Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2016

The Rotterdam International Film Festival has started and lasts from January 28th to February 07th and there is a large contingent of Japanese films programmed, quite possibly the largest I have seen in the few years I have been watching the event. There are a lot of great titles, some of which are considered the best films to be made in 2015 and there is a diverse range of stories. The festival plays host to animation from a range of artists and there are shorts from Takeshi Kitano. Some of these are red hot international premieres while some of the films have been screened at Canadian film festivals already, some in 2014 (so there’s a bit of copy and paste from previous festival trailer posts). As well as contemporary film, there is also a retrospective for the director Masao Adachi who worked during the 1960s.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2016”

100 Yen Love 百円の恋 (2014)

100 Yen Love   

100 Yen Love Film Poster
100 Yen Love Film Poster

百円の恋 「Hyaku-en no Koi

Running Time: 113 mins.

Release Date: December 20th, 2014

Director: Masaharu Take

Writer: Masaharu Take (Screenplay),

Starring: Sakura Ando, Hirofumi Arai, Miyoko Inagawa, Saori, Shohei Uno, Tadashi Sakata, Yuki Okita,

Website   IMDB

The sports film is a popular genre because most of us participate or are interested in sports. It is also popular because sport offers an arc of development for the main protagonist who journeys from the bottom to the top through training, usually for a make-or-break final match. 100 Yen Love works with this formula and in a year when boxing films have made a comeback with Southpaw (2015) and Creed (2015), it proves to be a strong and distinctive drama thanks to a terrific performance from leading lady Sakura Ando as Ichiko, a girl who goes from zero to not quite hero but is inspirational nonetheless.

Continue reading “100 Yen Love 百円の恋 (2014)”

Japanese Films at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver International Film FestivalThe Vancouver International Film Festival takes place at the end of September and throughout a lot of October and it caps a series of international festivals jam-packed with Japanese content. It has a great selection of shorts and features with many different types of titles on offer for festival-goers – a strong programme of dramas are a highlight thanks to the festival’s traditional Dragons & Tigers section which is programmed as ever by Asian cinema specialist Tony Rayns.

The highlights are many and I think that this is my favourite looking line-up of films out of all but Japanese cinema specialist festivals like Nippon Connection, Japan Cuts, Camera Japan and Rotterdam. To the programmers at Vancouver, well done. You’ve made a great selection of films. To the reader, I hope you find something you enjoy!

Here’s the line-up!

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival”

Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015

The Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place from June 17th to the 28th and yesterday it launched its programme revealing the films that will be playing over the course of the event. While there is no anime on the bill there are a number of interesting live-action titles which will be screened.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015 Logo

I started covering the festival in 2013 (Edinburgh 2013) and continued in 2014 (Edinburgh 2014) but I’ll be honest and say that I think that the festival will not have as good a Japanese line-up as it did in 2012 when Chris Fujiwara took over as artistic director and programmed the Shinji Somai retrospective. I didn’t begin covering the festival until 2013 and now Chris Fujiwara has stepped down so I don’t expect a major injection of Japanese films on that scale again for quite a while. What has been selected is an interesting mix of dramas with 100 Yen Love being the most attractive and Parasyte the first part of a big-budget sci-fi action double-bill. Why not programme the second one as well because fans will be left hanging on the cliff-hanger? I think it may have something to do with the UK distributor Animatsu acquiring the first film and giving it as much fanfare as possible. The second film may not be theirs yet but we do know that they will release the anime. That’s a minor complaint, though because there are still interesting titles to be found.

Tickets and more information on the films are available by clicking on the links:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015”

Films Released in 2014 I will Hopefully See in 2015

The Pinkie Here Comes 2015

I post trailers of Japanese films released in Japan every weekend and some stay with me even months after their release has come and gone. Like last year I want to start the year by looking back at the trailers that make me wish these were films I had seen in 2014 and hope I can see in 2015.

Just to jump back to the last list of films from 2013, out of the 14 Seeds of Anxiety Yoko and Daiichi at the Restaurant Moncherifilms listed, I saw two – Patema Inverted and Fuan no Tane. Patema Inverted exceeded my expectations when I saw it at a cinema and I now have the Ultimate Edition home DVD/Bu-ray release that came from backing the Kickstarter campaign so I get the OST, art book and a variety of other extras. I’ll get a review of the film out before the end of January 2015! Fuan no Tane was a fun little horror film that did justice to the manga. You can read what I thought of it in my review.

The other films I listed? Well, the chances of me watching some of them were slim since they were the indiest of indies and without major studio backing, film labels with lots of money or film festivals selecting them, they would have been unlikely to get a cinema or home release in the UK. Raindance and Terracotta would have been the best places to see them but they weren’t screened.

I am kinda disappointed that I did not get to see Uzumasa Jacopetti, JacopettiGFP Bunny, A Fairy Tale, and Shin Shin Shin so I’m going to start investigating ways of getting these films. My usual import routes don’t stock them… Other indie films I’m interested in cost around £20 so it’s not impossible, just expensive. It’s at times like this when I wish Japanese film and anime companies would embrace digital distribution because I know I’d make many purchases to build up my library (and regrets over spending so much).

This list of films contains entries I have cherry-picked from my trailer posts that caught my eye over the year. I doubt I’ll see many of these but who knows…

Here’s the list and music you can listen to while reading/ignoring the blurb:

Continue reading “Films Released in 2014 I will Hopefully See in 2015”

The Vancouver Asahi, 100 Yen Love, My Wife’s Illness Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Death Forest Kyoufu no Mori, Youkai Watch the Movie: It’s the Secret of Birth, Meow!, Chibi neko Tomu no daiboken Chikyuu o Sukue! Na kamatachi Japanese Film Trailers

Hello, dear audience! I hope you are well! This is the last trailer post before Christmas so….

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

My Little Sweet Pea Film Image

Right, back to business. Film business. Sunday last week I went to see Blade Runner. Since I already know the story and twists, it was more of a fascinating watch as I looked at the technical elements, the aesthetics, performances, and the script. I must admit that I still had shivers during the big speeches:

“…All those memories lost… like tears in the rain…”

I also watched the films Dagon (2001), Tokyo Park (2010) again, and Kotsutsubo (2012). In terms of anime, Gugure!! Kokkuri-san has rocketed up the anime charts with its latest episode and I’m really enjoying Garo a lot as well. I’m glad that Psycho-Pass 2 has finished and while writing Christmas cards I was watching A.D. Police. And that’s about it for stuff that I have viewed. As for what I will view in the future… I posted about the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme for 2015 and I have a good idea about what I want to watch and what I’m willing to skip.

What’s released in Tokyo this weekend?

Continue reading “The Vancouver Asahi, 100 Yen Love, My Wife’s Illness Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Death Forest Kyoufu no Mori, Youkai Watch the Movie: It’s the Secret of Birth, Meow!, Chibi neko Tomu no daiboken Chikyuu o Sukue! Na kamatachi Japanese Film Trailers”