Japanese Films at the 56th BFI London Film Festival

Hyouka Genkina hito BFI LFF 56

Last year I started writing about film festivals – I think Venice was the first because I was following a film named Himizu. The British Film Institute’s London Film Festival is a popular post that still gets views today. This year I decided to try and increase my coverage and even take part in a festival. The 56th London Film Festival will be the first major one I will visit. It takes place from the 10th until the 21st of October and the line-up of films is spectacular. There are some great titles like Nameless Gangster, Rust and Bone, and Antiviral. There is also a strong selection of Japanese films, some of which have been at other festivals and others which have already been released in Japan. I have already written about all but one of them. They all look exciting. As for my own picks they are The Wolf Children, Key of Life, and For Love’s Sake. Very happy titles amidst the darkness. Check out Alua’s post for more information on other titles worth checking out. Maybe I’ll see you there?

What films are at the festival then?

 

Dreams for Sale                                   Dreams for Sale Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 夢 売る ふたり

Romaji: Yume Uru Futari

Running Time: 137 mins.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Writer: Miwa Nishikawa

Starring: Takako Matsu, Sadao Abe, Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tamae Ando, Yuka Ebara,  Tsurube Shoufukutei, Tae Kimrua, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yusuke Iseya,

This film has appeared in two posts on this blog already – Toronto Film Festival and a new entry in the Japanese film charts. It is far darker comedy than I am used to seeing from Japan and this twisted relationship comedy looks deliciously immoral.  The principal cast are lead by Takako Matsu (9 Souls, Confessions, April Story), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, After Life), Sawa Suzuki (Loft), Tae Kimura (My House, Kaidan, Starfish Hotel, Infection), and Tamae Ando (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Phone Call to the Bar). I wish I could have seen this one

 

When Kanya (Abe) and Satoko (Matsu) celebrate the fifth anniversary of their restaurant they had no idea it would end with the place burning down. This disaster forces Satoko to take on a job at a noodle shop while Kanya gets depressed and does what most movie men do in such a situation: drink and gamble. Then, one night, he returns home with cash and claims he got it by spending time with a lonely woman.  Satoko is initially angry but then realises the full potential of the scame and so the two embark on a series of sham relationships to get money together to re-open their restaurant. Surely it wont go that smoothly?

 

For Love’s Sake              Ai to Makoto Film Festival

Japanese Title: 愛 と 誠

Romaji: Ai to Makoto

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takayuki Takuma (script), Ikki Kajiwara (manga)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Takumi Saito, Sakura Ando, Ito Ono, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kimiko Yo, Ken Maeda, Yo Hitoto

This will be the final film I see in the festival and I am expecting this to be highly entertaining because it is directed by Takashi Miike. I hate musicals but Miike made The Happiness of the Katakuris which I loved. Tony Rayns, a highly experienced Japanese film expert states, “you can only gasp in disbelief at Miike’s inventiveness: performances, design, choice of golden-oldie hits and fight choreography are all beyond ace.”  Sounds awesome! Anyway Miike reunite with Emi Takei and Takumi Saito (13 Assassins) two stars from his previous film, Ace Attorney. It also stars Satoshi Tsumabuki (Villain) and Sakura Ando (Love Exposure). Takashi Miike’s live-action film adaptation of Ai to Makoto is the fourth so far, the previous three being made in 1974, 75, and 76.

High school student Makoto Taiga (Tsumabuki) is an ultra-delinquent who has arrived in Tokyo to avenge an incident from his past. That will have to wait as he falls in love with the angelic Ai (Takei) who comes from a respectable family. Things will get complicated as Iwashimizu (Saito) is in love with Ai while Gamuko (Ando) has feelings for Makoto.

 

 Helter Skelter                                            Helter Skelter Poster

Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta

Running Time: 127 mins.

Director: Mika Nanigawa

Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)  

Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai

Mika Ninagawa is an art/fashion photographer who made her directorial debut with the gorgeous Sakuran. This is her second film and it is based on Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga set in fashion industry. It was the Grand Winner of the 2004 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. Arisa Kaneko is the screen writer adapting the story and she has written the scripts for films like Train Man: Densha Otoko and Welcome Home, Hayabusa. Just a look at the Helter Skelter Erika Sawajiritrailer and pictures of the film reveals that it will be visually spectacular! It stars the incredibly gorgeous Erika Sawajiri (Ghost Train) who is also visually spectacular and who I like very much. As an actress. Ahem. This was one of my initial festival choices but I opted to view For Love’s Sake so I had the rest of the day free and I could do other cultural things. That and ending the festival on this note seemed a bit wrong.

 

 Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.

Key of Life                                                          Key of Life Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 鍵 泥棒 の メソッ

Romaji: Kagi Dorobou no Meoddo

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Kenji Uchida

Writer: Kenji Uchida

Starring: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryoko Hirosue, YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoko Moriguchi

This film gets a glowing write up from Tony Rayns who describes it as “deliciously funny, not to mention brilliantly timed and acted with relish by the all-star cast.”  Some of that cast includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Masato Sakai (Sky High, The Samurai that Night), Ryoko Hirosue (Departures), YosiYosi Arakawa (Fine, Totally Fine, Quirky Guys & Girls), and Yoko Moriguchi (Casshern). I was sold on this from the cast and the trailer and so I will be watching this at the festival.

 

Sakurai (Kondo) is an aspiring but unsuccessful actor who has recently attempted suicide but is unsuccessful at that. He decides to head to a local bathhouse to ease his suffering and whilst there he witnesses a stranger in the neighbourhood named Kondo (Kagawa) who slips and knocks himself unconscious. Sakurai takes advantage of this and helps himself to Kondo’s locker key. He loots Kondo’s belongings and assumes his identity which is a pretty bad idea considering that Kondo is an assassin working for a yakuza. For his part Kondo wakes up in hospital minus his memory and so assumes Sakurai’s life as an actor but applies his dedicated nature to the craft while trying to recover his memory. 

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 56th BFI London Film Festival”

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Trailer and Japanese Movie Charts

This week I posted a review for the South Korean horror movie Bedevilled, a trailer for Ushijima the Loan Shark and a review of the French film Irma Vep. Irma Vep had been on my movie wish list for a long time and now it has left that and entered my favourite movies of all time.

What’s does the Japanese movie box-office chart look like this week?

  1. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  2. Pikachu the Movie 2012
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man
  4. Helter Skelter
  5. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd
  6. Snow White and the Huntsman
  7. Rinjo
  8. Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima
  9. Man on a Ledge
  10. Thermae Romae

The top 15 of the Japanese movie box-office charts this week are saturated with last week’s releases. Drudgery Train entered at thirteen, Nanoha at five, Helter Skelter at four, the latest Pokemon movie enters at two and Uzimaru 4 storms to the top. Gusko Budori falls out of the top ten in its second week and Thermae Romae still (still!) sticks in the top ten and has achieved $72, 844,388. It boggles my mind how a manga with such a strange premise could achieve so much. I’m assuming it’s a combination of Hiroshi Abe’s great looks and great comedy.

What Japanese films are released today?

What Japanese films are released today?  Last week was very busy with new releases while this week is quiet with The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki being the only major release. It will be interesting to see where this stands next week.

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki                           The Wolf Children Poster

Romaji: Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

Japanese Title: おおかみ こども の 雨 と 雪

Release Date: 21st July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Yukito Nishii, Haru Kuroki, Amon Kabe, Momoka Oona, Shota Sometani, Kumiko Aso, Mitsuki Tanimura,

Mamoru Hosoda is frequently called the next “Hayao Miyazaki” but despite similar styles of magical realism and the use of similar themes there is a certain restraint in the fantastical elements that Hayao revels in. My enthusiasm for Hosoda’s work is tempered by the fact that I loved The Girl who Leapt Through Time but was left unimpressed by Summer Wars (which everyone considers his best). As far as this film goes Hosoda is aided with scripting duties by Satoko Okudera who has worked on major anime movies like Summer Wars, Miyori’s Forest, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and The Princess and the Pilot. Legendary character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, FLCL, Evangelion) is acting as character designer here. Madhouse Studio (Paranoia Agent, Black Lagoon, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue, Master Keaon, Dennō Coil) is co-producing the animation.

A story of love between parents and children that takes place over thirteen starts when a university student named Hana falls in love with Ōkami who is a “wolf man”. The two marry and have children named after the weather on the day they were born – Yuki (snow) the older sister and Ame (rain) the younger brother. The four live quietly in a city concealing the true existence of their relationship until Ōkami dies and Hana decides to move to the country.

The voice actors involved come from the world of live action movies. Hana is voiced by the actress Aoi Miyazaki who starred in Shinji Aoyama’s 2000 film Eureka (she does have experience in anime after voicing Tula in Origin: Spirits of the Past). Ōkami is voiced by Takao Osawa (All About Lily Chou-Chou), Yuki is voiced by Haru Kuroki, and Ame is voiced by Yukito Nishii (Confessions). Other notable names include Momoka Oona (Mitsuko Delivers) who plays an even younger version of Yuki, Amon Kabe(Tada’s Do-it-All House) who plays an even younger version of Ame, Shota Sometani (Himizu, Sadako 3D, Isn’t Anyone live?), Mitsuki Tanimura (13 Assassins), and Kumiko Aso (Pulse).

Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD

Third Window Films is releasing Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” on the 9th of July.

Mitsuko Delivers DVD Case

Mitsuko Delivers                                                      Mitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

Japanese Title: ハラ が コレ なんで

Release Date: 05th November 2011 (Japan)

UK DVD Release Date:   09th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment. Despite all of this she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. This place is a relic from the past and it has had the life sucked out o it with the departure of many of its residents, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the remaining locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

DVD Special Features:

Making Of, Theatrical Trailer

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD”

Trailer for The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Writer/director Mamoru Hosoda is a big name in anime. His work on “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” and “Summer Wars” has seen him called the next “Hayao Miyazaki” but as much as I liked the former the latter left me cold. Here’s a trailer for his next film which will soon be released.

A story of love between parents and children that takes place over thirteen starts when a university student named Hana falls in love with Ōkami who is a “wolf man”. The two marry and have children named after the weather on the day they were born – Yuki (snow) the older sister and Ame (rain) the younger brother. The four live quietly in a city concealing the true existence of their relationship until Ōkami dies and Hana decides to move to the country.

The Voice Actors involved comes from the world of live action movies. Hana is voiced by the actress Aoi Miyazaki (who does have experience in anime after voicing Tula in Origin: Spirits of the Past). Yuki is voiced by Haru Kuroki, Yukito Nishii, who starred in Confessions, voices Ame while Takao Osawa voices Ōkami.

Aiding Hosoda with scripting duties is Satoko Okudera whose career has involved a lot of The Wolf Children Posterstunning films like “Summer Wars”, “Miyori’s Forest”, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, and “The Princess and the Pilot”. More talent is present in the form of the legendary character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto who should be familiar from “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”, “FLCL”, and the “Evangelion” series.

The movie will go on theatrical release on the 21st of July.

Staff: Mamoru Hosoda (Original Creator, Director, Screenplay), Okudera Satoko (Screenplay), Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Character Design)

Voice Actors: Aoi Miyazaki (Hana), Haru Kuroki (Yuki), Yukito Nishii, (Ame), Takao Osawa (Ōkami)

Studio: Madhouse Studios

Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release

Third Window Films is giving Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” a UK theatrical release. It opens at selected regional cinemas and the Institute of Contemporary Arts where it will play through until May 24th. For tickets and show times at the ICA visit their site.

The Poster for Yuya Ishii's Mitsuko Delivers

Mitsuko Delivers

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for, and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. The place reeks of destitution and bone idleness, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release”