Mrs. Noisy ミセス・ノイズィ Dir: Chihiro Amano (2020)

Mrs. Noisy   Mrs. Noisy Film Poster

ミセス・ノイズィ  Misesu Noizi

Release Date: December 04th, 2020

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: Chihiro Amano

Writer: Chihiro Amano (Screenplay), 

Starring: Yukiko Shinohara, Yoko Ootaka, Takuma Nagao, Chise Niitsu, Masanari Wada, Yoriko Doguchi, Raiki Yanemoto,

Website      IMDB 

Words develop a life of their own. Once a person releases them into the world, they travel far and wide and can change form depending upon the person interpreting them. This is why you should be careful with what you say and what you write. This something that a writer neglects to remember much to her cost in Mrs. Noisy, a domestic comedy that turns into heart-breaking drama by way of literary struggle.

Inspired by real-life events from 2005, the film follows a conflict between two neighbours in a danchi (housing complex).

Continue reading “Mrs. Noisy ミセス・ノイズィ Dir: Chihiro Amano (2020)”

Gekijouban Police X Heroine Lovepatrina! ~ Kaito kara no chosen! Rabu de papatto taiho seyo!~, Haikei Nagatachou, On the Way Back On the Slope of Petros, I Think it’s Time to Stop Playing Music Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, again.

Haruka's Pottery Film Image Haruka (NAO) and Plate

I hope you are all well.

Following on from yesterday’s trailer post is this follow-up. I suppose the only new thing to mention is Uplink Shibuya has closed for good. The final film was JUNK HEAD which is still going down a storm in Japan.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Gekijouban Police X Heroine Lovepatrina! ~ Kaito kara no chosen! Rabu de papatto taiho seyo!~, Haikei Nagatachou, On the Way Back On the Slope of Petros, I Think it’s Time to Stop Playing Music Japanese Film Trailers”

A Morning of Farewell, A Madder Red, End-Of-Life Concierge, Hell’s Garden, Wadaiko Girls Japanese Film Trailers

Welcome to the Weekend…

Berserk Doldrey Guts

We made it to Friday…

This is part one of a two-part trailer post. Now that my workplace has re-opened  to the public I’ll be working this weekend so it isn’t as happy as it would normally be. I’m already feeling a bit battered, exhausted, and down about various things. This music helps me feel a little better.

Then there was tragic news that Kentaro Miura, creator of Berserk had died.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAOMS6C0rI

I discovered the series back with the Dreamcast game then wrote about the first of the trilogy of films in 2011. I had ditched the anime after the first episode but a passionate fan persuaded me to watch the rest of the series. I’m glad I did because, alongside my mother, sister, grandparents, and some key films, it helped inspire me when I was between jobs and a little lost. Behind the fantasy-horror, its story is all about the dreams we hold, the bonds we make with people, the pain of loss, and the hope we cling on to in life. I think about various scenes and listen to the music from time to time and I remain in awe that Kentaro Miura created something as influential as Berserk. A belated thank you to the man.

Kentaro Miura, RIP

You can read my reviews of the recent films

Berserk: Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King

Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey

Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Advent

If you can, watch the TV anime and read the manga.

Wherever you are Nadia, thanks for the recommendation. I’ll be returning to Berserk soon to keep me going.

Just as miserable is the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinians with a huge amount of civilians getting caught up (particularly children). If you want to contribute to aid efforts, head over to Another Screen where you watch films by female Palestinian filmmakers for free. You can donate money which will go to facilitating medical, legal, and infrastructure aid with some donations going to support aspects of the Palestinian film industry.

This week I posted reviews of the films Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with a Lie and Haruka’s Pottery.

I watched the films Natural Born Killers, C.H.U.D., HANA-BI (which I talked about on Heroic Purgatory – episode coming soon), Frankie and Johnny and Out of the Dark, the Stephen Chow film.

What are some of the films released in cinemas?

Continue reading “A Morning of Farewell, A Madder Red, End-Of-Life Concierge, Hell’s Garden, Wadaiko Girls Japanese Film Trailers”

Haruka’s Pottery  ハルカの陶 Dir: Naruhito Suetsugu (2019)

Haruka’s Pottery 

Haruka no Sue Film Poster

ハルカの陶  Haruka no Sue

Release Date: November 30th, 2019

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Naruhito Suetsugu

Writer: Naruhito Suetsugu (Script) Disk Furai, Taisei Nishizaki (Original Manga)

Starring: Nao, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Jun Murakami, Takashi Sasano, Maki Murakami,

Website

This live-action movie is based on a comic of the same name that won the 13th Okayama Art and Culture Award for Achievement. This very specific award should give you an clue as to what type of film this is, a regional-themed story that draws upon the culture of Okayama. In this particular case, it’s the rich history of pottery.

Our entry into the world of pottery is via a novice named Haruka Koyama (NAO). She is a bored office worker from Tokyo and her first encounter with Bizen-ware comes when playing pack mule for her supervisor at a department store. A nearby exhibition of ceramics from Okayama captures her attention and one particular piece captures her heart. It is a large plate that has a particularly fiery look with swirls of red and orange reminiscent of a conflagration. It touches something deep inside Haruka. It is like seeing passion given form and she feels as if the passion of the ceramicist can be felt.

Haruka's Pottery Film Image Haruka (NAO) and Plate

This feeling blows away the cobwebs of her life and drives her to quit her job and quit Tokyo to track down the creator and learn more and so she travels to the Western part of Japan.

Shot on location at Bizen City in Okayama Prefecture, we are treated to the sights and sounds of a much-storied area which has ancient kilns, its own pottery fairs, and plenty of countryside scenery. The pacing of the film slows down as Haruka learns to acclimatise to the area and also begin the art of crafting ceramics.

As a newbie to pottery Haruka begins tutelage under Osamu Wakatake (Hiroyuki Hirayama), the 30-something creator of the plate and the latest in a long line of ceramicists. Despite her positivity she finds him a difficult person to be with due to his overly demanding nature and his harsh attitude towards her. It turns out that this has roots in a family trauma connected to his profession. Just as Haruka begins to walk on a new path in her life it seems that he may block her way.

This may be a high-stakes situation that Haruka has placed herself in considering she has quit everything she knows but what unfolds is a gentle tale of learning a craft through chasing ones passion and the encounters with people and places that this pursuit entails. It helps that Haruka has the personality of a typical slice-of-life anime heroine in that she is a little naïve and sometimes clumsy but ultimately good-natured and determined, her drive to know more pushing herself and others around her to change. Lead actress Nao brings a positivity that is effervescent enough to sell this aspect and it is believable that she can win over others, shining a light in their life with her presence so that she allows them to overcome their own problems.

As Osamu, Hiroyuki Hirayama ably imbues his character with a gruff guy presence that gently yields in the face of Haruka’s efforts. Theirs is a relationship that takes the form of teacher and student before becoming a little more intimate as they share suffering and creativity together but it is based on creativity and the pursuit of artistry rather than a cheap romance.

What unfolds between the two is a standard story of people influencing each other and it is cleanly done with solid characterisation and acting so that it meets the genre’s needs and ends up being satisfying. Themes of family, dedication, and passion are worked out between the two to show how meaningful ceramics and their production can be and as viewers we learn this alongside the two leads by seeing them work and create and the final pieces.

Haruka's Pottery Film Image NAO

Responding to rather well to the two is a solid cast of supporting actors who play equally solidly-defined characters. Veteran performer Takashi Sasano (very memorable in the Eiji Uchida film Greatful Dead) brings enough cheeky-chappy energy to his role of Tojin Sakaki, a beer-swilling master craftsman who has earned the status of “national living treasure.” His good-natured teasing raises a smile every time we see him but it also proves to be a good vehicle to deploy some philosophy that helps further push along the character’s and strengthen their motivations and help us understand the importance of pottery.

The film is clear in its intentions and well-crafted so that we can enjoy the story and learn more about pottery. It will definitely prove to be inspiring to audiences who enjoy the craft and refreshing for people who are, like Haruka, at a crossroads in life and looking at where to go next.

Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie  グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇 Dir: Izuru Narushima (2020)

Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie 

Goodbye Life Comedy of Starting From a Lie Film Poster

グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇  Guddobai: Uso kara Hajimaru Jinsei Kigeki

Release Date: February 14th, 2020

Duration: 106 mins.

Director: Izuru Narushima

Writer: Satoko Okudera (Script), Keralino Sandrovich (Stage play)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Eiko Koike, Ai Hashimoto, Tae Kimura, Nobue Iketani, Asami Mizukawa, Yoji Tanaka, Gaku Hamada, Yutaka Matsushige,

Website IMDB

This film can best be described with the phrase, “less than the sum of its parts,”

By no means awful, Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie fails to live up to expectations.

The elements were all there for a promising screwball comedy.

It finds its origins in an unfinished work by Osamu Dazai that was turned into a stageplay by Keralino Sandrovich of absurdist comedy Crime or Punishment?!? fame.

Director Izuru Narushima has a filmography stacked with solid titles, the best being Rebirth (2011). Scriptwriter Satoko Okudera, who has worked with Narushima previously, has a fine selection of other titles rich with emotions like Summer Wars (2009) and The Wolf Children (2012).

There is a cast to DIE for with affable-to-the-point-of-attractive and very smooth-talking leading man Yo Oizumi taking the lead as a philandering fool with a bevy of beauties played by some of the most talented actresses currently working, including Tae Kimura (Starfish Hotel, Zero Focus), Ai Hashimoto (The Kirishima Thing), and Asami Mizukawa (A Beloved Wife). Plus Yutaka Matsushige and Gaku Hamada are on hand to provide ample support. Most promisingly, Eiko Koike, a thoroughly underused thesp was reprising her role from the theatre version. With so much talent, it was a surprise that the final result is so underwhelming.

The story takes place in post-war Japan, a nation transforming itself and shedding its old identity. As part of this, the locales are the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s black markets and the more dignified air of editorial rooms of literary magazines. They soon crash together in an unlikely way through the meeting of two people from those two different worlds for a very sordid reason that promises comedy gold.

Continue reading “Farewell: Comedy of Life Begins with A Lie  グッドバイ 嘘からはじまる人生喜劇 Dir: Izuru Narushima (2020)”

The Real Thing 本気のしるし Dir: Koji Fukada (2020)

The Real ThingThe Real Thing (Movie Version) Film Poster

本気のしるし  Honki no Shirushi

Release Date: October 09th, 2020

Duration: 232 mins.

Director: KojFukada

Writer: Shintaro Mitani, Koji Fukada (Script), Mochiru Hoshisato (Original Novel)

Starring: Win Morisaki, Kaho Tsuchimura, Kei Ishibashi, Akari Fukunaga, Yukiya Kitamura, Shohei Uno, Shugo Oshinari, Masaki Naito,

Website IMDB

The Real Thing is a 10-episode TV drama adapted from a manga originally created by Mochiru Hoshisato. It was first aired by Nagoya Broadcasting Network in 2020 and later edited into a theatrical version. This appears to be only the second time that writer/director Koji Fukada (reviews of his films) has adapted someone else’s work for the screen as he tells the romantic drama surrounding a successful salaryman who throws his life away after he meets a mystery woman and pursues her, driven on by an emotion new to him even if it promises his own destruction.

Continue reading “The Real Thing 本気のしるし Dir: Koji Fukada (2020)”

A New Wind Blows 新しい風 Dir: Yutaro Nakamura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

A New Wind Blows  A New Wind Blows Film Poster

新しい風 Atarashii Kaze

Release Date: April 29th, 2021

Duration: 66 mins.

Director: Yutaro Nakamura

Writer: Yutaro Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Yutaro Nakamura, Hikaru Saiki, An Ogawa, Takaya Shibata, Yujiro Hara,

OAFF

A New Wind Blows was one of two films by Yutaro Nakamura at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021. An actor, writer and director, these films mark his ninth and tenth efforts in the director’s chair. While his other work Sweet Bitter Candy was a standard drama, A New Wind Blows presented an intriguing indie youth story that mixes the dreams and madness of teens in Tokyo in a narrative with some darkness and a lot of optimism.

Continue reading “A New Wind Blows 新しい風 Dir: Yutaro Nakamura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Among Four of Us 4人のあいだで Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Among Four of Us

4人のあいだで 4-Ri no Aida de

Release Date: April 23rd, 2021

Duration: 40 mins.

Director: Mayu Nakamura

Writer: Mayu Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Fusako Urabe, Nahana, Kota Kusano,

OAFF IMDB

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a number of high concept movies using the reality of lockdown situations to try new spins on old stories with social media platforms playing key roles. At the outset we had Zoom seances (The Host), actors in isolation making a horror film via videos recorded separately and edited together (One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote), and, later in the pandemic, actor’s on the same set voicing the SNS comments their characters write as they experience a tentative romance mediated by the internet (Here and There).

Most of these films will be curios of an age where many of our interactions were confined online due to lockdowns but Mayu Nakamura’s 20-minute short Among Four of Us feels both specific to our moment and also timeless as strong writing and performances create a profoundly sad examination of the human condition.

The central conceit of the film is a socially distanced late-night conversation that takes place between three friends, Koji (Kota Kusano), Fusae (Fusako Urabe), and Nanae (Nahana). 20 years previously, they were in the same drama club in college. Since then they have gone their separate ways with Fusae and Nanae having given up and settled down to domesticity while only Koji is still acting. Haunted by lockdown loneliness and an incident with a fourth member of their theatre troupe, Koji attempts to resurrect the friendly and fun nature of their former relationship with beers and a laidback talk in a park.

Koji (Kota Kusano)

Continue reading “Among Four of Us 4人のあいだで Dir: Mayu Nakamura (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Along the Sea 海辺の彼女たち Dir: Akio Fujimoto (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Along the Sea   Along the Sea Film Poster

海辺の彼女たち Umibe no Kanojotachi

Release Date: May 01st, 2021

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Akio Fujimoto

Writer: Akio Fujimoto (Script),

Starring: Hoang Phuong, Anh Huynh Tuyet, Nhu Quynh

Website IMDB

Along the Sea is the second feature from writer-director Akio Fujimoto. A co-production between Japan and Vietnam, it is similar to his debut Passage of Life (2017) in that it charts the tensions of being outsiders in a foreign land in a near-documentary style. The script is based on stories drawn from real-life interviews, the camera observes a mix of professional and non-professional actors, and melodrama and artifice are kept to a minimum.

However, Along the Sea has a much more cohesive and concise dramatic structure as it takes place entirely in Japan and over a few weeks. Furthermore, as close to social realist as it may be, there are moments of poetic beauty captured by Kentaro Kishi, Fujimoto’s go-to director of photography. As breath-taking as some of these moments are, they never obscure the people at the heart of the narrative.

Continue reading “Along the Sea 海辺の彼女たち Dir: Akio Fujimoto (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Young Birds 雛鳥 Dir: Eriko Izumi [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Young Birds

雛鳥Hinadori

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 80 mins.

Director: Eriko Izumi

Writer: Eriko Izumi (Script),

Starring: Nanaho Otsuka, Jeremy Wang, Nanami Hidaka, Urara Matsubayahi, Saki Kato,

Website

Young female directors are gaining ground in the male-dominated Japanese film industry and nowhere is this more in evidence than in film schools across the nation where women make up an increasing number of students, a great example being Aya Miyazaki and her university work Good-Bye (2020) which has now entered cinemas on a theatrical run.

Eriko Izumi is one of the latest names to emerge with her debut feature Young Birds. It is an original work produced by herself and 12 students, some from China and Thailand, at Digital Hollywood University over a year and a half. While rough around the edges, it presents an easy-to-understand coming-of-age drama examining the insecurities felt by a young woman trying to find her path in life.

Young Birds Film Nanaho Otsuka

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