Radiance 光 Dir: Naomi Kawase (2017)

RadianceHikari Film Poster

 Hikari

Running Time: 129 mins.

Release Date: May 27th , 2017

Director: Naomi Kawase

Writer: Naomi Kawase (Screenplay),

Starring: Masatoshi Nagase, Ayame Misaki, Tatsuya Fuji, Chihiro Ohtsuka, Kazuko Shirakawa, Saori Koide, Nobumitsu Onishi, Mantaro Koichi,

Website IMDB

Naomi Kawase is one of the “4 Ks”, directors who dominate contemporary Japanese cinema (the others are Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Kitano and Kore-eda) and she is a film-maker whose ability to capture sensual experiences makes for transcendent films. This is something which masks the slightness of some of her stories but at the same time it lends them more power. With Radiance she looks at the transcendent nature of film itself and she does so through the realm of using words.

Misako Ozaki (Ayame Misaki) is a woman who is involved in a project providing audio description for films for the visually impaired. She watches films and writes down the best way to describe scenes and characters and then presents them to a panel of people who critique her work so she can tweak it for a wider release. Masaya Nakamori (Masatoshi Nagase) is one of those people on the panel. He is a genius photographer and he has the harshest criticisms. The two initially don’t get on because Masaya has a cold attitude but when Misako sees a photograph of a sunset shot by him, she is inspired to look into Masaya’s life and discovers that he is losing his sight and their relationship changes as she gets to know him.Radiance Film Image 2

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Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018

Party Round the Globe Film Image

Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 20th to July 01st) and while compared to past editions of the festivals it’s disappointing, these are two top titles the event presents probably the best chance to see them in the UK.

Here they are!

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 07th to the 17th and I intend to keep providing coverage of this particular festival because there is usually a good line-up of Japanese films. This year, there are two. Or, two that have been announced so far. In previous years which I have covered (Toronto 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011), there have been many more programmed so it might be the case that more will be announced at a later date but the festival organisers cut up to 20 per cent (60) films that will be screened (source). What has resulted is that Asian films have been hit very hard. See the update for some exciting additions!

I may be missing something so I’m making this post a sticky and will update it if anything crops up. For now, two films, one feature and one short. One horror and one drama.

UPDATE: 16/08/2017

I spoke too soon about there being too few Japanese films! Radiance, Birds Without Names, and The Third Murder have been added! This year’s slate of Japanese films at Toronto is shaping up to be a nice bunch!

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017 Review Round-Up: Naomi Kawase’s “Radiance”

It has been a while since I last did a review round-up of any festival but fellow cinephile and Twitter-user FelixAguirre regularly collects links to reviews and alerts them to me and with such a treasure-trove of opinions from the most recent Cannes Film Festival on offer, I’d be mad to turn them down. Following on from Blade of the Immortal and Before We Vanish is…

Radiance

Radiance Film Image 2

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Poster

This year’s Cannes Film Festival (17th – 28th May) is the 70th edition of the event and the festival head Thierry Fremaux announced the Official Selection of films programmed last week. Critics are salivating over the fact that there are two Netflix films: the monster movie Okja by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) and The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach (writer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and director of Mistress America). There will be two TV series for audiences to watch: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake and lots more familiar faces such as Sofia (Somewhere) Coppola’s The Beguiled, Michael (Code Unknown/Cache) Haneke’s Happy End (knowing Haneke, it’s probably an ironic title…). More importantly, there are also nine first-time filmmakers getting their works screened.

Why is that important?

The Cannes Film Festival comes into 2017 with a need to find fresh blood and this is seemingly strong selection because may be it. Since this is the 70th anniversary of the festival and the fact that, last year, organisers faced fierce criticism last year for their lack of female directors, commentators identified that they needed to do a couple of things: broaden out its programme so that there are filmmakers other than the old guard (Campion, Haneke, Kawase, Haynes, the Dardennes brothers etc.) and increase the number of female-centric stories and female-led films across the programme. The old guard are back but just by glancing at the lists of announced films, it is clear that the festival has achieved some of its goals and will probably avoid the criticism it faced last year – hopefully, no high-heels and breast-feeding baby incidents will crop up). Things are a bit of a mixed picture when it comes to the Japanese films.

So far, there are four Japanese films programmed, and three come from festival regulars: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Naomi Kawase, and Takashi Miike. Two of the four are adaptations while the other two are original dramas. Out of the dramas, one is made by a seasoned professional while the shorter one at 45 minutes is from a student. The presence of a fresh director is always something to cheer when it comes to Japanese films at international festivals and this director is a lady to boot: Aya Igashi. She is a graduate from Toei Gakuen Film College’s movie production department and is already working on her third film.

So, while we can all sigh and shrug our shoulders at the lack of original content, we can take comfort in the fact that Aya Igashi is on the radar of people who programme the festival.

What are the films playing this year?

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