Genkina hito’s Top Fourteen Films of 2020

祖谷物語 おくのひと Rina Takeda

Wow, I had no idea that 2020 would turn out like this when I wrote last year’s end post. We’re a few days away from the end of what has been a plague year. I almost got caught out at the start when I was in Japan and the borders were going to be closed, back at the end of March, but I escaped with the help of some friends. Since then, I have been in work on reduced duties or at home waiting to be called in for odd jobs. When not working, I was doing shopping with my mother and checking in on my grandmother.

During this time of waiting, I watched a lot of films, some as part of the Osaka Asian Film Festival, Nippon Connection, Japan Cuts and the New York Asian Film Festival, a lot just for pleasure. I took part in a physical film festival in Japan and I helped organise and execute an online film festival twice and during all of this I wrote a lot of reviews. Probably more reviews than in previous years. On top of it all, I also helped start a podcast about Asian films called Heroic Purgatory where I discuss films with fellow writer John Atom (the Christmas special is already out and the second season coming in 2021!).

When I was able to go to the cinema I watched a wide variety of things. In the UK, the last film I watched was Parasite with my mother. In Japan, I went to numerous screenings at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and an animation festival at the Yujiku Asagaya (just before Tokyo’s lockdown). At home with a lot of time on my hands I got into the cinema of Mario Bava and re-watched lots of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento movies. I waded through hours of 70s and 80s horror movies from America and I went back to some tried and trusted Japanese classics. Most of all, I tried to get more Japanese indie films out there and so I think this is reflected in my list of top films from 2020.

So, what are they?.  

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Hold Your Breath Like a Lover 息を殺して Dir: Kohei Igarashi (2014)

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover   

Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Poster
Hold Your Breath Like a Lover Film Poster

息を殺して  「Iki wo Koroshite」

Release Date: June 20th, 2015

Running Time: 85 mins.

Director: Kohei Igarashi

Writer: Kohei Igarashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Ran Taniguchi, Goichi Mine, Yusuke Inaba, Koji Harada, Tomomitsu Adachi, Ran Arai, Rina Tanaka, Yuki Inagaki

Tumblr   IMDB

This has been a film that has haunted me ever since I first saw the trailer back in 2014 and it was one of the films I was hoping to find in 2020. Well, I did. I ended up viewing it a couple of times. My initial impressions from the trailer was that this felt like it had “shades of Pulse (2001)” and an “apocalypse angle” but it turned out to be something else entirely, a subtle, gorgeous and melancholy take on the anxiety felt on the path of adulthood and a gradual maturation of its characters. It’s story is simple, perfect for allowing the powerful atmospherics to wash over me and pull me along.

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Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films to Get in 2020

I have been writing about films here for a decade and ever since I started writing badly translated synopses to highlight interesting films, I have had a list in my mind of titles that I want to watch. I add and subtract films from said list but many listed here have remained in my mind. These ten films I have never forgotten and since it has been ten years since I first started blogging, I want to make an effort and track them down to review them the next time I am in Japan. Which is… SOON!

Will I see any of these films? Who knows, but I want to watch them.

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The Ninja War of Torakage, Ju-on: The Final, Ghost in the Shell: New Movie, Hold Your Breath Like a Lover, KIRI: Shokugyo Koroshiya Gaiden and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend people!!!

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Jotaro before the Final Fight

This post is super-late because I have been writing reviews for two J-horror films as part of my splatter season of horror and gore and all sorts of other stuff. I also wrote a bunch of manga reviews. WHAT A FINALE TO JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE!!! Not enough respect is given to that show which has been a gripping affair and I had tears in my eyes at certain points!

Anyway, I posted about my Splatter Season and a review for White Panic (2005).

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Ninja War of Torakage, Ju-on: The Final, Ghost in the Shell: New Movie, Hold Your Breath Like a Lover, KIRI: Shokugyo Koroshiya Gaiden and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Films Released in 2014 I will Hopefully See in 2015

The Pinkie Here Comes 2015

I post trailers of Japanese films released in Japan every weekend and some stay with me even months after their release has come and gone. Like last year I want to start the year by looking back at the trailers that make me wish these were films I had seen in 2014 and hope I can see in 2015.

Just to jump back to the last list of films from 2013, out of the 14 Seeds of Anxiety Yoko and Daiichi at the Restaurant Moncherifilms listed, I saw two – Patema Inverted and Fuan no Tane. Patema Inverted exceeded my expectations when I saw it at a cinema and I now have the Ultimate Edition home DVD/Bu-ray release that came from backing the Kickstarter campaign so I get the OST, art book and a variety of other extras. I’ll get a review of the film out before the end of January 2015! Fuan no Tane was a fun little horror film that did justice to the manga. You can read what I thought of it in my review.

The other films I listed? Well, the chances of me watching some of them were slim since they were the indiest of indies and without major studio backing, film labels with lots of money or film festivals selecting them, they would have been unlikely to get a cinema or home release in the UK. Raindance and Terracotta would have been the best places to see them but they weren’t screened.

I am kinda disappointed that I did not get to see Uzumasa Jacopetti, JacopettiGFP Bunny, A Fairy Tale, and Shin Shin Shin so I’m going to start investigating ways of getting these films. My usual import routes don’t stock them… Other indie films I’m interested in cost around £20 so it’s not impossible, just expensive. It’s at times like this when I wish Japanese film and anime companies would embrace digital distribution because I know I’d make many purchases to build up my library (and regrets over spending so much).

This list of films contains entries I have cherry-picked from my trailer posts that caught my eye over the year. I doubt I’ll see many of these but who knows…

Here’s the list and music you can listen to while reading/ignoring the blurb:

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