappa Remedies, Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! Live-Action, How Neya Ryoka Became a Director, ATEOTD – At the End of the Day and Other Japanese Film Trailers

      1. That is one reason why this live action version took me by surprise – the character designs in the anime were so unique, yet they’ve replaced them with pretty girls which loses much of the characters’ personality.

        Plus the flights of fancy were seamless in the anime whereas I feel they may end up looking woefully incongruent here.

        Still keen to see what they do with it though, just going to approach with caution as ever! 😉

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