Sayounara 左様なら Dir: Yuho Ishibashi (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Sayounara    Sayounara Poster

左様なら Sayounara

Running Time: 86 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Yuho Ishibashi

Writer: Yuho Ishibashi (Screenplay), Gomen (Original Manga)

Starring: Haruka Imou, Kirara Inori, Amon Hirai, Taichi Kodama, Nanami Hidaka,

Website IMDB


Naturalistic acting, specifically using pastel colours and lovingly shot images of the sea are what dictate the ebb and flow of the drama in Yuho Ishibashi’s film Sayounara. Originally based on an SNS manga of the same name by the artist Gomen, Ishibashi took four characters and a few frames of the original and expanded its world to create a coming-of-age tale that is familiar in so many elements and yet a good example of a textured exploration of one person coming to terms with grief as life carries on around her.

Sayounara Manga Image

The muted visual tone of the film matches the temperament of the main protagonist of the film, high school student Yuki (Haruka Imou), a quiet girl who lives in a sleepy coastal town. The loudest noises are those of the waves of the sea and the laughter she shares with her best friend Aya (Kirara Inori), a cryptic girl who is soon to leave town. Their friendship is strong and a kiss snatched by Aya opens up all sorts of emotions in Yuki. Tragedy strikes when Aya commits suicide. In response, Yuki dives deep into herself and turns away from any turbulent emotions. Her classmates are also caught in the ripples of the event and react differently, some showing respect while others spread rumours.

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A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2019

This year’s Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival has 8 feature films packed with adventure, emotions, action and awesome animation, all of which should entertain a wide audience. Alongside the film screenings are the marketplace and raffle and we welcome two special guests from Japan.

Penguin Highway Key Image

The festival begins on October 04 at 18:00 at Chapter Arts, Cardiff, with a screening of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection, the reintroduction and continuation of the Code Geass mecha saga where giant robots and political intrigue provide the drama. This will be followed by the Reception and an Anime Song Disco hosted by DJ Ryojin at 20:00 where guests can mingle and show off their moves on the dance-floor.

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Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2019

BFI London Film Festival Logo

This year’s London Film Festival runs from October 02nd to the 13th and they have announced their selection of films. It’s a solid slate of films which has Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest, To the Ends of the Earth and Takashi Miike’s latest work, First Love! There are a couple of left-field titles such as 37 Seconds and Family Romance LLC, the latter from Werner Herzog. There’s also the American film Earthquake Bird which is set in Tokyo. There’s also the Korean film Maggie which I saw in March and reviewed here.

Here’s what is programmed:

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Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2019

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Logo

The Vancouver International Film Festival 2019 runs from September 26th to October 11th and it has a fantastic selection of East Asian films with one particular highlight being the HK flick, Still Human, winner of the Audience Award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival. There is a nice compliment of Japanese films, three of which are found in the Gateway strand while Melancholic and Still Human are in Dragons and Tigers. Here’s the round-up of Japanese films.

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019 (05th-15th September)

Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Post Header

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 05th to the 15th and they have announced their selection of films. There is a great slate of titles from some of the big hitters in the industry with both live-action and anime getting represented. Yes, it’s an auteur-driven selection although Contemporary World Cinema has an award-winning indie drama by newbie director Hikari. It’s joined in that strand by a drama by Koji Fukada which was at Locarno along with a film in the strand Masters which has Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest, To the Ends of the Earth. Wavelengths 2 features a short film collection, SUN RAVE, which has a short from Japan by director Tomonari Nishikawa. Special Presentation has Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering with You and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth. There are Japanese inclusions in the documentaries Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema and Dads and Midnight Madness features Takashi Miike’s latest work!

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 (July 12th – August 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival starts in Montreal next week on July 11th and runs until August 01st. As with last year, the selection of Japanese films is great with titles with many titles that have graced screens at fests like the New York Asian Film Festival and Annecy (and soon, Japan Cuts) appearing here in one place. The animation selection is incredible and there are some choice live-action titles to get behind.

Fantasia Header Image

This is the 23rd edition of the festival and it has become a focal point for filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists, and audiences eager to see a diverse slate of films before they hit DVD or the internet and cinema screens. There are recent releases and ones that won’t get released in Japan until next year. There is also the chance to take part in film culture and meet film-makers and fellow film fans. There are lots of guests and great experiences to be had and a chance to get involved with dictating which films get the hype behind them, so please choose Japanese, and try some of the titles listed here. All information has been compiled from IMDB, this festival’s site and other festival sites.

So what’s lined up? Click on the titles to be taken through to the festival page for each film.

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“Dreaming Korea Animation” – A Day of Korean and Japanese Animation Screenings and Talks, July 27th 2019

It’s not often that Korean animation gets screened so the “Dreaming Korea Animation” animation event is a special one and it takes place really close to Ikebukuro Station!

Dreaming Korea Animation Festival Poster

“Dreaming Korea Animation” is a one-day event held on July 27th, 2019 at Cine Libre Ikebukuro and there will be a number of films and music videos screened across three programmes. There are guest animators in town to do talks with two from Japan and three from Korea so this makes the event a brilliant chance to see some of the creativity on offer from Korea.

Programme A – 12:20 – 13:50 Film Screening and Director Talk

Ahn Jae-Hoon is one of the directors of the Korean animation studio Meditation With a Pencil. They released their first feature length film Green Days in 2011. Their subsequent feature film projects were animated adaptations of Korean short literature titles, The Shower being their latest work. It receives its Japanese premiere at this event.

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A Preview of the Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 in Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Art (July 12-15)

The Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 will take place this year from July 12th (Friday) to the 15th (Monday) at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. 26 films from 132 submissions have been selected and will be screened over three days and all are in the running for the Grand Prix and Audience Award among other accolades.Kanazawa Film Festival 2019 Poster

This is a very badly translated series of film synopses of really obscure indie films but I find that there may be some value later. Sometimes, when doing trailer posts, I find myself linking to the Kanazawa Film Festival post from 2017 because directors may have had their works screened there and since I want to explore indie films, posts like this work out pretty good because it fulfils my general goal with this blog. Right, I hope you and I get some use out of this information and from the images, all of which have been taken from the film festival’s website.

Here is a run-down of the films that will be screened:

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2019 (JULY 19–28)

Japan Cuts 2019 is back with its annual showcase of the latest in Japanese films carefully curated by its team of programmers. It is due to kick off in New York in a month’s time and runs from JULY 19–28. The selection looks good and there’s a handy trailer to build up anticipation by revealing a glimpse of all the films on offer!

There is a distinctly youthful and fresh feeling to the roster of directors and writers as well as the stories they tell. Lots of directors are, or were, making their debuts after cutting their teeth in various production roles or they are at the indie end of the spectrum and under-exposed on the festival circuit. Then there is a lot of youth-oriented stories with a lot of coming-of-age tales. That’s not to say that the older generations are forgotten as a documentary and some legendary filmmakers are also on board with Shinya Tsukamoto in New York to show Bullet Ballet as well as his latest film Killing and there is also a doc called I Go Gaga, My Dear about an elderly couple which is getting a lot of play at different fests so that’s a good sign. I’ve seen quite a few of these films, mostly at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival, and so I’ll put links to my reviews if you want to read them.

Some of these films are going to be accompanied by directors and actors and a full list plus bios can be found here. This year’s recipient of the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film is Shinya Tsukamoto, one of the first directors I went and wrote a biography for and reviewed a whole bunch of his films (my favourite being Vital). He is just one of many guests so please check the official website to find out more.

All information comes from old trailer posts and the JAPAN CUTS website.

Here is what has been programmed!

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