Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Logo

The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival was revealed last week ahead of its run at The Institute of Contemporary Art and The Prince Charles Cinema in London between May 23rd and June 01st. I then wrote a preview for it at Anime UK News and now I’ve put together another, expanded view on the festival.

This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it still remains the best place to see a wide variety of releases from East Asian cinema. There are a number of different strands to the festival such as Current Asian Cinema where the latest titles from territories like Japan and Hong Kong are played. The Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter makes a welcome return with some great looking titles mixing ghosts and serial killers. The Spotlight On section uncovers the hottest titles that remain undiscovered. Last year’s festival saw Indonesia as the focus, this year the Philippines takes centre stage with six films released within the last year getting screened. The festival is made opens on May 23rd at The Institute of Contemporary Arts with the Spotlight On: Philippines. The festival will then move to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the festival will screen films from The Current Asian Cinema and Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter sections.

Enough of the intro, the next part has the films, dates and times. Click on the title 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.

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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

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

Terracotta Festival UK Tour Details

Asian film fans across the UK have the opportunity to see some of the best new titles to come out of Asia when a choice selection from the Terracotta Far East Film Festival show up at Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Brighton and London. Here are the details:

TERRACOTTA FESTIVAL TAKES 5 ASIAN FILMS ON A UK TOUR

Terracotta Far East Film Festival Tour Banner

For the first time in its four year history, Terracotta Festival is expanding its successful London residency of current Asian cinema showcase to selected venues in the UK.

The touring festival will kick off at the Cornerhouse cinema in Manchester on September 19th, followed by the Watershed in Bristol and will continue through October at the Genesis in London as well as dates in Brighton and Nottingham. More cities will be announced on the festival website.

Organisers are bringing a shortened programme of five contemporary films offering a taster of the best in current cinema in the Far East.

There will be two Japanese films, including Isn’t Anyone Alive? which marks the return of Sogo Ishii to filmmaking after a 10 year absence, and crowd-pleasing comedy The Woodsman and the Rain. Also in the line-up, two Korean films of different genres: pan-Asian WW2 blockbuster My Way and dark animation The King of Pigs. And the docu-drama Return to Burma which gives the audience a rare insider perspective into ordinary life in this fascinating and topical country.

Here are the films:

MY WAY

Terracott Festival Films My Way

Director: Kang Je-kyu, Duration: 137 mins, Starring: Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing Certificate: 18

The most ambitious and expensive film coming from South Korea directed by box office champion Kang Je-Kyu (Brotherhood: Taegukgi, Shiri), My Way is an explosive epic war drama spanning Japan, Korea, China, Russian gulags and the beaches of Normandy, packed with high octane action and heart-breaking emotion that tells, for the first time, the story of the Second World War from a Korean point of view. It stars Joe Odagiri (Bright Future, Adrift in Tokyo) and Jang Dong-Gun (Nowhere to Hide, Friend, The Warrior’s Way). It was one of the official selections at the Berlin Film Festival 2012 and the opening film for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival.

ISN’T ANYONE ALIVE?

Terracott Festival Films Isn't Anyone Alive?
Director: Sogo Ishii, Duration: 113 mins, Starring: Shota Somentani, Rin Takanashi, Jun Murakami, Mai Takahashi Certificate: 15

Gakuryu Ishii aka Sogo Ishii has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music like Crazy Thunder Road and the twisted serial-killer films Angel Dust. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play Isn’t Anyone Alive, an avant-garde story of 18 young students dying one after another. It stars Shota Sometani (Himizu), Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death), and Jun Murakami. It was part of the official selection Edinburgh Film Festival 2012 and appeared at the Fantasia Film Festival 2012

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