Japanese Films at the London East Asian Film Festival 2021

The London East Asian Film Festival announced its programme last week and there are more Japanese films in the running than last year. The fest runs from October 21st to October 31st. Here are the details on the one Japanese film programmed:

A Balance A Balance Film Poster 3

由宇子の天秤 Yuuko no Tenbin

Release Date: September 17th, 2021

Duration: 137 mins.

Director: Yujiro Harumoto

Writer: Yujiro Harumoto (Script), 

Starring: Kumi Takiuchi, Yumi Kawai, Ken Mitsuishi, Yota Kawase, Masahiro Umeda, Yuuya Matsuura, Misa Wada, Ryo Ikeda, Hiroki Kono, 

Website    IMDB

Yujiro Harumoto made waves with his feature debut Going the Distance. He has a great cast of actors for his latest, a social drama as seen through the eyes of a documentarian played by Kumi Takiuchi (Greatful Dead), an actress who is really coming into her own in recent years with her performances in Kamata Prelude and It Feels So Good. This has previously played at last year’s Busan International Film Festival and also Tokyo FILMeX and it has won awards. I watched it as part of the New York Asian Film Festival 2021.

Synopsis: Yuko (Kumi Takiuchi) is a documentary filmmaker determined to examine a case of a double-suicide involving a teacher and a student who were subject to rumours of an improper relationship. It is a hard programme to make as she aims to get a balanced view of the truth. However a scandal involving her father (Ken Mitsuishi) and a student at his cram school threatens her career, their livelihoods, and her sense of justice. She is faced with a tough situation…



牛久 Ushiku

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Ian Thomas Ash

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A


Synopsis: Using a hidden camera, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Ash interviewed inmates at the Ushiku immigration centre from late 2019 and exposes Japan’s uncompromising refugee policy which leads to human rights abuses.


Sasaki in My Mind     Sasaki In My Mind Film Poster

佐々木、イン、マイマイン Sasaki, In, Mai Main

Release Date: November 27th, 2020

Duration: 118 mins.

Director: Takuya Uchiyama

Writer: Takuya Uchiyama, Gaku Hosokawa (Script), 

Starring: Kisetsu Fujiwara, Gaku Hosokawa, Minori Hagiwara, Sakurako Konishi, Yusako Mori, Yuya Shintaro,


Synopsis: Yuji is trying to make it as an actor in Tokyo. Despite living with his girlfriend, he finds that it’s hard to make ends meet. When he reunites with his high school classmate Tada he beings to recall their high school days with Sasaki, who was a hero when he was in school. Yuji then begins work on a stage play and it seems to have connections to his past and present. Then, out of the blue, Yuji receives a phone call from Sasaki…


ZOKKI       ZOKKI Film Poster


Release Date: April 02nd, 2021

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Naoto Takenaka, Takayuki Yamada, Takumi Saitoh

Writer: Yutaka Kuramochi (Script), Hiroyuki Ohashi (Original Manga)

Starring: Riho Yoshioka, Fuku Suzuki, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Yurina Yanagi, Sara Minami, Masanobu Ando, Pierre Taki, Yusaki Mori, Jo Kujo, Mai Kiryu, Kumi Koda, Pistol Takehara, Yunho, Rena Matsui, Yutaro Watanabe, Koji Ishizaka, Ryuhei Matsuda, Jun Kunimura.


Hiroyuki Ohashi, whose manga On-Gaku was made into a hit animated film, gets another of his works adapted, this one from earlier in his career and a title that he previously published independently before it was picked up by a published in 2017. The manga contains many stories with humorous and pointed observations on life. There are three top actors working as co-directors and they have assembled a brilliant cast. It’s a quiet dry comedy and very poignant in parts.

Synopsis: Lives in a sleepy city weave in and out of each other in a myriad of strange vignettes. A woman has many secrets she keeps as treasures. A lonely video store clerk discovers an incident that happened in another country. A young man recalls a strange experience he shared with his missing father. A man heads south on a bicycle with no destination in mind. A boy with no sisters is puzzled when his friend tells him that he likes his sister.

Also programmed is another film I have reviewed and can wholeheartedly recommend, KEEP ROLLING.

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