For Love’s Sake 愛と誠 (2012)

For Love’s Sake                                              

Japanese Title: 愛と誠

Romaji: Ai to Makoto

Japanese Release Date: June 16th, 2012

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takayuki Takuma (script), Ikki Kajiwara (manga)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Takumi Saito, Sakura Ando, Ito Ono, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kimiko Yo, Ken Maeda, Yo Hitoto, Masachika Ichimura

For Love’s Sake was the final film I saw during the 56th BFI London Film Festival. Despite my dislike for musicals I expected this film to be highly entertaining because it was directed by Takashi Miike.

Can he change how I view a genre? Definitely.

I love Takashi Miike’s sensibilities. Miike is the type of director who can take any genre and transform it into something uniquely his own. When he made The Happiness of the Katakuris I found a musical I could love what with its inventive designs, amusing song and dance numbers, cracked performances and black humour. For Love’s Sake is another musical I can embrace thanks to its ultra-stylish and gleefully over the top and energetic execution. 

1972, Tokyo, Ai Satome (Takei) is an angelic high school student who comes from a respectable family. She leads a charmed life until Makoto Taiga (Tsumabuki), the boy who stole Ai’s heart as a child and an ultra-delinquent, arrives in Tokyo to settle a score from his past. He soon gets arrested after a rumble with some local toughs and is sent to reform school. Ai is still in love with Makoto and manages to get him released. She brings him to Aobodai Prep School where she studies. Ai’s love for Makoto inspires jealousy in Iwashimizu (Saito), the President of the Student Council, who loves Ai. Soon Makoto is sent to Hanazono Trade School where girl gang leader Ango Gumko (Ando) and Yuki, a “sad chick”, soon develop feelings for him. With Makoto in the centre of this tangled web of love things get extremely complicated and melodramatic.

Ai to Makoto will be familiar for a Japanese audience as it originates from a massively popular manga written in 1973 by Ikki Kajiwara which has been adapted for film in 1974, 75, and 76, Takashi Miike’s live-action film adaptation being the fourth so far and with Miike’s unique vision this is a case of adapting the classic story of bad boy meets good girl who tries to redeem him and adding a megaton of spectacle.

This missy is downright crazy

For Love’s Sake is an entertaining romp through the popular school melodrama genre. While I haven’t read the original manga this feels like a parody of said genre thanks to the excessiveness of style and the combination of the musical genre. With the knowing lines, sudden bursts of dancing and the presence of plenty of pop music from the 1970’s laced with hilarious lyrics, it is too funny, melodramatic, ironic, and openly genre savvy to be anything else.

The mise-en-scene is perfect and points to the high degree of skill in putting the whole film together. The film starts off with animation, a ski sequence gone awry which is where Makoto and Ai first meet. Then, after the titles hit us, things get a bit normal (apart from one inventive sequence set on stage with props) and we are transported into 1970’s Tokyo, a place of loud shirts, flares and bad clothing in general (except for the classic school uniforms). The look is, to my eye, as convincing as the one seen in Norwegian Wood.

The locations vary from the ostentatious and gaudily decorated home of the Satome family to the post-apocalyptic Hanazono trade school. Each location is wonderful with plenty of details to bask in. One highlight, only used for a few minutes, is a maid café which is straight from a lurid fantasy like Strange Circus. It is full of creeps and creepy solid gold dancers, a place where the cute waitresses wear pink frilly outfits and red shoes.

All of it fits the melodramatic tone of the film and the musical sequences add to the atmosphere as they perfectly illustrate the emotions of the characters in the scenes.

Continue reading “For Love’s Sake 愛と誠 (2012)”

Rurouni Kenshin, Dear, Ai Ore! Love Me! Ushijima the Loan Shark, After School Midnighters, Anata E Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Hyouka Chitanda RushI replied to Andina’s Liebster blog award, reviewed the awesome Korean thriller Desire to Kill, dug into the Japanese films and TV (Kiyoshi Kurosawa is there with his latest TV show!) at the Venice International Film Festival and posted a trailer for the 2013 film entry in the A Certain Magical Index franchise. Scotland Loves Anime announced their line-up and I will post about that tomorrow. Alua has a nice round-up. Just as I wrote that Strange Circus and Eureka were delivered by the postal service \o/.

What do the Japanese movie box office charts look like?

  1. The Avengers
  2. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  3. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  4. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  5. Pokemon: Best Wishes 2012
  6. Total Recall (2012)
  7. Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space is Here!
  8. The Dark Knight Rises
  9. Fairy Tail: The Phoenix Priestess
  10. Eight Ranger
  11. Helter Skelter

 

Last week saw the release of Marvel’s The Avengers so there was only one Japanese film released last week. The dust has settled and The Avengers movie is at the top of the charts while Fairy Tail lies at nine. Umizaru and Wolf Children drop one place each to two and three respectively. Helter Skelter, Another and The Kirishima Thing – Erika Sawajiri and Ai Hashimoto!!! – remain in the top fifteen.

This week sees a flood of Japanese films released and all but one of them are based on manga.

 

Rurouni Kenshin                                              るろうに剣心 Poster

Romaji: Rurouni Kenshin

Japanese Title: るろうに剣心

Release Date: 25th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Writer: Watsuki Nobuhrio

Starring: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Taketo Tanaka, Munetaka Aoki, Yu Aoi, Yosuke Eguchi, Koji Kikkawa, Teruyuki Kagawa

The live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s classic chanbara manga Rurouni Kenshin is released today. The film stars Takeru Sato (BECK, Kamen Rider Den-O) as the titular samurai with Emi Takei (Ai to Makoto) playing Kaoru, Yu Aoi (Memories of Matsuko, Honey and Clover), and Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata, Sukiyaki Western Django). The film is directed by Keishi Ōtomo who directed a popular NHK historical television series named Ryomaden which featured Takeru Sato.


The early Meiji period in Japan is a time of rapid industrialisation and modernisation and a time when samurai like Kenshin Himura are being consigned to the history books. He was once an elite swordsman known as “Battosai” before taking an oath not to kill. He now finds himself as a wandering samurai offering aid to those in need as atonement for his past actions. During his travels he meets Kaoru Kamiya, an instructor at her father’s Kendo school. She offers Kenshin a place to stay at her dojo and their relationship begins to blossom but Kenshin’s past will soon catch up with him as he discovers that somebody has been using the name “Battosai” while committing murders in Tokyo.

 

Dear                                                                 Anata e Film Poster

Romaji: Anata e

Japanese Title: あなた へ

Release Date: 25th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yasuo Furuhata

Writer: Seichi Ichiko, Takeshi Aoshima, Yasuo Furuhata

Starring: Ken Takakura, Yuko Tanaka, Koichi Sato, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Kimiko Yo, Haruka Ayase, Takahiro Miura, Tadanobu Asano, Takeshi Kitano, Mieko Harada

I can feel the emotion from this trailer. I’m getting a Okuribito feel from this film. It stars Yuko Tanaka (the voice of Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke), Koichi Sato (Starfish Hotel, Sukiyaki Western Django, Infection), Kimiko Yo (Villain, Ace Attorney), Haruka Ayase (Ichi, Cyborg She), Tadanobu Asano (Kids Return, Survive Style 5+, Bright Future, Vital, Last Life in the Universe), and Takeshi Kitano (Kikujiro, Boiling Point, Fireworks).

Eiji Shimakura (Takakura) is a 53-year-old prison guard in Hokuriku. When he loses his wife Yoko (Tanaka) he receives a letter from her and follows her last wishes, which is to have her ashes spread in the sea next to her home town of Nagasaki. He is curious as to the reason why she wants her ashes taken there and decides to go Nagasaki n his homemade camper van.

  Continue reading “Rurouni Kenshin, Dear, Ai Ore! Love Me! Ushijima the Loan Shark, After School Midnighters, Anata E Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2012

65th Cannes Film Festival Banner

Cannes-chanThe 65th Cannes Film Festival takes place from the 16th to the 27th of May so Cannes-chan (left) is going to be following the festival. Every time you see her expect some news on the Japanese films competing. Major news came out at the end of last week when the organisers released the line-up of films that will screen at the glamorous event. There are some interesting titles taking part at this year’s festival with the likes of David Cronenberg and Brandon Cronenberg bringing projects. America has some great entries and there is a strong European presence with Ken Loach and Michael Haneke (if you want a proper run-down of the contenders then read Bonjour Tristesse’s blog). There is also a strong Asian selection but there are only four major Japanese films so here they are:

11.25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate

Release Date: 2nd June 2012 (Japan), Premieres atCannes11.25 Mishima Drama Poster

Running Time: N/A

Director: Koji Wakamatsu

Writer: Masayuki Kakegawa

Starring: Arata, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tasuku Nagaoka, Takatsugu Iwama

Prolific veteran director Koji Wakamatsu tackled the violent and tough story of an extreme far left group during the turmoil of 1960’s Japan in the award winning United Red Army and now he is tackling a controversial figure on the right in the shape of Yukio Mishima. Taking the lead role is Arata who was in United Red Army and also appeared in Kore-eda’s wonderful film After Life.

Taking place in 1960’s Japan at a time when economic growth sky-rocketed but the nation was wracked by political turmoil and social changes from sexual liberation to student riots over individual’s rights and the US military presence in Japan, author and intellectual Yukio Mishima was a major voice, a nationalist who espoused traditional values based on the Bushido code while having a controversial private life. He and his militia will attempt a coup d’Etat by taking a military commander hostage.

 

Like Someone in Love

Release Date: Premieres atCannes

Running Time: N/A

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Writer: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Denden, Ryo Kase

Like Someone in Love is Abbas Kiarostami’s follow-up to Certified Copy. A French/Japanese co-production and it is the only Japanese language film In Competition it stars Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death), Denden (Cold Fish, Himizu) and Ryo Kase who starred in the recent box-office smash SPEC: The Movie. Kiarostami has form in Cannes having previously won the Palme d’Or for Taste of Cherry in 1997.

A young female student named Akiko (Rin Takanashi) works as a prostitute to pay off her university fees. One of her clients is an elderly academic (Tadashi Okuno) who is fond of her. Soon a relationship develops between the two.

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2012”