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An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Takayama Kohei OAFF Interview

Kohei Takayama was born in Chiba prefecture in 1987. After graduating from Waseda University, he began making indie films such as Ni naru (2015) and Kudaranai kudaranai kono sekai (2016). He was at the Osaka Asian Film Festival to present the world premiere of his latest work, The Path Leading to Love (2018). The story is a downbeat tale of a talented manga artist wasting his skills thanks to alcohol. The main protagonist, Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka) lacks the ability to overcome his alcoholism even though it has ruined relationships with his family, his ex-girlfriend Sawako (Mika Dehara) and threatens his relationship with his current girlfriend Yasuko (Yumi Mukai). The story refuses to look away from the negative aspects of alcoholism and asks the audience to follow a man on his self-destructive path. What makes it a gripping watch is the powerful acting performances from the cast.

Kohei Takayama kindly gave an interview on the penultimate day of the festival at the press centre. Acting as interpreter was Kayoko Nakanishi who was invaluable in helping the conversation flow smoothly and always offering nuanced interpretation of what turned into a philosophical conversation based on the intelligent and thoughtful work of Takayama.

Continue reading “An Interview with Kohei Takayama, director of “The Path Leading to Love” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

The Path Leading to Love

アイニ向カッテ Ai ni Mukatte

Running Time: 76 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Kohei Takayama

Writer: Kohei Takayama (Screenplay),

Starring: Ippei Tanaka, Yumi Mukai, Mika Dehara, Suzuka Minagawa, Koichi Sakaguchi,

Alcohol addiction and writers go together like cookies and cream, or so it seems. The combination of self-destructive artist and liquid fire has been the subject of films like The Lost Weekend (1945), Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and works based on the life and novels of Charles Bukowski. The need to blot out reality comes from many sources and The Path Leading to Love is a quietly powerful film that shows how alcohol blights the life of someone too filled with doubt, cowardice, weakness, and selfishness to overcome it for the sake of others.

The drunk is Shosuke (Ippei Tanaka). He could be a promising manga artist but he cannot even approach the foothills of creativity because his alcoholism pushes away his desire to work. It also pushed away his ex-girlfriend Sawako and threatens his relationship with his current partner, the loyal but lovelorn Yasuko.

Continue reading “The Path Leading to Love アイニ向カッテ Dir: Kohei Takayama (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD

Third Window Films are having a cracking year releasing great films what with three Sono titles The Whispering Star/The Sion Sono and Antiporno and the Osamu Tezuka anime. Here’s a great title which I reviewed last year called Suffering of Ninko which will get released on July 23rd on Blu-ray and DVD.

Special Features:
Dual format DVD & BLURAY
45 minute interview with the director
“Strawberry Jam” Short film

Director Norihiro Niwatsukino trades in combining animation and live-action to make a fun horror comedy with shades of shunga and samurai action as well as plenty of earthy humour. With beautiful women and ghosts aplenty, this comes close to being like the 70s exploitation films many fans of Japanese cinema will recognise. Here’s more about the film:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release “SUFFERING OF NINKO” on July 23rd on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD”

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Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Dynamite Graffiti Tasuku Emoto

I hope everybody is doing well!

Think about the people who live in the western part of Japan who have lost a lot due to the heavy rain and consider donating to relief efforts if you can spare the money. Times are tough so prayers and positive energy and raising awareness is also good. Here’s a link to Time Out which has a number of options. Good news came in the form of the boys and the coach rescued from the cave in Thailand. Well done rescuers and the people who supported them.

As for me, I ducked out of some social engagements due to a physical injury I’ve had since last week Monday but I watched three films and got three film reviews done. I also watched Sicario II: Soldado in a cinema with my mother and sister and really enjoyed what turned out to be a thrilling film. Great performances from Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro and some hair-raising action scenes! I posted a preview of the awesome-looking Asian Film Festival Dallas which has lots of great Japanese films. I also posted an old interview from the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) involving Rina Tanaka and her cast and crew from her film, Filled with Steam. The Fantasia International Film Festival launched this week in Canada and it has some killer titles!

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Ginmaku-ban shonan no kaze ichigoichie, Pokemon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, Shino Can’t Say Her Own Name, Watashi no jinsei nano ni, Kalanchoe, Akabeko, Kono machi de kuraseba, Peace Nippon, Everyday is Alzheimer’s The Final Death Becomes Us Japanese Film Trailers”

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An Interview with Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, and Kaori Takeshita, the Cast and Crew of the film “Filled With Steam” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

At the Osaka Asian Film Festival, Filled with Steam (2017) was one of the films screened at the Housen section, a place reserved for films that received support from the Housen Cultural Foundation. This organisation aims to further film study and production in graduate schools across Japan with the aim of “preserving and helping grow film culture in Japan” through funding shorts and features. This is the second year that OAFF ran a dedicated Housen section and this year there were three films, Girl Returned (2017), Protest (2016), and Filled with Steam.

Filled with Steam is a bittersweet 30-minute dramedy that details a relationship full of secrets as a woman named Midoriko (Ayako Mizuno) and her husband Daisuke (Takehito Sato) drift apart. Midoriko is visiting a pregnancy classroom run by a flamboyant teacher named Miho (Kaori Takeshita) unbeknownst to Daisuke but a series of twists forces the couple to confront the substance of their marriage. Directed by Rina Tanaka, the film displays a talented director working with great people and interesting material to make a thought-provoking human drama. It was warmly received by its audience at its world premiere at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, but questions remained for this correspondent about the use of comedy and the late-stage intervention of a baby. Fortunately. the cast and crew of the film provided answers in a group interview.

Filled with Steam Team
Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, KAori Takeshita

This interview was conducted after the screening with the help of Kayoko Nakanishi, a member of OAFF’s International Press team, who acted as an interpreter and got involved in the lively interview with some questions and comments due to her own enjoyment of the film. Taking part in the interview from the film’s cast and staff were the director, Rina Tanaka, a graduate with a Masters from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Film & New Media, Directing course, the actors Takehito Sato and Kaori Takeshita, the film’s writer Ryota Kato and the editor, Fixy Lee.

Continue reading “An Interview with Rina Tanaka, Ryo Kato, Fixy Lee, Takehito Sato, and Kaori Takeshita, the Cast and Crew of the film “Filled With Steam” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018″

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Japanese Films at the Asian Film Festival Dallas 2018 (July 19 – 26)

The Asian Film Festival Dallas runs from July 19th to 26th and is continuing its mission of bringing movies from Asian and Asian-American filmmakers living around the world to audiences in Dallas, Texas in order to celebrate and support emerging and established filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through films.

I’m here to cover the Japanese films and the selection is really surprising and good. Many of these Dallas Premieres and some US Premieres with the likes of Riding Uphill, 3Ft and Ball, and The Reverse Diaries being real surprises. These three look like solid dramas and offer an alternative look at Japan. There’s the entertainment movies like We Make Antiques and Laughing Under the Clouds and there’s a classic in the form of Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter.

There are some great non-Japanese films like Edward Yang’s phenomenal Yi Yi and the HK crime thriller The Brink and a bunch of Korean films like The Mimic and Believer. There’s a lot on offer!

America is a big place and you’re not going to be able to see many titles on the big screen if you’re not living in New York and able to enjoy Japan Cuts and the New York Asian Film Festival. If you’re in Texas or near it, this is going to be your best opportunity to see them especially since some of these may not be available on streaming services.

Anyway, here are the films! Just click on the titles to be taken to the corresponding page on the festival site!

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Asian Film Festival Dallas 2018 (July 19 – 26)”

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Room Laundering, The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine, Rainbow Days, 36.8°C Sanjurokudohachibu, One Man’s Son, You, Your, Yours, K SEVEN STORIES Episode1 「R:B BLAZE」, Okinawa 1965, Into the Shin Guu, Hooked on the Jomon, Hotaru no Kawa no Mamoribito Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, you lovely people!

Room Laundering Film Image

I hope you are well!

I’ve had a busy week packed full of fun things. Sunday started with VCinema posting my review of The Blood of Wolves and then I posted a review for Passage of Life. I then posted a preview for the Fantasia International Film Festival over in Montreal, Canada which looks absolutely fantastic. Vcinema also published my review for The Scythian Lamb. In the real world, the weather has been great and I continued with my day job and went to a funding meeting with a friend for her film festival. I also met Prince Charles at work and I had the chance to shake his hand and talk to him about my role in an exhibition! I have a couple of invites for drinks next week but I’ve got to get two film reviews filed away and do some more festival work before I can think about them.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Room Laundering, The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine, Rainbow Days, 36.8°C Sanjurokudohachibu, One Man’s Son, You, Your, Yours, K SEVEN STORIES Episode1 「R:B BLAZE」, Okinawa 1965, Into the Shin Guu, Hooked on the Jomon, Hotaru no Kawa no Mamoribito Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival (July 12th – August 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival starts in Montreal next week on July 12th and runs until August 02nd. The selection of Japanese films is simply stunning with titles from Miki Satoshi, Takashi Miike,  Nobuhiko Obayashi, Sion Sono and more. However, there are a selection of indie film titles that look absolutely killer as well.

Fantasia Header Image

This is the 22nd edition of the festival and it has become a focal point for filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists, and audiences eager to see a diverse slate of films before they hit the DVD or internet and take part in film culture. There are lots of guests and great experiences to be had and a chance to get involved with dictating which films get the hype behind them, so please choose Japanese, and try some of the titles listed here.

So what’s lined up?

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival (July 12th – August 02nd)”

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Passage of Life  僕の帰る場所 Dir:  Akio Fujimoto (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Passage of Life    Passage of Life Film Poster

僕の帰る場所 「Boku no kaerubasho

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: November 25th, 2017

Director:  Akio Fujimoto

Writer: Akio Fujimoto (Screenplay)

Starring: Kaung Myat Thu, Khin Myat Thu, Issace, Htet Myat Naing, Yuki Kitagawa, Kanji Tsuda,

IMDB Website

Immigration is a thorny issue the world over and Japan is not immune to it since its tough stance and refusal to take large numbers of refugees draws criticism from nations which have more open policies. Whether this criticism is fair or not is put to the side in Passage of Life, as drama trumps politics.

One of two films at the Osaka Asian Film Festival looking at the immigrant experience of people who are of Burmese extraction and living in Japan, the other being My Country, My Home, it is shot with remarkable confidence considering it is the debut feature-film from Osaka-born director Akio Fujimoto who uses a documentary film style to show the uncertainties of life as an immigrant feeling the pull of two different cultures.

Continue reading “Passage of Life  僕の帰る場所 Dir:  Akio Fujimoto (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Punk Samurai Slash Down, The Name, Modern Love, The Trial, The Negotiator: Behind the Reversion of Okinawa, Let’s go! Anpanman: Shine! Kurun and the Star of Life, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad, MANDALAY STAR My Journey to Myanmar Folk Music, Bridge to Tomorrow Memories of 1989, Girls’ Encounter, The Second Security Unit Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tourism Film Image 2 Nina Endo and SUMIRE

I hope everyone is feeling great!

I’ve had a good week watching some fantastic films and enjoying the good weather the UK is experiencing. I also got a lot festival press work done months in advance of an event with a press release, synopses, and contacts ready to go out.

The New York Asian Film Festival kicked off yesterday and two of my reviews have gone live on V-Cinema: The Hungry Lion and Dynamite Graffiti and there are a couple more waiting to be published. Over here on this blog I published a review for TOURISM and an interview with the director of TOURISM, Daisuke Miyazaki.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Punk Samurai Slash Down, The Name, Modern Love, The Trial, The Negotiator: Behind the Reversion of Okinawa, Let’s go! Anpanman: Shine! Kurun and the Star of Life, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad, MANDALAY STAR My Journey to Myanmar Folk Music, Bridge to Tomorrow Memories of 1989, Girls’ Encounter, The Second Security Unit Japanese Film Trailers”