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Maggie 메기 Dir: Yi Ok-seop (2018) South Korea Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Maggie   

메기

Running Time: 88 mins.

Release Date: October 2018

Director: Yi Ok-seop

Writer: Yi Ok-seop, Koo Kyo-hwan (Screenplay),

Starring: Lee Ju-young, Moon So-ri, Koo Kyo-hwan, Lee Ju-yeong, Mun So-ri, Koo Gyo-Hwan, Myeong Gye-nam, Kim Kkobbi Flowerain,

IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/c09.html

Winner of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019’s Grand Prix (Best Picture Award) as well as Busan International Film Festival 2018’s CGV Art House Award and Citizens’ Critic Award, Maggie heralds a new directing talent in Yi Ok-Seop, someone who brings a lively verve to her examination of how doubt can infect everything and how such an infection should be cured by seeking the truth. It’s a large topic tackled with a disparate range of elements from a talking catfish to mysterious seismic activities and audiences will be forgiven for having doubts of their own as to how everything links up and if it will be satisfying but it works in the end.

Continue reading “Maggie 메기 Dir: Yi Ok-seop (2018) South Korea Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

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Just Only Love, Kingdom, Naminori Office e Yokoso, Crayon Shin-chan Movie 27: Shinkon Ryokou Hurricane – Ushinawareta Hiroshi, Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale, Itsuka kagayaite ita kanojo wa, Chronos Jaunter, Godot of the Emotos, Centre line Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

This is my first trailer post since being in Japan, travelling to Himeji and other cities in Hyogo Prefecture as well as places like Nara and Kyoto, working at the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) and then travelling to Kamakura, Tokyo and places in central Japan that I will probably never visit again because I like Tokyo and Kansai more and time is always short.

Apologies for the radio silence in terms of trailers but I have cranked out reviews from OAFF and I’m still working on interviews with a friend. When it’s all done, it will come to 24 or 25 pieces, which isn’t bad. I’m most pleased that I will be able to get everything released by mid-May. Most of it came out during the festival period back in March. It has been quick. I can see where further improvements can be made so if I get another shot at this, it’ll be better.

You can see the current reviews and one interview over at V-Cinema by clicking on this link.

For this blog, I have posted:

 A preview article, Nunchaku and Soul, Randen, Sisterhood, Hana, The CrossingStill Human, The Eternity Between Seconds, and Wild Tour.

As well as OAFF, I posted about the Japanese Film Festival Ireland , The Korea Independent Animation Festival, and Udine Far East Film Festival and, over at Anime UK News, an article for Kickstarter for a cool stop-motion animation that tells a supernatural tale called The Depth of Yagen. I’ll post more information on here at some point.

Rambling over. You’re here for the trailers for films released this week. Here they are:

Continue reading “Just Only Love, Kingdom, Naminori Office e Yokoso, Crayon Shin-chan Movie 27: Shinkon Ryokou Hurricane – Ushinawareta Hiroshi, Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale, Itsuka kagayaite ita kanojo wa, Chronos Jaunter, Godot of the Emotos, Centre line Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the Udine Far East Film Festival 2019 (April 26th to May 4th)

The Udine Far East Film Festival 2019 runs from April 26th to May 4th and has a lot to offer audiences eager for the latest in Asian cinema. This year’s edition has a special on retrospective on Korean cinema entitled ‘100 Years Of Korean Cinema’, which has 23 films programmed, and organisers are also going to hand Hong Kong star Anthony Wong the Golden Mulberry Award for Outstanding Achievement. Two of his film, Wong’s debut My Name Ain’t Suzie (1985) and the recent Still Human (2018), will also be screened.

Indeed, there are a few films I’ve already seen as part of work in Osaka with The Crossing and Still Human being my absolute must-recommends. From Japan, there are nine films in total, a few from the festival circuit such as a collection of political dystopian tales, Ten Years Japan, and Melancholic, an acerbic workplace comedy involving onsen and contract killers.

On top of film screenings, there’s also the industry side of things and Focus Asia 2019, a section where 15 projects are mainlined for international co-productions by a group of judges, has selected two Japanese projects, the first an offshoot of Ten Years Japan, Plan 75, by Chie Hayakawa and produced by Eiko Mizuno-Gray, and the second looks totally new. The Convenience Store features the film critic Mark Schilling (Japan Times), producer Emi Ueyama (Wasted Eggs, At the Terrace) and director Satoshi Miki (Adrift in Tokyo).

That was an unwieldy paragraph. On to the trailers!

Here is what on offer:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Udine Far East Film Festival 2019 (April 26th to May 4th)”

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The Crossing Dir: Bai Xue (China) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

The Crossing 

Running Time: 99 mins.

Release Date: March 15th, 2019

Director:  Bai Xue

Writer: Bai Xue (Screenplay),

Starring: Huang Yao, Sunny Sun, Carmen Soup, Ni Hongjie, Elena Kong, Kai Chi Liu, Jiao Gang,

Website IMDB

The Crossing is a coming-of-age film set to the background of a smuggling ring operating between Hong Kong and mainland China. It is a remarkably confident debut from writer/director Bai Xue and captures a new form of living what with the vagaries of living a transnational life and the opportunities travel affords.

Sixteen-year-old Peipei (Huang Yao) is a kid who lives in Shenzhen with her mother (Ni Hongjie) but attends a high school in Hong Kong, a privilege granted by her father (Kai Chi Liu) who comes from the island. As a result of her parent’s former union, Peipei can catch a train between cities, effectively crossing a border every day. Customs officials pay her little mind because of her school uniform, innocent face and quiet demeanour.

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Still Human 淪落人 Dir: Oliver Siu Kuen Chan Hong Kong (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Still Human 淪落人   

Running Time: 115 mins.

Release Date: Summer 2018

Director: Oliver Siu Kuen Chan

Writer: Oliver Siu Kuen Chan (Screenplay),

Starring: Anthony Wong, Crisel Consunji, Sam Lee, Cecilia Yip, Himmy Wong,

IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/c12.html

The city state of Hong Kong has been the setting for big emotions found in heroic bloodshed actioners, crime thrillers, romantic dramas, and martial arts extravaganzas. However, one of the most satisfying films to come out of the place in recent years is a small-scale drama about the friendship between a disabled man and his carer. Still Human is the debut feature film from Oliver Siu Kuen Chan and it has won accolades such as Best New Director at the 2019 Asian Film Awards, the Netpac Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival 2018 and the Audience Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019. With a mixture of assured storytelling and great acting, it provides a moving drama that is sure to win over anyone who watches it. Just keep a hanky ready.

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Hana Dir: Mai Nakanishi (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Hana    Hana Film Poster

Running Time: 13 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Mai Nakanishi

Writer: Mai Nakanishi (Screenplay), 

Cinematography: Jun-sang Lee 

Starring: Jeong-bi Lee, Hee-Jin Jean, Do-Eun Kim,

Website IMDB

This is a re-write of my review that was published on V-Cinema a month ago. Corrections and a bit more thoughtful analysis were made as well as references to favourite directors. I want to see more from Mai Nakanishi.

Hana is a Korea-Japan co-production from newbie director Mai Nakanishi. Originally from Tokyo, she has spent much of her career abroad working in various roles on a wide range of international projects including working as an assistant director for Eric Khoo and as producer for Sion Sono. Nakanishi has also worked as producer on the Japanese segments for the horror anthology ABCs of DEATH 2. Most tellingly, she is a founder and director of Scream Queen FilmFest Tokyo, the only female-centric genre film festival in Asia. In short, she is a horror fan, and when she was selected by the Busan International Film Festival to be a fellow at the Asian Film Academy 2016, she produced this short film under the mentorship of the world-renowned Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-Liang. The final product is very much rooted in horror, her favourite playground, and is an effective short.

A home is a reflection of who lives there and how it is decorated and lived in says a lot about a person and how they want to shape their lives (which is why it can be terrifying entering one if you stop and think about it long enough). Couple that idea with the existential one of how we can never truly know another person, pressures and desires and all, then someone seemingly normal can actually be stranger than imagined which is what happens in this neat horror short.

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A Preview of of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland 2019

Ireland will get a slew of the latest cinematic delights from Japan when theJapanese Film Festival Ireland 2019 Image Japanese Film Festival Ireland gears up for its latest run. It all starts on April 6th and last until the 20th with screenings of a selection of films at venues in Dublin, Galway, Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, Sligo, Waterford and Dundalk.

There are many highlights, many of which have set screens ablaze at the likes of Japan Cuts 2018, three of the biggest titles to get a release in 2019 from Third Windows Films and the latest anime to be licensed Anime Limited. There is also a slew of indie films, only a couple of which have been screened at something like the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019.

As is always the case, whether new or old, whether confirmed for a home format release or not, seeing these films on the big screen and sharing it with others is an exciting proposition and I hope you can find something that sparks your imagination.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “A Preview of of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland 2019”

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Korea Independent Animation Festival 2019 in Japan

For fans of Asian animation in the English-speaking world, Korea is a bit of an unknown quantity. Despite a few brave bloggers trying to keep track of various titles that get released, actually getting to see the films is pretty hard to do. So, if you are interested in Korean animation and are in Japan, this event will be perfect for you.

Korean Independent Animation Festival 2019 Image

With the onset of Spring, cherry blossom petals will shower the streets whilst on cinema screens will be the delightful sight of Korean animation. Throughout April, at three different locations, the Korea Independent Animation Film Festival will take place.

Osaka goes first from April 06th to the 10th at the Planet +1 cinema, which is located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Nakazakicho near Umeda,

Tokyo gets it from April 19th to the 21st at the Uplink Theatre in trendy Shibuya,

Nagoya is a bit later from July 06th to the 07th at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, near Sakae station.

A collection of 29 films will be screened and there will be talks over the course of the festival. The films consist of two programmes dedicated to Korean animated shorts, a programme of shorts from creators based in Asia, and a feature film. These are mainly award films of “Indie-AniFest2018”, which took place in Seoul, and there’s a real variety to the techniques used in animation from stop-motion to 2D in various artistic styles, 3D, CG and even rotoscoping. Each of the shorts programmes and the feature clocks in at around an hour, making this an easily digestible series of screenings. Furthermore, the Osaka run has special guests and a special programme dedicated to the Kansai region – Kansai short program (62 minutes / 8 films) “Kansai Resident! Animator Special Feature”!

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The Eternity Between Seconds Dir: Alec Figuracion (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

The Eternity Between Seconds    The Eternity Between Seconds Alec Figuracion (2018) Film Poster

Running Time: 83 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Alec Figuracion

Writer: Alec Figuracion (Screenplay)

Starring: Yeng Constanino, TJ Trinidad,

Website IMDB

There is something about liminal spaces such as airports which allows the mind to wander loose from the moorings that reality keeps us grounded with. While there, free from commitments to family or work, it is possible to drift in a sea of strangers as we travel from one location to the next which is when we reassume responsibility. We can take a break from ourselves and be open, not just to a change in place but also thinking. This is an idea explored realistically and relatably in The Eternity Between Seconds, a Filipino film where two weary souls meet and offer respite from life’s worries.

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Wild Tour ワイルドツアー Dir: Sho Miyake (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Wild Tour    Wild Tour Film Poster

ワイルドツアーWairudo Tsua-

Running Time: 67 mins.

Release Date: Summer 2018

Director:  Sho Miyake

Writer: Sho Miyake (Screenplay),

Starring: Honoka Ito, Ryutaro Yasumitsu, Osuke Kuribayashi, Takamasa Yamazaki,

Website IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/if10.html

Sho Miyake made waves with his 2012 sophomore feature Playback (2012), a time slip drama shot in monochrome which was officially screened at the 65th Locarno International Film Festival and won him international attention. Since then he has refused to conform to any one genre and dabbled in a myriad of projects with no common theme. 2014 saw him make the hip-hop documentary THE COCKPIT and that was followed by a 2017 period drama, The Courier. His most recent feature, the human drama And Your Bird Can Sing (2018), based on a novel by Yasushi Sato, was played at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival and this year’s Berlinale. He has another film from 2018 and it goes somewhere else entirely as it combines a documentary about a scientific club with stories of first love.

Continue reading “Wild Tour ワイルドツアー Dir: Sho Miyake (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”