My Dad and Mr. Ito お父さんと伊藤さん Dir: Yuki Tanada (2016)

My Dad and Mr. Ito

お父さんと伊藤さんOtoo-san to Itoo-sanMy Dad and Mr Ito Film Poster

Release Date: October 08th, 2016

Duration: 119 mins

Director:  Yuki Tanada

Writer: Hinako Nakazawa (Screenplay/Original Novel),

Starring: Juri Ueno, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Sei Ando, Lily Franky, Tomoharu Hasegawa, Eri Watanabe,

Website IMDB

Nothing binds people together as tightly as family ties and those ties can hurt when they really bite into you, something which the characters in this drama experience when an old man moves in with his daughter and her boyfriend in their small apartment. It may be a cramped space but a wide range of issues are raised as these three try to learn to live together.

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Radiance 光 Dir: Naomi Kawase (2017)

RadianceHikari Film Poster

 Hikari

Running Time: 129 mins.

Release Date: May 27th , 2017

Director: Naomi Kawase

Writer: Naomi Kawase (Screenplay),

Starring: Masatoshi Nagase, Ayame Misaki, Tatsuya Fuji, Chihiro Ohtsuka, Kazuko Shirakawa, Saori Koide, Nobumitsu Onishi, Mantaro Koichi,

Website IMDB

Naomi Kawase is one of the “4 Ks”, directors who dominate contemporary Japanese cinema (the others are Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Kitano and Kore-eda) and she is a film-maker whose ability to capture sensual experiences makes for transcendent films. This is something which masks the slightness of some of her stories but at the same time it lends them more power. With Radiance she looks at the transcendent nature of film itself and she does so through the realm of using words.

Misako Ozaki (Ayame Misaki) is a woman who is involved in a project providing audio description for films for the visually impaired. She watches films and writes down the best way to describe scenes and characters and then presents them to a panel of people who critique her work so she can tweak it for a wider release. Masaya Nakamori (Masatoshi Nagase) is one of those people on the panel. He is a genius photographer and he has the harshest criticisms. The two initially don’t get on because Masaya has a cold attitude but when Misako sees a photograph of a sunset shot by him, she is inspired to look into Masaya’s life and discovers that he is losing his sight and their relationship changes as she gets to know him.Radiance Film Image 2

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My Man Watashi no Otoko 私の男 (2014)

It seems that reviews of films containing Fumi Nikaido grow to mammoth proportions and this is another long one for a film released in June of last year. I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers and barely mention what happens in the second half of the film. Read on if you care or dare because this film is about some taboo subject-matter.

 

My Man  My Man Film Poster

Japanese Title:私の男

Romaji: Watashi no Otoko

Running Time: 128 mins

Release Date: June 14th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri

Writer: Takashi Ujita (Screenplay), Kazuki Sakuraba (Novel)

Starring: Fumi Nikaido, Tadanobu Asano, Aoba Kawai, Kengo Kora, Tatsuya Fuji, Taiga, Itsuki Sagara,

“Parents. They f*ck you up.” – Philip Larkin

That quote seems apt for Watashi no Otoko, a beautiful but dark film that is sure to challenge all viewers. It starts off with a disaster, one that strips a girl of her family, and gets darker as she gets a new family. If I make a reference to the novel/film Lolita you will know the territory. A spirit of corruption hovers over the characters in the film, one that takes the bonds of family and poisons them with the perversion of incest and director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri makes no bones about being somewhat explicit while exploring the effects of an incestuous love affair on the characters.

Watashi no Otoko Jungo (Tadanobu Asano) and Hana (Fumi Nikaido) on a Bus

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Bright Future アカルイミライ (2003)

Bright Future Jellyfish Stare Banner

Bright Future InformationIn a departure from his traditional thrillers and supernatural films, Kiyoshi Kurosawa moves into the everyday with a drama that, although simple, is punctuated by moments of beauty and compelling performances from leads Jo Odagiri and Tadanobu Asano.

Friends Mamoru Arita (Tadanobu Asano) and Yuji Nimura (Jo Odagiri) are aimless young men working dead-end jobs in a dreary laundry factory in Tokyo. Yuji seems to be on a downward spiral, trapped in adolescence and gradually losing his bright dreams. Mamoru is antisocial with no hobbies except acclimatising a poisonous jellyfish to fresh water. “Could be a storm’s coming,” Mamoru says to Yuji and it seems that way as Yuji teeters on the brink of an act of violence against their boss, Fujiwara (Takashi Sasano). Mamoru beats him to it, committing an act of inexplicable violence. With Mamoru facing the death penalty Yuji is left to look after the jellyfish. Mamoru’s estranged father Shin-ichiro (Tatsuya Fuji) is devastated by the news and while looking for an explanation forms a bond with Yuji but Yuji’s confusion over his direction and his obsession with the jellyfish threatens his future and that of Tokyo.

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