Burning, Shoplifters, Headline Cannes 2018

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photo_pcThe Cannes film festival has announced its first clutch of titles and while it’s not a bumper year for East Asian cinema, the few titles selected are among the most highly anticipated.

Japan

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  • Asako I & II – Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s followup to Happy Hour is another lengthy drama following a young woman whose boyfriend mysteriously disappears. Two years later, she meets a man who looks exactly like him but has a totally different personality.
  • Shoplifters – the latest from festival favourite Hirokazu Koreeda, Shoplifters boasts an A-list cast including Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Kengo Kora, Sosuke Ikematsu, Chizuru Ikewaki, Yuki Yamada, Yoko Moriguchi and Akira Emoto and centres on a family of petty criminals who take in an orphaned little girl.

China

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  • Ash Is Purest White – Jia Zhangke returns with another socially conscious crime drama as a woman shoots a gang member to protect her mobster boyfriend and winds up in prison for five years. When she gets out, she goes looking for her former love…
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Bi Gan’s followup to the critically acclaimed Kaili Blues stars Tang Wei, Sylvia Chang, and Huang Jue and follows a murderer who returns to his hometown haunted by memories of the woman he killed for.
  • Dead Souls – Wang Bing’s eight-hour documentary about dying expands on the themes of his previous doc, Mrs. Fang.

Korea

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  • Burning – the long awaited return by Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, Burning adapts a short story by Haruki Murakami and revolves around three people – a novelist, another man, and a fashion model, as they become embroiled in a strange incident.
  • The Spy Gone North – Yoon Jong-bin’s thriller follows a South Korean spy on an infiltration mission in the North.

Thailand

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  • 10 Years in Thailand – inspired by the Hong Kong original, four Thai directors – Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, consider what their nation will look like in 10 years time.

The Cannes film festival runs 8 – 19th May, 2018. Further titles may well be announced in the coming weeks. You can keep up to date with all the latest Cannes news via the festival’s official website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram and YouTube Channels.

Korean Film Nights 2018: Korean Novels On Screen

Kim Ki-young earth posterAfter a brief pause, the Korean Cultural Centre London is set to resume its series of free film screenings with a brand new strand celebrating literary adaptations. Running from March to June, Korean Film Nights 2018: Korean Novels on Screen will showcase a diverse selection of films inspired by books from the “literary films” of the golden age to the recent hits of today.

29th March – Earth 

Earth-02Housemaid director Kim Ki-young adapts Yi Kwang-su’s 1932 novel of resistance in which a poor boy studies law in Seoul and marries the daughter of the landowner he once served only to decide to return and help his home village suffering under Japanese oppression.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 16th April, 7pm.

12th April – The Descendants of Cain

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Yu Hyun-mok (Aimless Bullet) adapts Hwang Sun-won’s autobiographical anti-communist novel in which a struggle over the means of production plays out against an impossible love story between the estranged wife of a communist agitator and the noble hearted founder of the school the communists have commandeered as their base.

26th April – White Badge

White Badge still 1Directed by Chung Ji-young, White Badge adapts Anh Junghyo’s autobiographical Vietnam novel in which a traumatised writer (played by Ahn Sung-ki) is forced to address his wartime past when an old comrade comes back into his life.

10th May – A Petal

a petal horizontalAdapting the novel by Choe Yun, Jang Sun-woo examines the legacy of the Gwangju Massacre through the story of a little girl who refuses to leave the side of a vulgar and violent man no matter how poorly he treats her.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 22nd May, 7pm.

24th May – The Old Garden

the old garden still 1Adapted from a novel by writer and activist Hwang Sok-young, Im Sang-soo’s The Old Garden follows an activist released from prison after 17 years who cannot forget the memory of a woman who helped him when he was a fugitive in the mountains.

7th June – The Unfair

The unfair horizontalThe debut feature from Kim Sung-je, the Unfair is an adaptation of Son Aram’s courtroom thriller which draws inspiration from the Yongsan Tragedy in which residents protesting redevelopment were forcibly evicted and several lives were lost including one of a police officer.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 19th June, 7pm.

28th June – My Brilliant Life + Q&A with author Kim Ae-ran

my brilliant life still 1An adaptation of the novel by Kim Ae-ran who will also be present for a Q&A, E J-yong’s My Brilliant Life stars Gang Dong-won and Song Hye-kyo as teenage parents raising a son who turns out to have a rare genetic condition which causes rapid ageing.

All of the screenings take place at the Korean Cultural Centre at 7pm and are free to attend but must be booked in advance via the links above. You can keep up to date with all the latest screening news via the Korean Cultural Centre and London Korean Film Festival websites and be sure to follow the festival on Twitter, Facebook, FlickrInstagram and YouTube channels for the most up to date information.

Tickets are also now on sale for the first of the 2018 Teaser Screenings for the upcoming London Korean Film Festival – Be With You which takes place at Picturehouse Central on 25th April at 9pm.

Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival Launches 2018 UK Tour

in time to come still 2Following its announcement last October, Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival – a brand new UK festival dedicated to Asian cinemas, is set to launch its inaugural screening series with three events at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in late March.

In Time To Come 

25th March, 1pm

in time to come still 1Tan Pin Pin’s Singaporean documentary unearths a time capsule of national history through videographic recordings to probe the connections between time and memory.

The Island Funeral

29th March, 6pm

Island Funeral posterLaila, a Muslim in predominantly Buddhist Bangkok, travels south along with her brother Zugood and friend Toy just as political turmoil engulfs the city. Yet being from the city they are each mostly ignorant of the ongoing political strife which has plagued the southern regions for quite some time. Meeting a conflicted soldier who also feels like an outsider being from the North the four continue on their journey through a strange landscape.

People Power Bombshell: The Diary Of Vietnam Rose

31st March, 1pm

People Power Bombshell- The Diary of Vietnam RoseJohn Torres repurposes footage from an uncompleted film by Celso Advento Castillo to lay bare the various oppressions of the Marcos regime at the time of the People Power Revolution through the story of Liz Alindogan whose dreams of becoming an actress were frustrated by the world in which she lived.

All three screenings take place at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and tickets are already available via the links above. Further details are available on the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival will tour across the UK throughout the spring and summer of 2018.

The Third Murder Sweeps 41st Japan Academy Prize

The Third Murder still 2The 41st Japan Academy Prize was presented at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa on 2nd March 2018. Hirokazu Koreeda’s latest, his first foray into the murder mystery, swept the board with six awards including the big ticket items of best picture, director, supporting actor and supporting actress. Despite numerous nominations popular hit Let Me Eat Your Pancreas went away with only the previously announced newcomer awards while period epic Sekigahara had some success in technical categories.

Winners and nominees in full:

Picture of the Year

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  • Let Me Eat Your Pancreas (Sho Tsukikawa)
  • The Third Murder (Hirokazu Koreeda)
  • Sekigahara (Masato Harada)
  • Miracles of the Namiya General Store (Ryuichi Hiroki)
  • Flower and Sword (Tetsuo Shinohara)

Animation of the Year

The night is short still

Director of the Year

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  • Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Before We Vanish)
  • Hirokazu Koreeda (The Third Murder)
  • Tetsuo Shinohara (Flower and Sword)
  • Masato Harada (Sekigahara)
  • Ryuichi Hiroki (Miracles of the Namiya General Store)

Best Screenplay

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  • Hirokazu Koreeda (The Third Murder)
  • Hiroshi Saito (Miracles of the Namiya General Store)
  • Yoshiko Morishita (Flower and Sword)
  • Yoji Yamada & Emiko Hiramatsu (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Tomoko Yoshida (Let Me Eat Your Pancreas)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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  • Yo Oizumi (The Detective is in the Bar 3)
  • Junichi Okada (Sekigahara)
  • Takeru Satoh (The 8-year Engagement)
  • Masaki Suda (Wilderness)
  • Tatsuya Fujiwara (Memoirs of a Murderer)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

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Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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  • Toshiyuki Nishida (Miracles of the Namiya General Store)
  • Masahiko Nishimura (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Ryuhei Matsuda (The Detective is in the Bar 3)
  • Nijiro Murakami (Mukoku)
  • Koji Yakusho (The Third Murder)
  • Koji Yakusho (Sekigahara)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

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  • Machiko Ono (Miracles of the Namiya General Store)
  • Keiko Kitagawa (The Detective is in the Bar 3)
  • Yui Natsukawa (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Suzu Hirose (The Third Murder)
  • Hiroko Yakushimaru (The 8-Year Engagement)

Outstanding Achievement in Music

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  • Keiichi Suzuki (Outrage Coda)
  • Harumi Fuuki (Sekigahara)
  • Takatsugu Muramatsu (The 8-Year Engagement)
  • Ludovico Einaudi (The Third Murder)
  • JIN (Kiseki: Anohi no sobito)

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

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  • Tokusho Kikumura (Flower and Sword)
  • Kozo Shibasaki (Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura)
  • Takahide Shibanushi (Sekigahara)
  • Mikiya Takimoto (The Third Murder)
  • Masashi Chikamori (What a Wonderful Family! 2)

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction

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  • Tatsuya Osada (Flower and Sword)
  • Nariyuki Ueda (Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura)
  • Takaaki Miyanishi (Sekigahara)
  • Norikiyo Fujii (The Third Murder)
  • Koichi Watanabe (What a Wonderful Family! 2)

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

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  • Tomoko Kurata (Flower and Sword)
  • Tomoko Kurata & Hisayuki Kobayashi (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Anri Johjo (Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura)
  • Tetsuo Harada (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Tomoyuki Maruo & Rihito Nakagawa (Miracles of the Namiya General Store)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording

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  • Satoshi Ozaki (Flower and Sword)
  • Kazumi Kishida (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Yoshifumi Kureishi (Outrage Coda)
  • Kazuhiko Toyama (The Third Murder)
  • Masahito Yano (Sekigahara)

Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing

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  • Hirohide Abe (Flower and Sword)
  • Iwao Ishii (What a Wonderful Family! 2)
  • Takeshi Kitano & Yoshinori Ohta (Outrage Coda)
  • Hirokazu Koreeda (The Third Murder)
  • Eugene Harada (Sekigahara)

Newcomer of the Year 

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(awarded to all four nominees equally – announced along with nominations)

  • Ayami Nakajo (Let’s Go, Jets!)
  • Minami Hamabe (Let Me Eat Your Pancreas)
  • Takumi Kitamura (Let Me Eat Your Pancreas)
  • Ryoma Takeuchi (Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High)

Special Award of Honour from the Association

(Lifetime achievement awards – technical fields)

  • Etsuko Egawa (makeup & prosthetics)
  • Katsutoshi Osawa (art direction)
  • Midori Onuma (hair & makeup)
  • Hiroshi Koto (costumes)
  • Takefumi Yoshikawa (casting)

Special Award of Honour from the Chairman

(Lifetime achievement awards celebrating contribution to the film industry)

  • Kyoko Kagawa (actress)
  • Takashi Kawamata (cinematographer)
  • Masahiro Shinoda (director)
  • Kenichi Benitani (sound engineer)
  • Toshio Masuda (director)
  • Fujiko Yamamoto (actress)

Special Award from the Chairman 

(Lifetime achievement award presented to members of the film industry who passed away during 2017)

  • Iwao Otani (audio engineer)
  • Hiroki Matsukata (actor)
  • Tsunehiko Watase (actor)
  • Akira Hayasaka (screenwriter)

In Memoriam 

suzukiSeijun Suzuki (director) – As a previous recipient of the Special Award of Honour, Suzuki is ineligible for a second lifetime achievement award but his passing is marked with this special mention.

Popularity Award

(Top two movies nominated by an All Night Nippon audience poll)

Let Me Eat Your Pancreas

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Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High

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Source: Japan Academy Prize official website

Berlin International Film Festival to Screen River’s Edge, Grass, Yocho

River's edge still 1The Berlin International Film Festival returns with the 68th edition from 15 – 25th February. Long a champion of East Asian cinema, this year’s program arrives with a series of highly anticipated features including the latest from Isao Yukisada, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and Hong Sang-soo.

Japan

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  • Amiko – 16 year old Amiko has left Nagano behind to look for the boyfriend who skipped out on her to go to Tokyo with another girl.
  • Blue Wind Blows – A small boy on Sado chases ghosts with the help of a bookish friend.
  • Minatomachi – Kazuhiro Soda’s latest documentary focusses on a declining fishing village.
  • Our House – Two women inhabit the same space in Yui Kiyohara’s eerie drama.
  • Ramen Teh – A Japanese ramen chef travels to Singapore after the death of his father to find out more about his Singaporean mother who died when he was only 10.
  • River’s Edge – A young man bullied because of his sexuality finds a dead body and investigates with the help of his best friend and confidant in the latest from Isao Yukisada.
  • Yocho (Foreboding) – Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s companion piece to Before We Vanish, Yocho is the story of an alien doctor and his Earthling wife.
  • Tokyo Boshoku (Tokyo Twilight) – In this restored classic from Yasujiro Ozu, a young woman copes with an unwanted pregnancy with the help of her sister who has returned home in flight from an alcoholic husband.
  • Yama – Attack to Attack – Intended as a document of the workers’ struggle, this 1985 documentary eventually cost both of its directors their lives at the hands of the yakuza whose corruption they hoped to expose.

Tribute to Keiko Sato

abnormal family still“Pink film” – independently made softcore erotica, is generally thought of as being a very male affair but one of its driving forces, Keiko Sato, was actually a woman and the festival will pay tribute to her with three films from her surprisingly diverse career as a producer.

  • Abnormal Family – Masayuki Suo’s only pink film takes the form of an Ozu pastiche centring on one very unusual family.
  • Gushing Prayer – Masao Adachi takes the pink film in a political direction through the story of a young woman on the quest to beat sex.
  • Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands – From the screenwriter of Branded to Kill, Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands follows a hitman on a surreal and noirish journey.

Korea

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  • Inkan, gongkan, sikan grigo inkan (Human, Space, Time, and Human) – A senator and his son, a newly wed couple, a mysterious old man, a group of sex workers, and a violent gang all set off on a warship in Kim Ki-duk’s latest.
  • Grass – Kim Min-hee sits in a coffee shop and observes the world around her in another whimsical drama from Hong Sang-soo.
  • Last Child – After their son dies saving another child, the bereaved parents eventually bond with the boy he was trying to save though all is not as it seems.
  • Old Love – A woman returns to Korea from Canada and re-encounters an old flame.

China

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Taiwan

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  • 14 Apples – Midi Z’s documentary follows a businessman on a 14 day sojourn as a monk.
  • Xiao Mei – A ordinary shop girl disappears leaving only confusion and mystery behind her.

Thailand

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  • Die Tomorrow – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit follows a collection of people through their last day.

Philippines

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Indonesia

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  • Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen) The second film from Kamila Andini, The Seen and Unseen follows one half of a pair of twins as she deals with the deteriorating health of her brother…

The Berlin International Film Festival takes place from February 15 – 25 at venues across the city. Ticket sales begin 12th February via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest details via the festival’s Facebook Page, Twitter account, YouTube and Instagram Channels.

Glasgow Film Festival to Screen Third Murder, Mary and the Witch’s Flower

The Third Murder still 2The Glasgow Film Festival returns from 21st February to 4th March 2018 bringing the latest in world cinema to Scottish screens. East Asian offerings are not quite as plentiful as in previous years but the festival will see Scottish premieres of the latest from Hirokazu Koreeda, the hotly anticipated first movie from Studio Ponoc, and the new restoration of a Chinese classic.

Attack on Titan : The Roar of Awakening

Attack on Titan - The Roar of AwakeningManga and anime phenomenon Attack on Titan has been taking the world by storm over the last couple of years, even packing in a pair of disappointing live action movies. The Roar of Awakening is a “compilation movie” of the TV anime’s second season which is to say it re-edits the 11 half hour episodes into one two hour movie. If you don’t know anything about Attack on Titan, this probably isn’t the best place to start but in short the series takes place in a fictional European city where humanity has taken to living behind giant walls to protect themselves from man eating giants known as Titans. The screening of The Roar of Awakening will take place in an immersive secret location accompanied by various other events over approx. 6hrs.

Picked up for UK distribution by Anime Limited.

Junk Head

junk head still 1Takahide Hori’s beautifully designed stop-motion animation follows the adventures of a robot “God” as he (?) descends the various levels of underground existence looking for a cure for humanity’s ongoing decline… Review.

Legend of the Mountain

legend of the mountain still 1Recently restored by the Taiwan Film Institute, King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain follows a Sung Dynasty scholar tasked with translating a set of Buddhist scriptures which are said to have power over the spirits of the dead. To do so he travels to an isolated monastery in the mountains where he is assailed by the forces of evil who want to steal the scriptures for themselves…

Distributed in the UK by Eureka Entertainment.

Let’s Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Farewell Morning – Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia still 1Note: Glasgow Film Festival appears to be screening the film under a literal translation, according to the film’s UK distributor Anime Limited, the official English language title is Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms.

Animated by P.A. Works, Maquia is the directorial debut from screenwriter Mari Okada (Anthem of the Heart) and follows the titular heroine – a young girl from a mysterious village where people live for hundreds of years and maintain their teenage appearances for life. Forced to leave her village, the girl finds an abandoned baby boy and decides to raise him but while she remains forever young he grows older by the day…

Picked up for UK distribution by Anime Limited.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

marlina the murderer in four acts still oneA feisty widow takes to the road in search of vengeance after her ranch is raided and she is attacked by bandits in this festival favourite Eastern western from Indonesia.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower 
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When Marnie Was There director Hiromasa Yonebayashi adapts yet another classic English children’s book – Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, as the first venture for would be Ghibli successors, Studio Ponoc.

Distributed by Altitude Films, Mary and the Witch’s Flower will be screened both dubbed and subbed.

The Seen and Unseen

the seen and the unseen still 1The second film from Kamila Andini, The Seen and Unseen follows one half of a pair of twins as she deals with the deteriorating health of her brother…

The Third Murder

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Hirokazu Koreeda makes a rare detour from the family drama for a high stakes legal thriller in which a veteran lawyer takes on the seemingly impossible task of defending a murder suspect who has already served time for violent crime and freely confesses his guilt, but the more the lawyer looks into the case the less confident he feels that his client is telling the truth.

Picked up for UK Distribution by Arrow Films.

Vampire Clay

vampire clay still 1The debut feature from SFX makeup artist Soichi Umezawa, B-movie horror Vampire Clay takes place in an isolated art school in which the students start going mysteriously missing…could cursed clay really be to blame?

Glasgow Film Festival takes place from 21st February to 4th March at Glasgow Film Theatre. You can find the complete programme as well as full details for all the films, screening times, and ticketing information on the official website, and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Instagram Channel.

Wilderness Takes Best Film Prize at 60th Blue Ribbon Awards

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The Blue Ribbon Awards, awarded solely by film critics and writers, has announced its list of winners for 2017 ahead of the star studded ceremony which will take place in Tokyo on 8th February.

Individual Awards

Best Film: Wilderness

Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (Birds Without Names)

Best Actor: Sadao Abe (Birds Without Names)

Best Actress: Yui Aragaki (Mix)

Best Supporting Actor: Yusuke Santamaria (Wilderness / The Stand-In Thief)

Best Supporting Actress: Yuki Saito (The Third Murder)

Best Newcomer: Shizuka Ishibashi (The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue)

Top 10

In addition to its set of individual award winners, the committee also names its ten best pictures of the year which are presented in no particular order.

Wilderness (あゝ、荒野)

wilderness still 1Adapted from the 1966 novel by Shuji Terayama and released in two parts, Yoshiyuki Kishi’s A Double Life followup follows two men who find unexpected friendship while looking for release in the boxing ring.

Outrage Code (アウトレイジ 最終章)

outrage coda stillThe third and presumably final instalment in the Outrage series, Coda sees actor/director Takeshi Kitano return to the role of Otomo now in exile in South Korea in an attempt to avoid ongoing gang strife at home.

The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (夜空はいつでも最高密度の青色だ)

THE TOKYO NIGHT SKY IS ALWAYS THE DENSEST SHADE OF BLUE stillA love/hate letter to Tokyo, Yuya Ishii’s The Tokyo Night Sky is inspired by a collection of poems by Tahi Saihate and follows two lonely city souls as they struggle with their place in a society which they often feel has no place for them. Review.

Birds Without Names (彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち)

birds without names still 2Dawn of the Felines director Kazuya Shiraishi returns to the world of mystery in a tale of dark romance and destructive desires. Yu Aoi stars as a young woman, Towako, living with an older man (played by Sadao Abe) whom she despises but tolerates because he continues to support her. Towako, however, cannot forget a violent ex-lover who has been missing for the last eight years. Screening in the upcoming Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme.

Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは,)

close-knit still 1A departure of sorts from the director’s earlier career, Close-Knit drops the whimsy but not the heart in telling a story of changing family dynamics and pleading for a kinder, more understanding world where all are free to live the way they choose without let or hinderance. Review.

Let Me Eat Your Pancreas (君の膵臓をたべたい)

let me eat your pancreas still 1Sho Tsukikawa adapts Yoru Sumino’s novel in which the unnamed protagonist finds a classmate’s diary and discovers that she is suffering with a terminal illness. The only person to know of her condition outside of her immediate family, the protagonist commits himself to fulfilling her last wishes while she still has time.

Gukoroku – Traces of Sin (愚行録)

gukoroku stillSatoshi Tsumabuki stars as a mild-mannered reporter investigating the murder of a model family while supporting his younger sister (Hikari Mitsushima) who is currently in prison charged with child neglect. Less a murder mystery than a dark social drama, the world of Gukoroku is one defined by unfairness in which pervasive systems of social inequality have destroyed the precious harmony the same society praises so highly. Review.

March Comes in Like a Lion (3月のライオン)

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Shogi is definitely back in fashion at the present moment. Keishi Ohtomo adapts Chica Umino’s popular manga in which an orphaned young man struggles with the regular problems of adolescence whilst also attempting to conquer the famously difficult world of this fiendish game. Review.

The Third Murder (三度目の殺人)

third murder horizontal posterHirokazu Koreeda makes a rare detour from the family drama for a high stakes legal thriller in which a veteran lawyer takes on the seemingly impossible task of defending a murder suspect who has already served time for violent crime and freely confesses his guilt, but the more the lawyer looks into the case the less confident he feels that his client is telling the truth.

Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High (帝一の國)

teiichi stillProlific young actor Masaki Suda stars in Akira Nagai’s adaptation of the manga by Usamaru Furuya in which Japan’s political future is decided at an elite military boarding school. Review.

Source: Eiga Natalie