Bitter Honey    蜜のあわれ  Dir: Gakuryu Ishii (2016)

Bitter Honey    

Mitsu no Aware Film Poster
Mitsu no Aware Film Poster

蜜のあわれ 「Mitsu no Aware

Running Time: 105 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii

Writer: Takehiko Minato (Screenplay), Saisei Muro (Original Manga)

Starring: Fumi Nikaido, Ren Osugi, Yoko Maki, Kengo Kora, Masatoshi Nagase, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Seiko Iwaido,

Website    IMDB

Director Gakuryu Ishii made his name with crazy indie films fizzing with punk energy, works like Burst City (1982) and Crazy Thunder Road (1980), but that is just one aspect of his career since he has an imagination capable of covering different genres from gloomy serial killers films like the brilliant Angel Dust (1994) and talky apocalypse movies like Isn’t Anyone Alive? (2012). I recommend watching them but of his other works, The Crazy Family and August in the Water are my personal favourites. Most of his films burst with voluptuous visuals and costumes, dense dialogue, and big name actors and over his long career he has maintained his flare for shooting scenes in energetic ways, something much needed here in a story that takes a while to get traction despite an exuberant performance from Fumi Nikaido as a goldfish turned human.

Based on a 1959 novel by the author Saisei Muro, Bitter Honey is set in 1950’s Tokyo. Although shot in a few outdoor locations like a yokocho, some streets, and temple grounds, most of the action takes place indoors, particularly the well-appointed house of an old male writer (Ren Osugi) who is busy making works of literature that will stand the test of time. Well, he would be if he wasn’t enthralled with a red goldfish who is able to transform into a beautiful voluptuous young woman (Fumi Nikaido).

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Japan Cuts 2016 Preview

Japan Cuts 2016 Banner

Japan Cuts 2016 takes place from July 14th to the 24th and there are lots of familiar titles, many of which I’ll put as shorter entries to save space. However you cut it the line-up is really good with a diverse mixture of genres and stories. The guestlist is absolutely fantastic with the likes of Lily Franky, Atsuko Maeda, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sion Sono, and so many more talented filmmakers descending upon the festival! Here’s hoping Adam Torel of Third Window Films gets to attend the festival to introduce three films he has helped come into being. There’s also Japan Cuts Microcinema which sees some of the best short films from the last ten years played throughout the festival. Each film lasts around 30 minutes and people can jump in and watch whichever title takes their fancy between films. There’s also an interesting talk which analyses the Japanese film industry and how films get made.

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:

Continue reading “Japan Cuts 2016 Preview”

Mitsu no Aware, Lowlife Love, The Stare, Koi, Ayashii Kanojo, Tamayura: Sotsugyou Shashin Dai-4-bu –Ashita, Shukatsu, Batto Onri Rabu (But Only Love), Sora iro no Symphony, Under the Cherry Tree, Tabi Machi Late Show Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

Singing Love Birds Film Poster

Oh joy of joys, I have seen that there will be three Japanese films in my local arthouse – Ran, Our Little Sister and Cesium and the Tokyo Girl. A God-tier jidai-geki epic from Akira Kurosawa, a God-tier drama from Kore-eda and an indie I have followed since last year! I AM SO EXCITED!!! I have watched a clutch of great near-God-tier films this week – Vibrator (2003) and Sway (2006). I posted two articles this week, both covering film festivals. The first was about a season of Japanese musicals from the ‘50s to the 2000s which is being held at the Japan Society New York. The post was a preview of Japanese Film Festival Ireland which has an awesome programme.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Mitsu no Aware, Lowlife Love, The Stare, Koi, Ayashii Kanojo, Tamayura: Sotsugyou Shashin Dai-4-bu –Ashita, Shukatsu, Batto Onri Rabu (But Only Love), Sora iro no Symphony, Under the Cherry Tree, Tabi Machi Late Show Japanese Film Trailers”