The Osaka Asian Film Festival returns for its 15th edition from 6th to 15th March bringing with it some of the best in recent East Asian Cinema. This year’s edition will open with the Malaysian film The Garden of Evening Mists starring Hiroshi Abe as a reclusive Japanese gardener, and close with the anthology movie Kamata Prelude featuring four segments helmed by Japanese indie directors Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, and Hirobumi Watanabe.

China

  • Better Days – Derek Tsang’s Soul Mate followup stars Zhou Dongyu as a bullied young woman bonding with a bad boy played by boyband superstar Jackson Yee. Review.
  • Spring Tide – a repressed journalist is caught between her old school loyal to the party mother and cheerful daughter Yang Lina’s familial drama.
  • Wisdom Tooth – the close relationship between a brother and sister is threatened by his new girlfriend, her undocumented status, and a suspicious death at sea.

Hong Kong

  • Apart – melancholy student activist drama running from the Umbrella Movement to the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill protests.
  • Fagara – a young woman discovers the existence of two half-sisters, one from Taiwan and the other mainland China, following the death of her estranged father. Review.
  • The Fallen – the daughter of a drug kingpin comes home with revenge on her mind in Lee Cheuk-pan’s G Affairs followup.
  • My Prince Edward – a woman working at a bridal shop has met her Prince Charming and wants to get married, the only problem being the sham marriage she was paid to take part in several years previously.

Indonesia

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  • Hit & Run – action comedy in which a celebrity policeman reality TV star is teamed up with a conman to catch a drug kingpin who has recently escaped from prison.

Japan

  • Good-bye – a young woman quits her job to work part-time in a nursery and bonds with the father of one of the kids.
  • For Rei – an introverted young woman dreams of meeting her absent father.
  • Kamata Prelude – Four-part anthology film directed by Ryutaro Nakagawa, Mayu Akiyama, Yuka Yasukawa, and Hirobumi Watanabe.
  • Kontora – a young woman uses her grandfather’s wartime diary to look for buried treasure in Ansul Chauhan’s Bad Poetry Tokyo followup.
  • The Modern Lovers – a married salaryman with a baby on the way reconnects with an ex.
  • The Murders of Oiso – the everyday lives of four construction workers in a small town are thrown into disarray by the murder of their former teacher.
  • On the Edge of Their Seats – high school drama adapted from a stage play set on the bleachers of a baseball game.
  • Naked Uncle – a failed actor returns to his hometown and tries to reconnect with his resentful brother.
  • Reiko and the Dolphin – family drama from pink director Shinji Imaoka in which a young couple try to come to terms with the loss of their daughter in the devastating earthquake which struck Kobe in 1995.
  • setsuko – continuation of the fantasy drama series from Zon Pilone which imagines a pre-war love triangle between actress Setsuko Hara and legendary directors Sadao Nakajima and Yasujiro Ozu.
  • Woman of the Photographs – a model with a disfiguring scar asks a photographer to retouch her photos but begins to feel conflicted about misrepresenting herself.
  • VIDEOPHOBIA – latest from Daisuke Miyazaki in which a young woman discovers that she has become the victim of revenge porn.
  • Yan – a young man is compelled to take a message to his estranged older brother in Taiwan whom he hasn’t seen since the end of their parents’ marriage.

Korea

  • Birthday – powerful drama following a family bereaved by the Sewol ferry tragedy. Review. (screening with Japanese subtitles only)
  • Children Gone to Poland – documentary exploring the little known story of children evacuated to Poland during the Korean War.
  • House of Hummingbird – a young girl’s perspective widens when she connects with her enigmatic Chinese teacher. Review. (screening with Japanese subtitles only)
  • Lucky Chan-sil – film producer Chan-sil finds herself unemployed after the director she’d been working with suddenly dies, taking a job as a cleaning lady for an actress and bonding with a handsome French teacher.
  • Malmoe The Secret Mission – an illiterate crook teams up with a man from a wealthy, pro-Japanese family to compile a Korean dictionary during the Colonial era in which the Korean language was banned. (screening with Japanese subtitles only)
  • Sunshine Family – a Filipino family living in Korea finds itself in a difficult situation after the father knocks someone over in a hit and run.
  • Way Back Home – a woman’s peaceful family life is threatened when she receives a call to say the man who raped her ten years previously has been apprehended.

Malaysia

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  • The Garden of Evening Mists – a young Malayasian woman travels to meet a reclusive Japanese gardener to ask him to design a memorial for her sister but ends up becoming his apprentice.

Philippines

  • Babae at Baril (The Girl with the Gun) – a saleswoman finds a gun on her doorstep and decides to use it to take revenge on a patriarchal society.
  • LSS(Last Song Syndrome) – two young people are repeatedly brought together by the music of Ben and Ben in this indie romance.
  • Metamorphosis – drama exploring the lives of intersex people.
  • Write about Love – rom-com in which an aspiring female screenwriter gets her screenplay greenlit but only on the condition she teams up with a male veteran to “improve” it.

Taiwan

  • The Gangs, the Oscars, and the Walking Dead – madcap comedy in which two aspiring filmmakers end up making a zombie film with a gangster who insists that his wife play the leading role.
  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student. Review.
  • Miss Andy – a transgender woman takes in a woman and her child after they escape from an abusive relationship.
  • Nobody – a grumpy old man bonds with a teenage girl after she breaks into his apartment to spy on her dad whom she suspects is having an affair.
  • Your Name Engraved Herein – drama set in 1988 in which two boys fall in love but struggle to find acceptance in a changing society.

Thailand

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  • Happy Old Year – a young woman’s conflicted feelings about the end of her relationship are revived while attempting to have a clean out in the latest from Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival runs from 6th to 15th March at venues across the city. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links are available via the official website. You can also keep up with all the latest details by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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