The Osaka Asian Film Festival returns for 2018 bringing the best in independent Japanese and East Asian cinema to Japan’s second city. As usual the festival has brought together some of the most anticipated recent features from veteran filmmakers and first timers from across the region opening with Lee Joon-ik’s tale of colonial rebellion and closing with Japanese indie THE NAME.
- THE NAME – bankrupt businessman Masao discovers a new side to himself after encountering mysterious high school girl Emiko. Closing Night Gala.
- Bad Poetry Tokyo – 30-year-old Jun is an aspiring actress working as a hostess while waiting to fulfil the dreams she fears have already eluded her.
- Passage of Life – A young Burmese family try to make a life for themselves in Japan whilst remaining undocumented.
- Woozoo be Alright? – A Korean businessman gets sent to Osaka after his boss is lost in a shipwreck but ends up quitting his job to learn guitar from a Japanese girl.
- The Garden Apartment – Hikari and Taro are a young unmarried couple expecting a baby but financially insecure. Taro has been relying on an eccentric aunt for financial support but when Hikari is introduced to her she finds herself entering a whole new world.
- KUSHINA, what will you be – Kushina has lived in a woman only village deep in the forest all her life but her world is turned upside down when a wandering anthropologist discovers the village’s existence.
- The Path Leading to Love – alcoholic Shosuke ruins professional and personal possibilities through fear and insecurity but is forced to confront himself on discovering his mother is seriously ill.
- The Sower – Mitsuo returns to his family after being institutionalised for mental breakdown caused by the strain of helping those caught up in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami but a family tragedy soon provides another wave of emotional turbulence. Review.
- Still Life of Memories – In the latest from Hitoshi Yazaki, a photographer gets an unusual request to photograph the intimate areas of a female subject placing a strain on his romantic relationship.
- TOURISM – Daisuke Miyazaki’s Yamato (California) followup takes two Yamato girls to Singapore only to discover that even abroad they can’t leave Yamato behind.
- My Country My Home – Nan was born and raised in Japan but her dad is from Myanmar. When she finds out he intends to return and take her with him she finds out a little about her father’s history and her Burmese heritage.
- Anarchist from Colony – Lee Jook-ik tells the story of Korean anarchist Park Yeol and his Japanese wife who find themselves caught up in the anti-Korean hysteria in the aftermath of the 1923 Kanto earthquake. Review. Opening Night Gala.
- Daddy You, Daughter Me – Father/daughter bodyswap comedy inspired by Japanese novel Papa to Musume no Nanokakan.
- Bitch on the Beach – Hong Sang-soo-esque cineliterate comedy from actor/director Jeong Ga-yeong. Review.
A Better Tomorrow 2018 – Ding Sheng’s remake of the ’80s John Woo classic in which two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the law.
- In Your Dreams – 16-year-old Heng saves a woman from drowning in a swimming pool and becomes captivated by her loneliness.
- No. 1 Chung Ying Street – drama contrasting 1967 pro-China demonstrations against the British Government, and the Umbrella democratisation movement in present day Hong Kong.
- The Empty Hands – comedy from Chapman To in which a half-Japanese Hong Kong woman’s dreams of freedom from her father’s martial arts legacy are dashed when he leaves 51% of his dojo to another pupil who challenges her to a match for the right to win his controlling share.
- Love Off the Cuff – Jimmy and Cherie return for the third in Pang’s charming series of romantic comedies. Review.
- Made in Hong Kong – 4K restoration of Fruit Chan’s seminal tale of handover youth. Review.
- Somewhere Beyond the Mist – first narrative feature from documentarian Cheung King Wai in which a pregnant cop caring for a father with Alzheimer’s is charged with investigating the deaths of an elderly couple.
- The Bold, The Corrupt and the Beautiful – Madame Tang runs an antique shop in ’80s Taiwan which she uses as a front for her dodgy business dealings. Her daughter Ning reluctantly goes along with her scheming while granddaughter Chen watches in silence. When a neighbouring family is murdered, the trio begin to realise how precarious their situation really is.
- Take Me To the Moon – timeslip comedy in which a young man attempts to save his friend from a life decision that will eventually lead to both their deaths.
- A Dog’s Life – four stories of dogs!
- The Island That All Flow By – Chia-Wen loses her tollbooth job to technology while her teenage son gets into trouble with the law. Truck driver Chih-Hao offers to help, but not for free.
- Mr. and Mrs. Cruz – two tourists are mistaken for a married couple and keep up the pretence while enjoying a beautiful holiday romance.
- NEOMANILA – The latest from Mikhail Red is a tough tale of life on the streets of Duterte’s Manila.
- PAKI (Please, Care) – 70-year-old Alejandra decides to leave her husband of 50 years while her family struggle to accept her decision.
- Love You To The Stars And Back – Socially awkward Mika sets off on a journey to get abducted by aliens but ends up meeting Caloy who has lived a life of hardship but remains positive and agrees to help her in her quest.
- Posesif – Lala’s first love is derailed by a possessive boyfriend in this Indonesian drama.
- Pai Kau – Lucy’s dream wedding is threatened when her fiancé’s ex shows up unexpectedly.
Die Tomorrow – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit follows six residents of Bangkok on their last day on Earth.
The Tailor – a tale of dressmaking and family in ’60s Vietnam.
Underpants Thief – Sam seeks help for his compulsion to touch ladies’ undies and is advised to marry but his brother doesn’t want him to because he wants to inherit their family mansion and redevelop it into a hotel. Sam’s sister-in-law, however, has a different, more radical solution…
- The Forest Whispers – a village suffering a curse prays to the forest deity whereupon a mysterious woman arrives but when people start dying they wonder if she is a saviour or executioner.
- Poppy Goes to Hollywood Redux – homophobic street punk Mony takes refuge with his transgender sibling, a dancer in a gay club.
Think Big Big – a larger lady finds internet fame after entering a slimming competition but begins to lose sight of who she really is.
The Osaka Asian Film Festival takes place from 9th – 18th March, 2018. You can find full details and screening information for all the films on the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest festival news via the official Facebook Page, Twitter account, YouTube and Instagram channels.