Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2014

The 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam launches on January 22nd and finishes on February 02nd. The line-up of Asian films has been revealed and there are strong titles from Japan. A lot of these have played at other festivals but there are some really great indie titles. There are quite a lot and the choice is so great! Enough from me, here’s the selection!

Rotterdam Film Festival 2014

The Pinkie

Running Time: 65 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryota Ozawa, Miwako Wagatsuma, Haruka Suenaga, Kanji Tsuda

Wow, this looks like a lot of fun which is why I put it first. It comes from Lisa Takeba who was at last year’s festival with a short film about an alien private detective who is wandering around earth. If that sounds a little random, this one reads a lot more interesting as it looks like a mash-up of anime, film and Japanese pop culture and fashion where a female stalker has her way with the guy of her dreams. Lisa Takeba has a background in advertising and writing videogames so she’s got a lot of experience with different styles to work with! It stars Miwako Wagatsuma who is an actress worth tracking because she is taking on interesting roles as can be seen from her filmography which includes Guilty of Romance, The End of Puberty, sentimental Yasuko, Kuro and Shing Shing Shing.

Since they were both five, Ryosuke has been stalked by Momoko – the ugliest girl in the village. Momoko’s love for Ryosuke is so boundless that she has her face surgically altered to suit his taste – but still he wants nothing to do with her. Ryosuke is more interested in the girlfriend of a gangster boss. But when the boss finds out about their affair, he has Ryosuke’s little finger hacked off. Magically, the finger falls into Momoko’s hands, and she uses it to clone Ryosuke, so she can finally have him (or almost him) for herself – and that’s the first five minutes.

 

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Films I Wish I Had Seen in 2013 and will Hopefully see in 2014

Genki Fuse Best of 2013 Header Banner

2013 has ended and I haven’t published my best ofs yet. I better start now. I have to admit that 2013 year has been rather excellent in terms of my experience with Japanese films considering I saw so many in their year of release, played a small part in helping bring one over to the UK and interviewed a few directors and yet, and yet… There were a few releases that I wish I had seen. Every trailer post always brings up a few titles I wish I could see in a cinema and so here’s a list of 14 Japanese films released in 2013 I hope I get to see in 2014!

Shin Shin Shin                               Shin Shin Shin Film Poster

Japanese Title: しんしんしん

Romaji: Shin Shin Shin

Running Time: 135 mins.

Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)

Director: Kouhei Sanada

Writer: Kouhei Sanada

Starring: Ikeda Houshi, Miwako Wagatsuma, Kazuhiro Sano, Yuya Okutsu. Megumi Kagurazaka

Shin Shing Shin is a film which was directed by Kouhei Sanada who was mentored by Kiyoshi Kurosawa at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. That same university played a massive part in another title below, Fairy Tale. The film’s title comes from a song of the same name by the folk rock band Happy End who hail from the 70’s. Is this it and it is a road movie which stars Miwako Wagatsuma who was in Sentimental Yasuko and End of Puberty and Megumi Kagurazaka who was in Cold Fish and The Land of Hope.

 

Tomoyuki (Ishida) is a high school student who lives with the Tekiya family, a group of strangers with no other place to go. A girl named named Yuki (Wagatsuma) joins the group but when their home is demolished they head off on a journey that leads them from town to town with no particular destination in mind.

Website

 

A Fairy Tale        Yuki Sasaki Film Poster

Japanese Title: あるいは佐々木ユキ

Romaji: Aruiwa Sasaki Yuki

Running Time: 79 mins.

Release Date: January 12th 2013 (Japan)

Director: Kenji Fukuma

Writer: Keiko Fukuma (Screenplay),

Starring: Saori Kohara, Akira Yoshino, Hideyo Sengoku, Makiko Kawano, Yumi Fuzuki

This was a victim of my bad translation skills… The first in a long line of victims… Anyway this is written and directed by the poet Kenji Fukuma, a man with two other directorial efforts to his name – Summer for the Living (2011), which starred Saori Kohara, and My Dear Daughter of Okayama (2008). He reunites with the actress Kohara for this fantasy drama about the emotions of a 20-year-old Tokyoite which interweaves interviews, poetry and dances so that the film blurs dreams and reality.

 

Watashi wa Sasaki Yuki. Hatachi desu. 

20-year-old Yuki Sasaki who lives by herself in Tokyo. One day she chances upon a poetry reading by poetess Yumi Fuzuki and the experiences makes her lose sight of her purpose in life. In the process, another Yuki (Kawano) appears before her. We see her reality and dreams in a series of interviews and performances like dancing and poetry that are captured on film. 

Website

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Tamako in Moratorium, The Extreme Sukiyaki, Honto Ni Atta! Noroi Video 55, Ties, Persona 3 The Movie #1 Spring of Birth, Bayonetta Bloody Fate, No Voice Japanese Film Trailers

Coffee Time This is my second trailer post of the week! The first post contained a quirky selection of titles but this is where we get to the big names, anime and alternative programming. In anime terms we have the much hyped Persona 3 movie and the cult title Bayonetta Bloody Fate full of supernatural action. The big anime release has to be Isao Takahata’s Princess Kaguya, his first work as a director in fourteen years. The more I see of it the more I want to watch it. Other interesting titles include Tamako in Moratorium and The Extreme Sukiyaki which have writers, directors and actors who have been in plenty of quality titles I have already reviewed. We’re talking about Nobuhiro Yamashita and Shiro Maeda, Kengo Kora and Shuichi Okita, Atusko Maeda and Arata. If I had to choose one to see it would be Tamako in Moratorium because it has the quirky sense of humour and easy to identify with character plus it looks so freaking adorable.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya  The Story of Princess Kaguya Film Poster

Japanese: かぐや 姫 の 物語

Romaji: Kaguya Hime no Monogatari

Running Time: 137 mins.

Release Date: November 23rd, 2013

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Aki Asakura (Kaguya), Kengo Kora (Sutemaru), Nobuko Miyamoto (ouno), Takeo Chii (Okina)

This is the big release for the weekend, the latest Studio Ghibli project! It’s helmed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, writer and director of Only Yesterday, Pom Poko Grave of the Fireflies and Little Norse Prince Valiant. I can vouch for them all being very good since they come on British television regularly.

What is he bringing his considerable talents to? An adaptation of a famous ancient Japanese folktale originally called Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) which is about a princess named Kaguya who is discovered as a bab inside the stalk of a growing plant by a bamboo cutter and adopted. Joe Hisaishi (The Kids Return, Spirited Away) is composing the film’s soundtrack. Check out Alua Luna’s fascinating post about the different re-tellings of this folk-tale.

Website

Continue reading “The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Tamako in Moratorium, The Extreme Sukiyaki, Honto Ni Atta! Noroi Video 55, Ties, Persona 3 The Movie #1 Spring of Birth, Bayonetta Bloody Fate, No Voice Japanese Film Trailers”