Japanese Films at L’Etrange Festival 2019

The L’Etrange Festival runs for its 25th edition from September 04 to 15 in Paris L'Etrange Festival 2019 Posterand it continues in its mission to show genre cinema and exult in strange delights from some of cinema’s greatest minds. The Japanese focus features familiar live-action films and some animation, some of which I have reviewed. The biggest film here is the newest Takashi Miike, Hatsukoi, which was at Cannes earlier in the year and will be released in Japan next year, and there’s also Branded to Kill, the super hitman film from Seijun Suzuki.

What Japanese films are programmed at L’Etrange this year?

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Japanese Films at the Venice International Film Festival 2019

Venice Film Festival 2019 Image

The Venice International Film Festival is here for its 76th edition and it will run from August 28th to September 07th. There are a couple of features and four VR experiences as Venice continues to go down the VR route. Without further ado, here are the films!

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Naomi Kawase in London in September for: Naomi Kawase: In Focus – Open City Documentary Festival 2019

Naomi Kawase¹ (website) is in London in September for the Open City Documentary Festival 2019 where she will take part in three screenings and will introduce a selection of her works and take part in a Q&A and extended talk. Called, “Naomi Kawase: In Focus”, this particular festival strand, organised with the help of the Japan Foundation, is a unique opportunity to see some of the early films that helped make Naomi Kawase a major presence in world cinema as these self-documentaries show her nascent skull which developed while she recorded some of the most intimate details of her life as she searched for her identity on screen. Most prominent amongst the films is the influence of her adoptive mother, Uno Kawase, which is a bond that is put on screen in a moving set of films which have been highly lauded.

Here are the details. Just click on the titles to access the festival page and booking information:

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Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Interview [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]

If you travel to Kyoto then it is recommended you try travelling from scenic Arashiyama to the bustling city centre by the Randen trams. They cut through many areas and they prove to be the perfect setting for three intersecting stories in a film.

Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram (review) features a writer named Eisei Hiraoka (Arata Iura) has travelled from Kamakura to Kyoto to research supernatural stories but, instead, relives memories of time spent in Kyoto with his wife; Kako Ogura (Ayaka Onishi), a shy local woman helps an actor from Tokyo named Fu Yoshida (Hiroto Kanai) practice speaking with Kyoto dialect; Nanten Kitakado (Tamaki Kubose), a high school girl from Aomori, who falls for a local train otaku (Kenta Ishida).

Quite unlike many other films screened in 2019, Randen revels in creating a magical atmosphere of heightened romance and folktales that could only take place in Kyoto. It was the opening film of the 2019 edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival and it will play on the final day of Japan Cuts 2019 in New York. I had the chance to interview the director of the film, Takuji Suzuki, at Osaka and he revealed how the film was a put together with love and care by his team which included Kyoto University film students and local people living along the Randen line.

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 (July 12th – August 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival starts in Montreal next week on July 11th and runs until August 01st. As with last year, the selection of Japanese films is great with titles with many titles that have graced screens at fests like the New York Asian Film Festival and Annecy (and soon, Japan Cuts) appearing here in one place. The animation selection is incredible and there are some choice live-action titles to get behind.

Fantasia Header Image

This is the 23rd 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 DVD or the internet and cinema screens. There are recent releases and ones that won’t get released in Japan until next year. There is also the chance to take part in film culture and meet film-makers and fellow film fans. 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. All information has been compiled from IMDB, this festival’s site and other festival sites.

So what’s lined up? Click on the titles to be taken through to the festival page for each film.

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“Dreaming Korea Animation” – A Day of Korean and Japanese Animation Screenings and Talks, July 27th 2019

It’s not often that Korean animation gets screened so the “Dreaming Korea Animation” animation event is a special one and it takes place really close to Ikebukuro Station!

Dreaming Korea Animation Festival Poster

“Dreaming Korea Animation” is a one-day event held on July 27th, 2019 at Cine Libre Ikebukuro and there will be a number of films and music videos screened across three programmes. There are guest animators in town to do talks with two from Japan and three from Korea so this makes the event a brilliant chance to see some of the creativity on offer from Korea.

Programme A – 12:20 – 13:50 Film Screening and Director Talk

Ahn Jae-Hoon is one of the directors of the Korean animation studio Meditation With a Pencil. They released their first feature length film Green Days in 2011. Their subsequent feature film projects were animated adaptations of Korean short literature titles, The Shower being their latest work. It receives its Japanese premiere at this event.

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A Preview of the Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 in Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Art (July 12-15)

The Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 will take place this year from July 12th (Friday) to the 15th (Monday) at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. 26 films from 132 submissions have been selected and will be screened over three days and all are in the running for the Grand Prix and Audience Award among other accolades.Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 Poster

This is a very badly translated series of film synopses of really obscure indie films but I find that there may be some value later. Sometimes, when doing trailer posts, I find myself linking to the Kanazawa Film Festival post from 2017 because directors may have had their works screened there and since I want to explore indie films, posts like this work out pretty good because it fulfils my general goal with this blog. Right, I hope you and I get some use out of this information and from the images, all of which have been taken from the film festival’s website.

Here is a run-down of the films that will be screened:

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A Preview of the New York Asian Film Festival 2019

The New York Asian Film Festival 2019 launches at the end of the month and there are 11 films from Japan to get excited about.

New York Asian Film Festival 2019 Film Festival PosterThe films that come from Japan range from an exciting-looking jidai-geki based on real history to adaptations of manga based in contemporary times. A lot of films are currently on the festival circuit but there are a couple that have yet to be released anywhere, even Japan. The styles and stories are all varied and seem to give a good idea of what mainstream Japanese cinema is creating.

It’s exciting to see that two of SABU’s latest films, jam and MR LONG, are on the programme as both films have idols but put them through their acting paces in action-packed and dramatic tales. Fly Me to the Saitama is said to be a heck of a lot of fun as it mixes great comedy and theatricality with a satire of Japanese society. There is a noir with The Gun which took a top prize at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. Then there is The Fable which looks absolutely bananas – an adaptation of a hitman manga which is worth reading!

There are also guests coming from Japan such as Nana Komatsu who is the joint recipient of the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award so do make sure to make them feel welcome.

Also programmed are a selection of films from across the rest of Asia and these include some great titles like Maggie (South Korea) – winner of the Audience Award and the Grand Prix at the Osaka Asian Film Festival – and its director Yi Ok-Seop will be in New York. Still Human (Hong Kong) also plays at the fest and lead actress Crisel Consunji is attending. Also, legendary action choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

What are the Japanese films programmed?

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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!

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