Japanese and Korean Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2023

This year’s Cannes Film Festival will May 16-27 and the official line-up of films has been announced. This year sees a LOT of titles from East Asia. 

Genki Cannes Film Festival Logo

As with last year, Hollywood is going to be at the croissette with European film royalty and East Asian talents. Ken Loach, Wim Wenders and Pedro Almodovar are bringing their latest works, The Old Oak, Perfect Days and Strange Way of Life respectively. Meanwhile big blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will also be screened. There’s also Martin Scorcese’s Killers of the Flower Moon (my mother has read the book and said it is good).

We’ve got more female filmmakers with Catherine Corsini (Leaving) bringing Le Retour, and Catherine Breillat (who makes thought-provoking but absolutely miserable films about miserable sex) screening L’ete Dernier , and Alice Rohrwacher showing La Chimera. WAIT! There’s also Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) with Club Zero!

Anyway, East Asia!!!! The names included are Vietnam’s Tran Anh Hung (Norwegian Wood, The Scent of Green Papaya), China’s Bi Gan ( Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Wang Bing and Wei Shujun and Singapore’s Anthony Chen (Ilo Ilo).

Japan and South Korea provide some heavy hitters and newbie talents. The former nation providing two of the four Ks as Kitano and Kore-eda grace the fest in the big sections while Ryutaro Ninomiya brings his latest work. Meanwhile, Korea dominates as it has provided a slate of films that sees veterans Kim Jee-woon and Hong Sang-so mix it up with lesser-known talents across a range of festival sections. Continue reading “Japanese and Korean Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2023”

Korea Independent Animation Festival 2023 in Japan

If you are in Japan and looking to discover more about the world of Korean animation, look no further than the Korea Independent Animation Festival.

Hanakori 2023 Banner

After going online for 2021 and 2022, this year’s edition is taking place at three different physical locations.

Tokyo – April 22nd – 23rd at the Akiba theatre in Akihabara,

Osaka – May 13th – 14th at the Planet +1 cinema, which is located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Nakazakicho near Umeda,

Nagoya – May 20th – 21st at the Cinema-skhole, near Nagoya station.

Continue reading “Korea Independent Animation Festival 2023 in Japan”

A Glimpse at the Japanese Films and a Selection of Others at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023


Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023 kicks off on Friday and lasts from March 10th to March 19th. There are around 50 films programmed that will be screened at cinemas across the city. Almost all of the films will come with English subtitles and there will be guests appearing at various screenings (guest schedule).

Here’s the festival trailer:

I had the opportunity to write about each of the films for the festival programme and I can say that this year has a rich variety of works from newer talents, particularly from Hong Kong and Japan where we have newbie directors working on their debuts or third or second film projects. To my mind, this is one of the functions of a festival: a place for newer talents to show their work. There are also works by established filmmakers and experimental works, too. The quality of all is very high.

As for this preview, I want to take the time to highlight the Japanese films and some of the other works that caught my eye and that I hope to write about in the coming months. Hopefully, this will inspire people to try out the films!

I’ve placed the synopses I wrote for the festival below. To go directly to the festival page for each film, click on the titles.

Continue reading “A Glimpse at the Japanese Films and a Selection of Others at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023”

Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023

Rotterdam International Film Festival Logo

The 2023 edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival will take place from January 25th to February 05th. This is the 52nd year of the festival and it has a special two-projector video work by Steve McQueen called Sunshine State which looks fascinating. In terms of Japanese film, there is a wealth on offer that covers experimental, documentary, drama, and more. There is a whole strand dedicated to the works of animator Masaaki Yuasa and one dedicated to experimental filmmaker Junichi Okuyama.

This year’s ticket sales start on Friday 20th January at 20:00.

Below is a list of features and shorts that have been programmed:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023”

Chiba Film Festival Regular Screening Vol.1 (January 22nd): “In the Distance” and “Haruhara-san’s Recorder”

Chiba Film Festival Regular Screening 01 Banner

Here’s a great way to get closer to Japanese indie cinema!

Chiba Film Festival will hold an event running under the title Regular Screening Vol.1 at the Chiba City Lifelong Learning Center on January 22nd. As the title suggests, this is the first of a series of film screening events that will highlight independent films. There will be two indie films available to watch with the filmmakers in attendance!!!

Details below on the titles below:

Continue reading “Chiba Film Festival Regular Screening Vol.1 (January 22nd): “In the Distance” and “Haruhara-san’s Recorder””

Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2023 – Always Evolving – Japanese Cinema Then, Now, and for the Future


In the year of its 20th anniversary, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme will grace the screens of arthouse cinemas across the UK from  February 03 to March 31. During that time audiences in the region will be able to see a selection of 20 films that have been selected to fit this year’s theme, “the evolution of Japanese cinema” and audiences will have the chance to watch films that have a connection to themes of previous editions of the programme. The idea is to get viewers to think about the path of Japanese cinema.

Here are trailers for the films:

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2023 – Always Evolving – Japanese Cinema Then, Now, and for the Future”

JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA: A Selection of Japanese Independent Films to Stream in 2022/23

Over the last few years. the Japan Foundation has set up opportunities for people around the world to watch Japanese films via streaming via Japanese Film Festival+. This year, they have teamed up with mini theatres (small independent cinemas) across Japan to programme 12 indie films for people to stream online for free.

JFF+ Indie Cinema Header

From December 15th, people can go to the website JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA to watch independent films selected by the managers of mini theatres from across Japan. This is a novel way to programme films and it offers an insight into the mini theatre ecosystem which supports Japanese filmmakers and the cultural life of local communities – the majority of films on my weekend trailer posts get played at these small venues.

The films are available to many countries outside of Japan and the films and the theatres that select them are reveal something of specific regional culture. There is ample background on each of the titles and the program is going to be complemented by interview videos with directors and actors, and interview articles with managers of the mini-theatres to give you more of an insight into the films. If you click on the links for the films below, you can read information already.

The films will be screened over two periods:

– First term: 6 films streamed from December 15, 2022, to March 15, 2023,
– Second term: 6 films streamed March 15, 2023, to June 15 2023,

Check the website for more

Some of these are bang up-to-date titles while others are nearly a decade old so you’re going to get some views on how films have fared over time. Some directors even give advice on how to watch the films! There are dramas, documentaries, and experimental works. I’ve only seen a couple of them but can highly recommend them (links to reviews and an interview included) while the others I have heard good things about.

How can one stream the films? When the streaming period is active, just go to the website and register online by clicking on the ‘Watch for Free’ button to jump to the streaming page and sign up to create an account via your email address.

There’s the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter and offer feedback and so you can drop a message to give your thoughts and thanks for the free films. Feedback always helps and it looks like the mini theatre managers want to hear from viewers!

What are the films on offer? 

Continue reading “JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA: A Selection of Japanese Independent Films to Stream in 2022/23”

Busan International Film Festival Logo

Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2022 (05th-14th October)

Busan International Film Festival Logo

The full programme for the 2022 edition of the Busan International Film Festival is out and there are, as usual, a lot of Japanese films. The most exciting thing is the spotlight being shone on new talents.

Here’s the line-up:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2022 (05th-14th October)”

The Inter College Animation Festival 2022 – A Japanese Student Animator Showcase – Online and Region-Free!

From September 26th to October 02nd, people around the world can watch a selection of works that have been programmed for The Inter College Animation Festival 2022.

Inter College Animation Festival 2022 Banner

This is the 20th anniversary of the event and 30 schools are participating, the largest number ever. There are an exciting and varied selection of short films and music videos done in many styles, from stop motion to motion capture, 2D anime style and mixing animation with live-action.

You can view the online ones here.

Continue reading “The Inter College Animation Festival 2022 – A Japanese Student Animator Showcase – Online and Region-Free!”