Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 Preview – People Still Call It Love – Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema

The Japan Foundation have announced the details of their next Touring Film Programme and it is full of fantastic films! The tour lasts from February 02nd to March 28th and the theme that connects them all is “love”. The stories address that emotion in a variety of ways through a broad variety of relationships. Love can be found in all shapes and sizes and it can also be an absence. What cannot be denied is that it is a powerful emotion and there are many powerful films that display this.

Amidst the works are stories of couples struggling to relate to each other, a father and his children overcoming differences, brothers and sisters who barely get along, a wife struggling with a husband that has no affection for her, a gay couple who run a law firm who support those on the margins of society and more.

Expect to understand the complexities of Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka and Aguni (an island off Okinawa) and further afield. I’m definitely going to see some of these before I jet off to Japan again.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 Preview – People Still Call It Love – Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema”

Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)

Japannual Banner

This is the year when I try and give a little boost to smaller film festivals and the Japannual Japanese Film Festival in Vienna deserves one. The Austrian-Japanese Society is trying to bring some great films to the nation’s capital.

This could turn into a laborious cut-and-paste job from previous festival’s I’ve covered because I have information on all but four films but I’ll spare you by giving the highlights.

The program has a mix of classic titles restored to new and shiny life, to contemporary films still being talked about in film groups. Some of these have been on the festival circuit for a while there are others that pop up rarely. There are indies that need a push and anime that are too good to miss. I’m going to highlight independent cinema and hard to see classics as well as an anime that is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Continue reading “Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)”

A Preview of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland 2018 – “The Sower” and “The Night is Short, Walk on Girl” headline a great programme

The Japanese Film Festival Ireland is back for its 10th year and the event kicks off on April 08th and lasts until the 21st as a diverse programme of films made in Japan over the last year and a half are screened. This list features some of the best films to have been given a release including two titles by Masaaki Yuasa, the hottest talent in anime right now, and also, The Sower, a finely controlled human drama that is both beautiful and haunting. It made me cry every time I watched it. I have watched it around five times! That shows you its power!

A selection of the films will be hosted at each of the venues stretching from Cork, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin, Sligo, Waterford and finally to Dundalk over the next month so check out the website to see which venues have which films.

Here are the films programmed:

The Sower      

種をまく人  Tane o maku hito」    

Running Time: 117 mins.

Release Date: 2016

Director: Yosuke Takeuchi

Writer: Yosuke Takeuchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kentaro Kishi, Suzuno Takenaka, Tomomitsu Adachi, Arisa Nakajima, Ichika Takeuchi,

IMDB           Website

I had the pleasure of watching this as part of the Osaka Asian Film Festival where I also met its director, Yosuke Takeuchi. It’s a fine film, one of the best I have seen in recent years. Its genesis comes from the personal life of the director and also the life of Vincent van Gogh and how the artist lived a humble and naive existence to the full despite the treatment he faced from society. That story is reflected in not just one of the main characters, the titular “Sower”, but also the people around him. Through their story, a wider one about the treatment of outsiders occurs. This is a remarkable drama that I have seen five times and I am impressed by it which is why I am highlighting it as part of this festival.

Here’s my review for V-Cinema for The Sower.

Synopsis: Mitsuo was one of those brave souls who answered the call for volunteers to clear out the debris left behind by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The strain of the task proved to be too much and he spent three years in psychiatric care. Upon his release, Mitsuo finds solace in reuniting with his brother and his nieces Chie and Itsuki. But a tragic accident soon disrupts the newly found happiness when the two girls are left in his care and Itsuki is killed. Though he had no direct involvement in the incident, Mitsuo is blamed and this causes him and the people around him to deal with the burden of guilt and the struggle for atonement.

Continue reading “A Preview of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland 2018 – “The Sower” and “The Night is Short, Walk on Girl” headline a great programme”

A Preview of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2017

The 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) runs from October 25th – November 03rd in Roppongi and it’s the best event to see films with English subtitles in Japan at this time of the year since nearly all will have them and there will also be English interpretation at Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Another great thing about the festival is that it nearly all takes place in one location which means that getting to venues is easy.

There are a heck of a lot of films programmed and just as many events and it looks as if there are over 300 things for people to attend. Tickets are sold-out or selling-out fast but I wanted to cover this because it has an exciting line-up and Japanese indie cinema and the shorts looks strong. Heck, Japanese cinema in general looks to be in rude health.

There is a lot to get through and it will be difficult for anyone not using a computer with a decent internet connection to view this (apologies) but I wanted to do this in one post because it is impressive. Accuse me of maximalism if you want but I hope people find something to enjoy thanks to reading this. Click on a title to be taken to the festival page. Here’s what’s on offer.

Ojiichan Shinjattatte Film Image

Continue reading “A Preview of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2017”