The Garden of Evening Mists 夕霧花園 Dir: Tom Lin (2019, Malaysia) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Garden of Evening Mists    The Garden of Evening Mists Film Poster

夕霧花園  Yugiri Hanazono

Release Date: January 16th, 2020 (Malaysia)

Duration: 120 mins.

Director: Tom Lin

Writer: Richard Smith (Script) Twan Eng Tan (Novel)

Starring: Lee Sinje, Hiroshi Abe, Sylvia Chang, Julian Sands, John Hannah, Serene Lim, David Oakes,

OAFF IMDB

The opening film of the 2020 Osaka Asian Film Festival is a handsomely shot historical drama featuring an international array of talent as they bring to life the same-named novel by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng. The Booker Prize shortlisted story takes place during decades of conflict in Malaysia and is seen from the perspective of one character caught in the grasp of its history and a risky romance. It is a hefty work so Taiwanese director Tom Lin and British writer Richard Smith adapt the material with a schematic approach that uses flashbacks to gradually reveal wartime secrets, traumas and the redemptive effect of love in a slow-burn story that ends on a satisfying note.

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Announces Opening and Closing Films: The Garden of Evening Mists and Kamata Prelude

OAFF2020 top_main1_e

Earlier today, the organisers of the 2020 edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival announced their opening and closing films, both of which are completely different in form and content. Here’s the information direct from the festival website.

Everything kicks off on March 06th with the Malaysian film, The Garden of Evening Mists, a historical drama featuring a pan-Asian cast and crew who have adapted the award-winning novel by Twan Eng Tan.

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Announces Opening and Closing Films: The Garden of Evening Mists and Kamata Prelude”

After the Storm 海よりもまだ深く Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda (2016)

After the Storm   

After the Storm Film Poster
After the Storm Film Poster

海よりもまだ深く 「Umi yori mo mada fukaku」

Release Date: May 21st, 2016

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Original Story, Screenplay)

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Lily Franky, Sosuke Ikematsu, Yoko Maki, Satomi Kobayashi, Isao Hashizume, Taiyo Yoshizawa

IMDB   Website

After the Storm is a story of everyday human failings and the constant hope for a better tomorrow that motivates us. Kore-eda cast a cadre of familiar actors who he had worked with in previous films including Kirin Kiki and Hiroshi Abe, both of whom were in Still Walking (2008) as mother and son Toshiko and Ryota. This family drama could be a sort of sequel to Still Walking due to similarities – Kiki’s character Toshiko (とし子) turns into Yoshiko (淑子) here while Abe’s character is named Ryota (良多) in both films – and callbacks likethe butterfly motif and it features a deceptive simpleness in its approach, a story of a family gathering made complex by tangled emotions tinged with bitter history.

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Still Walking 歩いても 歩いても Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2008)

Still Walking   Still Walking Film Poster

歩いても 歩いても Aruitemo Aruitemo

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: June 28th, 2008

Director:  Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay/Original Story),

Starring: Kiki Kirin, Hiroshi Abe, You, Yui Natsukawa, Kazuya Takahashi, Yoshio Harada, Shohei Tanaka, Haruko Kato, Susumu Terajima,

IMDB

Quite possibly Kore-eda’s best film this is a snapshot of a family over 24 hours that, through deft storytelling reveals richly complicated and interwoven lives from different generations.

The seasons are about to change from summer to autumn and preparations are underway at the Yokoyama household for the annual commemoration of the eldest son Junpei who drowned in an accident 15 years ago. The spacious, comfortable and old-fashioned house run by Toshiko (Kirin Kiki) will welcome her middle-aged children and their young families who will be arriving soon. Meanwhile, curmudgeon father Kyohei (Yoshio Harada), a former physician, walks around their quiet neighbourhood to the beach where the tragic accident happened when not hiding in the clinic attached to their home. The daughter, Chinami (YOU), will bring her good-natured husband Nobuo (Kazuya Takahashi) and their cheerful kids Satsuki (Hotaru Nomoto) and Mutsu (Ryoga Hayashi) who will invade the house and fill it with laughter and tales from school but there is an edge to the atmosphere as they await second son Ryota (Hiroshi Abe).

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I Wish (Kiseki) 奇跡 (2011)

Kiseki Film Review Header

I Wish                                       Kiseki FIlm Poster

Japanese Title: 奇跡

Romaji: Kiseki

Running Time: 128 mins.

Release Date: June 11th, 2011

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Screenplay)

Starring: Koki Maeda, Ohshiro Maeda, Joe Odagiri, Nene Ohtsuka, Isao Hashizume, Kiki Kirin, Ryoga Hayashi, Kara Uchida, Kanna Hashimoto, Hoshinosuke Nagayosi, Rento Isobe, Hiroshi Abe, Masami Nagasawa, Yoshio Harada, Yui Natsukawa

Pre-teen brothers Koichi and Ryunosuke have been separated from each other following their parents’ divorce. Thoughtful elder-brother Koichi has followed his mother Nozomi (Otsuka) to his maternal grandparents place in sleepy Kagoshima. Lively Ryunosuke lives with his indie musician father Kenji (Odagiri) in the more vibrant Fukuoka. Both places are at opposite ends of Kyushu and their only contact is by telephone. Despite putting on a brave face Koichi longs for his family to be reunited while Ryunosuke is more accepting of their situation and too busy doing other things like growing vegetables and taking care of his lackadaisical father.

One day in school Koichi hears that when two bullet-trains pass each other the resulting energy is strong enough to grant the wish of anyone seeing it occur so he devises a scheme that will see himself and his friends skip school, evade their parents, journey across the island and meet Ryunosuke and his friends at a point where newly built lines connecting Fukuoka and Kagoshima meet so they can make a wish. What does Koichi want? For his family to get back together again. Are things that simple?

Kiseki I Wish Kenji (Odagiri) Ryunosuke (Ohshiro Maeda) Koichi (Koki Maeda) and Nozomi (Ohtsuka)

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Tug of War!, Crow’s Thumb, The Ear Cleaner, Joshi Camera, Milocrorze – A Love Story and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Persona Saturday FaceThis week I started writing my submission for an art prize and I started my Christmas shopping… Two gifts for other people and I just ordered an awesome movie collection as highlighted by Goregirl! I also know when the Christmas party for Japanese class is going to be and I know that the restaurant sells green tea ice cream (lovely!). As far as blogging goes I started this week with two trailers for two major anime titles in the form of Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent and One Piece Film Z. I then followed up with a review for Key of Life, an excellent comedy with great performances that I saw at the 56th BFI London Film Festival and news on the UK release of Mystical Laws, an anime movie I was not taking too seriously during its original Japanese release due to its backers but I am eager to hear whether it is any good.

What does the Japanese movie box office chart look like this week? 

  1. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
  2. Lesson of the Evil
  3. The Floating Castle
  4. Ninkyo Helper: Beautiful World.
  5. A Chorus of Angels
  6. Smile Precure!
  7. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
  8. Fly with the Gold
  9. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  10. Paranormal Activity 4

When writing the previews for the latest Eva movie I mentioned it being the type of anime that is a licence to print money. Here is the proof. Since its opening last week, the movie has accrued about $19,183,750. According to Anime News Network, the film’s opening box office weekend was $13,913,200, the highest earnings in Japan this year. Incredible. The other new entry from last week was Ninkyo Helper, a movie adaptation of a television series. Far more importantly is the return of Takashi Miike… actually he’s so prolific he never really goes away… with the brilliant looking Lesson of the Evil where a psychotic teacher takes out pupils, parents and teachers played by half the cast of Himizu.

Enough about last week! What is released in Japan today? And yesterday!?

Tug of War!                                      Tug of War Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 綱引いちゃった!

Romaji: Tsuna Hiichatta!

Release Date:  23rd November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Nobuo Mizuta

Writer:  Daisuke Habara

Starring: Mao Inoue, Keiko Matsuzaka, Tetsuji Tamayama, Naomi Nishida, Sonim, Naomi Watanabe, Inuko Inuyama, Takashi Sasano, Morio Kazama

I have to admit that I did crack a smile with this. The antics of the cute Mao Inoue (My Tug of War Movie Poster 2Darling is a Foreigner, Kaidan)  caught me off-guard. She is joined by Keiko Matsuzaka (Instant Swamp), Tetsuji Tamayama (Norwegian Wood), Naomi Nishida (Train Man, Swing Girls, A Man with Style, The Happiness of the Katakuri’s) and Takashi Sasano (Thermae Romae, Insight into the Universe). The director is Nobuo Mizuta who is the chap who helmed Maiko haaaan!!!, a very influential comedy, the writer is Daisuke Habara who wrote Hula Girls and the Suicide Song, two films I hope to review sometime in the new year. Anyway… This looks like it could be fun.

Chiaki Nishikawa (Inoue) helps handle the public relations department for Oita city. Oita is a city that has won the tug-of-war world championship three times in the past and so in order to promote the city the mayor has a bright idea: an all-girl tug-of-war team. Luckily Nishikawa is an enthusiast for the game and she is the perfect person to rope a few people in and make them pick up the rope!!!

 

 

Crow’s Thumb                                      Crows Thumb

Japanese Title: カラス の 親指

Romaji: Karasu no Oyayubi

Release Date:  23rd November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 160 mins.

Director: Tadafumi Ito

Writer:  Tadafumi Ito (Script), Shusuke Michio (Original Novel)

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Satomi Ishihara, Shoji Murakami, Rena Nounen, Yu Koyonagi, Shingo Tsurumi, Shigeyuki Totsui, Takeshi Nadagi, Bengal

Hiroshi Abe is insanely handsome, insanely successful and insanely talented as his

Crows Thumb Book

turns in Survive Style 5+, Summer of Ubume, and Still Walking showed me. He is also insanely popular as the 2012 mega-hit Thermae Romae revealed (as the trailer points out) so I am not alone in thinking he is great. Well now he is back and in a film called Crow’s Thumb which is based on Shusuke Michio’s 2008 novel of the same name.  His co-stars are Satomi Ishihara (Sadako 3D), Bengal (Boiling Point), Yu Koyonagi (Tokyo Sonata), Shoji Murakami (Kaidan), Rena Nounen (Confessions). The trailer looks okay. I was with it through the funky opening until the dramatic music and crying child but then I was won over by the J-pop and sequences showing the elaborate con including Hiroshi Abe sporting silver hair and a mean stare.

 

Take (Abe) and Tetsu (Murakami) are two veteran conmen who live in an old house with two beautiful sisters named Yahiro (Ishihara) and Mahiro (Nounen) and Yahiro’s boyfriend Kantaro (Koyanagi) and a baby cat. When a girl is placed in the care of Take and Tetsu they decide to change their lives and so all five will take part in an elaborate con.

 

  Continue reading “Tug of War!, Crow’s Thumb, The Ear Cleaner, Joshi Camera, Milocrorze – A Love Story and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Kaibutsu-Kun, Ai to Makoto, Ranma ½ , The Parasite Doctor Suzune, Thermae Romae Trailers

Lots and lots of trailers linked by the fact that they are manga adaptations. This post was put together with a D’Espairs Ray, the Nico Nico Chorus as well as some Madoka Magica covers for background music.

The Japanese film charts look similar to previous weeks with A Ghost of a Chance and Kaiji 2 still in the top three but there is a new number 1 in the shape of Kaibutsu-Kun.

Kaibutsu-Kun The Movie

Release Date:  26th November 2011

Running Time: 103 min.

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura

Writer: Fujio A. Fujita (manga), Masafumi Nishida

Starring: Satoshi Ono, Umika Kawashima, Tatsuomi Hamada, Norito Yashima, Ryuhei Ueshima, Choi Hong-Man, Takeshi Kaga

Kaubutsu-kun (Satoshi Ono) is the prince of monster land. To prove that he is a worthy heir to his father’s (Takashi Kaga) throne he goes to earth accompanied by his friends Dracular (Norito Yashima), Wolfman (Ryuhei Ueshima) and Franken (Choi Hong-Man)  to visit his friends Utako (Umika Kawashima) and Hiroshi (Tatsuomi Hamada)

This looks bad… but it’s in 3Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ai to Makoto (Love and Sincerity)

Release Date:  16th June, 2012

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Ikki Kajiwara (manga)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei

Fresh from Phoenix Wright, Miike’s latest film is based on Ikki Kajiwara’s romance manga of the same name which ran in Shonen magazine from 1973 to 1976 with illustrations from Takumi Nagayasu. It received the live-action television treatment in 1974 and three films which makes Miike’s effort the fourth. It stars Satoshi Tumabuki (Villain) and Emi Takei who will be in the forthcoming Rouroni Kenshin live-action movie.

Troubled high school student Makoto Taiga (Satoshi Tsumabuki) meets the innocent student Ai Saotome (Emi Takei) in a love story.

Continue reading “Kaibutsu-Kun, Ai to Makoto, Ranma ½ , The Parasite Doctor Suzune, Thermae Romae Trailers”

A Ghost of a Chance, Kaiji 2, Monster Killer, Keyhole Trailers

Four trailers this week – two for the films occupying first and second in the Japanese box-office chart and one for a Japanese film due out some time this year. The fourth is for Guy Maddin’s latest.

A Ghost of a Chance

Japanese title: Suteki na Kanashibari (Once in a Blue Moon)

Released:  October 2011

Running time: 142 min.

Director: Koki Mitani

Starring: Eri Fukatsu, Hiroshi Abe, Toshiyuki Nishida, Kiichi Nakai, Koji Yamamoto, Tadanobu Asano

This is currently reigning supreme for a second week at the top of the chart in Japan. It stars Eri Fukatsu who was excellent in the award-winning drama Villain and two of Japan’s coolest actors, Hiroshi Abe and Tadanobu Asano who both appeared in Survive Style 5+.

This legal drama/comedy revolves around Emi Hosho (Fukatsu) who is a lawyer representing a client accused of murdering his wealthy wife. He claims that he didn’t do it. His alibi? While staying in an inn he suddenly suffered sleep paralysyis. Checking out his story, Emi also suffers the same thing and discovers it is down to the ghost of a Sengoku era military commander named Rokubei Sarashina (Toshiyuki Nishida). Now all Emi has to do is get the ghost to testify in court!

YUREI!!!! Ahem. Sorry. The trailer looks like fun.

Continue reading “A Ghost of a Chance, Kaiji 2, Monster Killer, Keyhole Trailers”