Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2019 (03rd-12th October)

Busan International Film Festival Logo

This year’s Busan International Film Festival is the 24th in the series and it runs from October 03rd to the 12th. This is the first time that I have covered Busan but it has been on the cards for a while because, much like Tokyo and Osaka, it’s a good place to scout out Asian films. There is a great slate of titles from some soon-to-be-released mainstream films to indie movies and there are familiar titles featured at other festivals.

Here are the titles!

The Opening Film is:

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time    The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time Film Poster

オルジャスの白い馬Oruhasu no Shiroi Uma

Release Date: January 18th, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba

Writer: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov (Screenplay),

Starring: Dulyga Akmolda, Madi Minaidarov, Mirai Moriyama, Samal Yeslyamova,

Website IMDB

This road movie/western is a co-production between Kazakhstan/Japan and brought to the big screen via Tokyo New Cinema. It is the work of two directors, Yerlan Nurmukhambetov who won the New Currents Award in Busan International Film Festival 2015, and Lisa Takeba. Yes, that Lisa Takeba with the fierce imagination who made The Pinkie (2014) and Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory (2015). In his first overseas role, Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) takes one of the lead characters amongst a predominantly Kazakh cast.

It looks like an ambitious and fresh new movie production for Japan as it follows To the Ends of the Earth to new territories and stories. 

Synopsis: We are in the plains of the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a world where horse thieves operate under vast skies and on huge grass plains. A family man is murdered by those thieves as he heads to a town market to sell his horses. This leaves his wife a widow and his children fatherless. The village comes together to help the wife hold the man’s funeral and then the wife decides to return to her family with her children. Then, another man who vanished from her life eight years ago appears and helps the woman move and takes one of the children, the son, under his wing, teaching him how to ride horses. The son of the wife resembles that man. The man and the boy go out on horseback together and track down the horse thieves…

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2019 (03rd-12th October)”

Interview with “Sisterhood” Director Takashi Nishihara and Star Manami Usamaru [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]

Takashi-Nishihara-and-ManamiUsamaru-OAFF19

I conducted a number of interviews at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019 and they were published over at VCinema. This one was published on June 06th and it is with the director and star of the film Sisterhood.

With inequality on the rise worldwide and identity politics a hot topic issue, filmmakers everywhere have their work cut out trying to keep up with the changes in their respective societies and there is a desire on the part of this writer to see films that tackle these issues from Japanese creatives. More social realist dramas and politics, to be blunt, especially in an era where the rise of individualism and poverty unbalances traditional notions of collectivism. Takashi Nishihara is a name that has cropped up quite often in this regard. Born in 1983 in Toyama, he is a graduate from the Department of Arts and Film at Waseda University in Tokyo. His filmography flits between documentary and drama but he usually focuses on those who find themselves made outsiders by the status quo of society and does so with a social realist bent.

Continue reading “Interview with “Sisterhood” Director Takashi Nishihara and Star Manami Usamaru [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019]”

Sisterhood シスターフッド Dir: Takashi Nishihara (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Sisterhood    Sisterhood Film Poster

シスターフッド  Shisuta-fuddo

Running Time: 87 mins.

Release Date: 2019

Director: Takashi Nishihara

Writer: Takashi Nishihara (Screenplay),

Starring: BOMI, Manami Usamaru, Nina Endo, Ryo Iwase, Mika Akizuki

Website IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/if07.html

The only constant in life is change and we are living through massive changes, not least with regard to the battle for gender equality which has been marked most recently by the #MeToo movement which has spread from America and gained traction in some of the most conservative of societies around the world. Channelling some of the momentum experienced in Japan is Takashi Nishihara, writer and director of Sisterhood. He graduated from the Department of Arts and Film at Waseda University with a focus on documentary and has created fiction films – Blue Ray (2011) and the lesbian love drama Starting Over (2014) – as well as documentaries – About My Freedom (2016) and Queer Asia, a series for GagaOOLala, Asia’s first LGBTQ streaming service. With Sisterhood, he mixes fact and fiction in a film that shows some of the voices asking for change to mainstream of Japanese society.

To capture the shifts going on in gender relations in Japan, Nishihara blurs the bounds between fiction and reality by merging footage from a documentary he has been shooting over the last few years and casting real life actors and models such as Nina Endo and Mika Akizuki (the two leads from Starting Over), SUMIRE and Manami Usamaru, as well as the musician BOMI, and making them play fictional variations of themselves. Each gives a portrayal of a young woman going about their lives. We see them modelling, studying, performing concerts, each desiring to be treated fairly as they chase their dreams and each question their role in society. These questions emerge thanks to a link character, a middle-aged male Tokyo-based documentary film director named Ikeda, played by Ryo Iwase, who interviews people for a documentary about feminism.

Continue reading “Sisterhood シスターフッド Dir: Takashi Nishihara (2018) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019”

Until I Meet September’s Love, Siblings of the Cape, Haman, Running Again, Sisterhood, Afternoon Breezes, Doraemon the Movie: Chronicle of the Moon Exploration, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 7 “Nova Chapter”, A Japanese Boy Who Draws, Goro no Shin Sekai, Umeko, Giwaku to Dansu, Fukushima wa Kataru, Yoake no takibi, Happy Island, Uchi uchi no men-tachi (tsura-tachi) wa., Last Judgement, Saigo no Shinpan, Sayonara Kazoku, Hazure Kazoku no Saaya, Kumori tokidoki hare Noise, KING OF PRISM: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Au revoir l'ete Film Image 3

I hope you are all well!

I’ve written this the day after arriving in Japan. Yes, I am back in Osaka and getting ready for work at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019. I hope to provide coverage of the Japanese films and interview the directors and others who make them. I also intend to review films from other countries. Expect a lot of cross-posting between this blog and V-Cinema.

I wrote this trailer post while suffering jet lag so there’s a lot of brevity. I’m surprised I got it done in two sessions over one day! It was completed after walking around Osaka for about four hours. 

This week, I reviewed Au Revoir l’ete and Human Comedy in Tokyo, two films from Koji Fukada. I intend to finish the mini Koji Fukada season with a fifth film, Harmonium, next Monday and then from Wednesday, it will be Osaka. I’m going to try and do it in a condensed time and not string it out.

Anyway, what’s released this weekend??? Continue reading “Until I Meet September’s Love, Siblings of the Cape, Haman, Running Again, Sisterhood, Afternoon Breezes, Doraemon the Movie: Chronicle of the Moon Exploration, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 7 “Nova Chapter”, A Japanese Boy Who Draws, Goro no Shin Sekai, Umeko, Giwaku to Dansu, Fukushima wa Kataru, Yoake no takibi, Happy Island, Uchi uchi no men-tachi (tsura-tachi) wa., Last Judgement, Saigo no Shinpan, Sayonara Kazoku, Hazure Kazoku no Saaya, Kumori tokidoki hare Noise, KING OF PRISM: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga Japanese Film Trailers”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Special Screenings: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment, New Action! Southeast Asia, Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017, Thai Films

oaff2017_posterart_english

The full line-up of films for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) last week and I aim to bring you some coverage of all of the titles. One of the great things about this festival (and living in Japan) for a Westerner myself is how much it shows me of the world. There are people, places, histories, and cultures shown on screen that I had little idea about and it also puts Western culture, often so dominant, into perspective.

There are films from 19 countries and regions getting a screening at a number of venues across Osaka and many delights for audiences to experience from places including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun). The last post was dominated by the competition films and the opening and closing film, this post features information on a strand of the festival dedicated to Hong Kong and Thai films. Since I have already written about them, I’ve linked back to earlier posts. There’s still a lot of variety here with films from Taiwan, Bhutan. mainland China, Indonesia and elsewhere. It’s a pretty exciting programme.

Here’s the line-up. I will transfer some information to the larger post I made sticky to keep at the top of the blog:

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Special Screenings: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment, New Action! Southeast Asia, Special Focus on Hong Kong 2017, Thai Films”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films

oaff2017_posterart_english

The organisers behind Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) released the full programme of every film that will be screened during its run from March 03rd until March 12th last week and it’s an impressive line-up.

The beginning of the year is always a busy one when it comes to international film festivals since Rotterdam and Berlin showcase their programmes and start screening things that will filter to the rest of the world at some point. Add the Osaka Asian Film Festival to that list because it is establishing itself as a platform for Asian filmmakers. This year demonstrates why it has a growing international reputation since there are many world and international premieres and a lot of filmmakers are going to attend the festival to talk about their work. On top of writing my usual previews for the aforementioned festival, I am working for Osaka as well.

Full disclosure, I am at the festival in the capacity as a writer, helping out with the event and watching some of the films. I will attempt to review as many as possible but for now, I’ll give previews.

I’m very excited to bring these previews to you not least because I wrote the synopses for each of them and I got a chance to watch some of the films already and the amount of talent I have seen is impressive. As a person based in the West, sometimes it’s difficult to see what the rest of the world produces in terms of cinema so this is a real education for me. The titles from the Philippines and Thailand have been really impressive and show local film industries that are producing daring and interesting works.

Here’s what has been programmed for the opening, closing and competition films. There is mention of guests but to get the full information about which screening they are attending, please visit the Event Page, the Guest Page or one of my earlier announcements. To find out more about each of the films, please click on the titles/links to be taken to the festival site. I have also included links to IMDB and the film’s websites where possible.

Here’s what’s going to be screened (the entire list I made into a sticky post on the main page of this site will be updated with some of this information):

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up

oaff2017_posterart_english

The full line-up for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) was revealed earlier today and for the 12th edition of OAFF, the number of selected films has reached an impressive 58 in total, including 16 films in Competition. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun) and there will be films from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan. There will be 16 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 Asian premiere and lots of guests, so if you love Asian films, this is definitely the festival to attend. Not only are there films but there are many other events and guests. To find out more, please visit the Guest Page, the events page, and my preview.

To get more of an insight into the films, head over to the festival’s programme page or scroll down where I give more information, links in the titles of each film, plus links to previews of different sections.

Down to some nitty-gritty: every film will have English subtitles.

Venues:

Umeda Burg 7 (March 3-12),

ABC Hall (March 8-12),

Cine Libre Umeda (March 4-12),

Hankyu Umeda Hall (March 6-10)

Tickets are on sale from the end of February.

Here’s the line-up. I will make this post a sticky and update it with information as it is released:

Continue reading “Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up”