The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 runs from January 24th to February 04th and it includes a massive amount of titles which all look really special. Some are so new, there’s little information. Without further ado, here are the titles!
The 2018 Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme (February 02nd to March 28th) has had its line-up of films revealed by the organisers and its a veritable feast of excellent contemporary titles with a classic and an anime added which looks/is fantastic respectively. I’ll come out cheering for The Long Excuse which is just fantastic. I cannot recommend this film enough. There’s also Sword of the Stranger which is pure action thrills, and Joy of Man’s Desiring and Room for Let which look exquisite. What’s the theme behind all of these films? Here’s more from the organisers:
Everybody has once told a lie or kept something hidden from others. Whether for good intentions or otherwise, it is a fundamental and intriguing aspect of human nature which has provided inspiration to countless storytellers and filmmakers.
With diverse cinematic voices, The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 features some of the best examples of cinema from Japan and will look at how the country’s filmmakers have been drawn to portraying the “(un)true” colours of human nature. The twists and turns of life portrayed in the programme are at times heart-rending, at other times hilarious, but always enthralling.
Without further ado, here are the films!
The 35th Torino Film Festival will take place from November 24th to December 02nd and there are a lot of interesting Asian films. I want to focus on Japanese titles and there are two on the programme, one of which is a super special supernatural romance tale that left me grinning with glee and the other a super fun-looking vampire tale from Japanese cinema legend Sion Sono. Here are the details:
The 14th London International Animation Festival (LIAF 17) returns to the Barbican from 1st-10th December and there are 200 animated shorts and features slated to appear as well as a lot of guests who will take part in Q&As and presentations. There is a focus on the on-screen representation of women and the usual high-quality and diverse selection of films which show the various media used in making the many different films.
As the organisers have written on their site,
This year’s uncompromising programme promises to inspire, delight and challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D-CGI blockbuster genre or cute cartoons for kids. Independent animation is an art form that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials, techniques and production – including hand drawn, paint on glass, collage, sculpture, cut outs, puppets, abstract, sand/salt, the interesting developments in CGI – all of which can be seen at LIAF 2017.
Here’s what’s on offer:
Taking place in Yurakucho as Yurakacho Asahi Hall, Tokyo FILMeX offers English-subtitled films from across Asia. It runs from November 18th to the 26th and during that time, filmmakers will appear to show off their latest works and take part in industry events aimed at strengthening Asian cinema. Some of these titles have already hit the festival circuit and won awards. There are three Japanese films due to be screened and they all look special as do all the other films from various parts of Asia.
Here is the trailer for the festival and the films will follow. Click on a title to be taken to the festival page:
The 2017 edition of Abertoir, The International Horror Festival of Wales, takes place from November 14th to the 19th. It is an annual horror and horror film festival held in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Ceredigion, Wales, and it has a history of screening great Japanese horror movies as well as attracting guests from around the world. It’s great to see Aberystwyth hosting so many Japanese films (especially since they support anime in the form of Kotatsu – the 2017 run is here, 2016, and 2015 and 2014) and it’s great that the people who run Abertoir pick a diverse selection of films including these ones!
Here are the Japanese films programmed!
The 11th Five Flavours Film Festival takes place from November 15th to the 22nd in Poland and the programme was announced at the end of October. It’s packed with a great selection of films for people who will be in Warsaw for the event.
Here they are:
大和（カリフォルニア） 「Yamato (Kariforunia)」
Running Time: 75 mins.
Director: Daisuke Miyazaki
Writer: Daisuke Miyazaki (Screenplay)
Starring: Hanae Kan, Nina Endo, Reiko Kataoka, Mayumi Kato, Shuya Nishiji, Haruka Uchimura,
I watched this at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and quite recently and was impressed. I didn’t have the nerve to talk to the director but would have congratulated him on making a great coming-of-age tale that combines Hip-Hop and international politics and getting great performances from his actors. Here’s my review!
Synopsis from the Osaka Asian Film Festival Site: Sakura is a moody teenage girl living close to the US military base in the city of Yamato, a town north of Tokyo. She wants to become a musician like the American rappers she admires, but is held back by stage-fright when faced with performing in front of a live audience. Then she meets Rei, the half-Japanese half-American daughter of her mother’ s American soldier boyfriend. Rei has flown from California to visit for the summer. Sakura dislikes her immediately, but Rei’ s familiarity with American Hip Hop becomes a bridge between the two girls as they spend an unforgettable time together exploring, arguing over and bonding through the mix of Japanese and American culture in the unique landscape of Yamato. Though their adventures and quarrels may lead Sakura into danger, they may also let her face her fears and participate in the city’s music competition.
The 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) runs from October 25th – November 03rd in Roppongi and it’s the best event to see films with English subtitles in Japan at this time of the year since nearly all will have them and there will also be English interpretation at Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Another great thing about the festival is that it nearly all takes place in one location which means that getting to venues is easy.
There are a heck of a lot of films programmed and just as many events and it looks as if there are over 300 things for people to attend. Tickets are sold-out or selling-out fast but I wanted to cover this because it has an exciting line-up and Japanese indie cinema and the shorts looks strong. Heck, Japanese cinema in general looks to be in rude health.
There is a lot to get through and it will be difficult for anyone not using a computer with a decent internet connection to view this (apologies) but I wanted to do this in one post because it is impressive. Accuse me of maximalism if you want but I hope people find something to enjoy thanks to reading this. Click on a title to be taken to the festival page. Here’s what’s on offer.
彼らが本気で編むときは、「Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa」
Running Time: 127 mins.
Director: Naoko Ogigami
Writer: Naoko Ogigami (Screenplay),
Starring: Rinka Kakihara, Toma Ikuta, Kenta Kiritani, Mimura, Eiko Koike, Mugi Kadowaki, Lily, Kaito Komie, Shuji Kashiwabara, Misako Tanako,
Naoko Ogigami is one of Japan’s most commercially successful female directors. She has built up a large audience at home and abroad following her debut feature film Yoshino’s Barber Shop (2004) which was a winner at Berlin International Film Festival. She followed that up with Kamome Diner (2006), Glasses (2007), and Rent-a-Cat (2012). Her oeuvre could be described as quirky dramas about outsider characters in unusual circumstances but Close-Knit is a lot more serious as Ogigami looks at LGBTQ issues in Japan, a country that is still conservative in some ways, and she does so through the perspective of a child.
Said child is eleven-year-old Tomo (Rinka Kakihara). When we first meet her she is all alone in an apartment where unwashed dishes are piling up in the sink and onigiri wrappers and cup noodle containers are overflowing from the bin. Indeed, a meagre meal of store-bought onigiri is her only option on the menu as she dines solo. She has a mother named Hiromi (Mimura) but when Tomo does see her it is usually when she comes home late and drunk after a day at the office and, presumably, a night at an izakaya. Hiromi is a single-mother struggling to cope with the role but when she finds herself a man she quits her jobs and takes off for who knows how long and little Tomo is pretty much forgotten about.
There will be a season of films dedicated to the female actors who dazzled as stars during the Golden Age of Japanese cinema at the BFI Southbank from October 16th to November 29th It is called, Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama. Billed as “an opportunity for audiences to explore the cinema of Japan’s ‘Golden Age’, with a distinctly female focus,” there are thirteen films programmed and several of those titles are rarely screened in the UK so this is a good opportunity to get acquainted with them.
The season opens with a double bill of films by Kenji Mizoguchi and that will followed up by a season introduction on October 17th, – Women in Japanese Melodrama – during which experts including Alexander Jacoby and Alejandra Armendáriz will discuss the work of the female stars who dazzled at the heart of mid-century Japanese cinema. Following that will be the rest of the films from directors such as Yasujiro Ozu. Keisuke Kinoshita, Mikio Naruse and others who made powerful female led dramas such as Setsuko Hara, Hideko Takamine and others who are now becoming well-known across the world.
I’ve only seen one of these films so I’m using the synopses from the BFI’s site.
It’s a great line-up! Here is what has been programmed: