Harmonium 深田晃司 Dir: Koji Fukada (2016)

Harmonium  harmonium-film-poster 

深田晃司 「Fuchi ni Tatsu

Release Date: October 10th, 2016

Running Time: 118 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada

Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Tadanobu Asano, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Takahiro Miura, Momone Shinokawa,

IMDB   Website

Koji Fukada’s Harmonium took the Jury Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and for good reason because it shows a director in precise control of his material. Story-wise, it follows in the footsteps of his debut feature Hospitalite (2011) wherein a stranger enters the lives of a family and disrupts things. While Fukada’s earlier title was light-hearted and poked fun at the social mores of Japan, this film is harsher with only a few dashes of hope beaming down in the final scenes.

Taking the lead is experienced thesp Kanji Futurachi, a familiar face from Fukada’s earlier films like Au Revoir l’ete (2015) and Human Comedy Tokyo (2012) and, crucially, Hospitalite (2011) where he was the stranger that forced a revolution on a family. In a role reversal he is the patriarch and a victim of sorts here as he plays Toshio, the owner of a small factory in the suburbs of some city or other. No location is given. It’s a nondescript and quiet place where he lives a quiet existence with his church-going wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui) and their daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa). It is she who plays the titular harmonium that gives the film’s soundtrack a funereal sense.

Harmonium Film Image

Continue reading “Harmonium 深田晃司 Dir: Koji Fukada (2016)”

Feature-Length Fiction Films at Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened and there are many top titles that audiences can see to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. There are a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce and talk about their work to the audience. 

There are some really great films to be seen and a couple of head-scratchers based on the quality but there should be something for everyone. On top of the films, there are also many cultural events to be had at the festival which will be detailed below along with some brief information on the venues.

What is on the programme, then? This is a quick preview but there’s a lot. I’ll break it down into sections and you can view trailers and more details for each on the films by clicking on the links:

Continue reading “Feature-Length Fiction Films at Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017”

Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017 – First Programme Highlights Revealed

Fans of Japanese films will know that one of the biggest and best film festivals in the world for such delights is held every May in Germany. It’s called Nippon Connection and this year’s event marks the seventeenth edition.

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. Exactly a month ago today, the organisers teased some of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened. You can count on there being a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce their works to the audience for the first time. According to the organisers, this year’s focus is on documentaries but there are many great dramas that have already been announced.

Here is what has been released so far:

Continue reading “Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017 – First Programme Highlights Revealed”

Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up

It’s 23:49 in Osaka and I want to go to sleep but I have important news! The Japan Film Festival Ireland has reached its ninth year and this year’s addition features anime, dramas, and mediums. There are 21 in all and each movie I would like to see. The screenings take place in Dundalk, Cork, Galway, Maynooth, Sligo, Limerick, Dublin, and Waterford and so people in Ireland will get to see really great examples of Japanese cinema.

Here’s the lowdown on the various films being screened. Click on the titles to be taken to the festival page which has more information:

Continue reading “Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up”

Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival takes place from February 15th to the 26th and features lots of classics and contemporary titles. The big focus is on Toshiro Mifune and so you can see some of his greatest roles which also means some of Akira Kurosawa’s greatest films. There’s plenty for the mainstream crowd to like in that mix of period drama and action and there’s more in the contemporary titles which span genres from psychological to science fiction and there’s even an anime thrown in.

Here are the Japanese films on the programme:

yojimbo-movie

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017”

Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2017

It’s a grey day in Osaka and pretty cold but I’m staying indoors for most of it since I am cleaning video game consoles. Anyway, The Rotterdam International Film Festival starts later this month and it features a plethora films from Japan that range from the familiar to the new, plus there’s some interesting little shorts. It’s a programme packed with Japanese films but actually using the website to find them was irritating due to the search options, the way information was hidden and the overall look. I’m not a fan. I searched for it so you don’t have to.

Enough of my whining, there are many great films on offer from Roman Porno to yakuza comedy and this is another great year for Rotterdam.

Here’s what’s on offer (click on the titles to be taken to pages with more information):

haruneko-film-imag

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2017”

Japanese Films at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver International Film FestivalThe Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) launches soon and lasts from September 29th to October 14th and, as is usually the case, there are a heck of a lot of great films from East Asia with some top-notch Japanese content programmed. There is a strong line-up of films for the Japanese cinema specialist with titles new and old, some seen at festivals like Cannes and Nippon Connection and others that got their premiere at Toronto.

The VIFF website has had a facelift and you can track down the titles with a quick search or by selecting the relevant stream from the myriad of cool-sounding options.

Thanks go out to the programmers of the VIFF for picking a good selection of films and I hope you, dear reader, can find something that interests you!

Here’s the line-up!

GATEWAY

This strand, better known as Dragons & Tigers, has feature-films and shorts from East Asia and the Japanese contingent is made up of titles that have been at Berlin and Cannes with festival favourites Koreeda and Fukada showing up. As is usually the case there are a number of short films from Japan and they play with the features. To find out more head to the festival site.

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival”

Japanese Films at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Cannes FIlm Festival 2016 Poster
Cannes FIlm Festival 2016 Poster

This year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11th to the 22nd and it’s the 69th edition of the event. The festival’s main programme (every title in competition and Un Certain Regard) has been announced. This year’s line-up looks like its lumbering under the weight of major American films like Steven Spielberg’s The BFG and two Jim Jarmusch films. There are films from European stalwarts such as the Dardenne brothers, Andrea Arnold and Nicolas Winding Refn and there are two familiar Japanese names in the mix but both are in Un Certain Regard… Plus there are two Japanese films in Cannes Classics. It’s a good line-up and continues an upward trend following on from a similarly packed 2015. The only person missing from the party is Takashi Miike!

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival”