The Murders of Oiso, In Those Days, Liar x Liar, The Pledge to Megumi, Shin Dekotora no Shu: Eagle Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

We’re back for more movies!

This week I posted a review for the “Kengo Kora plays a stalker” film Under Your Bed and I wrote about the Japanese films at the Berlin International Film Festival. I watched a grip of films, including Romance DollColorless, and Shohei Imamura’s The Eel because I will be recording the first episode of the second season of Heroic Purgatory soon.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Murders of Oiso, In Those Days, Liar x Liar, The Pledge to Megumi, Shin Dekotora no Shu: Eagle Japanese Film Trailers”

Interview with The Murders of Oiso Director Misawa Takuya [OAFF 2020]

Takuya Misawa hails from Kanagawa and is a graduate from the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. He worked on various film productions as crew including as assistant director to Koji Fukada on Au Revoir L Éte (2013) before making his debut feature with the Kanagawa-set relationship comedy drama Chigasaki Story (2015). Produced by Kiki Sugino’s Wa Entertainment, it made waves on the festival circuit for not only for its well-engineered story of a group of academics and students stuck together at a beach resort but also its directorial style which evoked Yasujiro Ozu. Four years on, Misawa’s second feature The Murders of Oiso demonstrates a complete change of tone despite again  being set in Kanagawa.

Taking place in another seaside town, The Murders of Oiso is a noirish slice-of-life story set in the picturesque location of Oiso. It concerns how small-scale corruption is revealed when four friends, Tomoki (Haya Nakazaki), Shun (Koji Moriya), Kazuya (Yusaku Mori), and Eita (Shugo Nagashima) confront the crimes of the people around them and themselves after the death of an influential man in the town. The construction company they work for is used for illegal activities, Eita’s girlfriend far worse abuses are revealed.

Using a number of different narrators and multiple perspectives to reveal what is going on beneath the pretty exterior, the film features lots of twists, turns and social issues and asks for viewers to pay attention. Working with a Hong Kong film crew to create an unusual atmosphere for his actors, Misawa has made a unique and challenging film that brings the audience into worrying space. The film won the Japan Cuts Award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival and it will play at the festival in New York later this year. Misawa took the time to have an interview to explain more about the story, creating the atmosphere and how he got his cast to perform.

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The Murders of Oiso ある殺人、落葉のころに Dir: Takuya Misawa (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Murders of Oiso

ある殺人、落葉のころに Aru satsujin, rakuyo no koro ni

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 79 mins.

Director: Takuya Misawa

Writer: Takuya Misawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Koji Moriya, Haya Nakazaki, Yusaku Mori, Shugo Nagashima, Natsuko Hori, Ena Koshino, Chun Yip Lo, Toko Narushima,

OAFF Link

Debuting at last year’s Busan International Film Festival, The Murders of Oiso took the Japan Cuts Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020. It is the sophomore feature from director Takuya Misawa who made waves with his 2015 debut Chigasaki Story. He returns with a slice-of-life film shot with a Hong Kong crew in a cut-up narrative that has a noirish atmosphere as he looks at the shadowy side of the titular town and its citizens.

Oiso is a quiet and pristine seaside town in Kanagawa which is nestled between a beautiful coastline and scenic countryside. The location is marked by the colours of fall as the season unfolds under cold and clean sunlight with a chill in the air. This is where prime ministers of Japan retire to, a pleasant place chosen by Misawa because it could be emblematic of Japan. Beautiful on the outside, hidden inside are various instances of small-scale corruption as conducted by seemingly average people that make life harder for everyone.

Continue reading “The Murders of Oiso ある殺人、落葉のころに Dir: Takuya Misawa (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]”

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement

Earlier this month, the organisers of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) 2020 announced the full line-up for the festival which takes place from March 6-15. This is the best event to see a cross-section of Asian cinema and nearly all of the films will have English subs – the only exceptions we know so far are “Birthday”, ” House of Hummingbird”, and “Malmoe The Secret Mission”.

Despite the issues surrounding Coronavirus, the festival is still going ahead but one section, the co-hosted event “Come to Life! vol.2 Gutai and Nakanoshima”, has been cancelled due to the decision of the co-host organiser. This means six films have been removed which brings the number of selected films screened from a record 64 to 58 in total. This number includes 12 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, and 3 Asian Premieres with films submitted from countries and regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland, South Korea, Japan, and South East Asia.

Continuing on from previous editions of the festival, OAFF remains a beacon of progressive programming as 25 female directors find their works selected with over half the films in the Competition section directed by women. The festival programme features characters from across the world contesting with issues such as war, crime, bullying, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and unionising in the workplace. OAFF continues to give a platform to filmmakers who face challenging issues, whether the films reckon with historical injustice or paint a brighter future through showing diverse characters navigating their way in our tumultuous world.

Please check the full line-up of OAFF 2020 which can be found here. Tickets for the films screening at the fest are already on sale.


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Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2019 (03rd-12th October)

Busan International Film Festival Logo

This year’s Busan International Film Festival is the 24th in the series and it runs from October 03rd to the 12th. This is the first time that I have covered Busan but it has been on the cards for a while because, much like Tokyo and Osaka, it’s a good place to scout out Asian films. There is a great slate of titles from some soon-to-be-released mainstream films to indie movies and there are familiar titles featured at other festivals.

Here are the titles!

The Opening Film is:

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time    The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time Film Poster

オルジャスの白い馬Oruhasu no Shiroi Uma

Release Date: January 18th, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba

Writer: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov (Screenplay),

Starring: Dulyga Akmolda, Madi Minaidarov, Mirai Moriyama, Samal Yeslyamova,

Website IMDB

This road movie/western is a co-production between Kazakhstan/Japan and brought to the big screen via Tokyo New Cinema. It is the work of two directors, Yerlan Nurmukhambetov who won the New Currents Award in Busan International Film Festival 2015, and Lisa Takeba. Yes, that Lisa Takeba with the fierce imagination who made The Pinkie (2014) and Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory (2015). In his first overseas role, Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) takes one of the lead characters amongst a predominantly Kazakh cast.

It looks like an ambitious and fresh new movie production for Japan as it follows To the Ends of the Earth to new territories and stories. 

Synopsis: We are in the plains of the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a world where horse thieves operate under vast skies and on huge grass plains. A family man is murdered by those thieves as he heads to a town market to sell his horses. This leaves his wife a widow and his children fatherless. The village comes together to help the wife hold the man’s funeral and then the wife decides to return to her family with her children. Then, another man who vanished from her life eight years ago appears and helps the woman move and takes one of the children, the son, under his wing, teaching him how to ride horses. The son of the wife resembles that man. The man and the boy go out on horseback together and track down the horse thieves…

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