Hirokazu Koreeda’s 1998 masterpiece comes to Japan Society New York on August 12. Drawing on his documentary work, Koreeda meditates on memory and cinema as a collection of recently deceased souls are invited to preserve their most precious moments on film before moving on to the other side. You can read our full review of the film here.
The Blue Ribbon Awards, presented by film critics and writers in Tokyo, has announced the winners for the 63rd edition which honours films released in 2020. Fukushima 50, a tense dramatisation of the efforts to mitigate the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, takes Best Film while Ryota Nakano takes home Best Director for The Asadas, Masami Nagasawa picks up Best Actress for her second consecutive year reprising her role in The Confidence Man JP, and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi takes Best Actor for his role as a transgender woman. Owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be no physical ceremony for this year’s awards.
Fukushima 50 – Setsuro Wakamatsu draws inspiration from Ryusho Kadota’s nonfiction book to pay tribute to the workers who stayed behind during the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Presented in no particular order.
True Mothers – heartbreaking drama from Naomi Kawase in which a young couple adopt a baby only for the birth mother to resurface
The Asadas – latest from Ryota Nakano starring Kazunari Ninomiya inspired by the life of photographer Masashi Asada.
Underdog – boxing drama from Masaharu Take.
Ito – Heisei love story inspired by the classic Miyuki Nakajima song, directed by Takahisa Zeze, and starring Nana Komatsu & Masaki Suda
Theatre: A Love Story – A self-obsessed writer slowly destroys the joy and hope of a woman he claims to love then turns it into art in Isao Yukisada’s dark romance
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train – record breaking movie of the hit TV anime in which a boy in the Taisho era tries to heal his younger sister after she is turned into a demon
Wife of a Spy – 8K wartime drama from Kiyoshi Kurosawa in which Yu Aoi tries to stop her husband Issey Takahashi from blowing the whistle after witnessing atrocity in Manchuria.
The Voice of Sin – Shun Oguri stars as a reporter investigating a 30-year-old unsolved case.
Fukushima 50 – Setsuro Wakamatsu draws inspiration from Ryusho Kadota’s nonfiction book to pay tribute to the workers who stayed behind during the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant.
Midnight Swan – ex-SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi stars as a transgender woman who takes in a little girl neglected by her parents.
Best 10 Runners up
Presented in no particular order
A Beloved Wife – An unsuccessful screenwriter is henpecked by his understandably irate sake-guzzling wife in this autobiographical take on a toxic marriage.
Kyou Kara Ore Wa!!: The Movie – big screen outing for the TV drama adaptation of the high school delinquent manga by Hiroyuki Nishimori directed by Yuichi Fukuda..
The Confidence Man JP: Princess – sequel in which the gang of scammers try their luck in Malaysia
Any Crybabies Around? – a young man flees his family in embarrassment after going viral for getting drunk and being naked at a festival only to return two years later to make it up to them.
Wong Kar Wai’s long-awaited if controversial restorations are making their way to the UK streaming throughout February 2021 with physical screenings planned for such time as cinemas are able to reopen. After launching via ICA’s Cinema 3, seven of the newly restored classics will be available to stream via BFI Player from 8th February.
As Tears Go By
Hong Kong. 1988. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung. 102min. Digital 4K. 18 This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. A Janus Films release.
Wong Kar-Wai’s moody triad debut stars a young Andy Lau as a lovelorn petty gangster who is forced to host a distant cousin (Maggie Cheung) when she comes to the city to seek medical treatment for a respiratory illness. It is worth noting that the new restoration streams in the original Cantonese language track rather than the Mandarin dub previously released in the UK and therefore features the iconic Cantopop cover of Take My Breath Away. If nothing else, the film deserves an accolade for the most oblique cinematic I Love You in the unforgettable line “I found that glass”. Review.
(Clip from previous release)
Days of Being Wild
Hong Kong. 1990. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau. 94min. Digital 4K. 12A This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. A Janus Films release.
Leslie Cheung stars as a restless Casanova unable to reconcile himself to his sense of rootlessness in maternal confusion while breaking hearts all over Hong Kong from the sweet and innocent Maggie Cheung who later falls for sad policeman Andy Lau to vivacious cabaret dancer Carina Lau who falls into a self-destructive spiral following the end of their affair.
Hong Kong. 1994. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro. 102min. Digital 4K. 12A This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, One Cool, and 3H Sound Studio. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.
A snapshot of ’90s Hong Kong, elliptical romance Chungking Express follows two lovelorn policemen each confronted by heartbreak as Takeshi Kaneshiro accidentally becomes involved with jaded assassin Brigitte Lin while Tony Leung Chiu-wai is semi-stalked by pixieish fast food stall counter-girl Faye Wong.
Hong Kong. 1995. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leon Lai Ming, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Charlie Young Choi Nei, Karen Mok Man Wai. 99min. Digital 4K. 15 This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, and One Cool. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.
A quasi-sequel to Chungking Express, Fallen Angels features two intersecting stories one again featuring Kaneshiro but this time as a crazed criminal recently escaped from prison who falls for a mysterious woman whose boyfriend left her for a woman called “Blondie” who is also a point of tension between hitman Leon Lai and his partner who lives in Kaneshiro’s building.
Hong Kong. 1997. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen. 96min. Digital 4K. 15 This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, Jet Tone, and One Cool. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.
A landmark for LGBTQ+ representation, Wong’s 1997 tragic romance stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie Cheung as melancholy lovers who move to Argentina in an attempt to save their relationship only to break up and sporadically return to one another.
In the Mood for Love
Hong Kong. 2000. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung Man Yuk. 98min. Digital 4K. PG This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with Jet Tone Films, L’Immagine Ritrovata, One Cool, and Robert Mackenzie Sound. Supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Janus Films release.
Wong’s undoubted masterpiece and international breakthrough once again stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung, this time as betrayed spouses in ’60s Hong Kong who begin to fall in love despite themselves as they bond in shared loneliness but are unable to act on their desires.
Hong Kong. 2004. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung, Gong Li, Faye Wong, Takuya Kimura, Ziyi Zhang, Carina Lau, Chang Chen, Dong Jie, Maggie Cheung, Bird Thongchai McIntyre. 129min. Digital 4K. 12A The 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the original 35mm elements by Sony Pictures Classics, in collaboration with Jet Tone Films, L’Immagine Ritrovata, One Cool, and Robert Mackenzie Sound. The restoration was approved by Wong Kar Wai. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
A quasi-sequel to In the Mood for Love and Days of Being of Wild, 2046 follows Tony Leung Chiu Wai’s Chow Mo-wan as he struggles to overcome his longing for Maggie Cheung, romancing Days of Being Wild’s Carina Lau, observing the lovelorn landlord’s daughter Faye Wong as she struggles in her romance with Japanese tourist Takuya Kimura, entering a complicated relationship with 2046 resident Zhang Ziyi, and continuing to chase the past with gambler Gong Li who has the same name as the woman he can’t forget.
Screening at BFI Southbank (once reopened)
Ashes of Time Redux
Hong Kong. 2008. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Charlie Young, Jacky Cheung, Maggie Cheung. 93min. 35mm. 15
This notoriously troubled production finds Wong in wuxia territory in the company of his frequent collaborators Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Charlie Young, Jacky Cheung, and Maggie Cheung for a prequel to the well-known tale The Legend of the Condor Heroes. With the original negatives of the film apparently lost, the 2008 “Redux” edition was re-edited and rescored from existing prints.
The Hand (Extended Cut)
Hong Kong. 2004. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Gong Li, Chang Chen. 56min. Digital. 15
The director’s cut of Wong’s contribution to the 2004 anthology Eros stars Chang Chen (Happy Together, 2046, The Grandmaster) as a diffident tailor’s assistant who is sent to measure up high end call girl Gong Li in heady ’60s Hong Kong.
My Blueberry Nights
China/France/USA/Hong Kong. 2007. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Norah Jones, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman. 90min. 35mm. 12A
Despite an A-list roster of Hollywood talent, Wong’s international feature debut failed to live up to his homegrown reputation with critics often remarking that his attempt to reconfigure his key concerns for an American milieu inauthentic at best as he follows a Norah Jones on a US road trip through heartbreak and despair.
Hong Kong/China. 2013. Dir Wong Kar Wai. With Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang, Song Hye Kyo. 108min. Digital. 15
Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wong’s long-awaited take on the Ip Man legend finds the grandmaster reflecting on the nature of kung fu while sparring with the daughter of an old rival played by Zhang Ziyi. On its domestic premiere, the film ran to 130 minutes and was then cut down to 123 for Berlin. The “international” cut screening here, however, runs to 108 minutes and is so extensively re-edited as to constitute an entirely different film leaning heavier on action and on onscreen explanatory text. Still, Wong’s breathtaking fight sequences are present in the all their glory as is his melancholy romanticism. While not among the new restorations, The Grandmaster will also be available to stream via BFI Player.
The seven new restorations will be available to stream in the UK via BFI Player from 8th February and on ICA Cinema 3 for 14 days following the first screening.
The London Korean Film Festival returns for 2020 in an unprecedented digital edition bringing some of the best in contemporary Korean cinema to homes across the UK along with a few select physical cinema screenings in London. This year’s Special Focus is dedicated to Friends and Family reminding us of our essential connections as we continue to face the effects of the pandemic.
Pawn – tearjerking dramedy from Kang Dae-kyu in which a debt collector (Sung Dong-Il) becomes the accidental guardian of a little girl when her mother offers her up as collateral on a loan but is then deported for being an undocumented migrant.
Bori – the only hearing member of her family, Bori struggles with the idea of difference as she tries to adjust to communicating verbally at school eventually wishing that she too were deaf.
Special Focus: Friends and Family
Family Ties – tripartite family comedy from 2006 following two unusual family units which eventually merge.
The Happy Life – 2007 musical drama from Lee Joon-ik in which former members of a college band decide to reform after the lead singer dies.
Juvenile Offender – 2012 drama from Kang Yi-Kwan in which a 16-year-old delinquent reunites with the estranged mother who gave him up at birth.
Intimate Strangers – Korean remake of the international hit Perfect Strangers in which a collection of respectable bourgeois couples have their lives upended after they agree to share all their mobile communications during the course of a dinner party. Review.
Moving On – moving coming-of-age drama in which a little girl and her brother move in with grandpa in the wake of their parents’ divorce.
Vertigo – an office worker suffering existential vertigo is comforted by the presence of a fearless window cleaner. Review.
Jesters: The Game Changers – Joseon-era street entertainers get into trouble for spreading fake news in a period drama from The Grand Heist’s Kim Joo-ho.
Ashfall – A bomb disposal expert with a baby on the way is dragged into a covert mission to the North when Mt. Baekdu suddenly erupts in Lee Hae-jun & Kim Byung-seo’s starry disaster movie. Review.
Me and Me – directorial debut from actor Jung Jin-young in which a policeman wakes up one day to discover he’s someone else. Review.
The Woman Who Ran – the latest from Hong Sang-soo starring Kim Min-hee as a married woman taking a solo vacation to visit old friends.
An Old Lady – hard hitting drama in which a 69-year-old woman struggles to get justice after she is raped by a nurse at a hospital.
Gull – a middle-aged woman faces social ostracisation while seeking justice after being raped by an influential co-worker.
Eul-hwa – Byeon Jang-ho drama from 1979 based on a famous story in which a shamaness finds herself at the mercy of changing times and at odds with her son who has converted to Christianity.
Divine Bow – Im Kwon-taek’s 1979 drama starring Yoon Jeong-hee as a former shamaness who gave up her practice after a traumatic incident.
Daughter of Fire – Im Kwon-taek drama from 1983 in which a man from a shamanistic background who married a Christian is visited by his mother in his dreams.
My Own Breathing – final instalment in a trilogy of films featuring testimony from former comfort women.
Itaewon – documentary following three women living in Itaewon
Underdog – a collection of stray dogs finds a place without humans where they are free to become themselves in this charming family animation.
Bong Joon-ho Shorts
The festival will also be showcasing a series of rarely seen early short films from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho.
Incoherence – 1994 student short
Influenza – 30-minute short from 2004 shot in front of real CCTV cameras in Seoul.
Some Light? – 2009 short directed by Kang Dae-hee featuring Bong in a rare acting appearance.
The London Korean Film Festival runs 29th October to 12th November online across the UK and in London cinemas. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information will be available shortly via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema is back with their final mini streaming series ahead of cinemas reopening this summer to keep you entertained while you keep safe at home! From June 19 to 21, you can catch three dad-themed Japanese comedies streaming online for free in the US as part of the Father’s Day Cheer selection supported in part by the Japan Foundation New York.
The life of a 49-year-old writer (Yutaka Matsushige) is upended when his much younger wife (Keiko Kitagawa) decides she would like to have children. After trying for a while with no success, they decide to go to the hospital for tests and receive some surprising news.
Family drama from Yuki Tanada in which an ageing father (Tatsuya Fuji) is thrown out of his son’s house and goes to stay with his 34-year-old daughter (Juri Ueno) where he is scandalised to discover she is living with a man (Lily Franky) who is 20 years older than her and 20 years younger than him.
Post-apocalyptic comedy from Shinobu Yaguchi (Waterboys, Swing Girls) in which a family is forced to get reacquainted with the simple life when salaryman dad takes them out on the road after the power goes out one day and never comes back on. Review.
Each of the movies is available to stream in the US on the named date only from 2pm to 10pm CDT and is free to view but registration is essential as viewing numbers are capped at 300. After registering you will be emailed the link shortly before the viewing time and must activate it within the 8-hour window after which you will have 24 hours to finish watching the movie. You can find further information and registration links on Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s official website and you can also keep up with all the latest news by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns with another fantastic collection of movies streaming for free online while you do the responsible thing and stay at home as much as you are able. From June 5 to 12, you can catch a series of recent Taiwanese shorts and features available to stream in the US for a one-time viewing between 2pm and 10pm CDT on the named date only.
Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period. Review.
Sylvia Chang’s moving drama in which an artist separated from her brother in childhood struggles to resolve her lingering feelings of resentment towards her mother while trapped in a difficult relationship with a troubled boxer.
Sporting drama in which two brothers find themselves on opposite sides as they try to seize their destinies on the basketball court. While one joins an elitist team in which nothing matters except winning, the other bonds with a fatherly coach who values compassion and solidarity.
Each of the movies is available to stream in the US on the named date only from 2pm to 10pm CDT and is free to view but registration is essential. After registering you will be emailed the link shortly before the viewing time and must activate it within the 8-hour window after which you will have 24 hours to finish watching the movie. You can find further information and registration links on Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s official website and you can also keep up with all the latest news by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Olympics may have been postponed and everything seems like it’s on pause, but the BFI’s planned mammoth Japan season is still doing all it can to make its way to us in the 2020 that never was. With the cinemas closed for the foreseeable future, the BFI will be making the first part of the season available online via BFI player with strands dedicated to golden age directors Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu as well as a series of classics including films by Mikio Naruse and Seijun Suzuki, cult movies, and the best in 21st century cinema. Once the BFI reopens, we can also look forward to some rarer treats from this century and the last.
Sanshiro Sugata Pt 1 & 2 – drama inspired by the life story of a legendary judo master.
The Most Beautiful – naturalistic national policy film from 1944 following the lives of female factory workers.
No Regrets for Our Youth – 1946 drama starring Setsuko Hara as a professor’s daughter who marries a radical leftist later executed as a spy.
One Wonderful Sunday – post-war drama in which an engaged couple attempt to have a nice day out in Tokyo for only 35 yen.
I Live in Fear – Toshiro Mifune stars as a factory owner so terrified of nuclear attack that he becomes determined to move his family to the comparative safety of Brazil while they attempt to have him declared legally incompetent on account of his intense paranoia.
The Lower Depths – 1957 adaptation of Gorky’s novel following the lives of a collection of people living in an Edo-era tenement.
High and Low – Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy man encountering a dilemma when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped after being mistaken for his own.
Dodes’ka-den– Kurosawa’s first colour film exploring the lives of a collection of people living in a shantytown above a rubbish dump.
Classics (11th May)
Late Chrysanthemums – Naruse’s 1954 drama following the lives of four former geishas (played by Haruko Sugimura, Chikako Hosokawa, Yuko Mochizuki, and Sadako Sawamura) as they try to get by in the complicated post-war economy.
Floating Clouds – Naruse’s 1955 romantic drama starring Hideko Takamine and Masayuki Mori as former lovers floundering in the post-war landscape. Review.
Onibaba – period horror from Kaneto Shindo in which a mother and her daughter-in-law survive by murdering samurai and selling their armour. Review.
Kwaidan – horror anthology from Masaki Kobayashi featuring adaptations of classic Japanese folktales.
Hana-Bi– noirish poetry from Takeshi Kitano as a former policeman takes on an unwise loan from yakuza to care for his terminally ill wife. Review.
Black Rain – Shohei Imamura’s 1989 drama set in the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.
Branded to Kill – the anarchic 1967 hitman drama that got Seijun Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu.
Woman of the Dunes – Hiroshi Teshigahara’s adaption of the Kobo Abe novel in which a bug collector is imprisoned in a sand dune after missing the last bus home and being persuaded to spend the night in the home of a local woman.
After Life– poignant drama from Hirokazu Koreeda in which the recently deceased are permitted to recreate a favourite memory. Review.
Youth of the Beast – Seijun Suzuki drama starring Jo Shishido as a mysterious figure playing double agent to engineer a gang war. Review.
Gate of Hell – period drama starring Machiko Kyo as a loyal wife who tricks a man trying to kill her husband to have her for himself to kill her instead. Review.
Tokyo Story– post-war classic in which an old couple from the country make a rare trip to the city to see their grown up children but are disappointed to discover that they don’t have much time for them.
Good Morning – consumerist comedy in which two little boys go on a pleasantries strike to get their parents to buy them a TV.
Late Autumn – drama in which a young widow tries to marry off her daughter with the help of old friends from college. Review.
An Autumn Afternoon – Ozu’s final film stars Chishu Ryu as an ageing widower preparing to marry off his only daughter. Review.
Early Summer – a family’s attempt to marry off a daughter is frustrated when they realise she is carrying a torch for the widower next door.
Equinox Flower – drama of generational conflict in which an authoritarian father is forced to accept his daughter’s right to choose her own husband without asking for his advice or consent.
Late Spring – classic in which a young woman’s close relationship with her widowed father leaves her reluctant to marry.
Dragnet Girl – silent crime film starring Kinuyo Tanaka as a gangster’s moll who decides to reform after meeting the sister of a new gang member.
Walk Cheerfully – silent crime film in which a gangster wants to go straight after falling for an ordinary girl.
House – surreal horror from Nobuhiko Obayashi in which a high school girl takes some friends to visit her aunt but ends up in a colourful nightmare world.
Anime (31st July)
Summer Wars – Mamoru Hosoda’s breakthrough feature follows the summer adventures of maths genius and moderator of online world Oz Kenji Koiso as he is unexpectedly invited on a trip with his crush, Natsuki, only to be expected to play the part of her fake fiancé whilst also dealing with a vast internet-based conspiracy.
Maborosi – a young widow struggles to come to terms with the apparent suicide of her husband in Hirokazu Koreeda’s debut feature.
Sawako Decides – an aimless young woman struggles to find direction in her life in an early comedy from Yuya Ishii starring Hikari Mitsushima.
Getting Any? – zany pop culture comedy from Takeshi Kitano in which a man goes to great lengths to get a car solely so he can have sex in it. Review.
The Woodsman and the Rain – comedy from Shuichi Okita in which a film director bonds with a lonely lumberjack while shooting a zombie movie.
Love Exposure – 4-hour epic from Sion Sono in which the son of a priest becomes obsessed with upskirt photography.
The Mourning Forest– a bereaved mother bonds with the elderly resident of a care home where she works in an award winning drama from Naomi Kawase.
A Scene at the Sea – poetic drama from Takeshi Kitano about a deaf refuse collector who becomes fixated on surfacing. Review.
Dangan Runner – three men ricochet towards an inevitable ending in the debut feature from SABU. Review.
Zigeunerweisen – surreal drama from Seijun Suzuki starring Yoshio Harada as a nomad on the run after being suspected of seducing and killing the wife of a fisherman.
Shinjuku Triad Society – sleazy ’90s noir from Takashi Miike in which a mixed race policeman goes up against a Taiwanese gang over to discover his younger brother has joined them as a rookie lawyer. Review.
Violent Cop – a rogue cop attuned to the ways of violence abandons all pretence of civility in pursuit of justice but encounters only nihilistic futility in Kitano’s Bubble-era noir. Review.
Boiling Point – a disaffected young man finds himself on a self-destructive mission of vicarious vengeance but struggles to escape his sense of inferiority in Kitano’s deadpan exploration of explosive repression. Review.
Sonatine – tired of the life, a veteran gangster ponders retirement but knows his brief island holiday is only a temporary respite from his nihilistic life of violence in Kitano’s melancholy existential drama. Review.
A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn – pink film from Daisuke Goto in which a woman impersonates her senile father-in-law’s long gone favourite cow and allows him to milk her.
21st Century (18th September)
Still the Water – island coming of age drama from Naomi Kawase. (not included in subscription, £3.50 to rent)
Sweet Bean – a dorayaki salesman bonds with an old woman who helps him improve his bean paste in Naomi Kawase’s moving drama.
Nobody Knows – siblings are left to fend for themselves when their mother abandons them in Hirokazu Koreeda’s gritty drama.
Snake of June – erotic drama from Shinya Tsukamoto in which a mysterious man targets a repressed woman and forces her to engage in illicit sex acts.
The season will continue at the BFI Southbank once the venue reopens.
Golden Age – season programmed by Alexander Jacoby and James Bell showcasing Japanese cinema from the 1930s to the 60s including work by Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse, and Akira Kurosawa, and starring Kinuyo Tanaka, Setsuko Hara, Hideko Takamine, and Toshiro Mifune.
Radicals and Rebels – also curated by Alexander Jacoby and James Bell, the Radicals and Rebels strand focuses on film after 1964 from the New Wave to the genre classics of the ’90s including work by Seijun Suzuki, Nagisa Oshima, and Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida.
21st Century – contemporary classics co-presented by Japan Foundation and curated by Junko Takekawa.
Anime – major two month season curated by Justin Johnson and Hanako Miyata showcasing modern masters such as Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Makoto Shinkai, Mamoru Hosoda, and Naoko Yamada.
The Japan Academy Prize, Japan’s equivalent of the Oscars awarded by the Nippon Academy-sho Association of industry professionals, has announced the winners for its 43rd edition which honours films released between Dec. 16, 2018 and Dec. 15, 2019. Michihito Fujii’s political thriller The Journalist dominated the major categories taking Picture of the Year as well as Best Actor/Actress, while Kingdom also made a good showing taking both Supporting Actor and Actress. Despite its large number of nominations, Fly Me to the Saitama took only Director, Screenplay, and Editing.
Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns March 10 to April 9 with another handpicked selection of the best in recent East Asian cinema! This landmark 10th Season kicks off with Aaron Kwok homelessness drama i’m livin’ it which is nominated in 10 categories at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards, and closes with Yukiko Mishima’s much anticipated romantic drama Shape of Red.
Introduction and Q&A with Director Wong Hing Fan and Actress Kathy Wu
Receiving 10 nominations at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards including all the major categories, i’m livin’ it stars Aaron Kwok as a once successful banker who has unexpectedly become homeless and spends his nights in a 24hr fast food restaurant among others facing similar difficulties.
Introduction and Q&A with Director Fung Chih-Chiang
A detective finds himself investigating a murder in which the only witness is a parrot! Louis Koo is up for best actor at the Hong Kong film awards for his role as the prime suspect while Philip Keung also gets a nod for best supporting as a senior detective.
Stanley Kwan’s starry drama pits two warring divas against each other in a battle for the spotlight as they rehearse for a new play penned by a transwoman who struggles to find acceptance in the surprisingly conservative theatre industry. Review.
Following the breakup of her marriage, a young woman decides to return to her hometown in China after living in Montreal for 10 years. Reconnecting with her family and an old flame helps to show her new direction in her life.
Zhu Xin’s debut feature follows a little girl, Li Sen-Lin, who loses her pet turtle while her dad is away on business. Overhearing other relatives talk about an alternate “Sen-Lin”, she begins to wonder if her aunt is really her mother.
Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period.
A woman in her 30s begins to feel a sense of existential vertigo, trapped in a dead end relationship with a feckless boyfriend while worrying that her career is going nowhere either. Then, she meets a tightrope walking window cleaner.
Introduction and Q&A with Director Koh Hoon and Actor Ahn Sung-ki who will also receive the Career Achievement Award.
A funeral director struggling to care for his sickly son bonds with a cheerful single mother while going against the city to assist in a public funeral for a noodle stall owner who became a hero to the homeless.
Kaho stars as a happily married woman who embarks on a passionate affair with an old flame (Satoshi Tsumabuki) in Yukiko Mishima’s steamy adaptation of the novel by Rio Shimamoto.
Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 10 runs in Chicago from March 10 to April 9. Full details for all the films are available via the festival’s official website where tickets are already on sale. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo.
Prestigious cinema magazine Kinema Junpo has released its always anticipated “Best 10” list for films released in 2019, the 93rd edition. Steamy drama It Feels So Good takes the top spot in a list which is (almost) entirely free of surprise awards juggernaut Fly Me to the Saitama.
1.It Feels so Good (火口の ふたり)
Steamy drama from Haruhiko Arai – screenwriter, critic, and editor of film magazine Eiga Geijutsu, starring Tasuku Emoto as a young man who’s lost his job and got divorced. Retreating to his hometown, he reconnects with an old flame (Kumi Takiuchi) in the days before her wedding to another man.
Drama from Koji Fukada in which a homecare nurse is implicated in the disappearance of her employer’s daughter.
5. Listen to the Universe (蜜蜂と遠雷)
Adaptation of Riku Onda’s novel following four aspiring concert pianists directed by Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of Sin)
6. Farewell Song (さよならくちびる)
Love triangle drama from Akihiko Shiota in which a two-piece folk band (Nana Komatsu & Mugi Kadowaki) go on one last tour with a male roadie (Ryo Narita) who disrupts their dynamic.
7. One Night (ひとよ)
Drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a scattered family reunites 15 years after one traumatic night.
8. Just Only Love (愛がなんだ)
Rikiya Imaizumi adapt’s Mitsuyo Kakuta’s novel in which a lovelorn office lady (Yukino Kishii) gets into a casual relationship with a colleague (Ryo Narita) but gradually realises he’s just not that into her.
Three stories of love occur along the the iconic Kyoto tramline as a writer from Kamakura searches for a ghost train while recalling memories of his wife, a local girl helps a Tokyo actor master the Kyoto accent, and a girl from Aomori falls for a trainspotter!