Sayonara さよなら Dir: Koji Fukada (2015)

Sayonara      

Sayonara Film Poster
Sayonara Film Poster

さよなら「Sayonara

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer:  Koji Fukada, Oriza Hirata (Screenplay),

Starring: Bryerly Long, Hirofumi Arai, Geminoid F, Makiko Murata, Yuko Kibiki, Nijiro Murakami,

Website   IMDB

Koji Fukada’s (Hospitalité, Au revoir l’été) 2015 movie Sayonara is billed as the first ever film with an android as one of the stars. As intriguing as seeing an artificial life-form act seems to be, the final result is a pretty lifeless affair in both acting and story terms but it does have some emotional impact.

It is based on a collaboration between Japanese playwright Oriza Hirata (a familiar collaborator with Fukada) and a leading robotics scientist named Hiroshi Ishiguro who works at Osaka University and has been developing different models of the Geminoid androids since 2005. Their team-up resulted in a 15-minute stage-play that travelled Japan with people being able to see the actor Bryerly Long conversing with the latest in android technology. With the two actors on stage and sat down it was a largely static affair in a story where a human woman comes to terms with her impending death through talking and the recitation of poetry. The film largely adopts the stage-play from what I have read and, despite looking good, suffers from relaying the content straight in an end-of-the-world tale that takes two hours but feels longer.

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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:

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Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2016

The Rotterdam International Film Festival has started and lasts from January 28th to February 07th and there is a large contingent of Japanese films programmed, quite possibly the largest I have seen in the few years I have been watching the event. There are a lot of great titles, some of which are considered the best films to be made in 2015 and there is a diverse range of stories. The festival plays host to animation from a range of artists and there are shorts from Takeshi Kitano. Some of these are red hot international premieres while some of the films have been screened at Canadian film festivals already, some in 2014 (so there’s a bit of copy and paste from previous festival trailer posts). As well as contemporary film, there is also a retrospective for the director Masao Adachi who worked during the 1960s.

Here are the films:

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Ghost Theatre, Girlz und Panzer der Film, Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai, Hitsuji wo Kazoeru Sayonara, Tsugaku Tochu, Raintree no Kuni, YOKO THE CHERRY BLOSSOM, Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2, Areno, Before a Falling Star Fades Away and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear readers!

War Back to the Sea Kaori Iwase Film Image

I finally got back into reviewing films for the summer of splatter films (I know it’s autumn) and it was with the trashy Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead which got a pretty low final score. Zombie Self-Defence Force and High School Girl Rika – Zombie Hunter are due next week to complete the set then I’ll go back and cover Noboru Iguchi films and more low-budget films. Much more productive and informative was my news piece about the London International Animation Festival. I wrote a story for Anime UK News and then expanded it for my preview after doing more research.

We won, darlin’

What’s released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Ghost Theatre, Girlz und Panzer der Film, Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai, Hitsuji wo Kazoeru Sayonara, Tsugaku Tochu, Raintree no Kuni, YOKO THE CHERRY BLOSSOM, Hoshasen o abita X nengo 2, Areno, Before a Falling Star Fades Away and Other Japanese Film Trailers”