CAMERA JAPAN to Screen Two Films at Shofukan in Rotterdam on April 07th

This year will be the twelfth that CAMERA JAPAN has been in operation and it is great that the festival is operating since it offers one of the most comprehensive collections of current Japanese cinema. The 2017 festival dates have already been announced:

September 21st-24th  Rotterdam
September 29th – October 01st Amsterdam

In the run-up to the festival, CAMERA JAPAN are screening a grip of films and this week’s titles are interesting. To find out more about each individual screening, click on the titles/links:

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Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up

It’s 23:49 in Osaka and I want to go to sleep but I have important news! The Japan Film Festival Ireland has reached its ninth year and this year’s addition features anime, dramas, and mediums. There are 21 in all and each movie I would like to see. The screenings take place in Dundalk, Cork, Galway, Maynooth, Sligo, Limerick, Dublin, and Waterford and so people in Ireland will get to see really great examples of Japanese cinema.

Here’s the lowdown on the various films being screened. Click on the titles to be taken to the festival page which has more information:

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Love and Goodbye and Hawaii 恋とさよならとハワイ Dir: Shingo Matsumura (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Film Review

Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Film Poster

恋とさよならとハワイKoi to sayonara to Hawai

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director:  Shingo Matsumura

Writer: Shingo Matsumura (Screenplay),

Starring: Aya Ayano, Kentaro Tamura, Momoka Ayukawa, Risa Kameda, Aoi Kato

Website IMDB Eiga

This might sound like damning a film with faint praise but, Love and Goodbye and Hawaii is a nicely shot simple tale about a woman slowly coming to the realisation that a relationship with her ex-boyfriend may well and truly be dead and she faces the decision of whether to resurrect it or move on.

The aforementioned woman is Rinko (Ayu Ayano), a bespectacled twenty-something who works in an office. She has been living with her ex-boyfriend Isamu (Kentaro Tamura), a graduate student, for three years. Indeed, the two have chosen to live together even after they broke up because their situation is comfortable. Although they separate their shared bedroom with a rack of clothes and sleep in different futons on opposite sides of the room, they interact with each other like a regular couple.Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Film Image Race of Love Continue reading “Love and Goodbye and Hawaii 恋とさよならとハワイ Dir: Shingo Matsumura (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Film Review”

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.”

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

Parks        

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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