Reel Japan: Japanese Film Festival Preview

A new film festival called Reel Japan will take place at the end of April at The Yard Theatre, London. It is a two day event that takes place from Saturday 30th April 2016 to Sunday 1st May 2016 and its programme consists of eight films, all released in the UK by Third Window Films.

The festival is the latest event from the organisers of the Brick Lane Japan Film Festival which took place in January this year, an event that sold out quickly. Reel Japan’s artistic vision is to bring the best and most exciting Japanese cinema to the UK. This means that audiences get titles from Shinya Tsukamoto, Sion Sono, Takashi Miike and the others. The theme for this collection of films is “Twisted Love” and viewers will get the chance to explore the darker side of love and life through an exciting line-up of titles:

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Isn’t Anyone Alive? 生きてるものはいないのか (2012)

Isn't Anyone Alive Review Header Image

Isn’t Anyone Alive?                                                         Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Japanese Title: 生きてるものはいないのか

Romaji: Ikiterumono Inainoka

Japanese Release Date: 18th February, 2012

UK DVD Release Date: 22nd October, 2012 (Third Window Films)

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii (aka Sogo Ishii)

Writer: Gakuryu Ishii (Screen Adaptation), Shiro Maeda(Original Story, Screenplay)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Rin Takanashi, Hakka Shiraishi, Asato Iida, Mai Takahashi, Yumika Tajima, Ami Ikenaga, Kota Fudauchi, Keisuke Hasebe, Hiroaki Morooka, Tatsuya Hasome, Eri Aoki, Konatsu Tanaka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Shoshiro Tsuda, Tateto Serizawa, Chizuko Sugiura, Jun Murakami

Isn’t Anyone Alive? is the latest film from Gakuryu Ishii (formerly Sogo Ishii), a  director I have recently discovered after watching his talky serial killer thriller Angel Dust which I loved. This is his first film after taking a decade out to take up a teaching post at Kobe Design University. Ishii once again shows his skill as a director but instead of cult killers he is tackling the absurd.

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Third Window Films Release Isn’t Anyone Alive?

When I first saw a trailer for Sogo Ishii’s latest film Isn’t Anyone Alive? at the beginning of the year, I tagged it as looking “very interesting”. When I heard that Third Window Films had picked up for distribution I was overjoyed because I like this type of film. When I watched Angel Dust recently, I knew I had to see this film because Ishii’s skill behind the camera was spell-binding. I have finally watched it and can confirm that I bloody love it. Just how much I feel that way will be determined by a re-watch, but expect a review next week. For now, here are the details:

 Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Isn’t Anyone Alive?

A film by Sogo Ishii (Gojoe, Burst City, Crazy Thunder Road)

Starring: Shota Somentani (Himizu, Sadako 3D, A Man with Style)

Murakami Jun (Yakuza Weapon, Himizu, Land of Hope)

Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death, Like Someone in Love)

Mai Takahashi (Strange Circus, The Great Yokai War)

Japan / 2011 / 113 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 35mm

Release Date: 22nd October 2012

Set in a university campus that is attached to a hospital, there is a escaped female patient, a strange man, students and a café worker in a love triangle, a mother looking for a lost child, a love-sick doctor and an unreceptive nurse and an urban legend which could be linked to the end of the world. When people talk about this bizarre urban myth connected to the University hospital, people start dying inexplicably one after another…

With the air of this ‘energy void’ throughout, the world of this absurd black comedy, based upon the theatre play of the same name, starts to take over the world.

With ‘Crazy Thunder Road’ (1980), ‘Burst City’ (1982), ‘The Crazy Family’ (1984), ‘Angel Dust’ (1994), ‘Electric Dragon 80,000V’ (2001) and more, Gakuryu Ishii (previously known as Sogo Ishii) has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play ‘Isn’t Anyone Alive‘.

DVD Special Features:

Theatrical Trailer

Terracotta Festival UK Tour Details

Asian film fans across the UK have the opportunity to see some of the best new titles to come out of Asia when a choice selection from the Terracotta Far East Film Festival show up at Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Brighton and London. Here are the details:


Terracotta Far East Film Festival Tour Banner

For the first time in its four year history, Terracotta Festival is expanding its successful London residency of current Asian cinema showcase to selected venues in the UK.

The touring festival will kick off at the Cornerhouse cinema in Manchester on September 19th, followed by the Watershed in Bristol and will continue through October at the Genesis in London as well as dates in Brighton and Nottingham. More cities will be announced on the festival website.

Organisers are bringing a shortened programme of five contemporary films offering a taster of the best in current cinema in the Far East.

There will be two Japanese films, including Isn’t Anyone Alive? which marks the return of Sogo Ishii to filmmaking after a 10 year absence, and crowd-pleasing comedy The Woodsman and the Rain. Also in the line-up, two Korean films of different genres: pan-Asian WW2 blockbuster My Way and dark animation The King of Pigs. And the docu-drama Return to Burma which gives the audience a rare insider perspective into ordinary life in this fascinating and topical country.

Here are the films:


Terracott Festival Films My Way

Director: Kang Je-kyu, Duration: 137 mins, Starring: Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing Certificate: 18

The most ambitious and expensive film coming from South Korea directed by box office champion Kang Je-Kyu (Brotherhood: Taegukgi, Shiri), My Way is an explosive epic war drama spanning Japan, Korea, China, Russian gulags and the beaches of Normandy, packed with high octane action and heart-breaking emotion that tells, for the first time, the story of the Second World War from a Korean point of view. It stars Joe Odagiri (Bright Future, Adrift in Tokyo) and Jang Dong-Gun (Nowhere to Hide, Friend, The Warrior’s Way). It was one of the official selections at the Berlin Film Festival 2012 and the opening film for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival.


Terracott Festival Films Isn't Anyone Alive?
Director: Sogo Ishii, Duration: 113 mins, Starring: Shota Somentani, Rin Takanashi, Jun Murakami, Mai Takahashi Certificate: 15

Gakuryu Ishii aka Sogo Ishii has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music like Crazy Thunder Road and the twisted serial-killer films Angel Dust. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play Isn’t Anyone Alive, an avant-garde story of 18 young students dying one after another. It stars Shota Sometani (Himizu), Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death), and Jun Murakami. It was part of the official selection Edinburgh Film Festival 2012 and appeared at the Fantasia Film Festival 2012

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