Japan Cuts 2014 Preview

Japan Cuts Logo

New York, New York, what a wonderful town. I have never wanted to live in New York as much as I did after reading the line-up for Japan Cuts 2014.

The Japan Society will host a series of awesome Japanese films from July 10th to July 29th with titles like Sion Sono’s ultra-violent black comedy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? coupled with crime thriller The Devil’s Path and recent (controversial) World War II blockbuster The Eternal Zero. These are just some of the headline titles, there are even more listed, many of which were released in the last few weeks and some of which are crazy and bizarre and speak to the sharp and unique sense of cinema that the curators have – respect has to be paid for the programming of the documentaries on this list. There’s definitely something for everyone! Here’s a trailer:

I am blown away by the titles and the guests that have been announced with many actors coming over for Q&As (FUMI NIKAIDO!!!). For a fan of cinema in general and Japanese cinema in particular, this is a festival rich with great films and events!

Here’s a list of the films and trailers with comments from me. Click on the title for more info such as times and buying tickets. Tickets are already on sale!

 

Thursday July 10th, Opening Night

 

6 P.M.

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji   The Mole Song Film Poster

Japanese Title: 土竜の唄 潜入捜査官 REIJI

Romaji: Mogura no Uta Sennuu Sosakan REIJI

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Kudo Kankuro (Screenplay), Noboru Takahashi (Original Manga)

Starring: Toma Ikuta, Ren Osugi, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Riisa Naka, Takayuki Yamada, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

This is based on a comedy manga by Noboru Takahashi and directed by Takashi Miike (For Love’s Sake). The film has a great cast of characters like Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), Ren Osugi (Exte) and Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish). It seems like a great way to open the film festival since it looks absolutely funny.

Reiji Kikukawa (Ikuta) has a strong sense of justice but graduates at the bottom of his class from the police academy. He is so useless his superiors send him on what should be a suicide mission. First the police chief fires him for disciplinary issues and then sets him up as a mole in the Sukiyaki gang, the largest crime group in the Kanto area. His target is Shuho Todoroki, the boss, and so Reiji goes through hell to get his man!

 

8:30 P.M.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Running Time: 126 mins

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

Sion Sono blew my mind with this one. After a short run of issue films like the critically lauded Himizu and The Land of Hope, he made this hilarious and blood-thirsty film which was both entertainment and a love letter to cult films and yakuza classics. I found it absolutely hilarious and one of the best films of last year.

Muto (Kunimura) and Ikegami (Tsutsumi) are rival gangsters who despise each other especially since Muto’s wife Shizue (Tomochika) butchered a boss in Ikegami’s gang. She gets sent to prison which jeopardises her daughter’s acting career. Ten years later and days before Shizue is due to be released, Muto is desperate to make his daughter a big-screen star as a reward for Shizue’s loyalty and kidnaps Koji (Hoshino), a timid passer-by who is mistaken for being a film director.

When dealing with gangsters you don’t mess about so Koji recruits the help of a mad-cinephile Hirata (Hasegawa) who dreams of being a movie director and has a ragtag film crew named The Fuck Bombers. Hirata seizes his chance and loses his mind as he casts Mitsuko in a fictional gang war but it soon goes wrong when it turns real.

Introduction and Q&A with actress Fumi Nikaido (I so want to be in her presence!!!)

Followed by the LET’S PLAY IN HELL Opening Night Party!

Continue reading “Japan Cuts 2014 Preview”

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Logo

The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival was revealed last week ahead of its run at The Institute of Contemporary Art and The Prince Charles Cinema in London between May 23rd and June 01st. I then wrote a preview for it at Anime UK News and now I’ve put together another, expanded view on the festival.

This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it still remains the best place to see a wide variety of releases from East Asian cinema. There are a number of different strands to the festival such as Current Asian Cinema where the latest titles from territories like Japan and Hong Kong are played. The Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter makes a welcome return with some great looking titles mixing ghosts and serial killers. The Spotlight On section uncovers the hottest titles that remain undiscovered. Last year’s festival saw Indonesia as the focus, this year the Philippines takes centre stage with six films released within the last year getting screened. The festival is made opens on May 23rd at The Institute of Contemporary Arts with the Spotlight On: Philippines. The festival will then move to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the festival will screen films from The Current Asian Cinema and Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter sections.

Enough of the intro, the next part has the films, dates and times. Click on the title to get taken to the festival page.

Continue reading “Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview”

Dakishimetai – Shinjitsu no Monogatari, I Don’t Have Many Friends, Killers, Topaz / Tokyo Decadence, No Man’s Land, Fukushima: Is There A Way Out? 0.23μSv Japanese Film Trailers

Zevda Kate the CuteOnly one trailer post this week because there aren’t that many films and by the time you read this I’ll probably be in London collecting my tickets for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I will be enjoying two solid days of Japanese films and visiting art galleries before heading back home and writing about them. The films, not the galleries. I’ll leave gallery stuff to better bloggers like Sequins and Cherry Blossom.

Despite all this talk about films, I posted about two anime in the form of Galilei Donna and Coppelion.

Here are the trailers:

Dakishimetai – Shinjitsu no MonogatariDakshimetai Film Poster

Japanese: 抱きしめたい - 真実 の 物語 -

Romaji: Dakishimetai – Shinjitsu no Monogatari

Running Time: 122 mins.

Release Date: February 01st, 2014

Director: Akihiko Shiota

Writer:  Akihiko Shiota, Hiroshi Saito (Screenplay),

Starring: Keiko Kitagawa, Ryo Nishikido, Takumi Saito, Aya Hiryama, Eriko Sato, Megumi Sato, Mastaka Kubota, Jun Kunimura, Jun Fubuki

This is actually based on the story of a real life couple. Tsukasa (Kitagawa) was involved in a car accident that left her in a wheelchair and with memory impairment. Despite these setbacks, she carries on with life and falls in love with a taxi driver named Masaki (Nishikido) who plays basketball. Despite their differences they start a new life together and try to make a family but serious problems emerge…

Website

Continue reading “Dakishimetai – Shinjitsu no Monogatari, I Don’t Have Many Friends, Killers, Topaz / Tokyo Decadence, No Man’s Land, Fukushima: Is There A Way Out? 0.23μSv Japanese Film Trailers”