Happy weekend, everyone!
I hope that you are all well.
In normal times, as a member of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF), I’d be over in Japan watching films and meeting people. AND EATING OKONOMIYAKI! Instead, Covid-19 struck and it has been a year of keeping safe and rebuilding. I’ve been going into work occasionally but spent more time at home and this has been my situation for this year’s edition of OAFF. I’ve been helping out on various things whilst still writing reviews and conducting interviews (via e-mail) and so I’ve put up a bunch here already.
Keep Rolling – Thanks to this documentary, I now know everything there is to know about Ann Hui!
Three Sisters – You have to laugh otherwise you’d cry in this South Korean drama
The Slug – OHMYGOD,IWANTTOCRYINTHISSUBTLEANDHEARTBREAKINGFILMFROMSOUTHKOREA
JOINT – well-shot and gripping crime film charting Japan’s underworld!
yes, yes, yes – powerful drama that will make you love your family more!
An interview with the director of yes, yes, yes – find out the background to one of the best films of OAFF2021
Goto-san – Haha, a rom-com set in an internet cafe oH nO, we’ve turned a corner and now it’s a ride through the capitalist hellscape!
I hope that we all stay safe and overcome Covid-19. I know I’ll return to Osaka when that happens.
What was released this week?
シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版:||「Shin Ebangerion Gekijouban」
Release Date: March 08th, 2021
Duration: 155 mins.
Chief Director: Hideaki Anno, Director: Mahiro Maeda, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Katsuichi Nakayama,
Writer: Hideaki Anno (Screenplay/Original Creator),
Starring: Megumi Ogata (Shinji Ikari), Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami), Yuko Miyamura (asuka Langley Shikinami), Fumihiko Tachiki (Gendo Ikari), Maaya Sakamoto (Mari Illustrious Makinami),
Animation Production: Khara
I used to be a fan. I watched it on the Sci-fi Channel Saturday mornings and was caught up in the big emotions, big sci-fi, and big psychology. I bought the soundtracks and I have the limited edition tin set. And I grew out of it. This was well before the rebuilds of the films were announced. I’m glad that it’s doing well breaking box office records and it has come to an ending that many have praised.
Synopsis from IMDB: Shinji Ikari is still adrift after losing his will to live, but the place he arrives at teaches him what it means to hope. Finally, the Instrumentality Project is set in motion and Wille make one last grueling stand to prevent the Final Impact.
すくってごらん 「Sukutte Goran」
Release Date: March 12th, 2021
Duration: 92 mins.
Director: Yukinori Makabe
Writer: Atsumi Tsuchi (Script), Noriko Otani (Original Manga)
Starring: Matsuya Onoe, Kanako Momota, Hayato Kakizawa, Nicole Ishida, Hiroshi Yazaki,
Synopsis: Makoto Kashiba (Matsuya Onoe) was once an elite bank clerk at a big Tokyo bank who lived only for work. One day, a minor mistake saw him, demoted to a small branch office in the countryside. The initial feeling of this robot is devastation but that turns into first love when he meets Yoshino Ikoma (Kanako Momota), the beautiful young woman who runs a goldfish scooping store…
万歳！ここは愛の道 「Banzai! Koko wa ai no michi」
Release Date: June 28th, 2019
Duration: 103 mins.
Director: Tatsuya Ishii
Starring: Mei Fukuda, Hiroto Oshita, Ryouka Neya, Keitoku Itou,
This one looks like a dark doc about an intense love felt by someone. Maybe we all desire something like that but when we experience it can be choking. You can follow the film’s director on Twitter here.
Synopsis: Tatsuya Ishii won the JFF Special Award at the Pia Film Festival Award 2018 for Subarashiki Sekai. Here, he chases the concept of true love through the self-documentary format as he revisits time spent with an old lover. They had been dating for two years and she was in a mental ward of a hospital after the breakdown of the relationship. Ishii recorded their relationship while together until it got too bad. Then, one day, after a call from her, he visited her house with a camera in hand and talked to her to find out she had lost two years of her memory.
ブレイブ 群青戦記「Bureibu Gunjyo Senki」
Release Date: March 12th, 2021
Duration: 115 mins.
Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro
Writer: Masahiro Yamaura, Toru Yamamoto (Script), Masaki Kasahara (Original Manga)
Starring: Mackenyu Arata, Hirona Yamazaki, Nobuyuki Suzuki, Tatsuomi Hamada, Takuro Osada, Keisuke Watanabe, Haruma Miura, Kenichi Matsuyama,
Synopsis: A spin on the old film G.I. Samurai sees a group of students timeslip to the Sengoku period after their school is hit by lightning. Students in various clubs have to rally together to defend themselves as they are caught betweeen the two forces about to fight the Battle of Okehazama. The student body includes the serious and studious Aoi Nishino (Mackenyu Arata) who practices archery and so forth. Can modern kids cut it against bona fide samurai?
恋の墓 「Koi no Haka」
Release Date: January 15th, 2021
Duration: 117 mins.
Director: Kiyoto Naruse
Writer: Kiyoto Naruse (Script),
Starring: Yuna Ogura, Kohei Nagano, Hidenobu Abera, Yukihiro Haruzono, Hito:michan, Yuya Ishikawa, Yura Kano, Naoto Kawashima, Chihiro Matsukawa,
A romantic comedy directed by Kiyoto Naruse who received a special jury prize at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival 2018 for Night of the Dead Geisha.
Synopsis: A romantic comedy about the perverted son of a temple priest who becomes obsessed with a nursing student whose name he doesn’t know but who passes in front of his temple every day as she meets men via dating apps. Getting her picture becomes a must for him but he becomes jealous when he finds her kissing another man and so he decides to get the same app and pursue her. Meanwhile, his childhood friend Yuka reunites with him…
しまじろうと そらとぶふね「Shimajirou to Sora Tobu Fune」
Release Date: March 12th, 2021
Duration: 60 mins.
Director: Tomohiro Kawamura
Writer: Masafumumi Sugiura (Screenplay),
Starring: Omi Minami (Shimajiro Shimano), Miki Takahashi (Mimirin Midorihara), Saori Sugimoto (Ramurin Makiba), Yuma Uchida (Jin), Megumi Han (Lily), Keiko Han (Lily’s Mother),
Animation Production: coyote, Shanghai Heyuan Culture Media Co., Ltd. Shirogumi Inc.
The eighth film in the franchise and the first to go full CG.
Synopsis: The land of Greenwood hasn’t had rain for a while and it’s starting to become a problem. Jin, an inventor squirrel, decides to build a flying ship with the help of Shimajiro in a mission to to make the rain fall once again.