Third Window Films Release The Story of Yonosuke

Third Window Films follow up last month’s release of the ultra-brilliant “Shady” with a more heart-warming human drama about the power of friendship called “The Story of Yonosuke“. As I made clear in my review, I liked it a lot. Here are the release details:

The Story of Yonosuke

The Story of Yonosuke DVD Case

A film by Shuichi Okita (The Woodsman & the Rain)
Based on a novel by Shuichi Yoshida (Villain, Parade)

Japan / 2013 / 160 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2014 Line-Up

Japan Foundation Japanese Cinema Depicting Youth

The Japan Foundation have announced their Touring Film Programme for 2014 and it goes under the name of East Side Stories Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth. It aims to offer ‘an enlightening and expansive introduction to Japanese cinema through showing features that focus on ‘youth’ and a variety of films which show a “vast variety of styles ad tones” and take “a broad look at how the adults of tomorrow have been portrayed in Japanese cinema over the years.”

The festival runs from January 31st to March 27th 2014. The festival starts in London at the ICA and then heads out to various regions including Belfast (Queens Film Theatre), Bristol (Watershed), Dundee (Dundee Contemporary Arts), Edinburgh (Filmhouse), Newcastle Upon Tyne (Tyneside Cinema), Nottingham (Broadway), and Sheffield (Showroom Workstation).

The line-up of films for the opening week at the ICA looks awesome and I intend to head to London and the ICA for weekend of February 01st,02nd when most of them are screened. I’m particularly psyched for Love Strikes! Because it has gorgeous Japanese actresses… Uh, I mean great comedy… Shindo and Parade for the great acting.

Here are the films (the English titles are the links to the pages):

 

The Drudgery Train                       Drudgery Train Movie Poster               

Japanese Title:  苦役 列車

Romaji: Kueki Ressha

Release Date: July 14th, 2012

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Writer: Shinji Imaoka (Screenplay), Kenta Nishimura (Original Work)

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Kengo Kora, Atsuko Maeda, Makita Sports, Tomorowo Taguchi, Mamiko Ito, Miwako Wagatsuma, Shohei Uno, Hiroshi Sato, Asuka Ishii, Kouji Tsujimoto

I reviewed this film back in September and it was released last year. I enjoyed it a lot, finding it a rewarding watch what with its tough to like character. Drudgery Train comes from Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda), and is based on Kenta Nishimura’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Kueki Ressha which is based on his own experiences. This character-study stars Mirai Moriyama (Fish on Land, Fish Story), Kengo Kora (The Woodsman and the Rain, Norwegian Wood), and former AKB 48 leader Atsuko Maeda (Tamako in Moratorium, The Suicide Song).

Kanta Kitamichi (Moriyama) is a 19-year-old junior high drop out with a love for alcohol and peep shows. He works as a labourer in a warehouse and he has no friends and wastes his days doing very little apart from reading mystery novels and getting drunk. Then he meets Shoji Kusakabe (Kora), a new hire at the warehouse. The two become friends and Kanta reveals he has a crush on a girl named Yasuko (Maeda) who works in a book store. She takes a shine for the two guys but as the three live their lives differences appear… Can Kanta’s new-found friendships last?

Continue reading “The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2014 Line-Up”

The Story of Yonosuke 横道世之介 (2013)

Genki The Story of Yonosuke Review Header Yonosuke (Kora)

The Story of Yonosuke                      A Story of Yonosuke Film Poster

Japanese Title: 横道世余之介

Romaji: Yokomichi Yonosuke

Release Date: February 23rd, 2013 (Japan)

UK Release Date: N/A

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 160 mins.

Director: Shuichi Okita

Writer: Shiro Maeda (Screenplay), Shuichi Yoshida (Original Novel)

Starring: Kengo Kora, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ayumi Ito, Gou Ayano, Arata, Kimiko Yo, Aki Asakura, Mei Kurokawa, Tasuku Emoto, Aimi Satsukawa, Keiko Horiuchi, Noriko Eguchi,

I was made a fan of Shuichi Okita after watching The Woodsman & the Rain, a film which is a wonderfully observed and rather touching comedy about the art of filmmaking and human bonds. Despite potentially weighty subjects I found it was an amusing and gratifying film that worked through its great characters and well-observed dry comedy. Okita is back a year after that film with a more complex one as he directs Shiro (Isn’t Anyone Alive?) Maeda’s adaptation of Shuichi’s Yoshida’s novel which flits between different time periods with a large cast of characters stretching between the ’80s and now.

The Story of Yonosuke Arrival in Tokyo (Kora)Tokyo 1987, Yonosuke Yokomichi (Kora) has left a small port city and lumbers into Tokyo to attend university. It blows his mind. There are huge buildings covered with ads for Sony and Kiss Mint gum, he sees amateur idol groups performing J-pop on the street and fashionable people everywhere.

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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.

Genkina Hito Previews Japanese Film/Anime Releases in the UK in 2013 Part 2 Film

Aiko Genki Jason 2013 Preview Banner

2012 was an extraordinarily great year for Japanese film fans in the UK what with the film festivals getting awesome titles like Ai to Makoto and Key of Life as well as Third Window Films releasing a plethora of classic and new titles like the Tetsuo boxed set and Kotoko(which turned out to be a group of very popular posts for this blog) and supporting Sion Sono’s latest releases. That was just on the live-action front because Kaze have shown some gumption in acquiring the rights to the Berserk movie trilogy and even going as far as giving them a theatrical release!

What are the films we should be looking forward to in the next year? Well this is hardly an exhaustive list but I hope to give a heads up as to when some great titles are about to drop!

Third Window Films

Third Window Films (TWF) have built up an impressive catalogue of titles, turning away from big-budget flicks (apart from Villain) and focussing on indie titles. There are a great selection of Sion Sono films like Cold Fish and Himizu available from them as well as titles like Kamikaze Girls and Fine, Totally Fine and I have not mentioned some of the Korean films they released like Guns and Talks, No Blood, No Tears (expect another Korean movie season with reviews for them!). Quite frankly, if Third Window Films did not exist Asian movie fans in the UK would be quite bereft of sources for some of the best and up to date films coming out of the Far East.

What is on the cards for 2013?

Serpent's Path PosterThe first two major titles that have caught my eye (and got a post) are Eyes of the Spider and Serpent’s Path (released on June 24th) from the genius that is Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I would like to think that a brief post-Himizu screening chat with Adam about Kurosawa’s films prompted him to pick up the rights to the films but that would be too Eyes of the Spider Posterfanciful. Anyway these two films were low-budget gangster revenge films films that Kurosawa made two weeks with the same cast. Both films feature notable actors Sho Aikawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Dankan and Yurei Yanaga, all three of whom would pop up in later Kurosawa films (Aikawa had a cameo as a priest in Séance Dankan appeared in Pulse while Kagawa provided a stunning lead performance in Tokyo Sonata.

I still cannot find a trailer for either Serpent’s Path or Eyes of the Spider despite searching in English and Japanese. I will have to emigrate to Niconico. Anyway, I keep threatening to purchase Kurosawa’s unerotic pink-film and I might just as it is available…

The other major release for 2013 is…

Continue reading “Genkina Hito Previews Japanese Film/Anime Releases in the UK in 2013 Part 2 Film”