Japanese Films at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Logo

The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival has been revealed ahead of its run at The Prince Charles Cinema and The Institute of Contemporary Art in London between May 23rd and June 01st and I have already written two massive previews for this blog and Anime UK News where I reveal the films and events. This particular post focusses on the Japanese titles selected and, in my opinion, the best titles in the festival.

This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it is the best place to see the latest in Asian cinema in the UK. This will be the second festival I will (hopefully) attend. I had the pleasure of being invited to the press conference while down in London for part of the Yoshitaro Nomura season. I’m glad I went to the media event because I met some cool fellow bloggers and saw the selection of Japanese films. These had me smiling and they are some of the latest and best looking titles I have written about in my weekly trailer posts. The titles that are top of my list are The Snow White Murder Case and Judge! which will get its international premiere. Furthermore, the director of Judge!, Akira Nagai, is going to be present and he will conduct a Q&A!  Here’s a list of the films. To find out more, click on the link to get taken to the festival page.

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Terracotta and Third Window Films Asian Film Releases for November

I’ve been a bit tardy with posting some of the latest releases from Terracotta and Third Window Films due to all of the festival coverage and reviews/anime so here’s a selection of their releases this month and one that is already released.

Tokyo Fist                                           Tokyo Fist Japanese Poster

Japanese Title東京 フィスト

Romaji: Tōkyō Fuisuto

UK Release Date: November 25th, 2013

Running Time: 87 mins.

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto

Starring: Shinya Tsukamoto, Kahori Fujii, Koji Tsukamoto, Naomasa, Musaka, Naoto Takenaka, Tomorowo Taguchi, Koichi Wajima, Nobu Kanaoka

Yeah, this is my release of the month. I reviewed it last year and I was blown away by the film and gave it 4.5/5. It was a powerful and tough watch, hyper-kinetic and with all of the visual It comes from Shinya Tsukamoto, a master filmmaker whose films I love so much I made a season of posts dedicated to him. I’m tempted to buy this film for a second time because Shinya Tsukamoto handled the digital restoration from original negatives and gave an interview. If this is anything like the Tetsuo transfer and extras, it’s going to be awesome. Here’s the trailer:

Tsuda (Shinya Tsukamoto) is an insurance salesman who spends his days selling policies to people and his nights sprawled out on a sofa watching films like The Third Man. He is counting down the days until he gets married to Hizuru (Fujii), a seemingly normal office worker. Then, when delivering an insurance policy to a boxing gym, he meets a former friend named Kojima (Koji Tsukamoto) who has taken up boxing and finds himself in the grip of a rage that has festered for years which is linked to a traumatic incident that left psychic scars on him but Tsuda has forgotten. Angry at Tsuda’s life, Kojima decides to destroy him.

DVD Specifications:  Brand new digital restoration by Shinya Tsukamoto from his original negatives, 5.1 Surround Sound, Anamorphic Widescreen with removable English subtitles

DVD Bonus Features:  New exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto, Original Theatrical Trailer

God, I love the Tokyo Fist poster!!!

Shackled                    Shackled Film Case

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: November 25th, 2013

Director: Upi

Starring: Abimana Aryasatya, Avrilla, Imelda Therinne, Laudya Cynthia Bella, Jajang C. Noer

Here’s an Indonesian horror film (few of those if any get released in the UK) and it is directed by a woman but that’s not what makes this look special. Out of all the films that don’t have the words Tokyo and Fist in their title this one looks the best, very atmospheric and with that Silent Hill aesthetic (rotten apartment building) we all know and love. It looks really good.

Elang is haunted by images of bizarre murders involving a killer with a rabbit costume. His efforts to solve the mystery and save the lives of those he thinks are in danger have trapped him in a downward spiral and so he himself becomes a suspect. Elang believes the mysterious rabbit figure was the key to solving the murder mystery. Unfortunately, no one believes him. In proving his innocence, he will be forced to unveil a horrible and long-buried secret.

  Continue reading “Terracotta and Third Window Films Asian Film Releases for November”

Terracotta Reveal Film Festival Guests!

Big news has just been released from the fine folks running the Terracotta Far East Film Festival in the form of the guests who will show up and who won the short film competition and the trip to Hong Kong. Plus there’s a trailer for the festival itself.

Here’s the trailer and the information on who is attending:

 

FILMMAKERS AND HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 5th ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL

With 2 days to go to the Opening Night, it’s time to reveal the guests of the 5th annual Terracotta Far East Film Festival and the Festival organisers are delighted to make a series of other announcements.

Highlights of this edition are the guest talent from Asia who will be attending the festival, the talent Masterclasses, the winner of the inaugural Terracotta Short-Film Competition, unveiling of the Official Trailer and the festival parties.

Hong Kong director Gilitte Leung joins the festival to introduce her independently produced film, LOVE ME NOT. Gilitte is also a guest jury member for the Short-Film Competition.

South Korean Director Ryoo Seung-wan, the master of action films such as THE CITY OF VIOLENCE, will be here to present the UK Premiere of his latest blockbuster, THE BERLIN FILE.

Week two of the festival sees Indonesian directors Ifa Isfansyah and Edwin at the festival for THE DANCER and POSTCARDS FROM THE ZOO respectively.
Continue reading “Terracotta Reveal Film Festival Guests!”

Terracotta Give King of Pigs Theatrical Release

Terracotta’s first DVD release is Antique Bakery which will see distribution on February 11th. Before that we see them release the Korean animated film The King of Pigs in cinemas on January 25th followed by a DVD release in March 2013. I know little about this film other than it stars Yang Ik-June who has appeared in a few Japanese films (Our Homeland) and it was the first animated Korean film to screen at the Festival de Cannes back in 2012 .

Here are the details:

The King of Pigs DVD Case

The King of Pigs

Dir: Yeun Sang-ho

Starring: Yang Ik-june (as Jung Jong-suk), Oh Jeong-se (as Hwang Kyung-min), Kim Hye-na (as Kim Chul), Kim Kkobbi (as young Jung Jong-suk), Park Hee-von (as young Hwang Kyung-min)

South Korea / 2011 / Cert tbc / 97 mins / In Korean with English subtitles / Colour

In cinemas 25th January. Out on DVD March 2013.

Synopsis

After murdering his wife, a businessman on the verge of bankruptcy, Hwang Kyung-min, finds an old classmate, Jung Jong-suk whom he hasn’t seen for fifteen years. During a reunion dinner they look back on their school days, hiding their present situations.

Back then there were class distinctions among the pupils. The elite students – ‘The Dogs’ – rich, successful and particularly cruel, exercised a reign of terror over the weaker, poorer students – ‘The Pigs’.

Jong-suk and Kyung-min were powerless against the ‘dogs’. When Kim Chul, one of their fellow pigs, stood up, he fast became their last hope to end the circle of fear.

Fifteen years later, Chul remains a hero. But behind his figure, the two men recall the murky story of their bond and return to the site where the most shocking truth of what happened there is finally revealed.

Terracotta Release Live Action Antique Bakery

Terracotta took me by surprise when they released the anime OVA adaptation of Junji Ito’s Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack. Now they bring us another adaptation only this time it is the Korean live-action version of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery. This is not a brand new title for me because I have read the first volume of the manga purely out of curiosity. I was not enamoured with it but then again I am not at all interested in BL titles like some people are…

 

 Here are the details:
Antique Bakery DVD Case

 Antique Bakery

                                                       

Dir: Min Kyu-Dong (All About My Wife, Memento Mori) 

Starring: Joo Ji-Hoon, Yoo Ah-In, Kim Jae-Wook, Choi Ji-Ho 

Korea/ 2008/ 109 Mins/ In Korean with English subtitles/ Colour/ Cert 15

 

Out on DVD February 11th, 2013

DVD Special Features:
Making of ‘ANTIQUE BAKERY’, Korean Trailer, Music Video, Photo Gallery

As an heir to family fortune, Jin-hyuk (Joo Ji-Hoon) has money, the looks, the charm, everything except finding the love of his life. So he sets up a cake shop where women are sure to come. He hires Sun-woo (Kim Jae-Wook), a talented patissier who had a crush on Jin-hyuk back in high school.

Along with an ex-boxing champion Gi-beom (Yoo Ah-In) and a clueless bodyguard Su-young (Choi Ji-Ho), the four unique and handsome young men stir up the quiet neighbourhood at their cake shop, Antique. Although seemingly careless and happy, each of the four men has an unforgettable past that they are afraid to face. But their secrets slowly begin to unravel.

Terracotta Release Kim Ki-Duk Double-Bill Arirang and Crocodile

With the success of Pieta at the Venice International Film Festival it seems that Kim Ki-Duk’s star is in the ascension once again. As I made clear in my review of Arirang (which I gave 4 out of 5), I have long been sceptical of any positive press surrounding him since my previous experiences with Kim Ki-duk felt like a slog thanks to the despite visual beauty of 3-Iron and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring. I think I also saw his enfant terrible persona that he had built as a bit much but after watching Arirang, I became convinced that I was a little too harsh, a little too dismissive. I have since even considered a season of reviews of his films. As I found out through Arirang, Kim Ki-duk has lead a tough life and became a filmmaker without any previous training. I have to respect him for that and I can see where his tough subjects comes from but I still find the content of Samaritan Girl and Bad Guy and The Isle a bit much to take. As if sensing the wavering of my dismissive attitude, Terracotta distribution have announced the release of a two-disc set featuring his very first film, Crocodile (1996) and Arirang (2011) one of his latest offerings which I quite liked. Here are the details:

CROCODILE /  ARIRANG 

Crocodile and Arirang DVD Cases

Director: KIM Ki-duk

DVD RELEASE DATE:  12th November 2012

This 2 disc DVD set will include Crocodile, Kim Ki Duk’s rarely seen 1996 directorial debut which has never been released in the UK; the grittiest of his early work which led the path to series of intense and highly acclaimed features and Arirang, the director’s long anticipated documentary about his self-imposed exile, Winner of “Un Certain Regard” Award at Cannes Festival 2011.

CROCODILE

Crocodile Kiss

South Korea / 1996 / 102 Mins / Drama / In Korean with English subtitles

Starring: Cho Jae-hyeon (Wild Animals, The Isle, Bad Guy, Address Unknown, Sword in the Moon, The Kick)

Kim Ki-duk’s stunning debut Crocodile is a study of violence in South Korean society and seemingly unlike any other Korean films made before it. It depicts the life of violent thug, Crocodile, who lives with a peddling boy and an old man by the banks of the river Han in Seoul, a popular suicide spot.
Jo Jae-Hyeon in CrocodileHomeless Crocodile makes a living by robbing the dead bodies of those who commit suicide by jumping into the river. One day, he saves the life of a suicidal young woman from drowning but only to use her for sex. Keeping her there, he develops an abusive relationship and, despite his temper and violence, a bond soon forms between the four of them.


ARIRANG

Arirang Kim Ki-duk Gives An Intense Look

South Korea / 2010 / 100 minutes / Documentary / In Korean with English subtitles
Arirang marks Kim Ki-duk’s triumphant return to cinema after an absence of three years. Arirang offers audiences a unique and indiscreet look at the man regarded as one of Korea’s greatest living directors.

While shooting a suicide scene for his last film, DREAM, in 2008, the lead actress nearly Arirang Winter Washingperished and the incident triggered an emotional and creative breakdown for the director. As an act of self-administered therapy, Arirang takes playful liberties with the documentary form as Kim Ki-duk traces his experiences and mindset during this period of crisis.

Arirang is a folk song and, according to some sources, Korea’s unofficial national anthem. While ostensibly a love song, its theme of parting and sorrow provides a potent metaphor for Korea’s suffering as a nation and its enforced division at the end of the Korean War.

Arirang is the ultimate work of auteurist cinema” – Empire

This startling, fascinating and bizarre film is in some ways the strangest arthouse event of the year.” – The Guardian 4/5 stars

a rare insight into a controversial director who’s as divisive as the 38th Parallel.” -Total Film

Arirang is quite simply Kim Ki-duk’s best film to date.” – Hangul Celluloid

Terracotta Release Return to Burma

2012 has seen Terracotta release a number of great titles like Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack, Desire to Kill and Petty Romance. Now they are set to release Return to Burma, a film from first time director Midi Z. It played earlier this year at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival. Reviews are generally mixed with critics praising the bravery of shooting a film while the regime is still enforcing draconian censorship laws and highlighting the strength of documentary nature while lamenting the lack of story structure missed chance of gaining an insight into the release of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. For anybody interested in gaining an insight into the country and in the human drama involved in cross-border crossings and returning to a place left behind, this is the ticket. Here are the details:

‘RETURN TO BURMA’

Return to Burma DVD Case


Starring: Wang Shin-hong, Yang Shu-lan, Chou Jung-kuo

Burma, Taiwan / 2010 / 84 mins / In Burmese, Mandarin with English subtitles
Release Date: 12th November 2012

Where should we go? Anywhere but home.

Synopsis
After decades, Burma finally holds its first presidential election. Many Burmese living abroad believe that prosperity will soon arrive. Xing-Hong, an immigrant labourer in Taiwan, is able to save enough money to return home. His return is bitter sweet, as he is carrying the remains of a friend that died in a work related accident.


When Xing-Hong arrives home, he finds that most of the young people want to work abroad, but Xing-Hong has always wanted to stay in his hometown to do business. He begins asking around for possible business opportunities. Through the protagonist’s eyes, we witness the true face of Burma and the angst of its youngsters.

DVD Special Features

  • Making of RETURN TO BURMA
  • Director’s Statement

Midi Z is an ethnic Chinese like the protagonist of the film, who had a similar journey moving from Burma to Taiwan when at the age of sixteen. Midi Z moved in order to study Film Directing and graduated with his first short movie, “Paloma Blanca”, in 2006. In 2009, he was selected as one of the most prominent directors by Taipei Golden Horse Film Academy. Produced by Hou Hsiao-Hsien (!!!), Midi Z made a short film called “Hua-Xing Incident”. Return to Burma is his first feature film.

Petty Romance

Genkina hito Petty Romance Review Header

Petty Romance                                                           Petty Romance DVD Case

Korean Release Date: 08th of August, 2010

UK DVD Release Date: 08th October 2012 (Terracotta)

Running Time: 91 mins.

Directors: Kim Jeong-Hoon

Writers: Kim Jeong-Hoon

Starring: Lee Sun-Kyun, Choi Gang-Hee, Ryoo Hyoun-Kyoung, Song Yoo-Ha, Oh Jung-Se, Baek Do-Bin, Lee Won-Jong, Jo Eun-Ji, Hwang Bo-Ra

Petty Romance is the directorial debut of Kim Jeong-Hoon and my first ever Korean romantic comedy. It combines a raunchy but primarily cute tale of lust and comic books in a smooth and amusing film which masks all of its familiar elements with imagination and two great performances.

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Petty Romance Release Details

Terracotta will release the movie Petty Romance on DVD next week on the 8th of October. Apparently it is one of South Korea’s biggest box office smashes in 2010 where it sold nearly 500,000 tickets. It is Petty Romance and it comes from first-time director Kim Joung-Hoon’s. It is described as being “a movie where a sex columnist and a comic book artist team up to create the ultimate female action manhwa hero.”

Sounds awesome! While the director is unfamiliar to me, some of the actors I do recognise from K-horror movies like Into the Glass, R-Point, Whispering Corridors and more.

Here are the details:

Petty Romance DVD Case

PETTY ROMANCE

 A film by Kim Joung-hoon

 Starring: Lee Sun-kyun (Oki’s Movie, Paju, Night and Day, Coffee Prince), Choi Kang-hee (My Scary Girl, Whispering Corridors), Oh Jung-se, Ryu Hyun-kyung

 

Korea / 2010 / 118 Mins / In Korean with English subtitles / Certificate 15

Release Date: 8th October 2012

Spectacular action and sizzling love scenes from the couple’s imagination were given life through the hand of award winning illustrator Seok Jeong-hyeon. The movie captures the process of adult animation production and director Kim Jeong-hoon uses a great technique of mixing feature film and adult Manwha (Korean comic books) for erotic & fighting segments when the couple’s inner thoughts come alive into action.

Petty Romance Illustration

Synopsis

An adult cartoon contest is announced offering a $100,000 prize. Talented cartoonist Jung-bae (Lee Sun-Kyun) is constantly turned down by publishing companies because of his poor story lines. To raise his chances of winning, he hires a sex advice columnist, Da-rim (Choi Kang-hee), a self-claimed expert on relationship and love-making with big imagination and zero experience. For the cartoon competition, Da-rim comes up with the idea of a female assassin, Ma Mi-so, who keeps her male victims captive for erotic kicks.

The two, who seemed perfectly matched, team up for the lucrative prize, bringing out their respective wildest fantasies. Trouble is set to brew: will they be able to complete the task and win the competition?

Jung-Bae (Lee Sun-Kyun) and Da-Rim (Choi Gang-Hee) in Petty Romance

Live action interspersed with erotic and action manga scenes.

DVD Special Features

  • Making of
  • Interview of lead actor and actress
  • Korean Teaser Trailer
  • Stills Gallery