Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie  グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇 Dir: Izuru Narushima (2020)

Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie 

Goodbye Life Comedy of Starting From a Lie Film Poster

グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇  Guddobai: Uso kara Hajimaru Jinsei Kigeki

Release Date: February 14th, 2020

Duration: 106 mins.

Director: Izuru Narushima

Writer: Satoko Okudera (Script), Keralino Sandrovich (Stage play)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Eiko Koike, Ai Hashimoto, Tae Kimura, Nobue Iketani, Asami Mizukawa, Yoji Tanaka, Gaku Hamada, Yutaka Matsushige,

Website IMDB

This film can best be described with the phrase, “less than the sum of its parts,”

By no means awful, Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie fails to live up to expectations.

The elements were all there for a promising screwball comedy.

It finds its origins in an unfinished work by Osamu Dazai that was turned into a stageplay by Keralino Sandrovich of absurdist comedy Crime or Punishment?!? fame.

Director Izuru Narushima has a filmography stacked with solid titles, the best being Rebirth (2011). Scriptwriter Satoko Okudera, who has worked with Narushima previously, has a fine selection of other titles rich with emotions like Summer Wars (2009) and The Wolf Children (2012).

There is a cast to DIE for with affable-to-the-point-of-attractive and very smooth-talking leading man Yo Oizumi taking the lead as a philandering fool with a bevy of beauties played by some of the most talented actresses currently working, including Tae Kimura (Starfish Hotel, Zero Focus), Ai Hashimoto (The Kirishima Thing), and Asami Mizukawa (A Beloved Wife). Plus Yutaka Matsushige and Gaku Hamada are on hand to provide ample support. Most promisingly, Eiko Koike, a thoroughly underused thesp was reprising her role from the theatre version. With so much talent, it was a surprise that the final result is so underwhelming.

The story takes place in post-war Japan, a nation transforming itself and shedding its old identity. As part of this, the locales are the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s black markets and the more dignified air of editorial rooms of literary magazines. They soon crash together in an unlikely way through the meeting of two people from those two different worlds for a very sordid reason that promises comedy gold.

Continue reading “Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie  グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇 Dir: Izuru Narushima (2020)”

10 and 16 Years. Far Away., Ararat, 10-nen, Shibuya wo Samayotte A Decade of Roaming, Dreams on Fire, Fate/Grand Order: Shinsei Entaku Ryouiki Camelot 2 – Paladin; Agateram Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again!

The Real Thing Tsuji (Win Morisaki) and Ukiyo (Kaho Tsuchimura) 2

I hope you are feeling fine.

This is part two of the trailer post. I split them up when there are ten or more films released on a weekend because I think it makes the post easier to read. Here’s the first post.

What else is on release this weekend?

Continue reading “10 and 16 Years. Far Away., Ararat, 10-nen, Shibuya wo Samayotte A Decade of Roaming, Dreams on Fire, Fate/Grand Order: Shinsei Entaku Ryouiki Camelot 2 – Paladin; Agateram Japanese Film Trailers”

Remain in Twilight, Beautiful Lure – A Modern Tale of “Painted Skin”, Gekijouban Hontou ni Atta Kowai Hanashi Jiko Bukken Geinin 2, Ura Zokki, The Grapes of Joy Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

The Real Thing Tsuji (Win Morisaki) and Minako (Akari Fukunaga)

I hope you are all well.

The latest episode of thee Heroic Purgatory Asian Cinema Podcast is out and on it I talked with John about the Chloe Zhao film Nomadland. Please have a listen if you have the time! The next episode will be dedicated to the Takeshi Kitano film Hana-bi

This week I posted about the Hawaii International Film Festival’s J-Fest programme which is now online for viewers in the US. I also posted a review of Koji Fukada’s drama The Real Thing.

This is part one of a two-part trailer post.

What is released this weekend?

At least one film that was pushed back from its original release due to the State of Emergency. Remain in Twilight was supposed to have come out at the end of April along with Kakegurui the Movie: Zettai Zetsumei Russian Roulette but with cinemas shuttering it was moved to May. The State of Emergency was extended as Covid-19 cases have risen to scary levels and so some cinemas remain shut. No sign of Kekgurui‘s release (unless I missed something).  

Continue reading “Remain in Twilight, Beautiful Lure – A Modern Tale of “Painted Skin”, Gekijouban Hontou ni Atta Kowai Hanashi Jiko Bukken Geinin 2, Ura Zokki, The Grapes of Joy Japanese Film Trailers”

The Real Thing 本気のしるし Dir: Koji Fukada (2020)

The Real ThingThe Real Thing (Movie Version) Film Poster

本気のしるし  Honki no Shirushi

Release Date: October 09th, 2020

Duration: 232 mins.

Director: KojFukada

Writer: Shintaro Mitani, Koji Fukada (Script), Mochiru Hoshisato (Original Novel)

Starring: Win Morisaki, Kaho Tsuchimura, Kei Ishibashi, Akari Fukunaga, Yukiya Kitamura, Shohei Uno, Shugo Oshinari, Masaki Naito,

Website IMDB

The Real Thing is a 10-episode TV drama adapted from a manga originally created by Mochiru Hoshisato. It was first aired by Nagoya Broadcasting Network in 2020 and later edited into a theatrical version. This appears to be only the second time that writer/director Koji Fukada (reviews of his films) has adapted someone else’s work for the screen as he tells the romantic drama surrounding a successful salaryman who throws his life away after he meets a mystery woman and pursues her, driven on by an emotion new to him even if it promises his own destruction.

Continue reading “The Real Thing 本気のしるし Dir: Koji Fukada (2020)”

Hawaii International Film Festival 2021’s J-Fest Film Program (May 13 -23)

Hawaii International Film Festival’s will launch their first ever J-Fest Film Program. This is a 10-day event that will feature 7-8 new Japanese films and Q&As with the films’ directors as well as a special live panel discussion about the evolution of Japanese music using the films as inspiration. Check each of the film’s pages via the festival site to see who gets a Q&A and how to book tickets.

These are all online screenings. Individual tickets cost $8 and a season pass costs $45. This festival is only available to stream in the US and some films are restricted to certain states.

What are the films that have been programmed?

Continue reading “Hawaii International Film Festival 2021’s J-Fest Film Program (May 13 -23)”

Love and the Grand Tug-of-war, Mirai e no Katachi, Nannochan’s World War 2 and Films by Tadanari Okamoto and Kihachiro Kawamoto Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone.

I hope you are all well.

I rushed to publish this post without the introduction so here it is.

The state of emergency has been extended for the rest of the month in Japan. Nobody knows what is going on and the government is still determined to push ahead with the Olympics.

This week I posted reviews of two OAFF films, Among Four of Us and A New Wind Blows. I also posted news of a streaming event of indie Japanese films run by the Chicago Japan Film Collective. Nine titles and, if you book an early-bird pass, you can get them for an astoundingly low price!

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Love and the Grand Tug-of-war, Mirai e no Katachi, Nannochan’s World War 2 and Films by Tadanari Okamoto and Kihachiro Kawamoto Japanese Film Trailers”

Stream Contemporary Japanese Film with the Chicago Japan Film Collective (May 25th to 31st)

Chicago Japan Film Collective is the first Japanese film festival in Midwest. From May 25 to the 31, they will stream nine films, a mixture of dramas and documentaries, many of them highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike – you can read some of my reviews and interviews with two of the directors via links below!!! – that give you a good insight into what contemporary indie films in Japan look like.

An early-bird ticket is available and costs only $13 until the 15th. I cannot emphasise how much value for money this is considering you get nine high-quality films. Tickets are handled by Eventive and it looks easy to register with. I’m assuming that this is region-locked and probably only available in America.

What plays at the festival?

Continue reading “Stream Contemporary Japanese Film with the Chicago Japan Film Collective (May 25th to 31st)”

A New Wind Blows 新しい風 Dir: Yutaro Nakamura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

A New Wind Blows  A New Wind Blows Film Poster

新しい風 Atarashii Kaze

Release Date: April 29th, 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 one of two films by Yutaro Nakamura at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021. An actor, writer and director, these films mark his ninth and tenth efforts in the director’s chair. While his other work Sweet Bitter Candy was a standard drama, A New Wind Blows presented an intriguing indie youth story that mixes the dreams and madness of teens in Tokyo in a narrative with some darkness and a lot of optimism.

Continue reading “A New Wind Blows 新しい風 Dir: Yutaro Nakamura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Among Four of Us 4人のあいだで Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Among Four of Us

4人のあいだで 4-Ri no Aida de

Release Date: April 23rd, 2021

Duration: 40 mins.

Director: Mayu Nakamura

Writer: Mayu Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Fusako Urabe, Nahana, Kota Kusano,

OAFF IMDB

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a number of high concept movies using the reality of lockdown situations to try new spins on old stories with social media platforms playing key roles. At the outset we had Zoom seances (The Host), actors in isolation making a horror film via videos recorded separately and edited together (One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote), and, later in the pandemic, actor’s on the same set voicing the SNS comments their characters write as they experience a tentative romance mediated by the internet (Here and There).

Most of these films will be curios of an age where many of our interactions were confined online due to lockdowns but Mayu Nakamura’s 20-minute short Among Four of Us feels both specific to our moment and but also timeless as strong writing and performances create a profoundly sad examination of the human condition.

The central conceit of the film is a socially distanced late-night conversation that takes place between three friends, Koji (Kota Kusano), Fusae (Fusako Urabe), and Nanae (Nahana). 20 years previously, they were in the same drama club in college. Since then they have gone their separate ways with Fusae and Nanae having given up and settled down to domesticity while only Koji is still acting. Haunted by lockdown loneliness and an incident with a fourth member of their theatre troupe, Koji attempts to resurrect the friendly and fun nature of their former relationship with beers and a laidback talk in a park.

Koji (Kota Kusano)

Continue reading “Among Four of Us 4人のあいだで Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

The Past is Always New The Future is Always Nostalgic: Photographer Daido Moriyama, In the Realm of the Senses (Digital Restoration), Along the Sea, Funny Bunny, Mashin Sentai Kiramager vs. Ryusoulger, Kazutaro Nakamura x Ukon Onoe ART Kabuki Hana no Koro Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Along the Sea Film Image 2

I hope you are all well.

Due to the new State of Emergency in Japan, many films were pulled from theatrical runs (including TWO DARIO ARGENTO FLICKS!!!!). Some major chains have closed – such as TOHO cinemas in major metropolitan areas like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Some mini theatres are remaining open, most likely because the cost of closing would kill them off.

Wherever you are, stay safe and stay stoic. Movies and games can help you stay sane. When the next round of elections come up, vote out the appalling politicians.

In terms of myself, I watched NomadlandThe Sound of MetalWithout RemorseViolent CopOut of the Shadows, and played the Resident Evil 8 demo. I wrote about the films Along the Sea and Koji Fukada’s gripping 10-episode drama The Real Thing.

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “The Past is Always New The Future is Always Nostalgic: Photographer Daido Moriyama, In the Realm of the Senses (Digital Restoration), Along the Sea, Funny Bunny, Mashin Sentai Kiramager vs. Ryusoulger, Kazutaro Nakamura x Ukon Onoe ART Kabuki Hana no Koro Japanese Film Trailers”