The Osaka Asian Film Festival returns for its 18th edition from 10th to 19th March bringing with it some of the best in recent East Asian Cinema. This year’s edition will open with the world premiere of a dark comedy from the director of The Sparring Partner, Over My Dead Body, and close with another world premiere in the Kentaro Sakaguchi-starring drama Side By Side.
- Hong Kong Family – a fracturing family struggles to repair itself after a traumatic holiday gathering in Eric Tsang Hing-Weng’s autobiographically inspired familial melodrama. Review.
- Life Must Go On – sporting comedy in which a social worker teams up with a washed up coach to lead unruly teens to dodgeball glory.
- Lost Love – a couple who have recently lost a child decide to foster, but the decision places additional strain on their relationship.
- Over My Dead Body – chaos reigns when an ordinary family discover a corpse on their property and set about trying to pass the buck before it impacts the value of their home.
- The Narrow Road – an earnest middle-aged man and a cynical young woman become unlikely friends in pandemic Hong Kong in Lam Sum’s melancholy drama. Review.
- The Sunny Side of the Street – Anthony Wong stars as a retired taxi driver who takes in the son of a refugee after a traffic accident.
- Like & Share – two teenage girls fall foul of the false promises of the online society after starting an ASMR video channel.
- The Burden of the Past – docudrama from Atsushi Funahashi following a series of people trying to reintegrate into society after spending time in prison.
- Cafune – gentle seaside drama in which a pair of teens attempt to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.
- December – powerful drama from Anshul Chauhan in which bereaved parents attempt to prevent their daughter’s killer from getting her sentence reduced.
- Is This Heaven? – mid-length seaside drama from Shinji Imaoka.
- NEW RELIGION – supernatural horror in which a woman struggles to deal with her grief following the death of her daughter.
- People Who Talk to Plushies Are Kind – adaptation of the novel by Ao Omae in which dejected students join the Plushy Club to bear their souls to stuffed toys.
- Saga Saga – mystery drama from Jeux de Plage’s Aimi Natsuto in which a young woman returns home to Saga after leaving to become an actress.
- Side by Side – a young man with the power to sense spirits is forced to reflect on the past after reading the thoughts of a friend from high school who went to Tokyo to become a musician.
- When Morning Comes, I Feel Empty – a young woman who quit an exploitative job is much happier working at a convenience store but also burdened by a deep sense of guilt and inadequacy.
- Where Love Goes – snowbound drama in which scattered teenagers struggle to deal with the death of a friend.
- Jiseok – documentary focussing on Kim Jiseok, former director of the Busan International Film Festival, who passed away unexpectedly while attending the Cannes film festival in 207.
- Remember – an elderly man suffering with Alzheimer’s and a brain tumour sets out on a quest for vengeance against the men who destroyed his family during the colonial era.
- Leonor Will Never Die – a grief-stricken screenwriter resolves to write her way out of self-imposed inertia while trapped in a world of her own creation in Martika Ramirez Escobar’s meta dramedy. Review.
- YIELD Final Version – documentary exploring the lives of working class children.
- Bad Education – a night of post-graduation celebration goes awry when teenage boys unwisely assault a gangster in the directorial debut from actor Kai Ko.
- Day Off – a veteran hairdresser embarks on a road trip when the family of an old client who had moved far away and has since become bedridden ask her to come and cut his hair.
- OMG! Oh My Girl – a pair of youngsters fall for each other in high school but somehow never get together.
- You & Me & Me – millennial drama in which the relationship between a pair of twins is disrupted when they fall for the same boy.
- Sister Sister 2 – drama set in the 1930s in which an aristocrat falls victim to a plot by a flower girl.
The Osaka Asian Film Festival runs from 10th to 19th 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.