Japan Academy Awards 2014 Results

The 37th Japan Academy Prize results were announced on Friday and two films, Like Father, Like Son and The Great Passage, dominated the proceedings.

37th Japanese Academy Awards

The Great Passage, the film about the making of a dictionary which turned out to be a lot more funnier than anticipate, allowed the cast and staff to win the prizes for best picture, best director (Yuya Ishii), best screenplay (Kensaku Watanabe), best art and editing and for best actor (Ryuhei Matsuda).

The Great Passage Kaguya and Majime

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The Ravine of Goodbye さよなら渓谷 (2013)

Genki The Ravine of Goodbye Review Banner

The Ravine of Goodbye             The Ravine of Goodbye Film Poster

Japanese Title: さよなら渓谷

Romaji: Sayonara Keikoku

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013 (Japan)

Seen at the BFI London Film Festival 2013

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Tatsushi Omori

Writer: Shuichi Yoshida (Novel), Tatsushi Omori (Screenplay)

Starring: Yoko Maki, Shima Onishi, Nao Omori, Anne Suzuki, Arata, Hirofumi Arai, Mayu Tsuruta

SPOILER WARNINGS IN EFFECT I have done as much as possible to avoid major spoilers for this mystery drama, even going as far as altering plot synopses from older posts where I mention this film but there are still some spoilers. The official festival synopsis and trailers give a lot away but whether you know the twists or turns is pretty irrelevant because at its heart is a story about sexual violence and witnessing the suffering caused to characters is gruelling and quite affecting. It may be better to watch the film and come back if you are still interested.

A boy has been killed in a valley dense with trees and his mother, Satomi Tachibana, is the prime suspect. As the press besiege her house the police arrive to arrest her.

 Genki-The-Ravine-of-Goodbye-Press-Mob

Meanwhile her neighbours, factory worker Shunsuke Ozaki (Onishi) and his wife Kanako (Maki), a convenience store worker, seem to be uninvolved. Apparently a happy couple, the two try their best to ignore the press and carry on with their lives. 

 The Ravine of Goodbye Image Stare

As the police are investigating the murder rumours emerge that Satomi is romantically involved with Shunsuke Ozaki (Onishi).

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Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2013

Genki Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Banner

Canada has two awesome film festivals at this time of year. The first is the Toronto International Film Festival and the second is the Vancouver International Film Festival. The line-up for Vancouver looks pretty good although a lot of the films have already been screened at events like London. I didn’t cover the Japanese films at Vancouver last year but I did follow the coverage (Amusing! Insightful!) from great cinebloggers Goregirl and Bonjour Tristesse so check in on them every day of the festival to see what they thought. There are some little gems here in terms of the Japanese line-up so let’s take a look.

Like Father, Like Son                          Like Father Like Son Cannes Poster

Japanese Title: そして 父 に なる

Romaji: Soshite Chichi ni Naru

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay)

Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Jun Fubuki, Keita Ninomiya, Lily Franky, Jun Kunimura, Kiki Kirin, Isao Natsuyagi

Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father Like Son won an award for Cannes and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival will be screened at the BFI London Film Festival. Awesome. It’s worth making a trip out not just because of the awards buzz but the fact that Koreeda is a great filmmaker. A modern-day Ozu with his interest in family life. The film stars Masaharu Fukuyama (Suspect X), Machiko Ono (EurekaThe Floating Castle), Yoko Maki (InfectionThe Grudge), Lily Franky (Afro Tanaka), Jun Fubuki (SéanceRebirth) Kirin Kiki (Kiseki) and Jun Kunimura (OutrageVital) and Isao Natsuyagi (The Land of HopeWarm Water Under a Red Bridge).

 

Successful architect Ryota (Fukuyama) and his wife Midori (Ono) have a happy family life with their six-year-old son Keita (Nonomiya) but a phone call from the hospital informing them of the fact that their child was mixed up with another at birth shatters their happiness. Their birth-son Ryusei has been raised by a poorer but more easy-going family run by Yudai (Franky) and Yukari (Maki) Saiki. Ryota and Midori must decide whether to hand over the son they have carefully raised for the last six years and take back their biological son or not.

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Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2013

Genki BFI London Film Festival 2013 Banner

The 57th BFI London Film Festival is running from Wednesday 09th October to Sunday 20th October, a mere week after the end of the Raindance Film Festival. The London Film Festival programme was announced earlier today and the Japanese selection is rather good. The big news for me is that Sion Sono’s latest film, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? has been selected to play! Other entries include Yuya Ishii’s Great Passage and Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son. The latter was probably the most obvious choie for inclusion but it’s great to see Ishii getting noticed.

Here are the films (click on the titles for more info like dates and times):

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

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is coming to the UK? OHMYGOD! YES! SONOOOOOO is here and the day is won. So does this prove that if I cry loud enough and often enough about something, some big festival will pick it up? Because I posted about three different versions of the trailer before it was screened at Venice and then Toronto and finally London. I’m a Sion Sono fan and while I may not be the most eloquent, handsome or talented, I at least try to keep track of what he’s doing and covering his titles so it’s gratifying to see that in the year of release I get to see it and on the big screen.  I get to see the blood slide on screen!

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Blood-Slide-with-Mitsuko-(Nikaidou)

He has had a short run of issue films. The critically lauded Himizu and The Land of Hope are serious dramas that look at the after-effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and radiation in Japan. Now he’s back making entertainment films like Love Exposure and Strange Circus , films that play with cinematic techniques, genre tropes, the audience and are bloody fun. The festival page has this descriptive line: “ingenious slice of high-octane insanity that is both a fresh take on the yakuza film and an affectionate tribute to the death of celluloid.” It forgot to mention the blood slide and the fact it’s probably God-tier entertainment as other reviewers have noted. Check out Bonjour Tristesse’s coverage of the critical reaction from the Venice Film Festival for more. Let’s go!

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 and 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 and recruits 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 gets a cinephile friend named 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.

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The Ravine of Goodbye, To Cry a 100 Times, Shady, Remiges, Ghost in the Shell: Arise border 1 Ghost Pain, Movie Version BUCK-TICK Firecrackers Phenomenon II, It’s a Glass Mask But… Love of a Woman Spy!, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

HitagiWell my holiday came to an end and it was back to work and I haven’t been as busy as this week had me. I got a bit of a surprise this week as well when I collected my post and excitedly got my Bakemonogatari DVD (just released in the UK) then checked my emails and saw a press release from the UK distributor asking AUKN to report that the Bakemonogatari set has the wrong discs in thanks to a mix up with the manufacturer. I now have Shakugan no Shana II instead of Bakemonogatari. It’s pretty bland. I want my Bakemonogatari. I want Hitagi Senjougahara.

The week opened with my Summer Anime Season Picks on this blog and on Anime UK News. I feel sad about the spring season passing but the summer shows I picked look pretty good. I followed up with a post showing the auditions for Sion Sono’s latest film Tokyo Tribes and a lot of the trailers were fun rather than cringe-worthy.

What films are released today?

The Ravine of Goodbye               The Ravine of Goodbye Film Poster

Japanese Title: さよなら渓谷

Romaji: Sayonara Keikoku

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Tatsushi Omori

Writer: Shuichi Yoshida (Novel), Tatsushi Omori (Screenplay)

Starring: Yoko Maki, Shima Onishi, Nao Omori, Arata, Hirofumi Arai, Anne Suzuki, Jyo Hyuga

Tatsushi Omori is an interesting director. He’s worked on The Whispering of the Gods and Tada’s Do-It-All House, two interesting films, the first a drama and the second a comedy. His latest flick is Bozo which stood out as being a grim take on the real life incident of a loser who goes on a murder-spree. Omori’s name should be better known amongst cinephiles. This is his latest film and he’s adapted a novel by Shuichi Yoshida, the man who wrote Villain, Parade and The Story of Yonosuke, all three of which were turned into films. As the trailer shows this is going to be an emotionally intense film full of tears and shouting. The plot sounds really melodramatic and it makes me want to see this on the big screen! I’m also interested because the acting talent is immense with the director’s brother, Nao Omori who is a bloody good actor considering his roles – Ichi the Killer, Vibrator, Mushishi,  Rampo Noir – Yoko Maki (Infection, The Grudge) Anne Suzuki (she had a bit-part as a waitress in Himizu but was so beautiful I remember her clearly!) and Arata (After Life).

In a valley dense with trees a baby is killed and it’s mother, Satomi Tachibana (Suzuki) is the primes suspect. As the police are investigating the murder they are informed that Satomi is romantically involved with her next door neighbour Shunsuke Ozaki (Onishi), a man who seems to be happily married to his wife Kanako (Maki). Magazine reporter Watanabe (Omori) digs into the case to find out the real story and discovers that a strange connection exists between Kanako and Shunsuke which changes his perception of the truth.

To Cry a 100 Times                               To Cry a 100 Times Film Poster

Japanese Title: 100 回 泣くこと

Romaji: 100 Kai Naku Koto

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Ryuichi Hirok

Writer: Shuichi Yoshida (Novel), Ko Nakamura, Izumi Takahashi (Screenplay)

Starring: Tadayoshi Okra, Mirei Kiritani, Rie Tomosaka, Shugo Oshinari, Haru, Ren Osugi, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Jun Murakami

And now for something completely different. This looks incredibland to me, a person who has grown up on horror and action. I guess regular dorama viewers will fit in perfectly but the trailer and plot put me off. The central couple looks so cute. The settings are picture perfect. The music is a cheesy ballad. The strange thing is that fact that it’s directed by Ryuichi Hiroki (River, April Bride) who usually makes more interesting dangerous films so forgive me if I say that this looks like a project designed to buy him a new boat. But maybe I’m wrong. There are great actors here like Jun Murakami (Land of Hope), and Ren Osugi (Exte) and recent discoveries like Haru (See You Tomorrow, Everyone) and Yoshiko Miyaaki (Detroit Metal City)… This could be secretly great and another look at the trailer will convince me… Or maybe they all want boats as well. Perhaps they all have memberships at the same yacht club. I’m not convinced. The next trailer better be an awesome action movie.

Shichichi (Okura) had a motorcycle accident 4 years ago and slost a year from his memory. While at a friend’s wedding, Shuichi meets Yoshimi (Kiritani) and the two fall for each other. Shuichi even considers trying to wife Yoshimi until she becomes sick and reveals a sad truth lost in Shuichi’s memory…

No action movies. I just checked the rest of the releases and it’s all dramas and documentaries. They look good.

 

Shady                                                                            Shady Film Poster

Japanese Title: かしこい狗は、吠えずに笑う

Romaji: Kashikoi Inu wa, Hoezu ni Warau

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: Ryohei Watanabe

Writer: Ryohei Watanabe (Screenplay)

Starring: mimpi * β, Izumi Okamura, Isao Nakazawa, Gota Ishida, Ayumi Seko

The first post Alua made for 2013 contained the trailer for this film and I commented on it stating that:

“I liked the trailer for Shady. It reminds me of the K-horror Memento Mori. I’ll make Gifs out of that…” Genki Jason 

Ah, the things I promise to do. Well I have made a Gif which is at the bottom of this post. What? You want to know about the film that reminded me of Memento Mori?

Okay, this is an award winning youth drama about Misa Kumada (mimpi * β), an outcast at her school who hates the place but would like to get closer to Izumi Kiyose (Okamura). The two develop bonds of friendship but the seemingly angelic Kiyose has quite a dark side. Do I still want to see it? Yes. Thankfully Third Window Films have acquired it for UK distribution!

 

Remiges                                                  Remiges Film Poster

Japanese Title: 風切羽 かざきりば

Romaji: Kazekiribane ka Zakiriba

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013

Running Time: 88 mins.

Director: Masato Ozawa

Writer: Masato Ozawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Mika Akzuki, Junki Tozuka, Maiko Kawakami, Osamu Shigematu, Yuki Terada, Futoshi Sato, Nobuyuk Ishida, Michiko Godai

Remiges? A flight of feathers of a bird’s wing. A bleakie road movie… I have to invoke the name of Alua again because this is her type of film. Abuse, bullying, horrible parents and the trauma that has created in lead character Sayako which leads to an interesting character study. It looks to get even more interesting when Sayako hooks up with another outcast named Kenta. The film actually gets a bit of a playful tone when he enters but such things don’t last in the real world. With its outsider pair it reminds me of Aku no Hana only Kenta isn’t a spineless nothing like Kasuga. Damn, I want to Gif this as well. Lead actress Mika Akizuki starred in Another while lead actor Junki Tozuka appeared in Helter Skelter. Those two look really good (especially when compared to that film about crying 100’s of times or whatever…)

Sayako (Akizuk) was abused by her mother as a young child and has lived in a foster care facility with the emotional scars since then. She’s now a senior in high school and wants to attend a ballet school but she needs her parents to pay the tuition fees and so she turns to her father but he betrays her and pushes Sayako over the edge. She skips out on the foster care facility to search for her mother and sister but runs into another lost soul named Kenta (Tozuka) who cycles through town asking random people if they know him.

Continue reading “The Ravine of Goodbye, To Cry a 100 Times, Shady, Remiges, Ghost in the Shell: Arise border 1 Ghost Pain, Movie Version BUCK-TICK Firecrackers Phenomenon II, It’s a Glass Mask But… Love of a Woman Spy!, and Other Japanese Film Trailers”