Third Window Films Release the Tetsuya Mariko film “Destruction Babies” on April 10th

The next home movie release from Third Window Films Destruction Babies,. It was released last year in Japan and cropped up in UK cinemas after it was secured a place on the programme at this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I haven’t seen this one but fellow movie bloggers have. Here’s a snippet of a review from Windows on Worlds, a site run by a writer named Hayley who knows a lot about Japanese cinema:

“Oblique, ambiguous, and soaked in blood, Destruction Babies is a rebel yell for a forlorn hope, as raw as it is disturbing.”

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release the Tetsuya Mariko film “Destruction Babies” on April 10th”

Parks Film Review パークス Dir: Natsuki Seta (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Review

Parks        

parks-film-poster-2
parks-film-poster-2

パークス Pa-kusu

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director:  Natsuki Seta

Writer: Natsuki Seta (Screenplay),

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Mei Nagano, Shota Sometani, Shiro Sano, Reiya Masaki, Ryu Morioka, Shizuka Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

Tokyo is home to many world famous parks such as Yoyogi and Ueno but when I lived in the mega-metropolis I developed a soft spot for Inokashira Park out in the fashionable area of Kichijoji. It may not be as big as the others but I found it an equally wonderful serene green space with lots of interesting features. It recently reached its 100th anniversary and the film “Parks” was commissioned to commemorate the special occasion. Since parks are public spaces that invite a multitude of visitors who form their own stories and memories, the challenge of making a film about the park would be paring down a huge number of ideas and interpretations of the area into a coherent narrative but writer/director Natsuki Seta and her team have managed it by creating an off-beat and charming drama with music at its heart that spans the decades and fully encompasses why parks are treasured by so many people.

Continue reading “Parks Film Review パークス Dir: Natsuki Seta (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Review”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Short Films – Breathless Lovers, Ping Pang, Summer Night

I don’t often cover short films but they get programmed at Osaka and this year’s crop were too intriguing to miss. They were rather conveniently screened as part of one package despite being in different parts of the programme but with the filmmakers all being around the same age and the quality of the work being high, it is worth writing down a few thoughts in case these guys are part of the new wave For anyone wondering, elsewhere around the festival, women made a huge impact as feature-film directors. It seems Osaka always programmes a lot of work by women without any of the attendant fuss and controversy seen in the West and that’s a good thing.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Short Films – Breathless Lovers, Ping Pang, Summer Night”

BAMY (2017) バーミー Dir: Jun Tanaka, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

Bamy       bamy-film-poster

バーミー Ba-Mi-   

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Jun Tanaka

Writer: Jun Tanaka

Starring: Hironobu Yukinaga, Hiromi Nakazato, Misaki Tsuge, Toshi Yanagi, Yuki Katsuragi,

Jun Tanaka’s film, “Bamy” (2017) plays with the myth of the red string of fate – an unbreakable bond that ties people destined to be together – but posits that instead of this being something romantic or joyful, it is nothing but a curse because it reveals that people have no control over their own lives. The string is forced upon individuals who cannot escape what has been preordained by some larger transcendental entity. The film follows this thread of an idea to its natural and almost absurd conclusion in a film that raises itself from being a semi-pastiche of Kurosawa’s modern-day horror classic, “Pulse” (2001), to an entertaining jaunt into a twisted set of romances where not even horrifying ghosts can sever predestined connections between people.

Continue reading “BAMY (2017) バーミー Dir: Jun Tanaka, Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Update: Yoshitaro Nomura’s film “The Refugee” will be screened with English Subtitles

Big news from the Osaka Asian Film Festival: Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1955 film “The Refugee” will be shown with English subtitles – more details on the festival site. It will be screened at the Hankyu Umeda Hall on Monday at 18:30 and from what I have heard this is an interesting title to watch. Just getting the chance to watch something this old on the big screen is exciting. Here’s information I published about the film in a preview which shows lots of exciting films to watch. I’ll be going to this one.

THE REFUGEE   the-refugee-1956-film-poster

亡命記 [Bomeiki]

Running Time: 135 mins.

Director: Yoishitaro Nomura

Writer: Toshio Shiina (Screenplay)

Starring: Keiko Kishi, Keiji Sada, Wei Hong, Yunosuke Ito, Chishu Ryu, Kumeko Urabe, Shin Saburi,

IMDB

With 89 films to his name, Nomura was one of Japan’s most prolific and celebrated directors. He worked in a number of genres from film noir to period dramas but is best known for collaborating with the mystery writer Seicho Matsumoto. They made eight films, including “Castle of Sand” (1974) and “The Demon” (1978) which I saw in London back in 2014. The script was adapted by Toshio Shiina who worked with Yuzo Kawashima, a talent rediscovered in 2012.

the-refugee-film-image

Synopsis: A Chinese medical student named Shaochang finds himself cut off from his homeland as he is studying in Japan during the outbreak of the war. Despite his difficult circumstances, he finds love in the form of Sachiko and the two marry. They later travel to Nanjing to live a new life together where Sachiko and Shaochang cooperate with the Japanese-backed government. Their ultimate hope is to secure peace but their idealism is not enough to keep them together through brutal times and with the end of the war the two find themselves facing a divorce…

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Poetry Angel ポエトリーエンジェル Dir: Toshimitsu Iizuka

Poetry Angel   poetry-angel-film-poster

ポエトリーエンジェル Poetori- Enjeru   

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Toshimitsu Iizuka

Writer: Toshimitsu Iizuka (Screenplay),

Starring: Amane Okayama, Rena Takeda, Shingo Tsurumi, Jun Miho, Akihiro Kakuta, Maho Yamada, Tateto Serizawa, An Ogawa, Kento Yamazaki,

Website IMDB

Here’s a movie pitch which may not stun you:

Poetry Angel” is a film about a farmer and a schoolgirl in small-town Japan seeking a way to express themselves and unleash their creativity through the art of “Poetry Boxing.”

Everything up until “Poetry Boxing” sounds like business as usual since films about self-expression are common but newbie director/writer Toshimitsu Iizuka has cannily hitched his succinct and sweet human drama to the relatively unknown real-life sport of Poetry Boxing and strikes gold with results so entertaining you may want to step into the ring yourself.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Poetry Angel ポエトリーエンジェル Dir: Toshimitsu Iizuka”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Programme Preview Part 3: Independent Japanese Films

oaff2017_posterart_english

The full line-up for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) (March 03rd – March 12th) was revealed last month and for the 12th edition of OAFF, the number of selected films has reached an impressive 58 in total, including 16 films in Competition and they are coming from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. I took a look at many of those films in the two previous posts, one highlighting the competition and opening/closing films and one looking at the Thai, Hong Kong and special screening films. This preview will look at the independent Japanese films. Again, I helped write the synopses for many them only this time it was with the help of staff-members with the Housen films who would help me translate things from Japanese and discuss the exact meanings of certain words used. Thanks go out to them. Also, there are three films at the start that weren’t assigned to me so I didn’t cover them. I did write director biographies which I threw into this post. Who knows when I may call upon them.

Here’s what’s on offer from the Japanese cinema selection (you can click on any of the titles to be taken to the corresponding festival page which will have more information):

besoin-de-amour

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Programme Preview Part 3: Independent Japanese Films”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Special Screenings: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment, New Action! Southeast Asia, Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017, Thai Films

oaff2017_posterart_english

The full line-up of films for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) last week and I aim to bring you some coverage of all of the titles. One of the great things about this festival (and living in Japan) for a Westerner myself is how much it shows me of the world. There are people, places, histories, and cultures shown on screen that I had little idea about and it also puts Western culture, often so dominant, into perspective.

There are films from 19 countries and regions getting a screening at a number of venues across Osaka and many delights for audiences to experience from places including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun). The last post was dominated by the competition films and the opening and closing film, this post features information on a strand of the festival dedicated to Hong Kong and Thai films. Since I have already written about them, I’ve linked back to earlier posts. There’s still a lot of variety here with films from Taiwan, Bhutan. mainland China, Indonesia and elsewhere. It’s a pretty exciting programme.

Here’s the line-up. I will transfer some information to the larger post I made sticky to keep at the top of the blog:

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Special Screenings: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment, New Action! Southeast Asia, Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017, Thai Films”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films

oaff2017_posterart_english

The organisers behind Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) released the full programme of every film that will be screened during its run from March 03rd until March 12th last week and it’s an impressive line-up.

The beginning of the year is always a busy one when it comes to international film festivals since Rotterdam and Berlin showcase their programmes and start screening things that will filter to the rest of the world at some point. Add the Osaka Asian Film Festival to that list because it is establishing itself as a platform for Asian filmmakers. This year demonstrates why it has a growing international reputation since there are many world and international premieres and a lot of filmmakers are going to attend the festival to talk about their work. On top of writing my usual previews for the aforementioned festival, I am working for Osaka as well.

Full disclosure, I am at the festival in the capacity as a writer, helping out with the event and watching some of the films. I will attempt to review as many as possible but for now, I’ll give previews.

I’m very excited to bring these previews to you not least because I wrote the synopses for each of them and I got a chance to watch some of the films already and the amount of talent I have seen is impressive. As a person based in the West, sometimes it’s difficult to see what the rest of the world produces in terms of cinema so this is a real education for me. The titles from the Philippines and Thailand have been really impressive and show local film industries that are producing daring and interesting works.

Here’s what has been programmed for the opening, closing and competition films. There is mention of guests but to get the full information about which screening they are attending, please visit the Event Page, the Guest Page or one of my earlier announcements. To find out more about each of the films, please click on the titles/links to be taken to the festival site. I have also included links to IMDB and the film’s websites where possible.

Here’s what’s going to be screened (the entire list I made into a sticky post on the main page of this site will be updated with some of this information):

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films”

Japan Now: Momoko Ando and Her Film 0.5mm at the British Library

I’m currently working for a film festival in Japan but I’m still trying to report on Japanese film events in the UK such as this one which is a bit late (thank you to the Japan Foundation for sending the email):

The Japan Foundation is pleased to partner with Modern Culture once again for the event Japan NowJoin us for this very special screening as part of Japan Now, with filmmaker Momoko Ando here in London to introduce the UK Premiere of her film 0.5mm alongside curator and filmmaker Jasper Sharp. 

 

For further details of how to book tickets, please visit:  https://www.bl.uk/events/momoko-ando-film-screening

Continue reading “Japan Now: Momoko Ando and Her Film 0.5mm at the British Library”