Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade

My WordPress blog birthday was December 20th and it has been a decade since I first started writing reviews and news articles here about what interests me.

Cure Yakusho Stares at City

It started with book reviews like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse and big screen Hollywood fare such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. It shifted to American indies like Stake Land and 2 Days in New York with some European and central/South American films like Submarine, Certified Copy, I Am Love and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I transitioned quickly into Asian cinema, long a passion of mine from childhood, and I took to covering the latest UK releases and festival news for Asian movies and writing about my favourite filmmakers like Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinya Tsukamoto. My taste has changed from horror and action to more contemplative and experimental works but my passion for cinema burns bright and for good reason.

Through ten years of writing on this blog I have made friends and watched lots of great films. Indeed, I’ve covered a quite a range of titles and, as the years progressed, actually got involved with film culture through writing for magazines and other websites, doing festival press work at the likes of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well as doing plenty of writing like interviews at UK festivals like Raindance, Terracotta and the London Film Festival. It has almost always been fun and I’ve even had the chance to live and travel in Japan. I can honestly say this blog has been amazing for me by helping me make friends and find my voice in this world.

So, thanks to film and writing about it, I’ve had a fun time. Indeed, sometimes the process of writing about films has been just as much fun as the viewing experience and now I want to highlight my fifteen favourite films to watch and also write about.

Strap yourself in and turn on some music for the ramblings of a film fan:

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The Light Shines Only There そこのみにて光輝く (2014)

The Light Shines Only There  The Light Shines Only There Film Poster

Japanese: そこのみにて光輝く

Romaji: Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: April 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Mipo O

Writer: Ryo Takada (Screenplay), Yasushi Sato (Original Novel)

Starring: Gou Ayano, Chizuru Ikewaki, Masaki Suda, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Hino, Hiroko Isayama

Fresh from Japan is a wave of young female directors creating deeply interesting dramatic tales of tragedy driven by dark emotional undercurrents that are found in everyday life. The Light Shines Only There (Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku) is Mipo Oh’s most recent contribution to this movement. I saw it at the 2014 Raindance Film Festival where the quality of the film blew me away through how well composed and how immersive the atmosphere and darkness of the film is.

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Genkina hito’s Top Twelve Films of 2014

Better late than never! And why twelve? Because it’s hard to decide! This is my list of top twelve films I saw in 2014 so it covers movie releases both new and old. I watched a lot of films in 2014. I was going to the cinema nearly two or three times a month and renting/buying a lot of films so I have built up an impressive list that spans genres and eras ‘60s (Kuroneko, Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41) and ‘80s (Blade Runner, Ghostbusters) and 2014s…

The World of Kanako TsumabukiMy cinematic year began not with a Japanese film but American Hustle, a nice distraction before I headed down to London for the 2014 edition of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I came away from that film festival profoundly moved by the humanism and simple beauty of everyday life I saw in Kimi no Tomodachi, the perfect drama with a plucky protagonist in Shindo and the very dark existential drama Parade. I followed that with a trip to the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival where I cried buckets over Colorful and saw the future of anime in Patema Inverted. Despite loving these films so much it has taken me nearly a year to write/publish reviews of them because I was constantly going to the Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) in Bellecinema to see the likes of Blue Ruin, The Wind Rises, Deliver Us From Evil, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Belle. Kotatsu was followed by the 2014 Terracotta Far East Film Festival in May which is where I met Akira Nagai, director of Judge!, the actors of Be My Baby, and I enjoyed watching The Snow White Murder Case. In September/October/November I was in London for the Raindance Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival where I met and interviewed/talked to even more directors. Out of all the films I watched between the two festivals it was Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats and The World of Kanako which impressed me the most.

Overall, 2014 was a good year for my Japanese film viewing but my final list contains a lot of western films. Here are my top films from 2014.

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Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2015

The Glasgow Film Festival kicks off tonight and it has a selection of excellent films that any fan of cinema will love. Here’s the line-up. This is a bit of a rush post. I decided to cover this at the very last minute because I took a gander at the films and I think that there are enough quality titles to make this film festival stand out. I’m excited to see Fires on the Plain because if this is in the UK it means that it may make its way down to London. Also of note are Pale Moon and Uzumasa Limelight both of which have had excellent reviews including ones by a fellow J-film blogger who has great taste (Uzumasa Review) (Pale Moon Review)! Glasgow usually has good films (it’s how I saw Rentaneko and Museum Hours) so I’ll cover it every year from now on…

Here’s the line-up of films programmed this year:

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 Preview

The Japan Foundation has announced their Touring Film Programme for 2015 and for the 12th festival the title is, “It Only Happens in the Movies?”

Japan Foundation It Only Happens in the Movies

 

The festival runs from January 30th to March 26th and it aims to provide “an exciting programme of films under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’.” Each film has characters who experience “unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas.”

The film line-up has a huge variety of styles, genres, and tones covered from comedy to serious drama and films from various eras with an adult drama set in1950s Japan all the way to one about teens in uni falling in love in contemporary Japan.

Here are the films, scroll down for trailers and more details (the English titles are the links to the pages so click on them for more info):

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Japanese Films at the 2014 Raindance Film Festival

Raindance 2014 Logo

The Raindance Film Festival announced its line-up yesterday and it is filled with a lot of Japanese indie film gems released at the tail end of last year and throughout 2014. There 100 features and over 150 shorts and the Japanese selection makes a large part of this. Raindance remains the best place to see a lot of indie films with the likes of Yosuke Fujita and Mipo Oh getting their latest films screened and there are a lot of shorts from New Directions in Japanese Cinema, a collective of filmmakers who have been making films for a spell now and are a good indicator of what the indie scene looks like. Here’s the trailer for the festival:

The festival takes place from September 24th to October 05th, at the Vue Cinema at Piccadilly Circus and features a lot of titles from around the world.

I enjoyed a lot of the titles I saw last year and I’m going again because the quality of the films looks great. The programme has a number of movies and shorts that have caught my eye while writing trailer posts and, furthermore, the directors/cast/staff will be coming to the UK from Japan and so I think it best to show them some support and also hear the inside story on how their films were made, something which is always a thrill.

Third Window Films will be promoting their four of their latest films at the Raindance Film Festival, with all four titles having directors over to introduce their films and have Q&A sessions and interviews. Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats by Yosuke Fujita, The Lust of Angels by Nagisa Isogai, And the Mud Ship Sails Away by Hirobumi Watanabe and Buy Bling, Get One Free by Kosuke Takaya will all play.

Here are the people who are making the effort to travel across the globe to meet us:

Yosuke Fujita, director of “Fukuchan of fukufuku Flats”

Hirobumi Watanabe and his brother/producer Yuji Watanabe, and cameraman Bang Woohyun, all of whom worked on “And the Mud Ships Sails Away”

Nagisa Isogai, director  of “Lust of Angels”

Hoshi Ishida, actor in “Touching the Skin of Eeriness” (which plays back to back with “Lust of Angels”)

Kosuke Takaya, director of “Buy Bling Get One Free”

Ian Thomas Ash, director of “-1287”

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The Light Shines Only There, Negative Happy Marriage Part 2, Death’s Live Coverage Movie Version, Aru Himori no Naka, Crayon Shin-Chan: Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes Back, Detective Conan: Sniper From Another Dimension, Nihon’ichi Shiawasena Juugyouin o Tsukuru! Hoteruasoshia Nagoya Taaminaru no Chousen Japanese Film Trailers

Knights of Sidonia Cast 2After a movie drought lasting a few weeks, I watched two films:  Rent-a-Neko and The Quiet Ones. Tonight I’ll watch Museum Hours and Cold Eyes. I still have about eight film reviews to write and now I have three from this list to add on (although Rent-a-Neko is practically finished)!!! It’s a good thing that I’ve got a day off coming up after my trip down to London. I’ve already completed some posts for the next fortnight although there will only be two per week – anime/film reviews and trailers.

This week I posted about the Japanese films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (that feature from Naomi Kawase looks so good!) and I also posted my first impression of Knights of Sidonia.

Here’s a bunch of trailers for the Japanese films released this week and there are some interesting looking titles!

The Light Shines Only There  The Light Shines Only There Film Poster

Japanese: そこのみにて光輝く

Romaji: Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku

Running Time: 120 mins.

Release Date: April 19th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Mipo O

Writer: Ryo Takada (Screenplay), Yasushi Sato (Original Novel)

Starring: Gou Ayano, Chizuru Ikewaki, Masaki Suda, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Hino, Hiroko Isayama

Based on a novel published in 1989, this is winning all sorts of acclaim at festivals. It is directed by Mipo O and she was last reviewed here with her effort on Quirky Guys and Gals and the screenplay was written by Ryo Takada who worked on The Ravine of Goodbye. It stars Gou Ayano (Rurouni Kenshin, The Story of Yonosuke).

Tatsuo Sato (Ayano) quits his job and does little with his days until he meets Takuji Oshiro (Suda) at a pachinko parlour and strikes up a friendship. Takuji invites Tatsuo back to his home where he lives with is sick father, mother and older sister Chinatsu (Ikewaki). Tatsuo becomes attracted to Chinatsu, who shines even in their difficult situation.

Website

Continue reading “The Light Shines Only There, Negative Happy Marriage Part 2, Death’s Live Coverage Movie Version, Aru Himori no Naka, Crayon Shin-Chan: Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes Back, Detective Conan: Sniper From Another Dimension, Nihon’ichi Shiawasena Juugyouin o Tsukuru! Hoteruasoshia Nagoya Taaminaru no Chousen Japanese Film Trailers”