A Preview of the Kanazawa Film Festival 2021 in Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Art (September 18-20)

The Kanazawa Film Festival 2021 will take place this year from September 18th (Saturday) to the 20th (Monday) at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Theatre 21. There are different sections but the one I am focussing on is dedicated to New Directors.

In the New Directors section, there are 11 films which were selected from 83 submissions. Each of the films is new and so they were done during the Coronavirus pandemic. The winner of the Grand Prix “Promising New Director Award” will receive 2 million yen to support his or her next film.

 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:

Continue reading “A Preview of the Kanazawa Film Festival 2021 in Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Art (September 18-20)”

A Preview of Japan Cuts 2021 (August 20th – September 02nd)

Japan Cuts Hollywood Header

Japan Cuts runs from August 20th-September 2nd for its 2021 edition. It is a hybrid event with in-person screenings and online screenings via a virtual cinema. There are 8 features that will be screened in a theatre and 21 features and 12 shorts that will screened online across 14 days.

The selection is good as it covers indie and studio features, shorts, both live-action and animated, and a grip of modern classics. This highlight has been split up into the following sections with each of the films and their details. I hope it will help people decide what they want to see:

 In Theatre | Experimental Spotlight | Documentary Focus |Feature Films | Shorts | Classics | Next Generation

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Heroic Purgatory Podcast Covers the New York Asian Film Festival 2021 (August 06th – 22nd)

The New York Asian Film Festival launches tonight and will run from August 6th to August 22nd as a hybrid event with around 70 films split between cinemas and online streams and the HEROIC PURGATORY podcast is taking part. 

As I described in my preview, it’s a beautiful and exciting mix of experiences from 12 separate territories/nations with a mix of big-budget blockbusters to indie movies and the quality of the selection is so good, you can see why the festival is the premiere event for Asian films in North America – maybe even the West!

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A Preview of the Japanese Titles at the New York Asian Film Festival 2021 (August 06th – 22nd)

The New York Asian Film Festival is a go for 2021 and runs from August 6th to the 22nd. It is a hybrid event with over 60 films split between cinemas and online streams.

It’s a beautiful and exciting mix of experiences from 12 separate territories/nations with a mix of big-budget blockbusters to indie movies. There are tales from towns and cities in the mountainous land of Tibet (A Song for You) to a backwater in the Kazakh countryside (Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It). A humorous take on a utopian community in Singapore (Tiong Bahru Social Club) to the dank underworld of Hong Kong (Hand-Rolled Cigarettes and Coffin Homes) and the gritty streets of Tokyo (JOINT). Stop-motion dystopian sci-fi (JUNK HEAD) rub shoulders with Korean tales from the hellscape of capitalism (I Don’t Fire Myself). Who populates these cinematic landscapes? Fiery office ladies, hitmen, dancers, mutants, wannabe singers, DJs, and more. 

Here’s the trailer introducing the fest:

Here are certain highlights:

The Opening Film is the tense action thriller Escape from Mogadishu, directed by Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, Veteran), a based-on-a-true-story title that retells the escape attempted by North and South Korean embassy workers who were stranded in a hostile environment during the 1991 Somali Civil War.

Legendary filmmaker Ann Hui will receive the Variety Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award and the biographical documentary Keep Rolling will be screened. Her film, The Story of Woo Viet will also be screened, so auds can get a taste of what made her one of the most important voices in Hong Kong cinema.

There will be a free outdoor screening of the Hong Kong wu-xia New Dragon Gate Inn (1992), which stars Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, and Donnie Yen. This marks the 10th anniversary of the film’s restoration by NYAFF.

Out of everything on offer, I’ve written about Three Sisters, JOINT (review and interview with Oudai Kojima, the director), and, Over the Town and Keep Rolling. I can highly recommend them. I also enjoyed Tiong Bahru Social Club and have kept thinking about it.

What about the rest? I will highlight the Japanese films so it can help you when you are making a choice about what to watch. AND THERE IS SO MUCH THAT IS TOO GOOD TO PASS UP!!!

I will also be covering the fest over at Heroic Purgatory. My co-host John and I talked about the festival in the last episode which covers the New York-set film The Wedding Banquet.

UPDATE: THE PODCAST IS LIVE!!!

What are the films programmed? Scroll down to find out!

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2021

Following last year’s Covid-19-forced cancellation, the Cannes Film Festival will return as a physical event and run from July 06-17. Although we are still in the middle of a pandemic, screenings will be allowed to operate at full capacity. One safeguard in place is that people present a vaccination certificate or a valid health pass via a PCR test.

Genki Cannes Film Festival Logo

As for the festival and its films, the event features over 63 films from around the world, with Oliver Stone’s JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass getting it’s premiere alongside In Front Of Your Face by Hong Sang-soo and Jane Par Charlotte by Charlotte Gainsbourg.

In the Official Competition section, made up of 24 titles, there is a wealth of talent which will get its world premiere – Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Leos Carax’s Annette (the opening films of the fest) are early standouts. We have one title from Japan. Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2021”

Japanese Films at the Udine Far East Film Festival 2021 (June 24 – July 02nd)

Following on from last year’s edition which was totally online, the Udine Far East Film Festival takes place at the end of the month and it is a hybrid event with an online portion leading off before the physical portion. The organisers will screen a total of 63 films from 11 countries and territories as well as host workshops, webinars, and other industry events.

The digital portion of the festival will open with explosive Hong Kong action film Shock Wave 2, from veteran director Herman Yau, while the on-site opening film will be the international festival premiere of Zhang Yimou’s Cliff Walkers, a historical espionage thriller.

The information for online screenings is already up and quite a few titles are available for people to stream worldwide. Check this website for more information on the films and this page for more information on how to participate.

I’ve only covered a couple of films prior to this edition – Keep Rolling and Ito, both of which I’d recommend. I’m going to list the Japanese films in this post:

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A Preview of Nippon Connection 2021: Documentaries

This post is an offshoot from the one published earlier this week and it focuses on all of the documentaries that will be screened. Most of these documentaries are restricted to Germany but two are available for many territories worldwide. Check the descriptions.

Nippon Connection Logo

Nippon Docs

The documentary films in this year’s NIPPON DOCS section offer insights into various topics: sports and cults, ways of living and the desperate desire to live free. The film are done with different formal approaches, from experimental narrations, ethnographies, and political diatribes caught on hidden cameras. They interconnect with cautious biographical observations to paint a picture of contemporary Japan. All films in this section are eligible for the NIPPON DOCS AWARD.

Here are details on the features:

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