The Story of Yonosuke 横道世之介 (2013)

Genki The Story of Yonosuke Review Header Yonosuke (Kora)

The Story of Yonosuke                      A Story of Yonosuke Film Poster

Japanese Title: 横道世余之介

Romaji: Yokomichi Yonosuke

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

UK Release Date: N/A

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 160 mins.

Director: Shuichi Okita

Writer: Shiro Maeda (Screenplay), Shuichi Yoshida (Original Novel)

Starring: Kengo Kora, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ayumi Ito, Gou Ayano, Arata, Kimiko Yo, Aki Asakura, Mei Kurokawa, Tasuku Emoto, Aimi Satsukawa, Keiko Horiuchi, Noriko Eguchi,

I was made a fan of Shuichi Okita after watching The Woodsman & the Rain, a film which is a wonderfully observed and rather touching comedy about the art of filmmaking and human bonds. Despite potentially weighty subjects I found it was an amusing and gratifying film that worked through its great characters and well-observed dry comedy. Okita is back a year after that film with a more complex one as he directs Shiro (Isn’t Anyone Alive?) Maeda’s adaptation of Shuichi’s Yoshida’s novel which flits between different time periods with a large cast of characters stretching between the ’80s and now.

The Story of Yonosuke Arrival in Tokyo (Kora)Tokyo 1987, Yonosuke Yokomichi (Kora) has left a small port city and lumbers into Tokyo to attend university. It blows his mind. There are huge buildings covered with ads for Sony and Kiss Mint gum, he sees amateur idol groups performing J-pop on the street and fashionable people everywhere.

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The Land of Hope 希望の国 (2012)

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The Land of Hope                               The Land of Hope Movie Poster

Japanese: 希望 の 国

Romaji: Kibou no Kuni

Release Date: October 20th, 2012 (Japan)

UK Release Date: August 26th, 2013

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 133 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono

Starring: Isao Natsuyagi, Naoko Otani, Jun Murakami, Megumi Kagurazaka, Yutaka Shimizu, Hikari Kajiwara, Denden, Mariko Tsutsui, Yusuke Iseya, Mitsuru Fukikoshi,

When Sion Sono’s last film Himizu came to its stunning open ending it was clear that he was far from finished addressing the issues surrounding the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tusnami. The Land of Hope is the powerful and important follow-up which is epic in scale and drama. For daring to take on such a taboo subject in Japan, Sono had to go to foreign investors but what has resulted is a film that is a key way of seeing the effects of a disaster. At two hours it captures all sorts of aspects about the disaster but remains incredibly humane as it centres on the travails of two families.

An old couple named Yasuhiko and Chieko Ono (Natsuyagi and Otani) live on a farm with their son Yoichi (Murakami) and his wife Izumi (Kagurazaka) near Ohara town in Nagashima prefecture.

 The Land of Hope Ono and Suzuki Families

It is a peaceful place whose only claim to fame is the nearby Nagashima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Yasuhiko’s days are spent farming land owned by his family for generations, taking care of Chieko who suffers dementia and talking with the neighbouring Suzuki family made up of father Ken (Denden), mother Meiko (Tsutsui), son Mitsuru (Shimizu) and his girlfriend Yoko (Kajiwara). 

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Terracotta Far East Film Festival Round-Up

Genki Terracotta Far East Film Festival Genkina hito Image

This has been a long time in coming. I attended the festival a couple of months ago and in the meantime I have only published a review for one of the four films I saw, The Berlin File. Now’s the time to get the three other films I watched. Here are previews:

 Genki Terracotta Far East Film Festival Round-Up Banner

These were the main reasons I was attending the festival. All three are Japanese and come from directors whose films I have reviewed before. Two of the three were also released in Japan earlier this year, one last year, so this is a great slice of what Japanese film culture can produce. Furthermore, all three will be released by Third Window Films during the rest of this year. 

First up is THE LAND OF HOPE  is from Sion Sono, one of my all-time favourite directors who I frequently post about. Released last year, this is his follow-up to the mighty drama Himizu. Like that film, The Land of Hope also deals with the after-effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that occurred on March 11th back in 2011 but it’s more of a disaster epic as it pretty much covers what happened to a larger number of people in the areas affected by the tsunami and nuclear power plant explosion. After I first watched it I was bewildered and I did not like it at all but I put that down to the fact that I was tired after a day packed full of tourist activities so I was in no condition to absorb what was going on. A second viewing has proven vital in improving my understanding and I think the film is a pretty staggering achievement. The DVD is released at the beginning of next week by Third Window Films. The review is published on Wednesday.

 

Next is Yoshihiro Nakamura’s SEE YOU TOMORROW, EVERYONE which was released in Japan in January. This one stars Gaku Hamada who has appeared in a number of his previous titles like Fish Story and The Foreign Duck, the Native Duck & God in a Coin Locker , I was very impressed by the latter title and placed it near the top of my Top Ten for 2013 (there’s going to be a major shake-up of that soon) and it received great review from Mark Schilling over at The Japan Times so I was confident that I would enjoy it and discussed the films merits (director/actors) with other festival attendees I had never met before. Would I walk out feeling the same things? Review on Friday.  

 

The final title I’ll review is THE STORY OF YONOSUKE which comes from Shuichi Okita who really (really!) impressed me with his title The Woodsman & the Rain, a film which contained a wonderfully observed and rather touching comedy about filmmaking and human bonds where he got great performances from his actors including the two lead stars, Koji Yakusho and Shun Oguri. The Story of Yonosuke was released in Japan back in February. Out of the films I saw in the festival this was easily my favourite because Okita once again brought all of the warmth, quirks and humanity out of his characters and created wonderful comedic scenes. Review on Sunday.

 

There’s a lot of nostalgia, love and drama over the next week on the cards but that’s okay because the rest of August and September sees an upsurge in dark yakuza tales due to a Takashi Ishii and a Kiyoshi Kurosawa season.

Terracotta Far East Film Festival Recovery

Terracotta Far East Film Festival Genkina hito Image

I got back from London and the Terracotta Far East Film Festival where I watched four films and met up with fellow bloggers/cinephiles. The films were:

A Story of Yonosuke,

See You Tomorrow, Everyone,

The Berlin File,

The Land of Hope,

Expect reviews for three of the films starting next week. Why three films? Well when it comes to the top three films in the list I’m clear in what I think about them but I’m holding my fire on The Land of Hope so I can analyse it when I’m in a better frame of mind (read: not tired after having lots of fun with fellow cinephiles!).

I’d also like to mention the David Bowie Exhibition at the V&A which I visited twice!!!). Very excellent!

As someone who works for a gallery I was impressed and inspired by the high quality of the exhibition, the use of mixed media and the attention to detail. There was everything Bowie from costumes (his suit from the video Life on Mars? for instance) and sheet music and lyric books to music videos, clips from movies  he has starred in. The interactive headphones worked a treat relaying excellent music and quotes and changing depending upon the area I was in! Bowie was influenced by Japan and there are a great many things that reflect that like the costumes designed by Kansai Yamamoto.

I’d like to thank Alua and Tired Paul for being great hosts and having awesome conversations with and introducing me to bubble tea, and I’d like to thank Terracotta/Third Window Films for continuing to screen interesting Asian films.

Hmm, how to end this post… With an awesome music video (not Bowie but it’s God-tier)!

I love Polysics and great Japanese films.

Zombideo Gore

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!”

5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

Genki Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013 Banner Header

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth edition of the annual Terracotta Far East Film Festival. Due to Japanese language studies this post is about two weeks late but there is still time to order tickets.

The festival this year looks genuinely impressive with many UK premieres and a selection of films that cover a wide variety of genres and countries. There is strength and depth in this selection and it is heartening to see that the UK is getting to see these films.

For my part I have got four tickets thanks to fellow blogger Alua. I’m pretty hyped up at the prospect of seeing three Japanese films (A Story of Yonosuke, See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Land of Hope) and one Korean one (The Berlin File). Without further ado here is a word from the organisers followed by the line-up with some comments on the films I am familiar with and a preview of the Japanese films I will watch. Click on the titles to head over to the festival site for more information on the film and to order tickets!

5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

Over the years the festival has seen the event go from strength to strength. This year is set to be the biggest yet, expanding to 27 films spread over 4 sections and 2 venues from 06 – 15 June 2013.

The core of the festival will remain a hand-picked selection of the best CURRENT ASIAN CINEMA at The Prince Charles Cinema. This all UK Premiere section reflects the vibrancy and energy in Asian filmmaking today. Ranging from realist dramas to romance, light comedies to spy action thrillers, swordfighting epics to gothic fairytales, the festival aims to balance the representation of Asian countries.

Terracotta Festival 2013 (TFEFF13) will open with Hong Kong action COLD WAR on Thursday 06 June 2013. 

This year’s edition will also see a return to last year’s Terror Cotta Horror night on Friday 07 June in association with Film 4 Frightfest. The triple bill has now extended to an all-night horror marathon.

The organisers also have added the “IN MEMORY OF” section to mark the tenth anniversary of two of Hong Kong’s best loved and most missed stars: Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui.

Terracotta Festival 2013 will close out at the ICA with “SPOTLIGHT ON: Indonesia”.  11 – 15 June will be an entire week dedicated to Indonesian cinema, from the country’s freshest emerging talent alongside work by established filmmakers. This new section will bring rare insight into one of Asia’s rising film powerhouses.

 

Terracotta Far East Film Festival full Programme:
IN MEMORY OF: Leslie Cheung & Anita Mui 

Both Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui were wonderful actors, two of the biggest stars in HK cinema, and they both died untimely deaths. It is pleasing to see that they will be remembered with this retrospective.

DAYS OF BEING WILD Dir: Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong – Wed 29 May 2013, 20:45

1994/ Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles/ 94 mins/ starring Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai

Days of Being Wild was one of Wong Kar Wai’s (WKW) earliest films and it contains all of WKW’s familiar from gorgeous cinematography to characters going trough deep existential self-questioning in a story about a man searching for his birth mother. It stars a whole gamut of HK stars.

ROUGE Dir: Stanley Kwan, Hong Kong – Thurs 06 June 2013, 17:50

1988/ Cantonese with English subtitles/ 96 mins/ starring Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung

Stanley Kwan’s film is described as Part Romeo & Juliet, part ghost story, an outstanding and timeless classic. It stars both Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung.

HAPPY TOGETHER Dir: Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong – Fri 07 June 2013, 12:30

1997/ Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles/ 96 mins/ starring Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chen Chang

I really like this film. I have watched it numerous times and I just love (and own) the soundtrack which is inspired by its Argentinian setting and don’t get me started about the ending.

 

The film follows the story of a gay love triangle slowly fragmenting and dislocating amidst the beautiful city of Buenos Aires.

CURRENT ASIAN CINEMA 

COLD WAR by Sunny Luk, Longman Leung, Hong Kong – Opening Film Thurs 06 June 2013, 19:50

UK Premiere/ 2012/ Cantonese with English subtitles/ 102 mins/ starring Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Andy Lau

This is a police thriller which reminds me a lot of Infernal Affairs and it looks to have similar impressive production values. It won big at the recent Hong Kong Film awards and UK film fans get to see it on the big screen with its premiere at the festival.

When police deal with a sophisticated hijacking of a police van they are outwitted at every turn and all the while the guys leading the police investigation are battling each other for positions of power in a tale of police corruption and politics.

Continue reading “5TH ANNUAL TERRACOTTA FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP”

Terracotta Festival’s “Asia In London” Short-Film Competition Information

The Terracotta Far East Film Festival is a month away and the line-up of films will be released tomorrow. I have been a bit tardy in posting this information on a short-film competition with the awesome prize of a trip to Hong Kong but there is still plenty of time left to enter.

Here are the details:

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013 Logo

Terracotta Festival’s “Asia In London” Short-Film Competition, in association with Cathay Pacific

Terracotta Festival, in association with Cathay Pacific, present an exciting competition to win a trip to the vibrant city of Hong Kong.

Terracotta are partnering with Cathay Pacific to celebrate the launch of their 5th daily London Heathrow to Hong Kong flight. Accommodation is provided by the five star Design Hotels ™ member, The Mira Hong Kong.

To enter the competition, make and submit a short film on the theme: “Asia In London”. The film must last no more than 3 minutes in length.

Submissions are open from Tuesday 23 April and close at 12 noon 20 May.

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