Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August

The Japan Foundation are running their Summer Explorers full of anime and live-action films that are set during the summer. This is a free event which you have to register for. I repeat, this is a free event. Free films!!! To find out more about it, visit the Japan Foundation’s website.

Saturday, 4 August 2018: Soho Hotel Cinema
4 Richmond Mews (via Richmond Buildings), London, W1D 3Dh

NHK WORLD DOUBLE BILL PART ONE

A Tale of Love & Honour: Life in Gion
Dir. Maki Kubochi, 2017, 49min

Take a peek into the distinct district of Gion in Kyoto and witness the proud and wistful stories of people belonging to this secret world in this fascinating documentary from NHK WORLD-JAPAN.

Living Ninja Legend Masaaki Hatsumi
Dir. Fuyuhiko Nishi, 2016, 41 min

Masaaki Hatsumi, 84 years old, is a living ninja in modern times. What is the essence of his astonishing art? This documentary investigates the hidden power of this ninja master.

House    House Film Poster

ハウス 「Hausu」

Released: July 30th, 1977 (Japan)

Running time: 88 mins.

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi,

Writer: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Chiho Katsura (Screenplay),

Cast: Kimiko Ikegami – Oshare,  Miki Jinbo – Kung-Fu, Kuniko Oba – Fantasy, Ai Matsubara – Prof., Kiyohiko Ozaki – Mr. Togo, Yoko Minamida – Auntie,

IMDB

The highlight, in my opinion. This film is a riot of fun and good music with a haunted house setting to die for as a bunch of girls will find out. It comes from Nobuhiko Obayashi and his daughter and features so much imagination and flair for visual spectacle and cool music that it is a delight to watch. I highly recommend it. Here’s my review.

Synopsis: The summer holidays have arrived and for seven high school girls named Melody, Prof, Sweetie, Kung-fu, Mac, Fantasy and Oshare (Kimiko Ikegami) they have the chance to go camping with their teacher Mr. Togo. Oshare declines because her father is back from Italy and she’s looking forward to staying at a villa with him. Her plans are ruined when he introduces her to his potential new wife. Oshare is upset at the presence of the woman and decides to visit an eccentric spinster aunt, inviting her friends along for the trip. After a long journey the girls arrive at the aunt’s house but find their presence has triggered a hostile force that immediately attacks them, picking them off one by one while the eccentric aunt watches.

Continue reading “Japan Foundation’s “Pre-Summer Explorers!” Free Film Screenings in August”

Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD

Third Window Films is releasing Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” on the 9th of July.

Mitsuko Delivers DVD Case

Mitsuko Delivers                                                      Mitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

Japanese Title: ハラ が コレ なんで

Release Date: 05th November 2011 (Japan)

UK DVD Release Date:   09th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment. Despite all of this she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. This place is a relic from the past and it has had the life sucked out o it with the departure of many of its residents, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the remaining locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

DVD Special Features:

Making Of, Theatrical Trailer

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD”

Mitsuko Delivers ハラがコレなんで (2012)

Mitsuko Delivers Review Banner 2

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese: ハラがコレなんでMitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

After watching Yuya Ishii’s 2010 film Sawako Decides I was struck by how his sharp script led to humorous and truthful observations of human nature while his naturalistic direction gave the actors ample room to bring out great comic performances so it was something of a surprise when I found Mitsuko Delivers a shallow experience.

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She hops in a taxi follows a cloud back to the ramshackle and destitute working-class alley where she grew up and finds her arrival and her get-up-and-go attitude soon compel the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory. Soon, old sweet-heart Yoichi (Nakamura) and his uncle Jiro (Ishibashi) find their restaurant reinvigorated and old landlady, Kiyo (Inagawa) remembers that Mitsuko was always absent-minded.

Mitsuko is not as saccharine sweet as most “home dramas”, its gentle surrealism gives it an edge but it does not imbue it with a vivid identity of its own. Although we get themes such as the importance of family and a championing of back to basics communitarianism of the past, it is put through Ishii’s filter of quirky, satirical humour. The tenement Mitsuko returns to is an old fashioned place (the only place that survived an air raid during World War II). It is an environment engineered to evoke nostalgia but there is an unexploded bomb lurking to keep things interesting. While the characters’ exist in the reality of a country undergoing economic hardship and wallowing in the past they are stylised, aimed at selling the message that “now more than ever we have to help each other and face the future.”

“Clouds drift so aimlessly, just like people.”

Riisa Naka as Mitsuko in Yuya Ishii's 2011 Film, Mitsuko Delivers

Adding to the slyly rebellious feel is our protagonist Mitsuko who isn’t your stereotypical good Japanese girl – forceful and adventurous, she doesn’t have much common sense but overflows with confidence. She radiates a good nature, living with the belief that she has to “be cool” and help those in need even if they don’t want help or it hurts her. She allows herself to become an object to help others – maid, life-coach – and finds herself aiding life’s losers. That someone in a situation like hers forcefully brings comfort to people who would look down on her provides most of the comedy and life of the film.

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers ハラがコレなんで (2012)”

Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release

Third Window Films is giving Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” a UK theatrical release. It opens at selected regional cinemas and the Institute of Contemporary Arts where it will play through until May 24th. For tickets and show times at the ICA visit their site.

The Poster for Yuya Ishii's Mitsuko Delivers

Mitsuko Delivers

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for, and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. The place reeks of destitution and bone idleness, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release”

Remember Fukushima Charity Event

On March 11th, 2011 a devastating earthquake hit North Eastern Japan and triggered a melt down at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Now, a year after the disaster, parts of Japan are still trying to recover. Third Window Films will have a charity screening of Mitsuko Delivers at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) to raise awareness of the on-going situation in Japan with 100% of the profits from the ticket and DVD sales going to charity. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased from the ICA. For more information please visit the event’s page at the ICA website.

Mitsuko DeliversRemember Fukushima Charity Preiew Mitsuko Delivers

March 11th, 2012 at 7pm, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

Director: Yûya Ishii. Cast: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Miyoko Inagawa

Japan 2011. 109 mins. Japanese with English subtitles

Electrifying Japanese talent Yûya Ishii’s (A Man With Style, Sawako Decides) breathless new comedy tells the story of a thirtysomething woman (Riisa Naka, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars) who’s at a delicate juncture in life; alone, flat broke and to top it all nine-months pregnant. Her folks think she’s in California living the high life with her baby’s GI father. In fact she’s in Tokyo, searching for a purpose, and eventually finding one in the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. The place reeks of destitution and bone idleness, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory. Mitsuko Delivers is original, fanciful and adventurous – quintessentially Japanese.

East Winds Film Festival Returns!

East Winds Third Window Film Festival returns for a second year which is excellent news for fans of Far East films!

East Wind Third Window Film Festival Logo

The event takes place at Coventry University (in the heart of the campus in the Ellen Terry building) and lasts from the 2nd to the 4th of March. The best thing about this event, apart from seeing the films on a big screen, is the fact that there are guests in the form of directors and actors. This year’s line-up includes Satoshi Miki (Adrift in Tokyo, Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers, Instant Swamp) and his regular actress Fuse Eri. Also appearing is Herman Yau who will be in attendance for a double-bill of his films and up and coming film-maker Tom Lin.

The selection looks excellent with many European premieres and some titles that are genuinely great like Adrift in Tokyo, Instant Swamp and some titles I’m aching to see like Woman Knight of Mirror Lake and Yellow Sea (directed by Na Hong-jin who gave us the brutal and tense thriller The Chaser). There’s also Yuya Ishii’s Mitsuko Delivers, his follow up to the hilarious Sawako Decides.

Enough from me, here’s the programme direct from the website:

 

Friday 2nd March 2012

 

18:00 – Drinks Reception and Buffet

18:45 – Opening Speeches

19:00 – Adrift in Tokyo (101min)

Rei Ayanami in Adrift in Tokyo

21:00 – Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (115min) EUROPEAN PREMIERE

Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

Continue reading “East Winds Film Festival Returns!”

Mitsuko Delivers, Cut, Ousama Game, Friends Naki on Monster Island 3D Trailers and Japanese Film Chart Top 5

Christmas is just over a week away and my consignment of Japanese horror films has arrived so no more skimping on reviews – I’ll dial it back up to two a week! I’ve got quite a few anime reviews on ice with Noein coming in for New Years Eve – a year after I last watched it.

I’m also going to try and get a little order into my trailer posts so commenting on charts and the latest releases will continue on Saturdays and brand new trailers for future releases get their own posts on Fridays.

Japanese Film Chart Top 5

  1. OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Riders
  2. Kaibutsu-kun The Movie
  3. Real Steel
  4. K-ON! The Movie
  5. Genji Monogatari: Thousand Year Mystery

I have never paid any attention to the Kamen Rider series and I don’t intend to start now even if the number one film is part of the mega popular franchise. Interesting to see that K-ON! Is still hanging in the top five beating Genji Monogatari which debuted last Saturday and entered the charts at number 5.

New Releases for today

The latest Japanese films to be released are a refreshing mix of original ideas and familiar horror and a kids film thrown into the mix:

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese Theatrical Release: 17th December, 2o11

UK DVD Release Date:   May 2012 via Third Window Films

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

I only heard about this when I did a little coverage of the BFI London Film Festival where the film was playing. It stars Ryo Ishibashi, a familiar face from many Miike Takashi works including Audition, as well as Takeshi Kitano films like the brilliant Kids Return and Brother. I’m familiar with the lead actress through her work in anime like Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time  Aoi Nakamura was one of the actors in the Third Window Films release  Quirky Guys and Gals.

 

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with her boyfriend but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to revisit her past including a boy who had a crush on her (Aoi Nakamura).

Cut

Japanese Theatrical Release: 17th December, 2o11

Running Time: 132 min.

Director: Amir Naderi

Writer: Amir Naderi, Shinki Aoyama

Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Takako Tokiwa, Denden, Takeshi Sasano, Shun Sugara,

The Iranian director of Cut is unknown to me but the film looks to combine a love of film with gritty violence. Oh, and it stars Denden.

A struggling filmmaker Shuji (Hidetoshi Nishijima) becomes a human punching bag to pay off his brother’s debts. These debts were incurred in order to fund films and the non-payment resulted in the brother being killed by the Yakuza.

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers, Cut, Ousama Game, Friends Naki on Monster Island 3D Trailers and Japanese Film Chart Top 5”

Third Window Films Acquires Himizu and Mitsuko Delivers and Latest Trailers

Third Window Films delivered a devastatingly brilliant one-two of news with the announcement that they have acquired Sion Sono’s Himizu and Yuya Ishii’s Mitsuko Delivers. I have been following Himizu for a while now and I am a recent convert to the school of Yuya Ishii’s humanistic comedies after watching Sawako Decides a witty and charming satire of modern Japanese society so let me put out what is known about the films so far.

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese Theatrical Release: 5th November, 2o11

UK DVD Release Date:   May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

I only heard about this when I did a little coverage of the BFI London Film Festival where the film was playing. It stars Ryo Ishibashi, a familiar face from many Miike Takashi works including Audition, as well as Takeshi Kitano films like the brilliant Kids Return and Brother. I’m familiar with the lead actress through her work in the anime Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time  Aoi Nakamura was one of the actors in the Third Window Films release  Quirky Guys and Gals.

 

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with her boyfriend but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to revisit her past including a boy who had a crush on her (Aoi Nakamura).

  Continue reading “Third Window Films Acquires Himizu and Mitsuko Delivers and Latest Trailers”

Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival kicks off next month (12th – 27th October) and amidst a lot of genuinely exciting international films is a selection of brilliant new Japanese titles which I’ll list here. I have yet to see them but the directors are very familiar to me so here’s a run-down of what’s on offer and you better be quick in booking your tickets!

Kiseki / I Wish

Hirokazu Kore-eda became a favourite director of mine when I watched a BBC Four screening of his quirky second film After Life and the emotionally shattering Nobody Knows. Since then he has dabbled in a samurai tale and a family drama with his last film, Still Walking, which had shades of Ozu. A lot of his skill comes from his documentary background which allows him to create scenes and foster performances that seem naturalistic. Kiseki has a lot of actors from Still Walking so I’m eager to see what the results are.

Two young brothers find themselves caught in the aftermath of a messy divorce between their parents. Now separated and at opposite ends of the island of Kyushu they hatch a plan to unite their parents through a miracle that the Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) can create.

There are two screenings at the Vue West End cinema in Leicester Square which will take place on Saturday the 15th of October at 18:00 p.m and Monday the 17th of October at 18:oo p.m.. Visit the page to book your tickets!

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival”