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Sisterhood シスターフッド Dir: Takashi Nishihara (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Sisterhood    Sisterhood Film Poster

シスターフッド  Shisuta-fuddo

Running Time: 87 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Takashi Nishihara

Writer: Takashi Nishihara (Screenplay),

Starring: BOMI, Manami Usamaru, Nina Endo, Ryo Iwase, Mika Akizuki

Website IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/if07.html

The only constant in life is change and we are living through massive changes, not least with regard to the battle for gender equality which has been marked most recently by the #MeToo movement which has spread from America and gained traction in some of the most conservative of societies around the world. Channelling some of the momentum experienced in Japan is Takashi Nishihara, writer and director of Sisterhood. He graduated from the Department of Arts and Film at Waseda University with a focus on documentary and has created fiction films – Blue Ray (2011) and the lesbian love drama Starting Over (2014) – as well as documentaries – About My Freedom (2016) and Queer Asia, a series for GagaOOLala, Asia’s first LGBTQ streaming service. With Sisterhood, he mixes fact and fiction in a film that shows some of the voices asking for change to mainstream of Japanese society.

To capture the shifts going on in gender relations in Japan, Nishihara blurs the bounds between fiction and reality by merging footage from a documentary he has been shooting over the last few years and casting real life actors and models such as Nina Endo and Mika Akizuki (the two leads from Starting Over), SUMIRE and Manami Usamaru, as well as the musician BOMI, and making them play fictional variations of themselves. Each gives a portrayal of a young woman going about their lives. We see them modelling, studying, performing concerts, each desiring to be treated fairly as they chase their dreams and each question their role in society. These questions emerge thanks to a link character, a middle-aged male Tokyo-based documentary film director named Ikeda, played by Ryo Iwase, who interviews people for a documentary about feminism.

Continue reading “Sisterhood シスターフッド Dir: Takashi Nishihara (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

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RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Dir: Takuji Suzuki (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram  RANDEN The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Film Poster

嵐電 Randen

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Director:  Takuji Suzuki

Writer: Takuji Suzuki, Hiroshi Asari, (Screenplay),

Starring: Arata Iura, Ayaka Onishi, Tamaki Kubose, Satoko Abe, Kenta Ishida, Hiroto Kanai,

Website

Opening the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 is the world premiere of RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram, a love-letter to the local tram that runs in the west of Kyoto City that links famous sites such as scenic Arashiyama to the ancient Koryu-ji temple and the exciting Toei Kyoto Studio Park where jidaigeki have been made over the centuries. It is beloved by many who ride it and the film’s story depicts the intersecting lives of three different couples whose love resonates throughout a narrative as fate, by way of the trams, deliberately bring people together.

Continue reading “RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram Dir: Takuji Suzuki (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

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Nunchaku and Soul Dir: Akiyoshi Koba (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Nunchaku and Soul

ヌンチャクソウル  Nunchaku Souru

Running Time: 25 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Akiyoshi Koba

Writer: Akiyoshi Koba (Screenplay),

Starring: Masahiro Kuroki, Atsushi Takahashi, Jun Bay, Anju Kurosu, Yun Hayama, Michiko Hayashi, Shinichiro Osawa,

Website IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/if03.html

Director Akiyoshi Koba is a part-time lecturer at Nagaoka Zokei University and an indie filmmaker whose works feature a mixture of everyday settings dusted with a little sci-fi and tweaked with comedy. Titles include, Slippers and  a Midsummer Moon (2015) where two sisters travel between parallel worlds to find their missing father, the tokusatsu parody short Psychics Z (2016), and Tsumugi’s Radio (2017), a gentle comedy about mental illness and mistimed romance told with a lot of flashbacks. In each of the films, mundane locations are used for out of the ordinary events. This is probably driven by budget constraints but it has resulted in an oeuvre which celebrates the possibility of fun and DIY filmmaking in small-town Japan. Nunchaku and Soul is probably Koba’s most amusing work to date and continues in this vein.

Continue reading “Nunchaku and Soul Dir: Akiyoshi Koba (2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

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Black Crow 1, Kibaiyanse! Watashi, Ramen Shop, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Case.3 On the Other Side of Love and Hate, Kimi to, tsuredure, Ultraman R/B The Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond, Rise Dharuriser – The Movie New Edition, Geki × cine “Seven people of the skull castle” Season flowers, Japanese Film Trailers    

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope everyone is doing well.

I am currently in Osaka working at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. I’ve written quite a few reviews already as I try and make more condensed and concise coverage that is effective. I have been able to do this because I wake up at around 02:00 or 03:00 in the morning and have difficulty getting back to sleep which leaves me falling asleep at 18:00. I hope I can get a handle on it because I’ve got interviews lined up with directors!

The festival opened yesterday with RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram and my reviews have been getting published over on V Cinema, one a day! So far:

Preview    Hana  Wild Tour  Sisterhood  The Eternity Between Seconds    Demolition Girl

In order to get my Osaka coverage going, I finished up my reviews of Koji Fukada’s films Harmonium (2016) and also posted a preview of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019. Expect reviews for the festivals films to start next Monday.

Before then… What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Black Crow 1, Kibaiyanse! Watashi, Ramen Shop, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Case.3 On the Other Side of Love and Hate, Kimi to, tsuredure, Ultraman R/B The Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond, Rise Dharuriser – The Movie New Edition, Geki × cine “Seven people of the skull castle” Season flowers, Japanese Film Trailers    “

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A Preview of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 (March 08th – March 17th)

The Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 (OAFF) is back for its 14th edition and it promises a wealth of cinematic experiences from across Asia with a healthy selection of local indies programmed alongside international award-winners, auteur works, modern classics and genre cinema. I’m working at the festival again so I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I originally wrote this for V-Cinema to introduce the films.

The festival runs at various locations in the city from March 08th through to March 17th and organisers have carefully created a programme consisting of 51 films from 17 regions including 10 world and 9 international premiere films. Over half the titles will be screened in Japan for the first time and there will be filmmakers travelling from across the world to join film fans and take part in Q&A sessions to give more information about their works.

Everything has been organised across multiple programmes including the Competition section as well as sections dedicated to Hong Kong and Taiwan and there is also the prestigious Osaka Asia Star Award which is given to a significant figure from the Japanese or Asian film industry and presented at an award ceremony which is followed by an in-depth talk event.

What’s on offer?

Continue reading “A Preview of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 (March 08th – March 17th)”

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Harmonium 深田晃司 Dir: Koji Fukada (2016)

Harmonium  harmonium-film-poster 

深田晃司 「Fuchi ni Tatsu

Release Date: October 10th, 2016

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada

Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Tadanobu Asano, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Takahiro Miura, Momone Shinokawa,

IMDB   Website

Koji Fukada’s Harmonium took the Jury Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and for good reason because it shows a director in precise control of his material. Story-wise, it follows in the footsteps of his debut feature Hospitalite (2011) wherein a stranger enters the lives of a family and disrupts things. While Fukada’s earlier title was light-hearted and poked fun at the social mores of Japan, this film is harsher with only a few dashes of hope beaming down in the final scenes.

Taking the lead is experienced thesp Kanji Futurachi, a familiar face from Fukada’s earlier films like Au Revoir l’ete (2015) and Human Comedy Tokyo (2012) and, crucially, Hospitalite (2011) where he was the stranger that forced a revolution on a family. In a role reversal he is the patriarch and a victim of sorts here as he plays Toshio, the owner of a small factory in the suburbs of some city or other. No location is given. It’s a nondescript and quiet place where he lives a quiet existence with his church-going wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui) and their daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa). It is she who plays the titular harmonium that gives the film’s soundtrack a funereal sense.

Harmonium Film Image

Continue reading “Harmonium 深田晃司 Dir: Koji Fukada (2016)”

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Until I Meet September’s Love, Siblings of the Cape, Haman, Running Again, Sisterhood, Afternoon Breezes, Doraemon the Movie: Chronicle of the Moon Exploration, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 7 “Nova Chapter”, A Japanese Boy Who Draws, Goro no Shin Sekai, Umeko, Giwaku to Dansu, Fukushima wa Kataru, Yoake no takibi, Happy Island, Uchi uchi no men-tachi (tsura-tachi) wa., Last Judgement, Saigo no Shinpan, Sayonara Kazoku, Hazure Kazoku no Saaya, Kumori tokidoki hare Noise, KING OF PRISM: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Au revoir l'ete Film Image 3

I hope you are all well!

I’ve written this the day after arriving in Japan. Yes, I am back in Osaka and getting ready for work at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019. I hope to provide coverage of the Japanese films and interview the directors and others who make them. I also intend to review films from other countries. Expect a lot of cross-posting between this blog and V-Cinema.

I wrote this trailer post while suffering jet lag so there’s a lot of brevity. I’m surprised I got it done in two sessions over one day! It was completed after walking around Osaka for about four hours. 

This week, I reviewed Au Revoir l’ete and Human Comedy in Tokyo, two films from Koji Fukada. I intend to finish the mini Koji Fukada season with a fifth film, Harmonium, next Monday and then from Wednesday, it will be Osaka. I’m going to try and do it in a condensed time and not string it out.

Anyway, what’s released this weekend??? Continue reading “Until I Meet September’s Love, Siblings of the Cape, Haman, Running Again, Sisterhood, Afternoon Breezes, Doraemon the Movie: Chronicle of the Moon Exploration, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 7 “Nova Chapter”, A Japanese Boy Who Draws, Goro no Shin Sekai, Umeko, Giwaku to Dansu, Fukushima wa Kataru, Yoake no takibi, Happy Island, Uchi uchi no men-tachi (tsura-tachi) wa., Last Judgement, Saigo no Shinpan, Sayonara Kazoku, Hazure Kazoku no Saaya, Kumori tokidoki hare Noise, KING OF PRISM: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga Japanese Film Trailers”

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Human Comedy in Tokyo 東京人間喜劇 Dir: Koji Fukada (2008)

Human Comedy in Tokyo    Human Comedy Tokyo Film Poster

東京人間喜劇 Tokyo Ningen Kigeki

Running Time: 139 mins.

Release Date: October 11th, 2008

Director:  Koji Fukada

Writer:  Koji Fukada (Screenplay),

Starring: Michitaro Mizushima, Misako Watanabe, Shoichi Ozawa, Shinsuke Ashida, Mari Shiraki, Akira Hisamatsu, Tatsuo Matsushita, Reiko Arai, Kotoe Hatsui,

IMDB

Having watched Fukada’s later works, Harmonium (2016), Sayonara (2015) and Au revoir l’ete (2013) (in that order), I was a fool to expect his feature-film debut Human Comedy Tokyo (2008) to actually be a comedy. What it has to say about human relations makes it one of the bleakest films I have seen in a while as we find that the title is super ironic because he depicts people in Tokyo as super isolated. Continue reading “Human Comedy in Tokyo 東京人間喜劇 Dir: Koji Fukada (2008)”

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Au revoir l’ete ほとりの朔子 Dir: Koji Fukada (2014)

Au revoir l’ete          

Au revoir lete Film poster
Au revoir lete Film poster

ほとりの朔子 「Hotori no Sakuko」

Running Time: 125 mins.

Release Date: January 18th, 2014

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada (Screenplay)

Starring: Fumi Nikaido, Mayu Tsuruta, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Ena Koshino, Makiko Watanabe, Kiki Sugino

Website

Koji Fukada is a film-maker inspired by the cultures of France and Indonesia as best evidenced by him transplanting elements to his native Japan in his many works. His like of French New Wave cinema is made obvious by this film, Au Revoir l’ete, which means goodbye summer and plays like an Eric Rohmer film where relationships are unpicked in a nonchalant manner as we get to a deeper understanding of some human relationships. It’s the perfect title for a film that describes the quiet misadventures of a teenage girl who waves goodbye to her naivete and matures a little more while in the company of some childish adults.

It is late August and an eighteen-year-old Tokyoite Sakuko (Fumi Nikaido) is a ronin student who is preparing to take her university entrance exam after flunking her previous one. Studying is the perfect excuse for her to tag along with her aunt Mikie (Mayu Tsuruta) who is house-sitting for her sister, Sakuko’s mother, in a sleepy coastal town.

Au revoir l'ete Film Image 3

Continue reading “Au revoir l’ete ほとりの朔子 Dir: Koji Fukada (2014)”

Featured

Ano Hi no Orugan, The Island of Cats, Omaera Zenin Mendokusai!, Rin, Samurai Marathon 1855, Tonde Saitama, When Mother Died, I Thought That I Wanted to Eat Remains, Boku no kanojo wa mahoutsukai, Junction 29, Michikusa, Mirai no Atashi, Made in Japan, Sora no Hitomi to Katatsumuri, Chimamire sukeban chenso red: Kohen – Giko no kakusei, Chimamire sukeban chenso red: Kohen – Nero no fukushu Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope you are well!!

This is another truncated film trailer post and there are so many titles getting released over this weekend and the next! As far as film review go, I started a mini-season dedicated to Koji Fukada with reviews of Sayonara and Hospitalite.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Ano Hi no Orugan, The Island of Cats, Omaera Zenin Mendokusai!, Rin, Samurai Marathon 1855, Tonde Saitama, When Mother Died, I Thought That I Wanted to Eat Remains, Boku no kanojo wa mahoutsukai, Junction 29, Michikusa, Mirai no Atashi, Made in Japan, Sora no Hitomi to Katatsumuri, Chimamire sukeban chenso red: Kohen – Giko no kakusei, Chimamire sukeban chenso red: Kohen – Nero no fukushu Japanese Film Trailers”