Happy Weekend, everyone.
I hope that you are all safe and well.
I’m careening from one thing to another. I started the week writing aboutthe Udine and Cannes film festivals before posting a news article and interview with the curator of a season of documentary films made by Kazuo Hara/Sachiko Kobayashi which are available to stream in North America via Japan Society. I’ll be reviewing these films over the next week. I also posted trailers yesterday.
This week I watched Assault on Precinct 13, Ronin, and the first half of Psycho-Pass Season 3. I also watched the Hara/Kobayashi films Goodbye CP and Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1984.
What else was released this weekend?
ももいろそらを カラー版 「Momoiro Sora Wo Kara- ban」
Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)
Running Time: 113 mins.
Director: Keiichi Kobayashi
Writer: Keiichi Kobayashi
Starring: Ai Ikeda, Ena Koshino, Reiko Fujiwara, Tsubasa Takayama, Hakusyu Togetsuan
Keiichi Kobayashi’s film premiered at the 2011 Tokyo International Film Festival, where it won a major award, and it also screened at last 2012’s Sundance Film Festival and Rotterdam Film Festival. Its original form is a B&W film so this colour version will be an interesting re-watch. Looking at the names involved, Ena Koshino and Reiko Fujiwara have gone on to other projects.
Original Trailer Below
Synopsis: Izumi is a cheerfully cynical high-school girl who has a strange hobby: rating newspaper articles for positivity and negativity. One day she finds a wallet containing 300,000 yen and the owner’s ID: Sato, a wealthy schoolmate. Izumi decides to lend it to a friend in financial straits but her classmates Hasumi and Kaoru force her to return the wallet to Sato. However, unable to return the money she agrees to help Sato console a sick friend by creating a good news newspaper.
Release Date: June 19th, 2021
Duration: 94 mins.
Director: Tomoya Ishida
Starring: Tomoya Ishida, Osamu Jareo, Shizue Sazawa (Nozaki)
This was the 2020 Pia Film Festival Grand Prix winning film. It played at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.
Synopsis: A documentary in which Tomoya Ishida, a director in am electric wheelchair works together with a blind actress and a woman named Shizue Sasawa who is dedicated to training interpreters for the deaf, amongst others, to explore the possibility of activities that allow people with disabilities to express themselves. While interacting with various people through filmmaking, he discovers various “differences”. He also pays attention to how he makes a movie that involves the people around him. Eventually, director Ishida is invited by choreographer and dancer Osamu Sunareo to perform on stage. The film was released theatrically as an “open screening” with Japanese subtitles and audio guidance.
ショコラの魔法 「Shokora no Mahou」
Release Date: June 18th 2021
Duration: 91 mins.
Director: Tomonobu Moriwaki
Writer: Tatsuya Kanazawa (Script), Rino Mizuki (Original Manga)
Starring: Maho Yamaguchi, Yui Okada, Ken Nakashima, Hiyori Sakurada, Mei Hatake,
This is based on a horror manga series.
Synopsis: It is rumoured that somewhere deep in a forest on the edge of town is an illusive mansion that is owned by Chocolat (Maho Yamaguchi), a witch and chocolatier who runs a chocolate shop called Chocolat Noir. Her customers are those whose desires are so strong they can find the mansion. Once there, the customers can buy chocolate that can grant wishes but they come at a price greater than any sum of money. Believing in this rumour, a high school newspaper journalist named Nao (Yui Okada) goes in search of the mansion and from that day, mysterious incidents occur…
Release Date: June 19th 2021
Duration: 64 mins.
Director: Rei Shiina
Writer: Rei Shiina (Script),
Starring: Takumi Saito, Yoshihide Okazaki, Masahide Taniguchi,
Synopsis: Jun is a university student who works part-time at a standing bar. He spends his summer either lazing around or exploring the Himonya area of Tokyo and taking pictures with his camera. When he discovers that Yasu, a cabaret boy and a regular customer at the bar he works at, used to be an aspiring photographer, they embark on a relationship based on photography. Slowly, Jun’s life begins to revolve around Yasu but when Yasu stops visiting the bar…
息子のままで、女子になる 「Musuko no mama de, joshi ni naru」
Release Date: June 19th 2021
Duration: 105 mins.
Director: Taiki Sugioka
Starring: Sally Kaede, Steven Haynes, Kodo Nishimura, JobRainbow, Ai Haruna, Satsuki Nishihara,
Synopsis: This is a documentary about Sally Kaede, a transgender woman. Kaede had followed a lifelong passion for architecture to the prestigious Keio University and was on the cusp of achieving it when she received a job offer from a major construction company, but she felt uncomfortable living as a man so, before entering a new phase of her life, she transitioned. Now Kaede enters beauty contests and participates in LGBT employment support activities. Through these activities, she questions the stereotypes surrounding transgender people in the world, and tries to push their image forward as being real individuals. However, as she tries to do this, she still thinks of her family and how they will respond to her changes…