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We Are Little Zombies, To the Ends of the Earth, Don’t Cry, Mr. Ogre, For Whom the Alchemist Exists, Shiba Park, Junichi, Love Drives You Crazy, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Kingdom Movie, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Prisma Phantasm, Handling Method for Grumpy Woman, Rascal Does Not Dream of Dreaming Girl the Movie, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 2, Aitachi no Gakko, Toureppu “Kaiju no Kodomo” wo sagashite, Dance! Horror Restaurant, Moeyo! Shippai Joshi Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

The-Gangster-The-Cop-The-Devil-Detective-Jung

I hope you are all well.

This weekend’s trailer post is an epic one as lots of titles are released on Friday and Saturday. My week in blog posts started with a review of the Korean film The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (2019) and then a review of Whole (2019) which I wrote back in March and then a preview of the films that have been programmed for Japan Cuts 2019 – a great selection!

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “We Are Little Zombies, To the Ends of the Earth, Don’t Cry, Mr. Ogre, For Whom the Alchemist Exists, Shiba Park, Junichi, Love Drives You Crazy, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Kingdom Movie, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Prisma Phantasm, Handling Method for Grumpy Woman, Rascal Does Not Dream of Dreaming Girl the Movie, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 2, Aitachi no Gakko, Toureppu “Kaiju no Kodomo” wo sagashite, Dance! Horror Restaurant, Moeyo! Shippai Joshi Japanese Film Trailers”

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2019 (JULY 19–28)

Japan Cuts 2019 is back with its annual showcase of the latest in Japanese films carefully curated by its team of programmers. It is due to kick off in New York in a month’s time and runs from JULY 19–28. The selection looks good and there’s a handy trailer to build up anticipation by revealing a glimpse of all the films on offer!

There is a distinctly youthful and fresh feeling to the roster of directors and writers as well as the stories they tell. Lots of directors are, or were, making their debuts after cutting their teeth in various production roles or they are at the indie end of the spectrum and under-exposed on the festival circuit. Then there is a lot of youth-oriented stories with a lot of coming-of-age tales. That’s not to say that the older generations are forgotten as a documentary and some legendary filmmakers are also on board with Shinya Tsukamoto in New York to show Bullet Ballet as well as his latest film Killing and there is also a doc called I Go Gaga, My Dear about an elderly couple which is getting a lot of play at different fests so that’s a good sign. I’ve seen quite a few of these films, mostly at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival, and so I’ll put links to my reviews if you want to read them.

Some of these films are going to be accompanied by directors and actors and a full list plus bios can be found here. This year’s recipient of the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film is Shinya Tsukamoto, one of the first directors I went and wrote a biography for and reviewed a whole bunch of his films (my favourite being Vital). He is just one of many guests so please check the official website to find out more.

All information comes from old trailer posts and the JAPAN CUTS website.

Here is what has been programmed!

Continue reading “A Preview of Japan Cuts 2019 (JULY 19–28)”

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Whole Dir: Bilal Kawazoe (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Whole

Duration: 45 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Bilal Kawazoe

Writer: Usman Kawazoe (Screenplay),

Starring: Usman Kawazoe, Aoi Ibuki, Kai Hoshino Sandy,

Website IMDB   OAFF

This review was first published on V-Cinema on March 14th

In recent years, the rise of mixed-race Japanese has become a hot topic with “hafu”, a word which is taken from the English word “half”, becoming more visible thanks to sports and entertainment personalities like tennis champ Naomi Osaka and 2015’s Miss Universe Japan Ariana Miyamoto. Even if Japan is pretty ethnically mixed, hafu are visibly different and are often presented as glamorous and fashionable by advertising execs. This ignores the reality of discrimination and ostracisation they face, something which Bilal Kawazoe’s film, WHOLE examines as one of the few recent Japanese efforts to look at this issues surrounding being biracial in a homogeneous society.

Continue reading “Whole Dir: Bilal Kawazoe (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

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The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil 악인전 Dir: Lee Won-Tae (South Korea, 2019)

The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil    TheGangsterTheCopTheDevil_Poster

악인전  Akinjeon

Release Date: May 15th, 2019

Duration: 110 mins.

Director: Lee Won-Tae

Writer: Lee Won-Tae (Screenplay),

Starring: Ma Dong-Seok, Kim Moo-Yul, Kim Sung-Kyu, Yoo Seung-Mok, Choi Min-Chul, Kim Yoon-Sung, Heo Dong-Won, Oh Hee-Joon, Kim Gyu-Ri,

IMDB

“Don’t let the devil win!” reads the tag-line of the film and it’s down to two bad guys to catch the worst man in this glossy thriller where a gangster and a loose-cannon of a cop team up to catch a serial killer.

Apparently based on a true story, the film is set in 2005/6 (best shown by the flip-phones and stubby cameras) and opens with the Devil (Kim Sung-Kyu) cruising the streets of Cheonan city looking for a victim for his murderous impulses. We see his M.O. of rear-ending cars on lonely roads and viciously knifing the unsuspecting driver when pretending to check on their safety. The narrative then shuffles him into the background to quickly sketch out the rivalry between two rogues, hulking gang boss Jang Dong-Su (Ma Dong-Seok aka Don Lee) and loud-mouth Detective Jung Tae-Seok (Kim Moo Yul). Jang Dong-Su is seen amidst business negotiations and turf rivalries, usually settling things with his boulder-like fists, while Jung Tae-Seok is a brash character who refuses bribes and has keen detective skills as evidenced by the fact he is the only one to sense that a serial killer is on the loose.

Continue reading “The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil 악인전 Dir: Lee Won-Tae (South Korea, 2019)”

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Children of the Sea, The Garden Apartment, Almost a Miracle, Erica 38, Rent A Friend, Saint Young Men Second Century, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 3, 99-sai haha to kuraseba, Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite, Bad Women Good Job Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

We made it to another one!

I’m starting the post with a great AMV. I used to make those, once upon a time.

We had big news at the start of the week with the marriage of Yu Aoi to the comedian Ryota Yamasato. It caught everyone off-guard because their dates went under the radar but they’ve known each other for a long time. Her smiles say a lot so let’s hope they continue to be happy.

In terms of this blog, I wrote about the Japanese films at this year’s Annecy International Animation Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I also wrote about the Japan Foundation’s Pre-Summer Explorer’s film event where a selection of great titles including The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Getting Any? and Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats are going to be screened.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Children of the Sea, The Garden Apartment, Almost a Miracle, Erica 38, Rent A Friend, Saint Young Men Second Century, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 3, 99-sai haha to kuraseba, Mangetsu no yoru ni wa omoidashite, Bad Women Good Job Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japan Foundation’s Free London Screenings of “The Night is Short Walk on Girl” and More

The Japan Foundation in London have set up their annual Summer Explorers films season with a fun build-up of titles that feature titles from masterful directors both old – Takeshi Kitano and Seijun Suzuki – and new – Masaaki Yuasa. There is even a fun indie film thrown in. It’s really diverse and totally free! All you need to do is book your place!

Here’s some hype and information from the Japan Foundation:

“From wacky time-travel to ancient Rome (Thermae Romae) and a musical extravaganza set in feudal Japan (Princess Raccoon), to a slapstick twist on the film noir genre of the 60’s (Murder Un-Incorporated) – our annual Pre-Summer Explorers season aims to make you shake and cry with laughter while presenting the multi-faceted and unique sense of humour in Japanese cinema!”

Dates: 26 June 2019 – 30 June 2019
Venues:
Screen 1, The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH London

and

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY London

See the Japan Foundation website for more information or click on the links below.

What are the films?

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s Free London Screenings of “The Night is Short Walk on Girl” and More”

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Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019

The Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place between 19th and 30th June. There are around 121 new features from 42 countries across the globe. Japan makes up a tiny fraction, perhaps the smallest. It could be that I have missed titles in the line-up but I did scour the catalogue. The films do look good, though.

Here they are:

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

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Japanese Films at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2019

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“If I had to name one country with a true culture of animation, it would definitely be Japan.”

This quote was made by French director Georges Lacroix in 1999, the year when the Annecy Festival celebrated Japanese animation for the very first time. Since then, the fest has been packed with Japanese animation, many of which have often taken awards, and now, twenty years later, Annecy celebrates Japan again by packing in classics and new titles and giving space for much of the talent working today to shine.

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is back from June 10th to the 15th and it’s packed with anime feature films, TV anime, and conferences because the organisers have chosen this year to celebrate 100 years of Japanese animated films (1917 – 2017). This celebration spans classic shorts never before seen outside of Japan to forthcoming works that are being pitched to producers and distributors around the world. Netflix has a presence here thanks to their positive contribution to anime and the student graduation works look equally enticing. With WWII propaganda films, adaptations of classic western novels, animated documentaries, 80s sci-fi, and more going to be screened, festival-goers are in for an exceptional and exciting collection of films that shows what Japan can do.

As per usual, titles contain links to the festival and sources used for information range from the festival site itself to My Anime List (MAL) and Anime News Network (ANN). Let’s start with…

Continue reading “Japanese Films at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2019”

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Orphan’s Blues, Jesus, Parallel World Love Story, Farewell Song, A Long Goodbye, Black Maiden: Chapter Q, Lupin the IIIrd: Mine Fujiko no Uso, Life on the Longboard 2nd Wave, Zubu nurete inukoro, Ninomiya Kinjirou Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope you are all well!

I have just completed a 12-day work week and have two days off so I’m going to spend this weekend watching films. I went out with work colleagues/friends to a Chinese restaurant and a bar, the first time I’ve done that in months, and it felt good. I’ll be going out more now that proofing work has died down and film work has gone back to various things I have watched although I still have reviews and interviews from the Osaka Asian Film Festival to go. No films watched this week, just a review for Shinjuku Tiger and an interview with its director, Yoshinori Sato.

Here’s what’s released this weekend.

Continue reading “Orphan’s Blues, Jesus, Parallel World Love Story, Farewell Song, A Long Goodbye, Black Maiden: Chapter Q, Lupin the IIIrd: Mine Fujiko no Uso, Life on the Longboard 2nd Wave, Zubu nurete inukoro, Ninomiya Kinjirou Japanese Film Trailers”

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Interview with Yoshinori Sato, director of the documentary “Shinjuku Tiger” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]

YoshinoriSatoOAFF19

I interviewed a number of people at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and these interviews are being published over at V-Cinema. This interview was the first to go online on March 28th.

Yoshinori Sato was born in Aichi, Japan on February 1975. After graduating from high school, he travelled to the US to study filmmaking at the University of Southern California. Since graduating, he has worked as a director in Japanese television while also making independent films. His film credits include Bad Child (2013) and Her Mother, which played at international film festivals including the 21st Busan International Film Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017.

Sato returned to Osaka to give the world premiere of his documentary, Shinjuku Tiger, a fascinating look at a flamboyantly dressed and inspiring man who wears a tiger mask and, since the 70s, has practically lived in the bars and cinemas of Shinjuku as he pursues good films, beautiful woman, and delicious sake. It is all part of a fiction he has created to “spread love and peace” and the film shows the character in action as he works his normal job in newspaper delivery and goes on epic bar crawls that rope in celebrities and friends. This films borders on hagiography but gains depth as Sato uses the life of the man to examine the changes and events that Shinjuku has seen through the decades so we get some sense of the culture of one of Tokyo’s most famous wards.

Sato kindly gave an interview after the Q&A that followed the second screening of Shinjuku Tiger at the festival. The interview was conducted in English but we were joined by interpreter Keiko Matsushita who offered some interesting questions and insights.

Continue reading “Interview with Yoshinori Sato, director of the documentary “Shinjuku Tiger” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]”