Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers – Miwa Nishikawa, Satoko Yokohama, Naoko Ogigami, and Mami Sunada films will be screened in London

Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers’, is a season of free film screenings co-organised by the Japan Information and Cultural Centre (JICC), Japan Foundation and National Film and Television School with the aim of celebrating the diverse and exceptional work by the new generation of female directors who have emerged from the Japanese archipelago in the last fifteen years. There are four female filmmakers on offer, three as part of the main season and one as a special screening at the Japanese embassy. Here is the information:

Archipelago Contemporary Japanese Female Filmmakers Banner

This special season dedicated to showcasing some of the works of female directors from the Japanese archipelago will take place in cinemas across London with a screening at the Japanese embassy. Naoko Ogigami (originally from Chiba) is the first to get shown off and that takes place at the embassy. The three other directors whose works will be shown on screen are Miwa Nishikawa from Hiroshima, Mami Sunada from Tokyo, and Satoko Yokohama from Aomori, hence the name of the season.

Nishikawa and Sunada have both worked with Hirokazu Kore-eda as assistant directors but while Nishikawa has gone on to write and direct feature-films in the realist mould, Sunada has concentrated on documentaries. Yokohama, meanwhile, has made films that combine reality and touches of fantasy. Cinephiles with an interest in Japanese films will probably know Nishikawa and Yokohama and Sunada since their films are getting more and more exposure. For those not well-versed with Japanese films, they will be in for a treat since their works are excellent. As the event organisers have written,

“This programme will offer a glimpse into the distinctive voices of these screenwriter-directors, whose work remains largely undiscovered outside their home country. Each with their particular style, these filmmakers have secured themselves a unique place in the Japanese film industry by occupying a narrative space that is neither mainstream nor fully arthouse, subverting genre boundaries, and rarely adhering to a solely female-centric vision.”

Here are the films on offer:

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Close-Knit    彼らが本気で編むときは、 (2017) Dir: Naoko Ogigami

Close-Knit   karera-ga-honki-de-amu-toki-wa-film-poster

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,

Website   IMDB

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.

Close Knit Film Image 3

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.

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Japanese Films at the London Film Festival 2017: Naoko Ogigami in Conversation

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.

Naoko Ogigami Talk Image

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.

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Japanese Films at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017

This year’s edition of the Berlin International Film Festival takes place from February 09th until the 19th and it features three really interesting directors in the shape of Naoko Ogigami and SABU and Yuya Ishii, all of whom brings their latest films. It’s a nice mix of drama and action from these three. Yuya Ishii is growing as a director and Naoko Ogigami is always one to watch. There is a classic special effects movie and a classic anime and so there’s lots for audiences to take in. It’s another good year for Japanese films in Berlin and SABU’s is really exciting because it looks like one of those great crime films from the ‘90s that used to get ranked out by the likes of Takashi Miike and it is a Japanese-Hong Kong co-production.

Let’s take a gander at the films:mittsu-no-hikari-film-image

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Rentaneko Rent-a-Cat レンタネコ (2012) Dir: Naoko Ogigami

Rent-a-Cat   Rent a Neko

Japanese Title: レンタネコ

Romaji: Rentaneko

Running Time: 110 mins.

Release Date: May 12th, 2012 (Japan)

Director: Naoko Ogigami

Writer: Naoko Ogigami

Starring: Mikako Ichikawa, Reiko Kusamura, Ken Mitsuishi, Maho Yamada, Kei Tanaka

There is a woman who roams a riverbank in a contemporary Japanese city. She pulls a cart which has a selection of cats in the back. This is actually part of her business. As she moves at a leisurely pace she calls out to people through a megaphone with simple slogans and questions to attract the right customers:

Rent-a-cat Riverside

“Rent-a-cat. Rent-aaaaaaaaaa-cat. Feeling lonely? I’ll lend you a cat.”

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Rent a Cat, Sadako 3D, Potechi, Step Up Love Story: Triple Love and Love Forever Trailers

Today is a big day in Japan. Sadako 3D is released and you can bet that it’s going to dominate the Japanese charts for the next few weeks which is only to be expected but I hope that other films get a look in. By other films I mean Rent a Cat. Totally at the other end of the movie spectrum, ever since this indie film debuted at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year it has interested me. 

But first, what’s with the Japanese charts?

  1. Thermae Romae
  2.  Space Brothers
  3.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  4.  Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen
  5.  We Were Here: Part 2

Last week’s newest release, Space Brothers, managed to get in at number two but was held off the top spot by Thermae Romae, another manga adaptation which is spending the second week at number one. Chronicle of my Mother dropped down two places to number 7 with SPEC: The Movie at 8 while Home remains at number ten. There’s only one American film in the top ten but since it stars Tadanobu Asano it’s not totally unreasonable.

Rent a Cat

Japanese Title: Rent a NekoRent a Neko

Release Date: 12th May 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Naoko Ogigami

Writer: Naoko Ogigami

Starring: Mikako Ichikawa, Reiko Kusamura, Ken Mitsuishi, Maho Yamada, Kei Tanaka

I first saw this title when I wrote my post rounding-up the Japanese films at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival where it garnered glowing reviews. Now that its Japanese release is here more critics have heaped praise on the film. I hope that someone in the UK picks it up for distribution. It stars Mikako Ichikawa (Memories of Matsuko) and Ken Mitsuishi (Himizu).

Sayoko (Ichikawa) walks along a river daily with a cart full of cats. Why? Well she rents cats to lonely people. Unfortunately Sayoko is lonely herself and finds it easier to deal with cats than people but things get interesting when a face (Tanaka) from her past turns up.

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Rent a Neko (Rent a Cat)

Rent a Neko (Rent a Cat)

Release Date: 12th May 2012 (Japan)Maho Yamada and Mikako Ichikawa in Rent-a-Neko

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Naoko Ogigami

Writer: Naoko Ogigami

Starring: Mikako Ichikawa, Reiko Kusamura, Ken Mitsuishi, Maho Yamada, Kei Tanaka

I first saw this title when I wrote my posts rounding-up the Japanese films at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Unfortunately there was no trailer available until now. It stars Mikako Ichikawa (Memories of Matsuko) and Ken Mitsuishi  (Himizu) and Kei Tanaka (Tajomaru). This looks like a genuinely charming title and I hope it gets a release in the UK.

Sayoko (Ichikawa) walks along a river daily with a cart full of cats. Why? Well she rents cats to lonely people. Unfortunately Sayoko is lonely herself and finds it easier to deal with cats than people but things get interesting when a face from her past (Tanaka) turns up.

Source

 

UPDATE: Here’s my film review Rent-a-neko