Featured

Dance With Me Black Maiden: Chapter A, Aesop’s Game, Cherry Blossoms and Demons, Matsunaga Tenma Murder Case Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Patema Inverted Patema and Age Work Together

I hope you are all well.

I’m midway through a 12-day week and I’ve cushioned each day with films – an 80s horror in the morning and a yakuza movie in the evening. I’ve finished writing initial PR for a film festival that will launch in October and now it’s a case of practising Japanese for guests who will be attending.

This week I posted a review of the film Lying to Mom and a preview of l’Etrange Festival.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Dance With Me Black Maiden: Chapter A, Aesop’s Game, Cherry Blossoms and Demons, Matsunaga Tenma Murder Case Japanese Film Trailers”

Featured

Japanese Films at L’Etrange Festival 2019

The L’Etrange Festival runs for its 25th edition from September 04 to 15 in Paris L'Etrange Festival 2019 Posterand it continues in its mission to show genre cinema and exult in strange delights from some of cinema’s greatest minds. The Japanese focus features familiar live-action films and some animation, some of which I have reviewed. The biggest film here is the newest Takashi Miike, Hatsukoi, which was at Cannes earlier in the year and will be released in Japan next year, and there’s also Branded to Kill, the super hitman film from Seijun Suzuki.

What Japanese films are programmed at L’Etrange this year?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at L’Etrange Festival 2019”

Featured

Lying to Mom 鈴木家の嘘 Dir: Katsumi Nojiri, Japan, (2018) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]

Lying to Mom  The Suzuki_s Family Lie Film Poster

鈴木家の嘘 Suzukike no Uso

Release Date: November 16th, 2018

Duration: 133 mins.

Director:  Katsumi Nojiri

Writer: Katsumi Nojiri (Screenplay),

Starring: Hideko Hara, Mai Kiryu, Ryo Kase, Ittoku Kishibe, Nao Omori, Kayoko Kishimoto, Nahoko Yoshimoto, Shohei Uno, Chiaki Kawamo, 

Website IMDB

Katsumi Nojiri has had a long career working as an assistant director on a diverse array of films such as the comedies Seto and Utsumi (2016) and Thermae Romae II (2014) as well as dictionary drama The Great Passage (2013). For his directorial debut he harnesses a touch of comedy to craft a heartfelt film that is sadly inspired by the death of his own brother. In Lying to Mom, he unpacks all of the difficulties surrounding suicide felt by one suburban family and captures some of the difficult dynamics that play in addressing sensitive topics.

The suburban family at the heart of the story are the Suzuki clan which consists of father Sachio (Ittoku Kishibe), mother Yuko (Hideko Hara), son Koichi (Ryo Kase) and daughter Fumi (Mai Kiryu). They seem normal with Sachio being a bit of a hands-off patriarch, Yuko running the household as a devoted mother and Fumi being a university student but Koichi is a hikikomori and, apart from brief spells in odd jobs, has struggled to step outside of his room after graduating from university. One day, whatever is weighing him down finally becomes too much to bare and he hangs himself in his room.

Continue reading “Lying to Mom 鈴木家の嘘 Dir: Katsumi Nojiri, Japan, (2018) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]”

Featured

Demolition Girl, Tsumugi’s Radio, One Piece Stampede Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

I hope you are all well.

Summer has been flowing nicely and it is now stormy and rainy. I’m at the end of a 12 day work week so I can relax a little. I’ve posted news on the Japanese films playing at the Venice Film Festival this year and a review for the action film The Fable.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Demolition Girl, Tsumugi’s Radio, One Piece Stampede Japanese Film Trailers”

Featured

The Fable ザ・ファブル Dir: Kan Eguchi (2019) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]

The Fable    The Fable Film Poster

ザ・ファブル  Za Faburu

Release Date: June 21st, 2019

Duration: 123 mins.

Director: Kan Eguchi

Writer: Yusuke Watanabe (Screenplay), Katsuhisa Minami (Original Manga)

Starring: Junichi Okada, Fumino Kimura, Koichi Sato, Mizuki Yamamoto, Kai Inowaki, Jiro Sato, Sota Fukushi, Ken Mitsuishi, Yuya Yagira, Ken Yasuda,

Website IMDB

Katsuhisa Minami’s seinen manga The Fable has been serialised in Weekly Young Magazine since 2014 and it won the general category of the 41st Kodansha Manga Awards in 2017. Its straight shooting story of a hit-man’s travails is mostly down-to-earth in art style and narrative for a manga. Its hard-boiled nature is supported by characters drawn with natural proportions engaging in fisticuffs and gunfights, the seriousness subverted by dashes of satire thanks to unique personality traits harboured by different people. A movie version is a natural progression but to make it engaging it will need a cast and crew to capture the comedic and action parts of the story.

The Fable (Junichi Okada) is actually the name of a contract killer operating in the Tokyo underworld. His ability to kill is almost preternatural and it is shown with visual pizzazz in the bombastic opening where he takes out two gangs in a fancy sky-rise restaurant. Efficient shooting and movement, short and sharp physical strikes and an aura of something unstoppable is what defines him and overpowers his opponents. All tumble down before him in action scenes excitingly delivered by director Kan Eguchi who favours quick editing, kinetic camerawork and exploding sets to bolster the slick action choreography. Eguchi doubles-down on the style by showing the mental calculations Fable makes through cute on-screen text and illustrations that get shattered by the bullets the killer sends flying.

Continue reading “The Fable ザ・ファブル Dir: Kan Eguchi (2019) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]”

Featured

Japanese Films at the Venice International Film Festival 2019

Venice Film Festival 2019 Image

The Venice International Film Festival is here for its 76th edition and it will run from August 28th to September 07th. There are a couple of features and four VR experiences as Venice continues to go down the VR route. Without further ado, here are the films!

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Venice International Film Festival 2019”

Featured

Melancholic, Dragon Quest: Your Story, Emoshonaruremon tabidachi wa itsumo remon no aji ga suru, anata wa don’na aji ga suru?, Yasashī shatsu kanatasoutarou no tabi, Give Me the Sun, Tokyo Trial – International Military Tribunal for the Far East 4K Digital Restoration, Dear Mr. Yasuo Otsuka, Summer Girl, Watashitachi ha, Japanese Film Trailers

Welcome to the weekend.

I hope everyone is feeling good.

My coverage of some of the festival films screened in New York is over so I’ve got time to do other things like read books and practice Japanese. Well, instead of doing that, I watched a bunch of Seijun Suzuki films!

Anyway, here the week started with the publishing of an interview I did with Takuji Suzuki, the director of the film Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram. I did it at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. It was also published on VCinema. I then followed that up with news on Naomi Kawase coming to the UK in September to take part in the Open City Documentary Festival where she will present her films and an extended talk and Q&A. The final post of the week was a review of The Gun which screened at the New York Asian Film Festival.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Melancholic, Dragon Quest: Your Story, Emoshonaruremon tabidachi wa itsumo remon no aji ga suru, anata wa don’na aji ga suru?, Yasashī shatsu kanatasoutarou no tabi, Give Me the Sun, Tokyo Trial – International Military Tribunal for the Far East 4K Digital Restoration, Dear Mr. Yasuo Otsuka, Summer Girl, Watashitachi ha, Japanese Film Trailers”

Featured

The Gun 銃 Dir: Masaharu Take (2018) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]

The Gun       The Gun Film Poster

Juu

Release Date: November 17th, 2018

Duration: 97 mins.

Director:  Masaharu Take

Writer: Masaharu Take, Hideki Shishido (Screenplay), Fuminori Nakamura (Original Novel)

Starring: Nijiro Murakami, Alice Hirose, Lily Franky, Kyoko Hinami, Risa Niigaki, Junpei Goto, Moemi Katayama, Amane Okayama,

Website IMDB

Masaharu Take has a knack of making good character-driven dramas as exemplified by 100 Yen Love (2015) which cemented Sakura Ando as a real headlining acting talent after she spent years impressing auds with steady work in smaller semi-comedic roles (For Love’s Sake, Love Exposure) and indie dramas (Our Homeland, 0.5mm). This film, an adaptation of a novel, offers Nijiro Murakami (Destruction Babies) a meaty role to make a name for himself.

“Last night, I found a gun.”

The film opens with what appears to be a suicide one rainy night. Blood pours out of a shattered skull onto a rain-sodden riverbank. The titular gun, a .357 Magnum Lawman Mk III, is lying next to the body. The camera caresses its smooth, short, shiny and curved form and soon someone will lavish the same attention on it.

Continue reading “The Gun 銃 Dir: Masaharu Take (2018) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]”

Featured

Naomi Kawase in London in September for: Naomi Kawase: In Focus – Open City Documentary Festival 2019

Naomi Kawase¹ (website) is in London in September for the Open City Documentary Festival 2019 where she will take part in three screenings and will introduce a selection of her works and take part in a Q&A and extended talk. Called, “Naomi Kawase: In Focus”, this particular festival strand, organised with the help of the Japan Foundation, is a unique opportunity to see some of the early films that helped make Naomi Kawase a major presence in world cinema as these self-documentaries show her nascent skull which developed while she recorded some of the most intimate details of her life as she searched for her identity on screen. Most prominent amongst the films is the influence of her adoptive mother, Uno Kawase, which is a bond that is put on screen in a moving set of films which have been highly lauded.

Here are the details. Just click on the titles to access the festival page and booking information:

Continue reading “Naomi Kawase in London in September for: Naomi Kawase: In Focus – Open City Documentary Festival 2019”

Featured

Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Interview [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]

If you travel to Kyoto then it is recommended you try travelling from scenic Arashiyama to the bustling city centre by the Randen trams. They cut through many areas and they prove to be the perfect setting for three intersecting stories in a film.

Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram (review) features a writer named Eisei Hiraoka (Arata Iura) has travelled from Kamakura to Kyoto to research supernatural stories but, instead, relives memories of time spent in Kyoto with his wife; Kako Ogura (Ayaka Onishi), a shy local woman helps an actor from Tokyo named Fu Yoshida (Hiroto Kanai) practice speaking with Kyoto dialect; Nanten Kitakado (Tamaki Kubose), a high school girl from Aomori, who falls for a local train otaku (Kenta Ishida).

Quite unlike many other films screened in 2019, Randen revels in creating a magical atmosphere of heightened romance and folktales that could only take place in Kyoto. It was the opening film of the 2019 edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival and it will play on the final day of Japan Cuts 2019 in New York. I had the chance to interview the director of the film, Takuji Suzuki, at Osaka and he revealed how the film was a put together with love and care by his team which included Kyoto University film students and local people living along the Randen line.

Continue reading “Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Interview [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]”