Alone Again in Fukushima  ナオト、いまもひとりっきり Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2021) [Yamagata International Film Festival 2021]

Alone Again in Fukushima   Alone Again in Fukushima Film Poster

ナオト、いまもひとりっきり 「Naoto, Ima mo Hitorikkiri 」

Release Date: N/A

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Mayu Nakamura

Writer: N/A

Starring: Naoto Matsumura, Daisuke Matsumura, Shinichi Hangai, Toshiko Hangai,

Website

“He has a heart. Only a person with a heart would do what he is doing.” I’m paraphrasing the words of Shinichi Hangai in his description of Naoto Matsumura, a former builder who, in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, stayed behind to care for Hangai’s cattle when people living in the shadow of he Fukushima nuclear reactors were ordered to evacuate. On top of farm animals, Matsumura became a guardian to a whole host of other creatures great and small in an extraordinary story of humanity in the face disaster. A decade on from the 3/11 disaster, director Mayu Nakamura releases an update on Matsumura who remained near a danger zone to continue with his selfless act.

Continue reading “Alone Again in Fukushima  ナオト、いまもひとりっきり Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2021) [Yamagata International Film Festival 2021]”

Whole, Lupin’s Daughter, Baragaki: Unbroken Samurai, Skeleton Flowers, Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician, Pretenders, MIRRORLIAR FILMS plus, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend!

Riona Hazuki in Retribution

I hope you are well.

This week, I have been covering films at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021. My reviews include International Competition winner Inside the Red Brick Wall, Afternoon Landscapes, and Transform!. All of these were fascinating and I am really happy that I got the chance to see them. I have a few more reviews to come from the fest so please stay tuned to this site!

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Whole, Lupin’s Daughter, Baragaki: Unbroken Samurai, Skeleton Flowers, Bunshi no Neiro A scientist and a Musician, Pretenders, MIRRORLIAR FILMS plus, and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Transform!    へんしんっ! Director: Tomoya Ishida [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]

Transform!   Henshin! Film Poster 2

へんしんっ! Henshin!

Release Date: June 19th, 2021

Duration: 94 mins.

Director: Tomoya Ishida

Writer: N/A

Starring: Tomoya Ishida, Osamu Jareo, Shizue Sazawa, Megumi Mitsui, Daisuke Suzuki, Miki Koga, Makoto Nozaki, 

Website

Transform! is an enjoyable and informative film that will expand the way you think about how disabled people participate in the arts. The debut work of Tomoya Ishida, who is disabled himself as he requires an electric wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, this was his graduation project from Rikkyo University. It would go on to become the 2020 Pia Film Festival Grand Prix winning film which granted it the honour of being played at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

Continue reading “Transform!    へんしんっ! Director: Tomoya Ishida [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]”

Afternoon Landscape Dir: Sohn Koo-yong (2020) South Korea [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]

Afternoon Landscape

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 73 mins.

Director: Sohn Koo-yong

Writer: N/A

Starring: Noh Seung-hyun

Website 

Featured in Yamagata International Film Festival’s New Asian Currents program, a section dedicated to works that invite you “… to worlds captured and imagined by the filmmakers”, Sohn Koo-yong’s Afternoon Landscape draws us into scenes of a town in Seoul on a balmy summer’s day that feel they are drawn from memory.

Life moves at a quiet pace in these scenes, the settings of which feel like a suburban place as we see sleepy sun-dappled streets, riversides, small clothing stores, and more. Mountains form a backdrop for some places and there is a sense that these areas are where the city and countryside meet. The soundscape of cicadas, passing traffic, flowing water, and leaves that rustle together with every gust of wind add to the atmosphere of these slice-of-life moments which feel rife with nostalgia.

Continue reading “Afternoon Landscape Dir: Sohn Koo-yong (2020) South Korea [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]”

Inside the Red Brick Wall 理大圍城 Dirs: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers (2020) [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]

Inside the Red Brick Wall    Inside the Red Brick Wall Film Poster

理大圍城

Release Date: 2020

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

IMDB

Winner of the 27th Hong Kong Film Critics Society prize for Best Film, Inside the Red Brick Wall is, along with Taking Back the Legislature, part of a diptych of films released by an anonymous collective known as Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers that chart the civil unrest in Hong Kong in 2019 as people took to the streets throughout the year to protest the erosions of their democratic rights after the government revealed its Extradition Bill. The resulting pushback by the authorities grew in brutality and even lethality as the protests wore on. In one of the most infamous examples late in 2019, police lay siege to protestors who had gathered at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

For 13 days, protestors who had gathered at the university to support the blockading of the nearby Cross-Harbour Tunnel endured police attacks that turned the environment into a veritable war zone until, amidst dwindling supplies and morale, they had to face the difficult decision of whether to hold out or face the uncertain consequences of surrendering to authorities who had been documented on social media using extreme force when arresting journalists, medics, and university staff who had earlier tried to leave. This action was caught by members of the film collective who were at the university and determined to document the experience at a time when police were preventing journalists from reporting.

Continue reading “Inside the Red Brick Wall 理大圍城 Dirs: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers (2020) [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]”

Saikyou Koroshiya Densetsu Kunioka Kanzenhan, How We Work How We Live, Gekijouban Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu Spain-hen, Love’s Quarter-final Game, Uta to Hitsuji to Hitsujikai, Cosmetic DNA Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, AGAIN!

Reiko is lost in the woods in Loft

I hope you are well.

This is the second trailer post of the week (first one here). Prisoners of the Ghostland is also released in Japan. Since it’s Halloween season, I have been watching horror movies: Ghost House, The House of Witches, The House of Clocks, The House of Lost Souls. These are low-budget Italian horror movies by Lenzi and Fulci. While they are far from the directors best works, they each have something that makes them worth watching – great set, cinematography etc. I haven’t decided what I will review for Halloween yet but the Heroic Purgatory podcast has given me an idea…

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Saikyou Koroshiya Densetsu Kunioka Kanzenhan, How We Work How We Live, Gekijouban Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu Spain-hen, Love’s Quarter-final Game, Uta to Hitsuji to Hitsujikai, Cosmetic DNA Japanese Film Trailers”

Onoda – 10,000 Nights In The Jungle, Child of Kamiari Month, The Laws of the Universe: Part 2 Elohim Chapter, Gekijouban Macross Δ Movie 2: Zettai Live!!!!!!, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2205: Aratanaru Tabidachi – Zenshou: Take Off, The Sound of Grass Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend.

Reiko researches in the film Loft

I hope you are well.

This is a two-part trailer post because there are a lot of films going out. I’ll keep this brief since I am providing coverage of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (preview one and preview two) and I want to watch as many films as possible! I reviewed one of the films playing at Yamagata when it got screened at Japan Cuts 2021: Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions.

What are the first batch of films released this weekend?

Continue reading “Onoda – 10,000 Nights In The Jungle, Child of Kamiari Month, The Laws of the Universe: Part 2 Elohim Chapter, Gekijouban Macross Δ Movie 2: Zettai Live!!!!!!, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2205: Aratanaru Tabidachi – Zenshou: Take Off, The Sound of Grass Japanese Film Trailers”

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021: Online from October 7–14

The 2021 edition of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival kicks off in an hour’s time and it is online. You can watch the opening ceremony wherever you are in the world via the YouTube video below.

Most of the films are region-locked for Japan only but there are plenty of events and talks that are available globally. Here’s a preview post I put together for V-Cinema last week

Continue reading “Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021: Online from October 7–14”

Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions 二重のまち 交代地のうたを編む Dirs: Haruka Komori, Natsumi Seo (2021) [Japan Cuts 2021]

Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions   Nijuu no machi koutai-chi no uta o amu Film Poster

二重のまち 交代地のうたを編む Nijuu no machi koutai-chi no uta o amu

Release Date: February 27th, 2021

Duration: 79 mins.

Director: Haruka Komori, Natsumi Seo,

Writer: Natsumi Seo

Starring: Haruka Koda, Haruka Sakai, Kou Leon Yonekawa, Aoshi Miura,

Website

From an outsider’s perspective, the destruction inflicted by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami wiped away whole towns, cities, and lives from the landscape of North East Japan. For people who lived through the disaster and remain alive, those things never disappeared, they still exist as memories underneath the changed landscape. This is the sense captured by Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions, a documentary that records a workshop designed to bring out these memories.

Continue reading “Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions 二重のまち 交代地のうたを編む Dirs: Haruka Komori, Natsumi Seo (2021) [Japan Cuts 2021]”

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin wa Ima mo Moeteiru ka?, Riku wa Yowakunai Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend Again!

Charisma Yabuki (Yakusho) by the Charisma Tree

I hope you are well.

This is part three of the trailer posts covering the 19 Japanese titles that were released into the wild. You can find part one here and part two here. This one covers the anime.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first animated Lupin III film, we’re getting some re-releases ahead of a new TV anime (more details here) that gets released next week.

Here is the anime for the weekend!

Continue reading “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin wa Ima mo Moeteiru ka?, Riku wa Yowakunai Japanese Film Trailers”