Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of the Year (2021)

Bear with me while I mix personal reflections and obvious observations of cinema for this year!

While 2021 saw cinemas open for longer and many festivals going ahead around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic still causes uncertainty in the market as new variants put exhibitors on edge and ready to cancel events while audiences seem to be put off going to see films that aren’t big Marvel properties. In these trying times, streaming films online is increasingly becoming the de facto way to view the latest releases for many but cinemas aren’t out for the count!

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Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade

My WordPress blog birthday was December 20th and it has been a decade since I first started writing reviews and news articles here about what interests me.

Cure Yakusho Stares at City

It started with book reviews like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse and big screen Hollywood fare such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. It shifted to American indies like Stake Land and 2 Days in New York with some European and central/South American films like Submarine, Certified Copy, I Am Love and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I transitioned quickly into Asian cinema, long a passion of mine from childhood, and I took to covering the latest UK releases and festival news for Asian movies and writing about my favourite filmmakers like Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinya Tsukamoto. My taste has changed from horror and action to more contemplative and experimental works but my passion for cinema burns bright and for good reason.

Through ten years of writing on this blog I have made friends and watched lots of great films. Indeed, I’ve covered a quite a range of titles and, as the years progressed, actually got involved with film culture through writing for magazines and other websites, doing festival press work at the likes of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well as doing plenty of writing like interviews at UK festivals like Raindance, Terracotta and the London Film Festival. It has almost always been fun and I’ve even had the chance to live and travel in Japan. I can honestly say this blog has been amazing for me by helping me make friends and find my voice in this world.

So, thanks to film and writing about it, I’ve had a fun time. Indeed, sometimes the process of writing about films has been just as much fun as the viewing experience and now I want to highlight my fifteen favourite films to watch and also write about.

Strap yourself in and turn on some music for the ramblings of a film fan:

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Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2019 and He Says Goodbye to a Tumultuous Year

Welcome to my penultimate post of 2019

Miss Hokusai Image 1

This is a melange of things including my New Year’s Resolution and my top ten films of 2019 rolled into one.

We’re about to start a new decade and I think we all managed to hold on to our collective sanity having lived through an era of austerity, unprecedented corporate greed and malfeasance and political extremism with fascism and chauvinist/supremacist politics back in vogue. Of course, we’ve been here before many times in the past such as the 30s and 50s so we can beat this. All it takes is organising, holding officials, business and media to account and protecting our democratic institutions.

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019 – New Year’s Resolutions – Follow Your Dreams [Black Label Remix]

Welcome to my last post of 2018.

I hope everyone is well and has had a good year.

2018 has been fantastic for me and even if I haven’t been able to respond to everything, I’ve still had fun and made friends. I wrote a piece for V-Cinema about my cinematic highlights and I’ve adapted parts of my entry for this post.

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Genkinahito’s Top 10 Films of 2018

Columbus Film Image 2

2018 was the year of “I haven’t achieved my dream yet but I do what I want”. I travelled back to Japan for a second time and spent a month in the country, visiting places from Kawagoe to Onomichi and some things in between and I worked at the Osaka Asian Film Festival again. I’ve become involved in more than just Kotatsu, I have become part of other festivals in Europe and America which is so much fun and such an honour because I love films. I have also continued to contribute to V-Cinema and Anime UK News, typically highlighting indie gems, many of which form my top ten titles of the year.

To summarise what I have experienced in terms of cinema, I have contributed to V-Cinema’s end of year post which will be out soon. 

Now here is my Top Ten Films of 2018, starting with number one…

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Tanaka Kinuyo: Nation, Stardom and Female Subjectivity – Free Japan Foundation Event

The Wandering Princess Film Image

The Japan Foundation have set up a series of free events celebrating the publication of the book Tanaka Kinuyo: Nation, Stardom and Female Subjectivity. There will be a film screening as well as a book launch. Both will be important for understanding an important figure in pre- and post-war Japanese cinema.

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Donation Theater: Help Western Japan Recover From the Flooding Through Film

Japan has a rainy season and typhoon season every year but this year’s has been pretty bad with record rainfall in July leading to widespread flooding and landslides in various areas of western Japan such as Okayama, Ehime, Hiroshima, and elsewhere. At least 140 are dead and others are missing. Millions of people have been have been ordered to evacuate and too many have lost their homes and access to utilities like electricity and water. With the weather calming down, the heat has returned so dangers are still present. People are now digging through mud and rubble to recover their communities and some are living in evacuation centres as the recovery efforts are underway with more than 70,000 rescue workers and lots of volunteers helping the relief effort.

You may be wondering what you can do. There is something.×386.png

Last month film Twitter started retweeting a link to something called Donation Theater, a fund-raising campaign handled by the CINEMA INFRASTRUCTURE ASSOCIATION OF JAPAN to support the victims of the “western Japan heavy rain disaster”. Essentially, you can use a Paypal account or bank transfer to donate some money to help people and then watch films, some of which have been made by people who come from these areas.

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2017 and Hello to 2018 – New Year’s Resolutions – Follow Your Dreams Remix

Welcome to my last post of 2017.

I hope everyone is well and has had a good year.

Around this time last year, I was at the first of many shrines I would travel to in Taito-ku welcoming in 2017. It was an amazing experience made possible by a good friend and the start of a pretty good year for me. I was able to continue travelling across Japan and enjoyed doing unique things due to the kindness of others.

I had a blast at the Osaka Asian Film Festival where I got to watch lots of films and I really enjoyed meeting the team and working with them. I continued working on a film by helping out with sound-recording and photography on a couple of shoots, something which is set to continue into the new year in a more behind-the-scenes role. I took part in a major festival in Tokyo thanks to a friend (a seriously sophisticated and beautiful JoJo’s fan) and found that carrying a shrine is as hard as it looks. Also, visiting Kyoto was pure magic and it was made better since it was spent in great company.The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Image

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2016 and Hello to 2017 – New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to my last post of 2016.

I am writing this in Japan. It has been one of my long-term goals to get to Japan. It has, in fact, been a dream since childhood. It hasn’t been an obsession but it has been a major facet of my life. I have made friends from Japan and learned some of the language. So much of my everyday life has centred around Japanese media. I just naturally gravitate towards things like anime and video games, music, and films and that has matured into high culture and a vague goal of becoming a part of Japanese society in some way. I have been doing that from Britain with the nebulous plan of getting to Japan. Now I am finally living in Japan. Following dreams really does work!

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