Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival to Pay Tribute to Seijun Suzuki

suzukiSince its launch in 2000, the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival has become one of the major Swiss film events. Set to return from 30th June to 8th July, the 17th edition of the festival which has an annual special focus on Asian cinema will pay tribute to the late Seijun Suzuki who sadly passed away in February of this year.

branded to kill

Around 10 of Suzuki’s best works will be screened during the festival alongside a number of recent cinema hits from Asia to be announced at a later date.

affiche-rvb-avec-banner-webThe 17th Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival runs from 30th June to 8th July 2017 and will have a special focus on genre cinema. The festival will also host a series of outdoor cinema events as part of the NIFF Invasion strand including a screening of Cheung Kwok-ming’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (1983), and Tsui Hark’s A Chinese Feast (1995) is set to screen as one of five films selected to celebrate the nomination of Neuchâtel as a city of taste.

You can keep up with all the latest festival news via the official website, Facebook, and Twitter account

Tampopo to screen at Picturehouse Central!

tampopo stillThe 4K restoration of Juzo Itami’s classic ramen western Tampopo is released on blu-ray in the UK on 1st May 2017 courtesy of The Criterion Collection but there will also be a one off chance to see the movie on the big screen at Picturehouse Central.

The screening takes place on 17th May at 6.30pm and tickets are already on sale via the Picturehouse website.

Restoration trailer (English subtitles)

Survival Family to Open Udine Far East Film Festival 2017!

udine 19 bannerThe premier European showcase for East Asian cinema, Udine Far East Film Festival, has now announced the complete programme for the 19th edition set to take place from 21 – 29th April, 2017.

There are a total of 83 movies in the lineup this year from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam including narrative, documentary, brand new and classic films.

Survival family landscaepThe festival will open with the latest film from Shinobu Yaguchi (Water Boys, Swing Girls, Wood Job) – Survival Family (サバイバルファミリー) in which an ordinary Tokyo family decides to escape from the city following a long term power outage.

Original trailer (English subtitles)

Herman Yau’s Shock Wave (拆彈專家) – a HK thriller starring Andy Lau will close the festival on April 29

shock wave posterTake a look at Andy in action in the official trailer (English subtitles)

Other highlights include Feng Xiaogang’s I Am Not Madame Bovary (我不是潘金莲, Wǒ Búshì Pān Jīnlián)

I-Am-Not-Madame-Bovary-posterStarring Fang Bingbing, this story of a small town woman taking on the Chinese legal system after her husband falsely accuses her of having an affair has been picking up awards all along the international festival trail.

Trailer (English subtitles)

The latest film from Naoko Ogigami (Kamome Diner, Megane) Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは, Karera ga Honki de Amu Toki wa)

close knit posterA heartwarming tale of a little girl who takes refuge at the home of her uncle and his transgender girlfriend, Close-Knit marks a welcome return to the warm and quirky Ogigami world.

Trailer (English subtitles)

Another director making a welcome return is Nobuhiro Yamashita whose two 2016 releases both arrive at the festival.

my uncle posterMy Uncle (ぼくのおじさん, Boku no Ojisan) stars Ryuhei Matsuda as an eccentric philosophy lecturer who leeches off his nephew’s family until he unexpectedly meets a woman, falls in love, and follows her to Hawaii!

Trailer (no subtitles)

Yamashita’s Over the Fence (オーバー・フェンス) is also featured in the festival

over the fence posterAmong Yamashita’s more serious films, Over the Fence stars Joe Odagiri as a broken hearted young man who returns to his hometown after his wife leaves him.

Trailer (English subtitles)

There will also be a special screening of one of Yamashita’s earliest efforts, Ramblers – you can check out our review here but this tale of two not quite friends lost in the mountains is filled with Yamashita’s trademark laidback style and laconic humour.

Hitoshi One’s Scoop! which scooped up a few awards of its own will also be a part of the Japanese strand.

scoop!Loosely based on a 1985 film by Masato Harada, Scoop! Stars Masaharu Fukuyama as an amoral paparazzo.

Trailer (no subtitles)

Korean films on offer include The Last Princess, and Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, both of which we’ve reviewed previously.

Park Kwang-hyun’s Fabricated City (조작된 도시, Jojakdwen Doshi) is set to bring some high-tech thrills to the cinema screen

fabricated city Ji Chang-wook plays a top gamer who suddenly finds himself trapped in a real world conspiracy when he is framed for a shocking crime.

Trailer (English subtitles)

Meanwhile fans of gothic horror can content themselves with Lim Dae-woong’s House of the Disappeared (시간위의 집,  Shiganwiui Jib)

House of the DisappearedThis mystery/thriller stars Kim Yunjin as a former housewife released from prison 25 years after her husband and son disappeared leaving her accused of a crime.

Trailer (English subtitles)

The festival will also be marking 20 years since the Hong Kong hand over with a selection of cinema hits released between 1997 – 2017. The new 4K restoration of Fruit Chan’s long neglected Made in Hong Kong is a definite highlight.

made in hong kongThere will also be a small strand of recent Chinese indie including Knife in the Clear Water (清水里的刀子) which we reviewed thanks to Festival Scope’s partnership with International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Restored classics include a screening of the late Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill, as well as three Philippine films from the ’70s and ’80s, Brocka’s Cain and Abel, De Leon’s Moments in a Stolen Dream, and O’Hara’s Three Years Without a God.

The full list of 83 movies includes:

CAMBODIA (1)
Jailbreak, Jimmy HENDERSON, prison-martial arts-dark comedy, Cambodia 2017, International Premiere

CHINA  (6)
Duckweed, HAN Han, time-warp nostalgic drama, China 2017, International Festival Premiere
Hide and Seek, LIU Jie, class-struggle thriller, China 2016, European Premiere
I Am Not Madame Bovary, FENG Xiaogang, eternal lawsuit dramedy, China 2016, Italian Premiere
Mr. Zhu’s Summer, SONG Haolin, bitter-sweet school drama, China 2017, World Premiere
Someone to Talk to, LIU Yulin, divorce drama, China 2016, Italian Premiere
Soul on a String, ZHANG Yang, Tibetan-western road movie, China 2016, Italian Premiere (with Trento Film Festival)

HONG KONG/CHINA (3)
Kung Fu Yoga, Stanley TONG, Jackie-Bollywood style-action comedy, China/HK /India 2017, Italian Premiere
Extraordinary Mission, Alan MAK, Anthony PUN, drug-war-action-drama, China/HK 2017, International Festival Premiere
Soul Mate, Derek TSANG, girls-best friends drama, HK/China 2016, European Premiere

HONG KONG  (7)
Love Off the Cuff, PANG Ho-cheung, crazy cool comedy, China/HK 2017, International Premiere
Mad World, WONG Chun, mental illness drama, HK 2016, Italian Premiere – “Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2017”
A Nail Clipper Romance, Jason KWAN, surf and steel romance, HK/China 2017, International Premiere
Shed Skin Papa, Roy SZETO, quirky father-son drama, China/HK 2016, European Premiere
The Sleep Curse, Herman YAU, blood-splattered horror, HK 2017, European Premiere
Shock Wave, Herman YAU, explosive action drama, HK/China 2017, International Festival Premiere – Closing Film
Vampire Cleanup Department, CHIU Sin-hang, YAN Pak-wing, hopping vampire comedy-romance, HK 2017, Italian Premiere

INDONESIA (1)
My Stupid Boss, UPI, zany office comedy, Indonesia 2016, European Premiere

LAOS (1)
Dearest Sister, Mattie DO, Laotian psycho-thriller, Laos/France/Estonia 2016, Italian Premiere

JAPAN  (13)
At the Terrace, YAMAUCHI Kenji, sophisticated drama, Japan 2016, International Premiere
The City of Betrayal, MIURA Daisuke, extramarital romance, Japan 2016, International Premiere
Close-Knit, OGIGAMI Naoko, transgender-family, Japan 2017, Italian Premiere (with Torino Festival LGBTQI Visions)
Hamon: Yakuza Boogie, KOBAYASI Syoutarou, cinephile gangster dark comedy, Japan 2017, International Premiere
Hirugao – Love Affairs in the Afternoon -, NISHITANI Hiroshi, starred-crossed romance, Japan 2017, World Premiere
Love and Other Cults, UCHIDA Eiji, offbeat youth drama, Japan 2017, World Premiere
My Uncle, YAMASHITA Nobuhiro, hipster comedy, Japan 2016, European Premiere
Over the Fence, YAMASHITA Nobuhiro, not-longer-young love story, Japan 2016, European Premiere
Policeman and Me, HIROKI Ryuichi, age-inappropriate romance, Japan 2017, European Premiere
Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow, MORI Yoshitaka, Japanese chess drama, Japan 2016, European Premiere
Scoop!, ONE Hitoshi, paparazzi thriller, Japan 2016, International Festival Premiere
Survival Family, YAGUCHI Shinobu, ecotherapy disaster movie, Japan 2017, European Premiere – Opening Film
TEIICHI – Battle of Supreme High -, NAGAI Akira, manga-like political satire, Japan 2017, World Premiere

MALAYSIA  (1)
Mrs K, HO Yuhang, grindhouse western comedy, Malaysia/HK, 2016, European Premiere

SOUTH KOREA  (13)
Bluebeard, LEE Soo-youn, serial killer at large, SK 2017, Italian Premiere
Canola, CHANG, lost daughter-drama, SK 2016, European Premiere
Confidential Assignment, KIM Sung-hoon, North-South buddy-buddy cops, SK 2017, International Festival Premiere
Derailed, LEE Sung-Tae, Young&Dangerous drama, SK 2016, International Premiere
Fabricated City, PARK Kwang-hyun, high-tech videogame thriller, SK 2017, International Festival Premiere
House of the Disappeared, LIM Dae-woong, haunted house thriller, SK 2017, International Premiere
The Last Princess, HUR Jin-ho, period melodrama, SK 2016, Italian Premiere
Master, CHO Ui-seok, political crime thriller, SK 2016, International Festival Premiere
New Trial, KIM Tae-yun, wrongly-accused legal drama, SK 2017, International Festival Premiere
The Prison, NA Hyun, jailhouse action drama, SK 2017, Italian Premiere
Run-Off, KIM Jong-hyun, zero-to-hero ice hockey drama, SK 2016, European Premiere
Split, CHOI Kook-hee, bowling-action-drama, SK 2016, International Festival Premiere
Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, UM Tae-hwa, lost-in-frozen-time, SK 2016, Italian Premiere

THE PHILIPPINES  (3)
Die Beautiful, Jun Robles LANA, multicolour transgender dramedy, The Philippines 2016, Italian Premiere (with FVG Pride)
Mercury Is Mine, Jason Paul LAXAMANA, black violent comedy, The Philippines 2016, International Premiere
Seclusion, Erik MATTI, religious horror, The Philippines 2016, European Premiere

TAIWAN  (4)
52Hz, I Love You, WEI Te-sheng, St. Valentine musical, Taiwan 2017, European Festival Premiere
At Café 6, Neal WU, coming-of-age dramedy, Taiwan 2016, European Premiere
Godspeed, CHUNG Mong-hong, gangster meets taxi-driver, Taiwan 2016,  European Premiere
Mon Mon Mon Monsters, Giddens KO, school bullying comedy horror, Taiwan 2017, European Premiere

THAILAND  (3)
One Day, Banjong PISANTHANAKUN, romance on the snow, Thailand 2016, European Premiere
Siam Square, Pairach KHUMWAN, ghost-youth-drama, Thailand 2017, International Premiere
Take Me Home, Kongkiat KHOMSIRI, homecoming horror, Thailand 2016, European Premiere

VIETNAM  (1)
Tam Cam: The Untold Story, Thanh Van (Veronica) NGO, Cinderella meets wuxiapian, Vietnam 2016, European Premiere

Out Of Competition

DOCUMENTARIES  (3)
Mifune: The Last Samurai, Steven OKAZAKI, director’s cut, Japan/USA, 2016, Italian Premiere
Old Days, HAN Sun- hee, SK 2016, Italian Premiere
Sunday Beauty Queen, Baby Ruth VILLARAMA, The Philippines/HK 2016, Italian Premiere

INFO SCREENING (1)
Ramblers, YAMASHITA Nobuhiro, from the manga of Tsuge Yoshiharu, Japan 2004, Italian Premiere

CREATIVE VISIONS: HONG KONG CINEMA 1997-2017 (10)
Made in Hong Kong, Fruit CHAN, HK 1997 – restored version 2017, International Premiere

A Simple Life, Ann HUI, HK 2012
Accident, Soi CHEANG, HK 2009
After This Our Exile, Patrick TAM, HK 2006
Infernal Affairs, Alan MAK, Andrew LAU, HK 2002
Ip Man, Wilson YIP, HK 2008
Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen CHOW, HK 2004
Love in a Puff, PANG Ho-cheung, HK 2010
The Mission, Johnnie TO, HK 1999
The Grandmaster, WONG Kar-wai, HK 2013

CHINA NOW:  NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE  (4)
Fish Tank, LIU Haoge, experimental animation short, China 2016, Italian Premiere
Knife in the Clear Water, WANG Xuebo, drama, China 2016, Italian Premiere
The Road, ZHANG Zanbo, documentary, China/Denmark 2015, Italian Premiere
What Happened in the Past Dragon Year, SUN Xun, experimental animation short, China 2014, Italian Premiere

FRESH WAVE SHORTS  (4)
Even Ants Strive for Survival,    REN Xia, HK 2017, European Premiere
First of May, LAM Chi-yu, HK 2017, European Premiere
Life on the Line, Ashley CHEUNG, HK 2017, European Premiere
Speak Low, WONG Fong-yi, HK 2017, European Premiere

RESTORED CLASSICS  (4)
Branded to Kill, SUZUKI Seijun, Japan 1967 – restored version 2016, International Festival Premiere
Cain and Abel, Lino BROCKA, The Philippines 1982 – restored version 2016, International Premiere
Moments in a Stolen Dream, Mike DE LEON, The Philippines 1977 – restored version 2016, European Premiere
Three Years Without God, Mario O’HARA, The Philippines 1976 – restored version 2016, Italian Premiere

The festival takes place in the Northern Italian town of Udine from April 21 – 29, and you can find out all about how to attend via the official website which also includes details of the extensive program of special events running alongside the main film festival.

Kawase, Kurosawa, Miike and Hong Sang-soo x 2 Headline Cannes 2017

cannes 2017 posterFestival season is well and truly underway and in the first of two big announcements of today Cannes has confirmed its full lineup. China, HK, and Taiwan are notably absent this year but it’s otherwise a good one for Asian film with five features from Korea (inlcuding two from prolific director Hong Sang-soo) and three from Japan. Scroll down for a checklist by country:

radianceIn the Competition section, Cannes favourite Naomi Kawase returns with her latest movie – Radiance (光, Hikari) which stars An’s Masatoshi Nagase as a photographer slowly losing his eyesight.

Trailer (no subtitles)

She’ll be up against Bong Joon-ho’s Netflix backed Okja (옥자)

okja.jpgThe story of a young girl’s struggle to save her mysterious animal friend from a giant multi-national company, Okja will be streamed worldwide on Netflix from June 28.

Hong Sang-soo rounds out the competition section with the first of two films he’s bringing to Cannes, The Day After. Hong is also featured in the Special Screening strand with Claire’s Camera which reunites him with French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Moving on to Un Certain Regard, Kiyoshi Kurosawa returns to the festival with Before We Vanish (散歩する侵略者, Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha).

before we vanish poster

This tale of love and alien invasion stars Masami Nagasawa, Ryuhei Matsuda, and Hiroki Hasegawa.

Trailer (no subtitles)

Takashi Miike’s Blade of the Immortal (無限の住人, Mugen no Junin) plays Out of Competition.

blade of the immortal poster

Adaptation of the well known manga stars Takuya Kimura.

Trailer (no subtitles)

The remaining two Korean entries land in the Midnight Screenings selection.

merciless poster

Byun Sung-hyun’s Merciless (불한당: 나쁜 놈들의 세상, Boolhandang: Nabbeun Nomdeului Sesang) stars Sol Kyung-gu in a prison / gang thriller

and Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainness (악녀, Aknyeo) stars Kim Ok-vin as a mysterious hitwoman from Yanbian who comes south to start a new life but gets mixed up with two South Korean guys one of whom also trains assassins.

the villainess poster

Checklist by country:

Japan

  • Naomi Kawase – Radiance (光, Hikari)
  • Kiyoshi Kurosawa – Before We Vanish (散歩する侵略者, Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha)
  • Takashi Miike – Blade of the Immortal (無限の住人, Mugen no Junin)

South Korea

  • Hong Sang-soo – The Day After
  • Hong Sang-soo – Claire’s Camera
  • Bong Joon-ho – Okja (옥자)
  • Byun Sung-hyun – Merciless (불한당: 나쁜 놈들의 세상, Boolhandang: Nabbeun Nomdeului Sesang)
  • Jung Byung-gil – The Villainess (악녀, Aknyeo)