The Fable ザ・ファブル Dir: Kan Eguchi (2019) [New York Asian Film Festival 2019]

The Fable    The Fable Film Poster

ザ・ファブル  Za Faburu

Release Date: June 21st, 2019

Duration: 123 mins.

Director: Kan Eguchi

Writer: Yusuke Watanabe (Screenplay), Katsuhisa Minami (Original Manga)

Starring: Junichi Okada, Fumino Kimura, Koichi Sato, Mizuki Yamamoto, Kai Inowaki, Jiro Sato, Sota Fukushi, Ken Mitsuishi, Yuya Yagira, Ken Yasuda,

Website IMDB

Katsuhisa Minami’s seinen manga The Fable has been serialised in Weekly Young Magazine since 2014 and it won the general category of the 41st Kodansha Manga Awards in 2017. Its straight shooting story of a hit-man’s travails is mostly down-to-earth in art style and narrative for a manga. Its hard-boiled nature is supported by characters drawn with natural proportions engaging in fisticuffs and gunfights, the seriousness subverted by dashes of satire thanks to unique personality traits harboured by different people. A movie version is a natural progression but to make it engaging it will need a cast and crew to capture the comedic and action parts of the story.

The Fable (Junichi Okada) is actually the name of a contract killer operating in the Tokyo underworld. His ability to kill is almost preternatural and it is shown with visual pizzazz in the bombastic opening where he takes out two gangs in a fancy sky-rise restaurant. Efficient shooting and movement, short and sharp physical strikes and an aura of something unstoppable is what defines him and overpowers his opponents. All tumble down before him in action scenes excitingly delivered by director Kan Eguchi who favours quick editing, kinetic camerawork and exploding sets to bolster the slick action choreography. Eguchi doubles-down on the style by showing the mental calculations Fable makes through cute on-screen text and illustrations that get shattered by the bullets the killer sends flying.

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Pink and Gray ピンクとグレー Dir: Isao Yukisada (2015)

Pink and Gray   

Pink and Gray Film Poster
Pink and Gray Film Poster

ピンクとグレー Pinku to gure-

Release Date: January 09th, 2015

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Isao Yukisada

Writer: Ryuta Horai, Isao Yukisada (Screenplay), Shigeaki Kato (Original Novel)

Starring: Yuto Nakajima, Masaki Suda, Kaho, Yuya Yagira, Yukino Kishii, Makita Sports, Jingi Irie,

Website    IMDB

The first casualty of fame is typically friendship as changing personalities, lifestyles and goals tear apart relationships. It is a familiar subject in film and audiences will be able to spot jealousy and arrogance rearing their heads and causing ructions between characters before hoping that all problems will be solved and friendship healed by the end. Shigeaki Kato, a young idol with the boyband NEWS (signed to the label/idol factory Johnny’s Entertainment) wrote this type of story in his 2012 novel of the same name but it features a twist that gives it a little freshness and director Isao Yukisada (Crying Out Love in the Centre of the Earth, Go, Aroused by Gymnopedies).

The film opens with scenes from a ballet and a suicide. As the ballet climaxes we see a popular actor named Rengo Shiraki (Yuto Nakajima) hang himself. His best friend Daiki Kawata (Masaki Suda) enters the scene in the aftermath. Daiki is left facing a beautiful corpse and six wills that have been left on a nearby coffee table. An accompanying note written by Rengo apologises and informs Daiki that he must choose one will but before we know what the wills contain we are taken back in time to their first meeting.

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Destruction Babies ディストラクション・ベイビーズ Dir: Tetsuya Mariko (2016)

Destruction Babies   

destruction-babies-film-poster
destruction-babies-film-poster

ディストラクション・ベイビーズ 「Deisutorakushon Beibi-zu

Running Time: 108 mins.

Director:  Tetsuya Mariko

Writer: Tetsuya Mariko, Kohei Kiyasu (Screenplay),

Starring: Yuya Yagira, Masaki Suda, Nana Komatsu, Nijiro Murakami, Sosuke Ikematsu, Denden,

Website IMDB

Writer-director Tetsuya Mariko’s fourth feature film is a realistic take on the idea of anger begetting more anger with nothing to break the cycle as a teen named Taira terrifies Shikoku with a wave of violence that draws a variety of innocents and other outsiders into a twisted game.

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