The Whispering Star  ひそひそ星 Dir: Sion Sono (2016)

The Whispering Star    

The Whispering Star Film Poster
The Whispering Star Film Poster

ひそひそ星「Hiso Hiso Boshi

Running Time: 101 mins.

Release Date: May 14th, 2016

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay)

Starring: Megumi Kagurazaka, Kenji Endo, Yuto Ikeda, Mori Kouko,

Website    IMDB

The Whispering Star was originally created and screened as part of an art exhibition which had the theme of dystopia running through it. That theme is more than adequately captured in this black fable about a robot travelling amidst the remnants of humanity. It was shot in different locations in Fukushima prefecture, turning depopulated and irradiated areas into a futuristic landscape that speaks of hopelessness, pollution, and abandonment delivered in slow sketches until the film ends on a touching note of human contact. It shows good control of material from Sion Sono but that’s to be expected from a man who has been in the industry since the 80s.

At the start of the film we learn that multiple nuclear disasters and other mistakes have forced people to migrate to the stars. Humans are scattered across a myriad of planets and are on the verge of extinction as their will to live and explore flickers out in the face of technology and ennui. What keeps people hanging on are robots with AI who operate an interplanetary delivery system, facilitating a new sort of human contact.

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Third Window Films Release “Whispering Star / The Sion Sono” on April 16th on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD

Regular readers of this blog will know that Sion Sono is a favourite director of mine so it is with some joy that I can report that Third Window Films are helping film fans get closer to one of the best directors in Japanese cinema with a release of his sci-fi arthouse film The Whispering Star which will be paired with the feature-length documentary The Sion Sono. The two will be released as a DUAL FORMAT blu-ray/dvd on April 16th.

Sion Sono, the director of Himizu, Love Exposure and Cold Fish

Check out the webpage over at the Third Window Film site for more details. Scroll down for trailers and details!

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Japan Cuts 2016 Preview

Japan Cuts 2016 Banner

Japan Cuts 2016 takes place from July 14th to the 24th and there are lots of familiar titles, many of which I’ll put as shorter entries to save space. However you cut it the line-up is really good with a diverse mixture of genres and stories. The guestlist is absolutely fantastic with the likes of Lily Franky, Atsuko Maeda, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sion Sono, and so many more talented filmmakers descending upon the festival! Here’s hoping Adam Torel of Third Window Films gets to attend the festival to introduce three films he has helped come into being. There’s also Japan Cuts Microcinema which sees some of the best short films from the last ten years played throughout the festival. Each film lasts around 30 minutes and people can jump in and watch whichever title takes their fancy between films. There’s also an interesting talk which analyses the Japanese film industry and how films get made.

What is on the programme, then? This is a quick preview but there’s a lot. I’ll break it down into sections and you can view trailers and more details for each on the films by clicking on the links:

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The Magnificent Nine, HK: Forbidden Super Hero the Abnormal Crisis, If Cats Disappeared From the World, The Whispering Star, Jonetsu tairiku Presents Sono Shion to iu ikimono, About My Liberty and other Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear audience!

Be the World for Her Film Image

I watched one film this week and that was Ran (1985) for the third time this year after watching it at a cinema for the first time ever. If you live in the UK you can watch it on BBC iPlayer – it screened on BBC Four! – for a day more (I should have reported on it being on iPlayer earlier). I have completed lots of writing because I want to spend the next few months studying. Two posts this week, one for Nippon Connection and another for a film screening at the Japanese embassy.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Magnificent Nine, HK: Forbidden Super Hero the Abnormal Crisis, If Cats Disappeared From the World, The Whispering Star, Jonetsu tairiku Presents Sono Shion to iu ikimono, About My Liberty and other Japanese Film Trailers”

2016 Nippon Connection Film Festival Preview

The 16th edition of the Japanese film festival Nippon Connection will take place in Frankfurt, Germany, from May 24th to the 29th. Over the course of six days audiences will get the chance to watch more than 100 short and feature films and this incudes indies, anime, blockbusters, and documentaries. This is the biggest festival dedicated to Japanese films and so filmmakers are going to attend the event to present their works.

On top of the films there are guests who are coming over from Japan so that means there are also workshops, lectures, panel discussions, performances, exhibitions, and there is also a Japanese market with food on sale. It’s a huge event with lots to see and do.

Good Stripes Film Image
Good Stripes Film Image

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Japanese Films at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2016

The Rotterdam International Film Festival has started and lasts from January 28th to February 07th and there is a large contingent of Japanese films programmed, quite possibly the largest I have seen in the few years I have been watching the event. There are a lot of great titles, some of which are considered the best films to be made in 2015 and there is a diverse range of stories. The festival plays host to animation from a range of artists and there are shorts from Takeshi Kitano. Some of these are red hot international premieres while some of the films have been screened at Canadian film festivals already, some in 2014 (so there’s a bit of copy and paste from previous festival trailer posts). As well as contemporary film, there is also a retrospective for the director Masao Adachi who worked during the 1960s.

Here are the films:

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Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015

Toronto International Film Festival 2015 Banner Logo

If you are in Canada you have three film festivals with Japanese films playing a significant part. Montreal (which I am not covering) has around twenty Japanese titles while Toronto has nine programmed and Vancouver has yet to announce any. I’ll be sticking to Toronto for the most part in this post.

I think the first thing I want to say is that the website is wonderfully designed and looks stylish. The information is easy to access unlike some other festival websites which are cluttered and hard to navigate and the use of images and white space is great.

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