Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 Preview

The Japan Foundation has announced their Touring Film Programme for 2015 and for the 12th festival the title is, “It Only Happens in the Movies?”

Japan Foundation It Only Happens in the Movies


The festival runs from January 30th to March 26th and it aims to provide “an exciting programme of films under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’.” Each film has characters who experience “unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas.”

The film line-up has a huge variety of styles, genres, and tones covered from comedy to serious drama and films from various eras with an adult drama set in1950s Japan all the way to one about teens in uni falling in love in contemporary Japan.

Here are the films, scroll down for trailers and more details (the English titles are the links to the pages so click on them for more info):

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 Preview”

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”

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Live, My Pretend Girlfriend, Wood Job!, A2-B-C, Eiga Panpaka Pantsu Bananan Okoku no Hiho, Dystonia, Ressha Daikoushin The ☆Movie Shinkansen to Wakuwaku Densha dai shugo, Yoshinaka densetsu Yoshinaka ana, We’re a Bounty Hunter Team, Iwaki Noto Fukushima Voice, Renai manga wa yayakoshi atsumare! Koisuru mosozoku, Recently Butterfly… Japanese Film Trailers

Nijiro Murakami Still the WaterMy long week at work is about to end and I’m about to start a short four day holiday where I prep for my Japanese exam. I’ve already had my speaking test where I introduced this blog to my class and traumatised people with trailers for Suicide Club, Cure: The Power of Suggestion and others. Next week is my final exam and I have spent most of this week studying. The only anime/film related thing I have done is to watch Ping Pong The Animation and Crystal Blaze and post more about this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival (new info on the guests). Enough from me, here are the trailers for the films released for this week in Tokyo! I’m going to shuffle off and go back to studying.


Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro   Lupin III Castle of Cagliostro Film Poster

Japanese Title:ルパン三世 カリオストロの城

Romaji: Rupan Sansei Kariosutoro no Shiro

Running Time: 96 mins

Release Date: May 09th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Yasuo Otsuka (Screenplay), Haruya Yamazaki, Hayao Miyazaki (Script), Monkey Punch (Original Manga)

Starring: Yasuo Yamada (Arsene Lupin III), Makio Inoue (Goemon Ishikawa), Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Jigen Daisuke), Goro Naya (Inspector Zenigata), Eiko Masuyama (Fujiko Mine), Sumi Shimamoto (Lady Clarisse de Cagliostro)

Film of the weekend, everybody else go home! This is the remaster of the CLASSIC, Castle of Cagliostro. It’s getting screened in cinemas across Japan and there will be reissues of the original 1979 poster and pamphlet for the film. We all know the story (or should know), Lupin and best-pal/partner in crime Jigen, search for a counterfeiter who has rendered their latest casino heist a waste of time. They discover that the counterfeiter is in the secluded country of Cagliostro and that a wicket count is holding a beautiful and innocent princess in a tower… I love this anime and I’d recommend it as one of a number of entry titles for those not familiar with Japanese animation. It’s definitely one of Miyazaki’s best.


  Continue reading “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Live, My Pretend Girlfriend, Wood Job!, A2-B-C, Eiga Panpaka Pantsu Bananan Okoku no Hiho, Dystonia, Ressha Daikoushin The ☆Movie Shinkansen to Wakuwaku Densha dai shugo, Yoshinaka densetsu Yoshinaka ana, We’re a Bounty Hunter Team, Iwaki Noto Fukushima Voice, Renai manga wa yayakoshi atsumare! Koisuru mosozoku, Recently Butterfly… Japanese Film Trailers”