Camera Japan 2017 Preview: Feature Films

Same Old Same Old Film Image 1

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

Feature Films  |  Anime and Short Anime Films |  Documentaries

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.

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Camera Japan 2017: Special Screenings and Live-Action Shorts

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!

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Japanese Films at the Raindance International Film Festival 2017

Raindance 2017 Poster

The Raindance International Film Festival returns to London on September 20th and runs until October 01st and it is celebrating 25 years of screening independent films. The venue has changed to the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square but there’s still a megaton of indie films for people to gorge themselves on. Here’s the amusing trailer for you to get hyped with!

This year’s line-up of Japanese films is pretty awesome. The opening film is Oh Lucy! which will be shown prior to a 90s-themed party at Cafe de Paris. There are seven other feature films and one documentary which will be screened over the course of the festival. I’ll list them below (click the title to be taken to the film you want to see).

Here are the details:

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 07th to the 17th and I intend to keep providing coverage of this particular festival because there is usually a good line-up of Japanese films. This year, there are two. Or, two that have been announced so far. In previous years which I have covered (Toronto 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011), there have been many more programmed so it might be the case that more will be announced at a later date but the festival organisers cut up to 20 per cent (60) films that will be screened (source). What has resulted is that Asian films have been hit very hard. See the update for some exciting additions!

I may be missing something so I’m making this post a sticky and will update it if anything crops up. For now, two films, one feature and one short. One horror and one drama.

UPDATE: 16/08/2017

I spoke too soon about there being too few Japanese films! Radiance, Birds Without Names, and The Third Murder have been added! This year’s slate of Japanese films at Toronto is shaping up to be a nice bunch!

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

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Feature-Length Fiction Films at Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened and there are many top titles that audiences can see to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. There are a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce and talk about their work to the audience. 

There are some really great films to be seen and a couple of head-scratchers based on the quality but there should be something for everyone. On top of the films, there are also many cultural events to be had at the festival which will be detailed below along with some brief information on the venues.

What is on the programme, then? This is a quick preview but there’s a lot. I’ll break it down into sections and you can view trailers and more details for each on the films by clicking on the links:

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Short Films at the Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened and there are many top titles that audiences can see to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. There are a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce and talk about their work to the audience.

The short film selection offers audiences a chance to see what new and emerging talents on the indie scene are capable of producing when it comes to this short form style of cinema. Many of these filmmakers have seen their films travel to other festivals and it looks to be a strong selection:

TKY2015 Short Film Series

Website

Six filmmakers use the camera lens to capture different views of Tokyo in the TKY2015 Short Film Series. The folks at Nippon Connection say that this collection of films “presents a variety of perspectives on the people and lifestyles of this unique city.”

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Documentaries at the Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened and there are many top titles that audiences can see to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. There are a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce and talk about their work to the audience. 

This post deals with documentaries that will be screened at the festival. They cover a wide variety of topics from the reactor meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in Abandoned Land and the evacuees to reclaim their hometown to Raise your Arms and Twist, in which the director Atsushi Funahashi observes the everyday life of the Japanese pop idol singers of the group NMB48. The director skillfully combines social and media critique without degrading the stars or their fans. Steven Okazaki’s Mifune: The Last Samurai portrays the life and work of legendary actor Toshiro Mifune, who has written film history through his cooperation with Akira Kurosawa whilein her film 95 and 6 to Go young American filmmaker Kimi Takesue explores the history of her Japanese ancestors who emigrated to Hawaii, taking the conversations with her grandfather as a starting point.

Here’s the line-up:

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The First Wave and the Reboot of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno Films at Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films that will be screened and there are many top titles that audiences can see to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. There are a whole host of premieres and these will be shown in the presence of many directors and actors who will introduce and talk about their work to the audience. 

This post deals with NIPPON RETRO which is a special section of Nippon Connection which presents nine films by those the directors Noboru Tanaka and Tatsumi Kumashiro. On May 26, at 15:00., the film academic Jasper Sharp, author of Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema,  will give a lecture on “Nikkatsu Roman Porno and Japanese Erotic Cinema” and the director Akihiko Shiota will talk about some of the titles.

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Anime at Nippon Connection Film Festival 2017

Nippon Connection Logo

The Nippon Connection Film Festival takes place from May 23 to 28, 2017 and it will be held in Frankfurt am Main. The organisers released details of the 100+ short and feature length films which will be screened and there are many top titles that will allow audiences to get a perfect snapshot of the myriad of stories and talents that the Japanese film industry is producing. 

In terms of anime we have two of the most critically acclaimed movies in recent times in the shape of A Silent Voice and In This Corner of the World. There are also some CG and stop motion movies that might not normally get seen outside of festival spaces as well. Nippon Connection also continues its trend of highlighting new voices by working with the film academic Catherine Munroe Hotes and using her special programming skills to bring the latest in indie anime

What is on the programme, then?  You can view trailers and more details for each on the films by clicking on the links:

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Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2017

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Poster

This year’s Cannes Film Festival (17th – 28th May) is the 70th edition of the event and the festival head Thierry Fremaux announced the Official Selection of films programmed last week. Critics are salivating over the fact that there are two Netflix films: the monster movie Okja by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) and The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach (writer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and director of Mistress America). There will be two TV series for audiences to watch: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake and lots more familiar faces such as Sofia (Somewhere) Coppola’s The Beguiled, Michael (Code Unknown/Cache) Haneke’s Happy End (knowing Haneke, it’s probably an ironic title…). More importantly, there are also nine first-time filmmakers getting their works screened.

Why is that important?

The Cannes Film Festival comes into 2017 with a need to find fresh blood and this is seemingly strong selection because may be it. Since this is the 70th anniversary of the festival and the fact that, last year, organisers faced fierce criticism last year for their lack of female directors, commentators identified that they needed to do a couple of things: broaden out its programme so that there are filmmakers other than the old guard (Campion, Haneke, Kawase, Haynes, the Dardennes brothers etc.) and increase the number of female-centric stories and female-led films across the programme. The old guard are back but just by glancing at the lists of announced films, it is clear that the festival has achieved some of its goals and will probably avoid the criticism it faced last year – hopefully, no high-heels and breast-feeding baby incidents will crop up). Things are a bit of a mixed picture when it comes to the Japanese films.

So far, there are four Japanese films programmed, and three come from festival regulars: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Naomi Kawase, and Takashi Miike. Two of the four are adaptations while the other two are original dramas. Out of the dramas, one is made by a seasoned professional while the shorter one at 45 minutes is from a student. The presence of a fresh director is always something to cheer when it comes to Japanese films at international festivals and this director is a lady to boot: Aya Igashi. She is a graduate from Toei Gakuen Film College’s movie production department and is already working on her third film.

So, while we can all sigh and shrug our shoulders at the lack of original content, we can take comfort in the fact that Aya Igashi is on the radar of people who programme the festival.

What are the films playing this year?

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