Your Friends きみの友だち Kimi no Tomodachi (2008)

Your Friends                                        Your Friend Poster

Japanese Title:  きみの友だち

Romaji: Kimi no Tomodachi

Release Date: July 26th, 2008

Running Time: 125 mins.

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki

Writer: Hiroshi Saito (Screenplay), Kiyoshi Shigematsu (Original Work)

Starring: Anna Ishibashi, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Ayu Kitaura, Seiji Fukushi, Naoyuki Morita, Nao Omori, Akira Emoto, Tomorowo Taguchi

A train cuts through expansive fields under wide blue skies. As it meanders along the track the landscape changes, the line edging through hills crowded with the houses of a quiet rural town in Japan. Once it reaches its destination off the train steps a journalist named Nakahara (Fukushi) who is heading to a school for disabled children with the intention of making a documentary of the place.

He tries taking pictures of the kids and interviewing them but the pupils are all shy around him and avoid answering questions. However, with their teachers they bounce around in class, giggle and get involved with lessons and display a sense of liveliness and excitability, ingenuity and originality in the way they see the world. One teacher in particular is very popular with the children and she catches the eye of Nakahara.

Genki-Kimi-no-Tomodachi-Nakahara-(Fukushi)-and-Emi-(Ishibashi)

Her name is Emi (Ishibashi), a young woman who attends college and volunteers at the school. She uses a crutch to walk and seems introverted but the kids adore her. One of the things she does is to take photographs of clouds and allow children to pick their favourite ones and take them home when they graduate.

Kimi no Tomodachi Emi (Ishibashi) and Nakahara (Fukukshi) and the Cloud Pictures

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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”