Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2017

Welcome to my top ten films of 2017.

The Long Excuse Mistress

LAst year was dominated by work/fun at two festivals. There was the Osaka Asian Film Festival at the start of the year while I was in Japan and the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2017 during the autumn when I returned to the UK. Both experiences were great because I got to do what I love the most, writing about films. I also got to work with some really great people and made friends. I have to say thank you to all of them. I hope these people stay with me. As far as I’m concerned, they have my loyalty for what it’s worth. Once I got back from Japan, I made sure to take my family to see as many films as possible. Going to the cinema was something we already did as a family but spending more time together is important. As a result of all this activity, I saw lots of films this year. Due to the type of films I cover or circumstances or pure choice, I flit between years so not everything has been released in 2017. Here’s an article on VCinema I contributed to about a year in cinema and here are my top ten for 2017:

I hope you discover something in this list that interests you.

I’ve updated my Top Ten Films page for these entries.

FINAL JUSTICE

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The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue 夜空はいつでも最高密度の青色だ (2017) Dir: Yuya Ishii

The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blueyozora-wa-itsudemo-saiko-mitsudo-no-aoiro-da-film-poster

夜空はいつでも最高密度の青色だ Yozora wa Itsudemo Saiko Mitsudo no Aoiro da   

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii (Screenplay), Tahi Saihate (Original Poet)

Starring: Shizuka Ishibashi, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ryo Sato, Takahiro Miura, Mikako Ichikawa, Ryuhei Matsuda, Paul Magsalin, Tetsushi Tanaka,

Website   IMDB

Yuya Ishii has gone from indie kid to director of award-winning adaptations of major books with films like Sawako Decides (2010), A Man with Style (2011), Mitsuko Delivers (2012), The Great Passage (2013). Despite the growth in projects, he has kept looking directly at his characters and in his incisive looks at human nature he spots the oddities and uniqueness of everyone regardless of the story and gets the actors to perform perfectly.

Here, he works with newbie actor Shizuka Ishibashi (later to star in Parks) and pairs her up with the more experienced Sosuke Ikematsu (How Selfish I Am!) and Ryuhei Matsuda (Nightmare Detective, My Little Sweet Pea) who was the lead in The Great Passage. The actors all portray characters caught up in the whirlwind world of Tokyo, a place which is fearsome or fantastically rewarding depending upon a person’s perspective. Film festival synopses paint the characters as alienated, stressed, and looking for relief from the everyday grind making the film sound grimdark. Far from being a miserable time, The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue is a tribute to the magic of Tokyo and the people living in it. It exhorts its audience to seize life and appreciate all the small blessings and all the positives, to work hard no matter the good times and bad times and embrace the people who offer love.

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A Preview of the Films at Japan Cuts 2017 (July 13th-23rd)

The 2017 edition of JAPAN CUTS, is the 11th since the creation of the festival and it takes place from July 13th to the 23rd.

Japan Cuts 2017 Banner

It is one of the best places not in Germany (Nippon Connection) or Holland (Camera Japan) to see the latest and most interesting contemporary films with experimental indies programmed alongside big-budget titles, as well as documentaries, shorts and recently restored classics. Not only is this a place to view films, the festival also hosts special guest filmmakers and stars, post-screening Q&As, parties and more. I have covered it in the past to help people get in contact with great films and this year’s edition has lots of great titles on offer that show the diversity of talents operating in the country and reveal that, contrary to what I have felt recently, the Japanese film industry has the potential to tell more than the same stories over and over (if only Japanese financiers could see beyond adapting manga and anime and take risks). Here’s more from the organisers of the festival:

For ten years, JAPAN CUTS’ richly diverse slates have offered audiences a window into the breadth and depth of contemporary Japanese cinema. This eleventh installment of JAPAN CUTS presents a wide-ranging selection of films across each programming section that reveal the multiplicity of identities and layers of culture that shape Japanese film today—including international co-productions and adaptations, new LGBTQ cinema, female directors, and deeply relevant histories of WWII and nuclear trauma.”

I have pulled together a preview of the full line-up from old previews I have written and from the festival’s website to show potential audience members that there is so much worth going to see. Thanks go out to the people at Japan Society New York for making things a easier and creating the event!

Over the Fence_main

I hope this helps inform you about the films and inspires you to go and see some and if you do, please come back and tell me what you think. You might also want to check out the Japanese films screening at the New York Asian Film Festival. After a long period of writing news stories, I will be writing reviews for various films that have screened and will be screening at various festivals and ones in my collection.

Here’s the full line-up:

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