Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2019 and He Says Goodbye to a Tumultuous Year

Welcome to my penultimate post of 2019

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This is a melange of things including my New Year’s Resolution and my top ten films of 2019 rolled into one.

We’re about to start a new decade and I think we all managed to hold on to our collective sanity having lived through an era of austerity, unprecedented corporate greed and malfeasance and political extremism with fascism and chauvinist/supremacist politics back in vogue. Of course, we’ve been here before many times in the past such as the 30s and 50s so we can beat this. All it takes is organising, holding officials, business and media to account and protecting our democratic institutions.

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Penguin Highway  ペンギン・ハイウェイ Dir: Hiroyasu Ishida (2018) [Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2019]

Penguin Highway      Penguin Highway Film Poster

ペンギン・ハイウェイ 「Pengin Haiuei

Release Date: August 17th, 2018

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Hiroyasu Ishida

Writer: Makoto Ueda (Screenplay), Tomihiko Morimi (Original Script)

Starring: Kana Kita (Aoyama), Yuu Aoi (Mysterious Lady), Hidetoshi Nishijima (Aoyama’s Father), Megumi Han (Hamamoto), Naoto Takenaka (Hamamoto’s Father),

Animation Production: Studio Colorido

Website  ANN  MAL

Ten years since his three-minute student short film Fumiko’s Confession brought him to worldwide attention, Hiroyasu Ishida has taken the helm of his first feature, Penguin Highway, for Studio Colorido. A little more calm and controlled than his manic and comedic debut, what remains the same is his knack for telling a tale from a kid’s perspective and with a lot of heart.

Based on a same-named book by Tomihiko Morimi, the story takes a child’s-eye view of the world by following the adventures of Aoyama and his coterie of friends who live in a quiet suburban town. These bright and bubbly kids are charmers as they all display cute foibles while getting lost in their everyday squabbles and learning more about their world in a laid-back summertime atmosphere. Things take a turn for the fantastical as penguins start popping up everywhere without warning.

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A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2019

This year’s Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival has 8 feature films packed with adventure, emotions, action and awesome animation, all of which should entertain a wide audience. Alongside the film screenings are the marketplace and raffle and we welcome two special guests from Japan.

Penguin Highway Key Image

The festival begins on October 04 at 18:00 at Chapter Arts, Cardiff, with a screening of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection, the reintroduction and continuation of the Code Geass mecha saga where giant robots and political intrigue provide the drama. This will be followed by the Reception and an Anime Song Disco hosted by DJ Ryojin at 20:00 where guests can mingle and show off their moves on the dance-floor.

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 Preview – People Still Call It Love – Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema

The Japan Foundation have announced the details of their next Touring Film Programme and it is full of fantastic films! The tour lasts from February 02nd to March 28th and the theme that connects them all is “love”. The stories address that emotion in a variety of ways through a broad variety of relationships. Love can be found in all shapes and sizes and it can also be an absence. What cannot be denied is that it is a powerful emotion and there are many powerful films that display this.

Amidst the works are stories of couples struggling to relate to each other, a father and his children overcoming differences, brothers and sisters who barely get along, a wife struggling with a husband that has no affection for her, a gay couple who run a law firm who support those on the margins of society and more.

Expect to understand the complexities of Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka and Aguni (an island off Okinawa) and further afield. I’m definitely going to see some of these before I jet off to Japan again.

Here are the films:

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Penguin Highway, Aragne: Sign of Vermillion, Gintama 2, Angel in the Closet, Kare no nichijō, The Shape of Happiness, The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky, Miraculous Chat Lady, Chotto no ame nara ga man, Far East Babies Japanese Film Trailers    

Happy weekend, people!

Shiawase no katachi Film Image

I hope you are all well!

I’m pushed for time. I have to write. I have to practice Japanese. I have to work every day. I’m happy. I need to improve in all areas and so I’m going back to Japanese language classes in September. I’m going to study before then. Also, I’ve got a lot of films to watch as part of Donation Theater since the site went live with the films for people who donated. Friends and the families of friends in western Japan are safe but for those who had to be evacuated or lost their old lives, Donation Theater is providing assistance. Why not donate something and help out?

There are a lot of films I’m watching outside of Donation Theater but that is a long-term thing. I posted reviews for Dynamite Graffiti and The Blood of Wolves this week. 

What is released in Japan this weekend?

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival (July 12th – August 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival starts in Montreal next week on July 12th and runs until August 02nd. The selection of Japanese films is simply stunning with titles from Miki Satoshi, Takashi Miike,  Nobuhiko Obayashi, Sion Sono and more. However, there are a selection of indie film titles that look absolutely killer as well.

Fantasia Header Image

This is the 22nd edition of the festival and it has become a focal point for filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists, and audiences eager to see a diverse slate of films before they hit the DVD or internet and take part in film culture. There are lots of guests and great experiences to be had and a chance to get involved with dictating which films get the hype behind them, so please choose Japanese, and try some of the titles listed here.

So what’s lined up?

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