Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2015 Line-Up

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival takes place in Wales later this month in Cardiff and again at the end of October in Aberystwyth. It is the only film event in Wales to show anime on the big screen and takes place over the course of a day in the two locations. The programming team has brought out a selection of classics and some newer titles that show some of the best modern animated films from Japan.

This year’s events once again take place in the Chapter Arts Centre  and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre and there are titles from Madhouse and Production I.G with the psycho-thriller Perfect Blue (directed by the genius auteur Satoshi Kon) and Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, the film which launched studio Gainax, being two highlights.

I’ll be travelling to the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff to see the festival there.

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 Preview

The Japan Foundation has announced their Touring Film Programme for 2015 and for the 12th festival the title is, “It Only Happens in the Movies?”

Japan Foundation It Only Happens in the Movies

 

The festival runs from January 30th to March 26th and it aims to provide “an exciting programme of films under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’.” Each film has characters who experience “unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas.”

The film line-up has a huge variety of styles, genres, and tones covered from comedy to serious drama and films from various eras with an adult drama set in1950s Japan all the way to one about teens in uni falling in love in contemporary Japan.

Here are the films, scroll down for trailers and more details (the English titles are the links to the pages so click on them for more info):

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BFI Anime Season in June

The British Film Institute (BFI) is holding a special showcase for recent anime (including the chance to rediscover Akira) from the 8th to the 10th of June. The line-up is excellent and contains some of the best theatrical titles to come out of Japan with titles from Studio Ghibli, Production I.G., and Madhouse. Of all the titles on display none intrigue me as much as A Letter to Momo which got a theatrical release in Japan last week and has had excellent reviews. Here’s the line-up:

Akira

Date: 10 Jun 20:40 NFT1Akira End

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo, Starring: Mami Koyaa, Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Running time: 125 mins.

This is a stone-cold classic. Like Ridley Scott’s movies Alien and Blade Runner it’s aesthetics have influenced the look of a lot of animation and film. I have seen it on multiple occasions and I highly recommend it.

The year is 2019 and thirty-one years have passed since World War III. Neo-Tokyo is wracked with riots and clashes between the authorities and extreme political opponents. A child from a top secret government project interested in psychic powers is spirited away by one of these political extremists but gets caught up in a clash between young delinquent motorcycle gangs. This gang finds itself suddenly catching the interest of the authorities when one of the gang-members, Tetsuo, exhibits psychic powers. He is taken by the army to be experimented on but his mind might be more powerful than anybody could have guessed.

Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below

Date: 9 Jun 18:30 NFT1Children Who Choice Lost Voices

Director: Makoto Shinkai, Starring: Miyu Irino, Kazuhiko, Hisako Kanemoto Running time: 116 mins.

Makoto Shinkai’s films are stunning to watch and feature such beautiful and melancholy stories full of more humanism than most Hollywood output. As the numerous OS wallpapers on my computer attest I am a fan (he answered two questions I put to him in a recent interview!). This is his latest film which looks stunning.

Asuna is a girl who spends her days listening to mysterious music coming from the crystal radio, a memento she received from her father. She embarks on a journey in the underground realm of Agartha which some believe has the properties of bringing people back from the dead. With a brave young man named Shun, Asuna will see the cruelty and beauty of the world as she evades dangerous beasts and a ruthless group of soldiers from her world.

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A Letter to Momo, Monsters Club, X Game 2, We Were There Part 2, Sentimental Yasuko Trailers

This week started off with a review of the rather amusing X-Cross followed by a trailer for Mamoru Hosoda’s next movie The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. Then I followed that up with a review of Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night. After posting that review I went to the cinema to see the awesome film The Cabin in the Woods. Check out Curiosity Kitty’s review of the film on 360 Degree Review to see what she made of it. I’ll have my review out tomorrow. In other news the 65th Cannes Film Festival will soon be getting underway and as part of my commitment to covering film festivals I’ll chart the Japanese films at the event and how they are received by critics. As part of this coverage I asked fellow blogger, Dandelion Head over at The Strange Dreamer to create Cannes-chan:Cannes-tan Reading Preview

I was inspired by the OS-tans and decided to do something similar. Unfortunately I’m not that great at drawing so I asked Dandelion Head to step in and she has done an awesome job and this is a pretty awesome illustration which will now be accompanying my forthcoming articles covering Japanese films at the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

What’s happening with the Japanese box-office charts?

  1.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  2.  SPEC: The Movie
  3.  Battleship
  4.  Crayon Shin-chan
  5.  John Carter

Oh dear, two terrible Hollywood films are in the top five with last week’s new release Crayon Shin-chan entering at number 4. SPEC: The Movie drops down to 2 after accruing $13 million. The new number one? The venerable Detective Conan.

Well I reported on Detective Conan for Anime UK News but it slipped under my radar. What gets released today?

A Letter to Momo
Release date: Early  2012 (Japan)A Letter to Momo Poster
Running time: 120 mins.
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura

Writer: Hiroyuki Okiura
Starring: Karen Miyama, Cho, Toshiyuki Nishida, Takeo Ogawa

Production I.G.’s film A Letter to Momo has major production talent with Hiroyuki Okiura acting as director and this is his first movie since the magnificent Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. The animation and background has been handled by Ghibli chaps Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and Hiroshi Ono (Kiki’s Delivery Service) respectively and the project has animators from a myriad of other high-profile titles like Evangelion, The Sky Crawlers, Tokyo Godfathers and Summer Wars.

13-year-old Momo is a young girl who grew up in Tokyo but following the premature loss of her father, she has to move with her mother to the old family house on a remote island named Steouchi. Here, time seems to have stopped: old wooden buildings, holy shrines surrounded by trees, fields painstakingly carved out from steep hills… and no shopping mall. Momo has more troubling matters as she has an unfinished letter left by her father. A letter that contained only two words: “Dear Momo…” What was her father going to say? One day, exploring the attic of her new big house, Momo finds a dusty and worn out book and this is the start of an adventure.

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Japanese Film Trailers and Toronto International Film Festival

After last weeks single trailer there has been a veritable flood and the line-up of films at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival looks awesome. I’ve focussed on the Japanese trailers, some of which I have already posted before, so if you like Japanese films read on!

HOLD IT! Done in the style of Phoenix Wright

Oh yeah, yesterday my entry for Front Room Cinema’s World Icon’s Tour went live. The chap I selected was Kiyoshi Kurosawa and I had a lot of fun writing about him so expect a series of reviews based on his films. Anyway, back to the post!

Oh how I wish I lived in Toronto. Not because of the high quality of life and the beautiful women seen in Scott Pilgrim but because of the Toronto International Film Festival. This year’s lineup of films has been announced but I’ll focus on the Japanese films which look impressive:

Himizu – Dir. Sion Sono

From Up on Poppy Hill – Dir. Goro Miyazaki

A Letter to Momo – Dir. Hiroyuki Okiura

Smuggler – Dir. Katushito Ishii

Monsters Club – Dir. Toyoda Toshiaki

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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Twixt, Resurrect Dead, A Letter to Momo, From up on Poppy Hill Trailers

Hello once again audience. A nice selection of trailers here that range across my favourite things, gothic mysteries and Japan. But before we get into them a little request…

If you have yet to see Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty in the cinema then please do because it is wonderful. Check for my review on Monday!

HaraKiri: Death of a Samurai

Release date: October (Japan)
Running time: N/A
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ebizo Ichikawa, Hikari Mitsushima, Koji Yakusho, Eita

 After devouring the awesome 13 Assassins I have been Takashi Miike’s latest film which is a 3D remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 Hara-Kiri. Here’s the full trailer.

Seeking an honorable end, poverty-stricken samurai Hanshiro requests to commit hara-kiri in the courtyard of feudal lord Kageyu’s estate. Trying to dismiss Hanshiro’s wish to save face, Kageyu recounts the tragic story of a similar plea years ago from young ronin Motome. But the arrogant lord is unaware of vengeful Hanshiro’s bond to Motome…

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