Visualized Hearts 可視化する心たち Dir: Akiko Igarashi (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival Review

Visualized Hearts

可視化する心たちKajika suru kokoro-tachi

Running Time: 76 mins.

Director:  Akiko Igarashi

Writer: Akiko Igarashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryuichi Yoshida, Nanami Shirakawa, Yoshio Shin, Aoi Ibuki, Yukina Aoyama, Seishiro Ishida, Riku Tokimitsu, Ayaka Matsui,

JFDB IMDB OAFF

While attending the Osaka Asian Film Festival I saw a whole host of indie films from directors making their debuts or sophomore titles. The festival provided the perfect platform for these new directors to showcase their work, many of which were funded by grants from the Housen Cultural Foundation or the Cineastes Organization Osaka (CO2), or through crowdfunding sites like Motion Gallery. One particular project, Visualised Hearts caught my attention. This film and its director Akiko Igarashi are, in filmic terms, the very definition of the idiom, “a diamond in the rough” but there’s enough potential here to warrant viewing the film and supporting Igarashi, allowing her to polish her talent and shine as a new voice in Japanese science fiction.

Visualised Hearts is Igarashi’s debut feature-length film. She based it on her short film, Kokoro wo Kashikasuru Kikai which was developed as she studied at film school while holding down her company job. Her feature was made on a tiny budget with limited resources and actors recruited from the CO2 Actor Scholarship Project and yet its ideas are big: the benefits and complications of being able to visualise what the human heart feels.

Continue reading “Visualized Hearts 可視化する心たち Dir: Akiko Igarashi (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival Review”

Suffering of Ninko 「仁光の受難」(2016) Dir: Niwatsukino Norihiro

Suffering of Ninko   

the-suffering-of-ninko-film-poster
the-suffering-of-ninko-film-poster

仁光の受難 Ninko no junan

Running Time: 70 mins.

Director: Niwatsukino Norihiro

Writer: Niwatsukino Norihiro (Screenplay)

Starring: Masato Tsujioka, Miho Wakabayashi, Hideta Iwahashi, Yukino Arimoto, Tomoko Harazaki, Qyoko Kudo,

IMDB  Website

Seeing someone suffer is rarely fun but this film all about a Buddhist priest who is cursed to be sexually irresistible to all around him is sure to amuse audiences.

Ninko (Masato Tsujioka) is a novice Buddhist monk living during the Edo period. He is based at Enmei-ji, a temple in the mountains. He is, in fact, a paragon of a monk, adhering to asceticism to learn his religion, dutifully cooking, cleaning, and praying every day.

The Suffering of Ninko Film Image 3

Continue reading “Suffering of Ninko 「仁光の受難」(2016) Dir: Niwatsukino Norihiro”

The Satoshi Kon Film “Millennium Actress” will be screened at the Barbican on July 03rd

The Barbican is running a season with a fantastic title, Cinema Matters: Bigger than Life and it’s all about how cinema has changed the world and the stars on the big screen who become legends. Think about the mega-stars of Japanese film history and you will come up with Toshiro Mifune and Setsuko Hara, both of whom worked with the great directors of the Golden Age in many classics and both of whom, some might say, were profoundly Japanese in their behaviour and emblematic of their nation’s ideals on masculinity and femininity.

The two might be highly important in the way the wider world views Japan but only Setsuko Hara got an anime movie more or less made about her and that movie will be screened at the Barbican. It’s the Satoshi Kon classic Millennium Actress and it will be screened on July 03rd at 20:45.

Here are the details:

Millenium Actress Film Image

Continue reading “The Satoshi Kon Film “Millennium Actress” will be screened at the Barbican on July 03rd”

“Dogs Without Names” Documentary Film Screening and Q&A at London’s Phoenix Cinema on May 31st

The Japan Society in London has organised another screening in London and this one looks like it will be a moving subject.

One of the films in my list of titles covering the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (which I need to update…) finally reaches the UK after it was released in 2015. The film is a documentary all about the animals who were abandoned and the people who rescue them and it will be screened at the Phoenix Cinema on May 31st. Not only that, there will be a Q&A with the director Akane Yamada and representatives of organisations featured in the film.

Here’s more on the director from the organisers: “Akane Yamada has over 30 years experience as a film and television director. Recent productions include The Happiness of Mucchan (NHK, 2014) which tracks Mucchan, a dog abandoned in the 20 kilometer ‘red zone’ around the Fukushima nuclear reactor, and The Woman Who Sleeps with 1,000 Cats (Fuji Television, 2015) featuring Yuri Nakatani, of NPO Minashigo Dogs and Cats Rescue in Hiroshima.”

Here are the details on the film:

Continue reading ““Dogs Without Names” Documentary Film Screening and Q&A at London’s Phoenix Cinema on May 31st”

Featured

Japanese Films at the 2017 Annecy International Film Festival

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has been running since it was established in 1960. It is the world’s oldest and largest animation film festival and it has become one of the best places to glimpse early footage of upcoming anime. This year, it runs from the June 12th to the 17th and the programme line-up has already been announced and there are many Japanese titles both in and out of competition.

There will be many presentations including works in progress as well as a celebration of 100 years of anime.

Here’s what’s on offer:

In This Corner of the World Film Image

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 2017 Annecy International Film Festival”

CAMERA JAPAN to Screen Two Films at Shofukan in Rotterdam on April 07th

This year will be the twelfth that CAMERA JAPAN has been in operation and it is great that the festival is operating since it offers one of the most comprehensive collections of current Japanese cinema. The 2017 festival dates have already been announced:

September 21st-24th  Rotterdam
September 29th – October 01st Amsterdam

In the run-up to the festival, CAMERA JAPAN are screening a grip of films and this week’s titles are interesting. To find out more about each individual screening, click on the titles/links:

Continue reading “CAMERA JAPAN to Screen Two Films at Shofukan in Rotterdam on April 07th”

Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up

It’s 23:49 in Osaka and I want to go to sleep but I have important news! The Japan Film Festival Ireland has reached its ninth year and this year’s addition features anime, dramas, and mediums. There are 21 in all and each movie I would like to see. The screenings take place in Dundalk, Cork, Galway, Maynooth, Sligo, Limerick, Dublin, and Waterford and so people in Ireland will get to see really great examples of Japanese cinema.

Here’s the lowdown on the various films being screened. Click on the titles to be taken to the festival page which has more information:

Continue reading “Japanese Film Festival Ireland Full Programme Line-Up”

Love and Goodbye and Hawaii 恋とさよならとハワイ Dir: Shingo Matsumura (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Film Review

Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Film Poster

恋とさよならとハワイKoi to sayonara to Hawai

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director:  Shingo Matsumura

Writer: Shingo Matsumura (Screenplay),

Starring: Aya Ayano, Kentaro Tamura, Momoka Ayukawa, Risa Kameda, Aoi Kato

Website IMDB Eiga

This might sound like damning a film with faint praise but, Love and Goodbye and Hawaii is a nicely shot simple tale about a woman slowly coming to the realisation that a relationship with her ex-boyfriend may well and truly be dead and she faces the decision of whether to resurrect it or move on.

The aforementioned woman is Rinko (Ayu Ayano), a bespectacled twenty-something who works in an office. She has been living with her ex-boyfriend Isamu (Kentaro Tamura), a graduate student, for three years. Indeed, the two have chosen to live together even after they broke up because their situation is comfortable. Although they separate their shared bedroom with a rack of clothes and sleep in different futons on opposite sides of the room, they interact with each other like a regular couple.Love and Goodbye and Hawaii Film Image Race of Love Continue reading “Love and Goodbye and Hawaii 恋とさよならとハワイ Dir: Shingo Matsumura (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Film Review”

Japan Foundation Event: Vegalta: Soccer, Tsunami and the Hope of a Nation – Documentary Screening and Discussion at the Prince Charles Cinema on April 05th

The Japan Foundation sent out information on a free film screening at the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square. Japan, film, and the filmmakers at a great cinema? And it’s all free? It looks like a fascinating event covering the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. It’s a documentary made by a pair of British directors who travelled to Sendai to see how a football team gave hope to people in the shattered area and the aftermath. The filmmakers will be present for a Q&A.

Here’s more information including a trailer:

Japan Foundation Talk Vagalta

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Event: Vegalta: Soccer, Tsunami and the Hope of a Nation – Documentary Screening and Discussion at the Prince Charles Cinema on April 05th”

The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th

The Japanese embassy screens films once a month and I used to report on them because many of these titles are the type that never leave Japan. I stopped once I actually arrived in Japan and became a huge tourist but now I’m getting back into writing about films I want to alert people to the latest screening before it disappears!

Here’s the information from the embassy’s events page:

Continue reading “The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th”