The Pinkie Film Image Miwako Wagatsuma 2

The Pinkie さまよう小指 Dir: Lisa Takeba (2014)

The Pinkie   

The Pinkie Film Poster
The Pinkie Film Poster

さまよう 小指  Samayou Koyubi

Release Date: September 14th, 2014 (Japan)

Duration: 63 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryota Ozawa, Miwako Wagatsuma, Haruka Suenaga, Kanji Tsuda,

Website

When I first saw this film I fell in love with it and hyped the director up. Lisa Takeba is one of those multi-hyphenate talents whose imagination covers writing, directing and more. She has a background in advertising and writing videogames for the likes of Nintendo so she’s got a lot of experience with different styles to work with, something which shows in this fun and insane mash-up of genres where rom-com meets offbeat sci-fi and yakuza thrills in a story that firmly places love at the centre of everything.

The story is about love as experienced by four people but it starts with two.

Since they were both five, Ryosuke (Ryota Ozawa) has been stalked by Momoko (Miwako Wagatsuma) – the ugliest girl in the village. Momoko’s love for Ryosuke is so boundless that she has her face surgically altered to suit his taste – but still, he wants nothing to do with her. Ryosuke is a louche NEET who is in love with the girlfriend of a yakuza boss, a slippery dame named Manami (Haruka Suenaga), but when the boss finds out about their affair he has Ryosuke’s little finger hacked off and chases him off. Magically, the finger falls into Momoko’s hands and she uses it to clone Ryosuke so she can finally have him (or almost him) for herself – and that’s the first five minutes of this deranged tale of pure-hearted love.

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Films Released in 2014 I will Hopefully See in 2015

The Pinkie Here Comes 2015

I post trailers of Japanese films released in Japan every weekend and some stay with me even months after their release has come and gone. Like last year I want to start the year by looking back at the trailers that make me wish these were films I had seen in 2014 and hope I can see in 2015.

Just to jump back to the last list of films from 2013, out of the 14 Seeds of Anxiety Yoko and Daiichi at the Restaurant Moncherifilms listed, I saw two – Patema Inverted and Fuan no Tane. Patema Inverted exceeded my expectations when I saw it at a cinema and I now have the Ultimate Edition home DVD/Bu-ray release that came from backing the Kickstarter campaign so I get the OST, art book and a variety of other extras. I’ll get a review of the film out before the end of January 2015! Fuan no Tane was a fun little horror film that did justice to the manga. You can read what I thought of it in my review.

The other films I listed? Well, the chances of me watching some of them were slim since they were the indiest of indies and without major studio backing, film labels with lots of money or film festivals selecting them, they would have been unlikely to get a cinema or home release in the UK. Raindance and Terracotta would have been the best places to see them but they weren’t screened.

I am kinda disappointed that I did not get to see Uzumasa Jacopetti, JacopettiGFP Bunny, A Fairy Tale, and Shin Shin Shin so I’m going to start investigating ways of getting these films. My usual import routes don’t stock them… Other indie films I’m interested in cost around £20 so it’s not impossible, just expensive. It’s at times like this when I wish Japanese film and anime companies would embrace digital distribution because I know I’d make many purchases to build up my library (and regrets over spending so much).

This list of films contains entries I have cherry-picked from my trailer posts that caught my eye over the year. I doubt I’ll see many of these but who knows…

Here’s the list and music you can listen to while reading/ignoring the blurb:

Continue reading “Films Released in 2014 I will Hopefully See in 2015”

Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends, Honey Flappers, Maiko wa Lady, Umi wo Kanjiru Toki (When I Sense the Sea), Murder Workshop, Cardfight!! Vanguard The Movie: Neon Messiah, Atorie Iroiro (Atelier of Variety), Club Andalusia Ginza Namiki Street, The Pinkie Japanese Film Trailers

Welcome to another trailer post. We’re almost midway through The Pinkie Film Image 7September and that means closer to the Raindance Film Festival (here’s my preview). I’ll be attending that and, hopefully, interviewing some directors. I’ll have to see how my schedule shapes up. It will be tight because I’ll also be going to see the Tate’s exhibition about JMW Turner’s painting towards the end of his career. After Raindance, I’ll be going to the BFI London Film Festival (here’s my preview). Fewer films to see there but there is The World of Kanako, my most anticipated title of 2014. I hope to get the preview of the Vancouver Film Festival completed next week.

The week has been very busy with lots of extra hours at work, Japanese class and yet I still found time to write up my autumn anime season picks for the blog and start on a massive backlog of reviews including one from last year’s Raindance and this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I also completed Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology on the PSP. Truthfully, I was ready to complete it long ago but I stopped playing it because it was not that much fun. Time to start playing Star Ocean: First Departure. No Space Dandy and Scarletmovies watched this week. As far as anime goes, I watched all of the latest episodes from my summer picks – the Space Dandy episode Lovers Are Trendy, Baby, was fun and heart-breaking. Scarlet and Dandy made such a good couple. Tokyo Ghoul is getting even more exciting and over the top and Barakamon is maintaining its high quality brilliance but the biggest investment in time, attention and effort for me happened when I started watching the anime adaptation of Monster again, a mature and dark anime I rate highly. 70+ episodes and it is worth it!

This week I posted about the London Film Festival and Takashi Miike’s latest horror title, As the God’s Will which is released next month.

What’s released this weekend in Japan? Lots of excellent films, much like last year’s September!

Continue reading “Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends, Honey Flappers, Maiko wa Lady, Umi wo Kanjiru Toki (When I Sense the Sea), Murder Workshop, Cardfight!! Vanguard The Movie: Neon Messiah, Atorie Iroiro (Atelier of Variety), Club Andalusia Ginza Namiki Street, The Pinkie Japanese Film Trailers”

Japan Cuts 2014 Preview

Japan Cuts Logo

New York, New York, what a wonderful town. I have never wanted to live in New York as much as I did after reading the line-up for Japan Cuts 2014.

The Japan Society will host a series of awesome Japanese films from July 10th to July 29th with titles like Sion Sono’s ultra-violent black comedy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? coupled with crime thriller The Devil’s Path and recent (controversial) World War II blockbuster The Eternal Zero. These are just some of the headline titles, there are even more listed, many of which were released in the last few weeks and some of which are crazy and bizarre and speak to the sharp and unique sense of cinema that the curators have – respect has to be paid for the programming of the documentaries on this list. There’s definitely something for everyone! Here’s a trailer:

I am blown away by the titles and the guests that have been announced with many actors coming over for Q&As (FUMI NIKAIDO!!!). For a fan of cinema in general and Japanese cinema in particular, this is a festival rich with great films and events!

Here’s a list of the films and trailers with comments from me. Click on the title for more info such as times and buying tickets. Tickets are already on sale!

 

Thursday July 10th, Opening Night

 

6 P.M.

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji   The Mole Song Film Poster

Japanese Title: 土竜の唄 潜入捜査官 REIJI

Romaji: Mogura no Uta Sennuu Sosakan REIJI

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Kudo Kankuro (Screenplay), Noboru Takahashi (Original Manga)

Starring: Toma Ikuta, Ren Osugi, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Riisa Naka, Takayuki Yamada, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

This is based on a comedy manga by Noboru Takahashi and directed by Takashi Miike (For Love’s Sake). The film has a great cast of characters like Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), Ren Osugi (Exte) and Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish). It seems like a great way to open the film festival since it looks absolutely funny.

Reiji Kikukawa (Ikuta) has a strong sense of justice but graduates at the bottom of his class from the police academy. He is so useless his superiors send him on what should be a suicide mission. First the police chief fires him for disciplinary issues and then sets him up as a mole in the Sukiyaki gang, the largest crime group in the Kanto area. His target is Shuho Todoroki, the boss, and so Reiji goes through hell to get his man!

 

8:30 P.M.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Running Time: 126 mins

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

Sion Sono blew my mind with this one. After a short run of issue films like the critically lauded Himizu and The Land of Hope, he made this hilarious and blood-thirsty film which was both entertainment and a love letter to cult films and yakuza classics. I found it absolutely hilarious and one of the best films of last year.

Muto (Kunimura) and Ikegami (Tsutsumi) are rival gangsters who despise each other especially since Muto’s wife Shizue (Tomochika) butchered a boss in Ikegami’s gang. She gets sent to prison which jeopardises her daughter’s acting career. Ten years later and days before Shizue is due to be released, Muto is desperate to make his daughter a big-screen star as a reward for Shizue’s loyalty and kidnaps Koji (Hoshino), a timid passer-by who is mistaken for being a film director.

When dealing with gangsters you don’t mess about so Koji recruits the help of a mad-cinephile Hirata (Hasegawa) who dreams of being a movie director and has a ragtag film crew named The Fuck Bombers. Hirata seizes his chance and loses his mind as he casts Mitsuko in a fictional gang war but it soon goes wrong when it turns real.

Introduction and Q&A with actress Fumi Nikaido (I so want to be in her presence!!!)

Followed by the LET’S PLAY IN HELL Opening Night Party!

Continue reading “Japan Cuts 2014 Preview”

Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2014

The 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam launches on January 22nd and finishes on February 02nd. The line-up of Asian films has been revealed and there are strong titles from Japan. A lot of these have played at other festivals but there are some really great indie titles. There are quite a lot and the choice is so great! Enough from me, here’s the selection!

Rotterdam Film Festival 2014

The Pinkie

Running Time: 65 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryota Ozawa, Miwako Wagatsuma, Haruka Suenaga, Kanji Tsuda

Wow, this looks like a lot of fun which is why I put it first. It comes from Lisa Takeba who was at last year’s festival with a short film about an alien private detective who is wandering around earth. If that sounds a little random, this one reads a lot more interesting as it looks like a mash-up of anime, film and Japanese pop culture and fashion where a female stalker has her way with the guy of her dreams. Lisa Takeba has a background in advertising and writing videogames so she’s got a lot of experience with different styles to work with! It stars Miwako Wagatsuma who is an actress worth tracking because she is taking on interesting roles as can be seen from her filmography which includes Guilty of Romance, The End of Puberty, sentimental Yasuko, Kuro and Shing Shing Shing.

Since they were both five, Ryosuke has been stalked by Momoko – the ugliest girl in the village. Momoko’s love for Ryosuke is so boundless that she has her face surgically altered to suit his taste – but still he wants nothing to do with her. Ryosuke is more interested in the girlfriend of a gangster boss. But when the boss finds out about their affair, he has Ryosuke’s little finger hacked off. Magically, the finger falls into Momoko’s hands, and she uses it to clone Ryosuke, so she can finally have him (or almost him) for herself – and that’s the first five minutes.

 

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2014”