The Berlin International Film Festival launches at the end of this week and runs from February 07th to the 17th. There are a decent number of features and a couple of shorts for fans of Japanese cinema to watch out for. Two of the features seems brand new to me, as in, I haven’t seen it at places like Rotterdam but one was winning major buzz at Sundance last month. The others I have seen at Glasgow. Anyway, here are the Japanese films playing at the festival:
Happy mid-week, everyone!(?!?!?)
This post is late because I was doing a lot of press work at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and working late into the night on the final two days. I maintained by cool better than last year but a few mistakes slipped in because I tend to rush to complete work. Still, the team pulled through. There was that dull pressure that comes after exhaustion sets in on the final night but I found the experience gratifying. It’s almost all over now and I’m travelling. I’m currently staying with a cool friend for the night before moving on to a new location tomorrow. My reviews for films I have seen at the Osaka Asian Film Festival are starting to be published such as Here and Here and Nagisa on this blog and I’ve got interviews to transcribe and get checked before publishing. So, plenty of work to do!
I hope everyone is having fun.
What was released last weekend?
Continue reading “Chihayafuru: Musubi, Dynamite Graffiti, Eiga Precure Super Stars!, Magic Town, Niwatori Star, Kamisama no wadachi check point of the life, Youth Discovery Film, Tomoyasu Murata Stop-Motion, Ai-chan: the Teen Detective from Yoshimoto Shinkigeki, across the border Cu-Bop Japanese Film Trailers”
Running Time: 20 mins.
Release Date: 2012
Director: Junichi Kanai
Writer: Junichi Kanai (Screenplay),
Starring: Aoi Morikawa, Riko Masuda, Tomoki Fujiwara,
Junichi Kanai’s short film, “Transferring” was the winner of the Sonje Award at the 2012 Pusan International Film Festival and Best Picture at the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2013. This is a touching and amusing comedy about two outsiders making a connection.
The Glasgow Film Festival (February 21st – March 04th) will launch at the end of this month and it kicks off with Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a stop-motion animation set in a dystopian Japan and featuring the voices of lots of American actors. There’s also the documentary Haiku on a Plum Tree a documentary where the director tracks down what happened to her grandparent’s who were living in Japan during World War 2 and were interned in a prisoner of war camp when they refused to pledge allegiance to Mussolini. There plenty of films from Japan and it’s a pretty diverse slate in terms of subject-matter and medium.
Here is what is on offer:
The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 runs from January 24th to February 04th and it includes a massive amount of titles which all look really special. Some are so new, there’s little information. Without further ado, here are the titles!
彼らが本気で編むときは、「Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa」
Running Time: 127 mins.
Director: Naoko Ogigami
Writer: Naoko Ogigami (Screenplay),
Starring: Rinka Kakihara, Toma Ikuta, Kenta Kiritani, Mimura, Eiko Koike, Mugi Kadowaki, Lily, Kaito Komie, Shuji Kashiwabara, Misako Tanako,
Naoko Ogigami is one of Japan’s most commercially successful female directors. She has built up a large audience at home and abroad following her debut feature film Yoshino’s Barber Shop (2004) which was a winner at Berlin International Film Festival. She followed that up with Kamome Diner (2006), Glasses (2007), and Rent-a-Cat (2012). Her oeuvre could be described as quirky dramas about outsider characters in unusual circumstances but Close-Knit is a lot more serious as Ogigami looks at LGBTQ issues in Japan, a country that is still conservative in some ways, and she does so through the perspective of a child.
Said child is eleven-year-old Tomo (Rinka Kakihara). When we first meet her she is all alone in an apartment where unwashed dishes are piling up in the sink and onigiri wrappers and cup noodle containers are overflowing from the bin. Indeed, a meagre meal of store-bought onigiri is her only option on the menu as she dines solo. She has a mother named Hiromi (Mimura) but when Tomo does see her it is usually when she comes home late and drunk after a day at the office and, presumably, a night at an izakaya. Hiromi is a single-mother struggling to cope with the role but when she finds herself a man she quits her jobs and takes off for who knows how long and little Tomo is pretty much forgotten about.
Running Time: 85 mins.
Director: Mikihiro Endo
Starring: Shugo Oshinari, Tatsuki Ishikawa,
Promises, one of three films from graduates of the film course at Tokyo University of Fine Arts, was the only film in the Housen strand at the Osaka Asian Film Festival that would qualify as feature-length in terms of duration. Much like the other entries, it was professionally shot and featured great performances from its cast and it used its extra time to ask big questions about identity. This is a somewhat intriguing but fuzzy existential tale about false masks worn in society and authenticity and the creeping madness that emerges in people when there is a gap between the two.
A young man named Masaru Fukada (Oshinari) begins working as a teacher at an English cram school. His big selling-point as a teacher is that he has lived and studied in America but it’s all a lie. He didn’t go to America to learn English, he used reference books and online tutorials. Despite this, his English is pretty good – far more natural and easy to understand than some professional teachers in state schools. He may not have the experience but he can act like he does. Thus, his employers encourage him to teach and ready the students to perform at a speech contest.
The London Film Festival is just around the corner and I’ve already got a post about that detailing things such as screenings and A Conversation with Takashi Miike. Here’s something really interesting that has just been announced by the Japan Foundation: Naoko Ogigami will be in conversation with Jasper Sharp during the festival.
The event will take place on October 14th, 2017 from 15:00 at La Médiathèque (Institut Français), 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT. This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To book a place, head over to the Eventbrite website.
Here are more details from the Japan Foundation:
Naoko Ogigami is an award-winning director and scriptwriter, and is considered one of the most commercially successful female filmmakers in Japan. An auteur with a huge domestic following, Ogigami writes and directs all her films with a renowned calming cinematic approach and her films feature recurring themes of culture clashes and characters thrown into unusual circumstances, epitomised in her hit dramas Kamome Diner (2006) and Glasses (2007). Outside of Japan, Ogigami’s work has also been recognised by many international film festivals and her debut feature, Yoshino’s Barber Shop (2004) was a winner at Berlin International Film Festival, inspiring many triumphant returns to the festival since.
In celebration of the UK premiere of her latest feature Close-Knit at the BFI London Film Festival, the Japan Foundation has invited Ogigami to reflect on her unique cinematic style and career to date. Having worked on a number of productions both in Japan and the United States, Ogigami will discuss how her experience of diaspora influenced her approach to filmmaking and the current climate for female filmmakers both in Japan and overseas. Ogigami will be joined in conversation by curator and writer Jasper Sharp.
Camera Japan 2017 starts in just under a months time in Rotterdam and Amsterdam and there is plenty to dig into so having the festival programme is a must. You can also read about the various films and events here on this site where I will have this guide which acts as an overview and comes complete with addresses and links. There are other, more detailed posts covering
Special Screenings and Short Films | Workshops and Events
This particular post covers feature-length films which will be shown in Rotterdam (21st– 24th September) at LantarenVenster and Amsterdam from (29th September – 01st October) and there will be lots to see.
Camera Japan 2017 is almost upon us. The films programmed for the Special Screenings held in Rotterdam run across decades from the 1920s to 2008. Some of these are associated with the Kyushu aspect of the festival and all are rarely screened. Indeed, the oldest film, A Page of Madness, is a recently rediscovered classic that was once thought lost. It is now getting traction globally but the process has just started and it’s slow. Imagine being able to see it with a live benshi performance like it was originally intended to be seen… It’s happening at Camera Japan! Also screened is Shinji Aoyama’s epic slow-burn drama Eureka which is both visually and emotionally beautiful.
I’ve also thrown in information on the live-action short films that will be screened at Rotterdam. You can access a page which contains an overview of the entire festival through this link.
Here is what has been programmed!