Happy weekend people!
There are lots of news stories and documentaries like Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise (dir. Mark Cousins) marking 70 years since the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and so this weekend we get quite a few films about Japan’s war time struggle. None of them really grab my attention the way Fires on the Plain did when it was released a couple of weeks ago. It’s indicative of a lack of bravery in the overall industry and rather it has been picked up on in wider circles. The Toronto International Film Festival’s initial line-up of films featured no Japanese entries. Following on from Venice and that festival’s lack of a Japanese presence it seems to indicate a lack of international interest in contemporary Japanese cinema. Having written these previews for a few years now I think it would be fair to say that 2015 has been a pretty dull year for Japanese cinema so far. In keeping with the unambitious slant of the current industry, there are few original concepts, and few films that look memorable. It’s franchise stuff, idol stuff, and things based on television and books with a degree of self-censorship and a lack of daring and risk-taking and, dare I say, unique artistic vision that characterised some of the best output from earlier ages of Japanese cinema. I’m probably being a grump but I grew up on the classics and ‘90s titles so I know how good Japanese cinema can be.
What’s released in Japan this weekend?
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