First Gentleman, The Mars Canon, World’s End/Girl Friend, Chokolietta, A Rainbow-colored Trip, Midnight Maidens. A New Wind Blows Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend.

Koji Yakusho in Cure

I hope you are well.

This is the first of a two-part trailer post. Image from CURE by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (one of my all-time favourite films!).

What are some of the films that are released this weekend?

First Gentleman    First Gentleman Film Poster

総理の夫 Sori no Otto

Release Date: September 23rd, 2021

Duration: 121 mins.

Director: Hayato Kawai

Writer: Saya Matsuda, Noriaki Sugihara (Script), Maha Harada (Original Novel),

Starring: Kei Tanaka, Miki Nakatani, Kimiko Yo, Shihori Kanjiya, Asuka Kudo, Airi Matsui,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Hiyori (Kei Tanaka) is an ornithologist who is married to Rinko (Miki Nakatani), the leader of a minority opposition party in the world of Japanese politics. While his head may be with the birds, Rinko works hard to make Japan a better place. One morning, just as Hiyori is about to travel to a remote island to watch birds for 10 days, Rinko asks him a serious question: “if she becomes the prime minister, would he be inconvenienced?” Hiyori will learn first-hand as, after his trip, he returns home to find that Rinko is the prime minister and he is the first gentleman of the country! Being a good husband, he decides to support his wife, but lots of unexpected events happen!

The next three films are by Shiori Kazama and have all been digitally remastered and released as part of a “revival” event at Kichijoji Uplink. Here’s a trailer covering all of the films:

The Mars Canon    The Mars Canon Film Poster

火星のカノン Kasei no Kanon

Release Date: September 28th, 2002

Duration: 121 mins.

Director: Shiori Kazama

Writer: Tomoko Ogawa, Shotaro Oikawa (Script), 

Starring: Makiko Kuno, Fumiyo Kohinata, Mami Nakamura, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Eri Hayasaka,

IMDB

No trailer

Synopsis: Two couples get twisted into knots as relationships go awry over sex and loyalty. In the first instance, Kohei might be married but his younger lover Kinuko has no intentions of ending their affair. Meanwhile Manabe and Hijiri find their love has cooled and now Manabe is looking elsewhere for sex and even kicks Hijiri out of their home. The woman moves into an apartment next door to Kinuko and it turns out they already know each other. Hijiri plots to break up Kinuko’s relationship with a love confession to the woman… 

World’s End/Girl Friend    World's End Girl Friend Film Poster

せかいのおわり Sekai no Owari

Release Date: September 10th, 2004

Duration: 112 mins.

Director: Shiori Kazama

Writer: Shotaro Oikawa (Script), 

Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Mami Nakamura, Makiko Kuno, Fumiyo Kohinata, Nozomi Ando, Kumiko Tsuchiya,

IMDB

No Trailer

Synopsis: Three adults who haven’t quite grown up yet experience their own coming-of-age moment through romance going awry. Misawa and Shinnosuke run a bonsai store but their sedate world is disrupted by Shinnosuke’s childhood friend, Haruko, who moves in with them after being kicked out of her boyfriend’s house. Shinnosuke catches a bad case of love for Haruko and lends her a sympathetic ear as he slowly moves to try to tell her how he feels but while the two may be dancing around this issue, that doesn’t stop them dating other people. What the two don’t realise is that Misawa has romantic feelings for Shinnosuke… 

Chokolietta Film Poster
Chokolietta Film Poster

Chokolietta    

チョコリエッタ  「Chokorietta」

Release Date: January 17th, 2015 (Japan)

Running Time: 159 mins.

Director: Shiori Kazama

Writer: Masumi Oshima (Original Novel), Kazama Shiori, Shotaro Oikawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Aoi Morikawa, Masaki Suda, Miwako Ichikawa, Jun Murakami, Toko Miura, Atsuo Nakamura, Atsuko Sudo, Kiyohiko Shibukawa,

Synopsis: Chiyoko (Morikawa) is a high school girl who lost her mother at an early age and has closed her heart to others. When her pet dies she feels loneliness bite. When Masamune (Suda), a senior at the school film club, screens the Italian film La Strada, Chiyoko watches it because her mother loved it. She begins acting in a film directed by Masamune.

Chokolietta 2021 Revival Film Poster

The next two films were directed by Shinji Imaoka and are playing at Shinjuku’s K’s Cinema.

A Rainbow-colored Trip      A Rainbow-colored Trip Imaoka Film Poster     

にじいろトリップ Niji-iro Torippu

Release Date: September 25th, 2021

Duration: 39 mins.

Director: Shinji Imaoka

Writer: Shinji Imaoka (Script), 

Starring: Yuune Sakurai, Yuri Ogino, Ryuju Kobayashi, Outa Saiuchi,

OAFF Link   Website

Premiering at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021, Shinji Imaoka’s short film A Rainbow-Coloured Trip feels like it is a response to his previous work, the downbeat and dour drama Reiko and the Dolphin. It is a star vehicle for child idol Yuune Sakurai and it mixes musical numbers with drama. Here’s my review of A Rainbow-Colored Trip and here’s an interview with Shinji Imaoka.

Synopsis: Haruka (Yuune Sakurai) is an 11-year-old girl who is experiencing the first blush of love with a boy in her class. Despite feeling a giddy sensation of joy over this, she finds herself dragged down by the fact that her parents Nobutaka (Ryujyu Kobayashi) and Kumiko (Yuri Ogino) are about to divorce. It is a situation she will be stuck with over a weekend as her family, they are taking one last holiday together in a cabin in a nature park at the foot of Mount Fuji but her parent’s constant bickering makes Haruka head deep into the forest that surrounds the campsite to escape them. Her destination is a special waterfall where she can pray to a dragon god for her family to start over again but can life really be so simple?

Midnight Maidens    Midnight Maidens Film Poster

真夜中の乙女たち Mayonaka no Otome-tachi

Release Date: September 23rd, 2021

Duration: 30 mins.

Director: Shinji Imaoka

Writer: Shinji Imaoka (Script), 

Starring: Sayana Tone, Miyu Komatsu, Ayuka Hayashi, Yumika Yumi, Mai Shimasaki,

Website 

Shinji Imaoka, in director-for-hire mode,  has a second film with idols in it. It’s billed as a coming-of-age drama that features zombies and members of Sunspot Idol Reporters, an idol unit that has been going since 2011.

No Trailer

Synopsis: Haruka, Megumi, and Kyoko are idols who are doing a promotional event at a pachinko parlour. When a zombie invasion strikes, the three decide to wait for help to arrive. Alongside them are two pachinko parlour employees Moe and Eri, and three customers Ayaka, Sachiko, and Rumi. Zombie tensions and relationship ructions occur within this group so they decide to clear the air by playing the game, “Confessions” where they tell their fellow survivors secrets… 

 

A New Wind Blows A New Wind Blows Film Poster

新しい風 Atarashii Kaze

Release Date: September 25th, 2021

Duration: 66 mins.

Director: Yutaro Nakamura

Writer: Yutaro Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Yutaro Nakamura, Hikaru Saiki, An Ogawa, Takaya Shibata, Yujiro Hara,

OAFF

A New Wind Blows was the better of the two films by Yutaro Nakamura at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021. It presented an intriguing indie youth story that mixed the dreams and madness of teens in Tokyo in a narrative with darkness and optimism over the possibilities of life. You can read my review here and read an interview with Nakamura here. This also plays at K’s Cinema.

Synopsis: “What kind of future, if any at all, can we picture?” A group of teens on a riverbank are the subject of a story where a possible future is mapped out. Yujiro (Yujiro Hara) and Hikari (Hikaru Saiki) torment a teen named Takaya (Takaya Shibata) by stealing his football while another high schooler named Anzu (An Ogawa) observes. A hard cut seemingly takes us into the future where the characters are now in their 20s and are about to meet again. It starts at a bar somewhere in Tokyo on New Year’s Eve. Hikari has spent a day hanging out with an admirer, Kotaro (Yutaro Nakamura) and the bar is their latest stop on a night which will descend into chaos…

A New Wind Blows Film Poster 2

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