Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season 10!

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.

March 10, 7pm: i’m livin’ it

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.

March 11, 7pm: A Witness Out of the Blue

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.

March 12, 7pm: First Night Nerves

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.

March 14, 2pm: Men on the Dragon

A collection of dejected middle-aged men can no longer avoid facing their respective crises when forced to participate in the company dragon boat team in Sunny Chan’s heartfelt comedy drama. Review.

March 16, 6.30pm: A Touch of Spring

Introduction and Q&A with Director He Xiao-Dan

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.

March 18, 7pm: Red Flowers and Green Leaves

A young man who assumed he’d never marry because of a longterm illness suddenly finds himself with a beautiful wife through an arrangement made by his family.

March 19, 7pm: 3 Adventures of Brooke

A young Chinese woman has three very different adventures while traveling in Northern Malaysia, trying on different identities as she encounters different people.

March 21, 7pm: Vanishing Days

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.

March 25, 7pm: We Are Champions

Introduction and Q&A with Producer Rachel Chen and Actor Berant Zhu who will also pick up the Bright Star Award before the screening.

Taiwanese sporting drama in which teenage brothers attempt to change their fates through success on the basketball court.

March 26, 7pm: Detention

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.

April 1, 7pm: Vertigo

Introduction and Q&A with Director Jeon Gye-Soo

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.

April 2, 7pm: Paper Flower

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.

April 4, 7pm: Life Finds a Way

Introduction and Q&A with Director Hirobumi Watanabe

Hirobumi Watanabe once again stars as a version of himself as he experiences a creative crisis as a director while hanging out with his elderly grandmother in sunny Tochigi.

April 8, 7pm: Samurai Marathon

A small fiefdom is thrown into crisis when a ninja spy mistakes his lord’s intentions to toughen up his men as a prelude to rebellion in this unusual samurai drama directed by Bernard Rose. Review.

April 9, 7pm: Shape of Red

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Vimeo.

Kinema Junpo Announces 93rd Best 10 for 2019

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.

2. Another World (半世界)

Male friendship drama from Junji Sakamoto in which a traumatised soldier returns to his small town home and tries to reconnect with the friends of his youth.

3. From Miyamoto to You (宮本から君へ)

Sequel to a TV drama directed by Tetsuya Mariko (Destruction Babies) starring Sosuke Ikematsu as a shy salesman who falls for Yu Aoi’s office worker.

4. A Girl Missing (よこがお)

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.

9. RANDEN: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram (嵐電)

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!

10. To the Ends of the Earth (旅のおわり世界のはじまり)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa reunites with recent muse Atsuko Maeda as a lost TV presenter goes searching for herself while filming in Uzbekistan.

Best 10 International

  1. Joker
  2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  3. The Irishman
  4. The Mule
  5. Green Book
  6. Sorry We Missed You
  7. Cold War
  8. Roma
  9. An Elephant Sitting Still
  10. Burning

Best 10 Documentaries

  1. i -Documentary of the Journalist- (i-新聞記者ドキュメント-, Tatsuya Mori)
  2. Fukushima Speaks (福島は語る, Toshikuni Doi) 
  3. Jinsei wo Shimau Toki (人生をしまう時間(とき), Sachiko Shimomura)
  4. Yamafutokoro ni Idakarete (山懐に抱かれて, Takashi Endo)
  5. Planet of the Crabs (蟹の惑星, Hiroyasu Murakami)
  6. Sakubei and the Mining of Japan (作兵衛さんと日本を掘る, Hiroko Kumagai)
  7. Tokyo High Tide (東京干潟, Hiroyasu Murakami))
  8. Dare ga Tame ni Kenpo wa Aru (誰がために憲法はある, Junichi Inoue)
  9. America ga Mottomo Osoreta Otoko: Kamejiro – Fukutsu no Shogai (米軍(アメリカ)が最も恐れた男 カメジロー不屈の生涯, Tadahiko Sato)
  10. Korean Schools in Japan (アイたちの学校, Ko Chanyu)

Readers’ Best 10 (Japan)

  1. Another World (半世界)
  2. Sea of Revival (凪待ち)
  3. The Journalist (新聞記者)
  4. One Night (ひとよ)
  5. Weathering with You (天気の子)
  6. Just Only Love (愛がなんだ)
  7. Typhoon Family (台風家族)
  8. From Miyamoto to You (宮本から君へ)
  9. A Girl Missing (よこがお)
  10. Talking the Pictures (カツベン!)

Readers’ Best 10 (International)

  1. Joker
  2. Green Book
  3. The Mule
  4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  5. Roma
  6. The Irishman
  7. Capernaum
  8. The Favourite
  9. Sorry We Missed You
  10. Cold War

Individual Awards

Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (One Night, Sea of Revival, A Gambler’s Odyssey 2020)

Best Screenplay: Junji Sakamoto (Another World)

Best Director (international): Todd Phillips (Joker)

Best Actress: Kumi Takiuchi (It Feels So Good)

Best Actor: Sosuke Ikematsu (From Miyamoto to You)

Best Supporting Actress: Chizuru Ikewaki (Another World)

Best Supporting Actor: Ryo Narita (Just Only Love, Farewell Song, Chiwawa, Fly Me to the Saitama, No Longer Human)

Best Newcomer (actress): Nagisa Sekimizu (Almost a Miracle)

Best Newcomer (actor): Oji Suzuka (Listen to the Universe, The 47 Ronin in Debt)

Readers’ Choice Best Director: Junji Sakamoto (Another World)

Readers’ Choice Best Director (international): Todd Phillips (Joker)

Readers’ Choice Award: RHYMESTER Utamaru / Kazuko Misawa

Special Award: Makoto Wada

Source: Kinema Junpo official website.

New York Asian Film Festival Returns for Second Winter Showcase

NYAFF is back for its second Winter Showcase and this time around the theme is food! Each of the seven films screening from Feb. 14 – 16 at SVA Theatre will be paired with a selection of matching cuisine available after the screening.

Friday Feb. 14, 7pm: Extreme Job

Bumbling Cops open a chicken shop as a cover for staking out a suspected drug den only for the store to prove an unexpected success. Review.

Food: BBQ Chicken Ktown will be on hand with some specially prepared “Galbi” fried chicken just like in the movie.

Saturday Feb. 15, 1pm: Tampopo

A truck driver helps a struggling widow perfect her soup in Juzo Itami’s classic ramen western! Review.

Food: “Tampopo” tonkotsu ramen by Brooklyn Ramen

Saturday Feb. 15, 3.30pm: Eat Drink Man Woman

A master Taiwanese chef faces changing times as each of his three, very different daughters, considers their futures.

Food: Taiwanese casual dining from 886!

Saturday Feb. 15, 6.30pm: God of Cookery

Classic 1996 Stephen Chow comedy about a cynical “chef” who actually knows nothing about cooking but runs a successful food empire.

food: Asian food specialists Char Sue offer up their take on “Char Siu Rice”.

Sunday Feb. 16, 1pm: The Lunchbox

Romantic drama in which a lonely widower strikes up a friendship with an unhappily married woman after accidentally receiving a lunch box intended for her husband.

Food: Chapati Man’s spicy Indian wraps.

Sunday Feb. 16, 3.30pm: Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast

A young woman returns home to the country after failing in Taipei but is disappointed to discover her family restaurant has been reduced to a single noodle stand. Luckily, a master chef agrees to help them get back on their feet.

Food: second helpings from 886!

Sunday Feb. 16, 6.30pm: The First Supper

A family reunites for their father’s funeral, sharing their memories of him through the food that he cooked while reaching new understandings in this foodie family drama from Japan.

Food: Takoyaki bites from Karl’s Balls!

The New York Asian Film Festival Winter Showcase runs February 14 – 16 at SVA Theatre. Tickets are available now via Elevent and you can keep up with all the latest news including the upcoming summer season via the festival’s official websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

Blue Ribbon Awards Announces Winners for 62nd Edition

The Blue Ribbon Awards, presented by film critics and writers in Tokyo, has announced the winners for the 62nd edition which honours films released in 2019. Crowd pleasing comedy Fly Me to the Saitama continues its awards season success by taking Best Film while Tetsuya Mariko picks up a best director award, and Kiichi Nakai and Masami Nagasawa take home Best Actor and Actress respectively. The awards will be presented at a prize giving ceremony at Iino Hall on 18th February.

The winners in full:

Best Film

Winner: Fly Me to the Saitama – broad comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority.

Best 10

“Best 13” because there was a four way tie. Presented in no particular order.

  • The Great War of Archimedes – wartime drama from the director of The Eternal Zero starring Masaki Suda as a maths genius trying to expose corruption in the military.
  • Welcome Back, Tora-san – 50th anniversary tribute to Yoji Yamada’s long running Tora-san series.
  • Talking the Pictures – Masayuki Suo’s tribute to the age of the “benshi” silent movie narrator.
  • Hit Me Anyone One More Time – latest from Koki Mitani in which a man gets a blow on the head and loses his memory only to be told he is actually the prime minister of Japan!
  • Kingdom – “wuxia” manga adaptation from blockbuster maestro Shinsuke Sato.
  • The Journalist – political thriller starring Shim Eun-kyung as a reporter attempting to expose governmental corruption and Tori Matsuzaka as a conflicted civil servant.
  • Weathering with You – latest animation from Makoto Shinkai in which a boy runs away from home and meets a girl who can control the weather.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – broad comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority.
  • Sea of Revival – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a man moves back to his partner’s home town but finds that trouble follows him.
  • One Night – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a scattered family reunites 15 years after one traumatic night.
  • Masquerade Hotel – mystery starring Takuya Kimura as a detective working undercover at a hotel where he clashes with front desk manager Masami Nagasawa as they try to catch a serial killer.
  • Listen to the Universe – adaptation of Riku Onda’s novel following four aspiring concert pianists directed by Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of Sin)
  • From Miyamoto to You – sequel to a TV drama directed by Tetsuya Mariko (Destruction Babies) starring Sosuke Ikematsu as a shy salesman who falls for Yu Aoi’s office worker.

Runners up

(titles from the long list which didn’t make the final cut. No particular order)

  • It Feels So Good – steamy drama from screenwriter Haruhiko Arai in which a bride-to-be (Kumi Takiuchi) reconnects with an old flame (Tasuku Emoto)
  • The Confidence Man JP – big screen outing for a TV drama starring Masami Nagasawa as a conwoman.
  • The Bucket List – Isshin Inudo’s remake of the US comedy starring Sayuri Yoshinaga and Yuki Amami as two terminally ill women who find the bucket list of a 12-year-old girl and decide to follow it.
  • 12 Suicidal Teens – 12 depressed teens meet in a disused hospital to die but discover new will to live after investigating a murder.
  • Typhoon Family – family drama in which siblings reunite 10 years after their parents robbed a bank and disappeared.
  • Another World – Three high school buddies reunite in their small-town home hoping to restore the easy bond of their adolescence while battling middle-aged disappointment in the latest from Junji Sakamoto.
  • Closed Ward – drama in which a murder occurs at a psychiatric hospital.

Best Director

Best Actor

  • Shingo Katori (Sea of Revival)
  • Masaki Suda (The Great War of Archimedes)
  • Kiichi Nakai (Hit Me Anyone One More Time)
  • Ryo Narita (Talking the Pictures)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (The Journalist, Iwane: Sword of Serenity)

Best Actress

  • Yu Aoi (A Long Goodbye)
  • Masami Nagasawa (The Confidence Man JP)
  • Fumi Nikaido (Fly Me to the Saitama)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Riho Yoshioka (Blind Witness)
  • Sayuri Yoshinaga (The Bucket List)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Go Ayano (Closed Ward)
  • Itsuji Itao (My Father, the Bride; The 47 Ronin in Debt)
  • Kiyohiko Shibukawa (Another World, Closed Ward)
  • Ryo Narita (ChiwawaFly Me to the Saitama, Farewell Song, No Longer Human)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Ryo Yoshizawa (Kingdom)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Yuki Amami (The Bucket List)
  • Chizuru Ikewaki (Another World)
  • Nana Komatsu (Samurai Marathon, Closed Ward)
  • Masami Nagasawa (Masquerade Hotel, Kingdom)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (One Night)
  • MEGUMI (Typhoon Family; Little Nights, Little Love; One Night)

Best Newcomer

Best Foreign Film

Winner: Joker

Foreign Film Best 10

(11 because of a tie. No particular order)

  • Frozen 2
  • Aladdin
  • Yesterday
  • Green Book
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • City Hunter (French live action movie)
  • Joker
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 
  • The Mule
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Runners up

(titles from the long list which didn’t make the final cut. No particular order)

  • The Irishman
  • The Spy Gone North
  • The Favourite
  • The Truth (Koreeda)
  • Toy Story 4
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Detective Pikachu
  • Lion King
  • Rocketman

Sources: Eiga Natalie, Sports Hochi

Blue Ribbon Awards Announces Nominations for 62nd Edition

Katsuben still 1Presented by film critics and writers in Tokyo, the Blue Ribbon Awards has announced its nominations for the 62nd edition which honours films released in 2019. In addition to nominating a “best” picture, the best film long list will also be whittled down to a “best 10” when the polls close later this month. Winners are usually announced in advance of the prize giving ceremony which this year takes place on 18th February.

Best Film / “Best 10” 

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  • The Great War of Archimedes – wartime drama from the director of The Eternal Zero starring Masaki Suda as a maths genius trying to expose corruption in the military.
  • Welcome Back, Tora-san – 50th anniversary tribute to Yoji Yamada’s long running Tora-san series.
  • It Feels So Good – steamy drama from screenwriter Haruhiko Arai in which a bride-to-be (Kumi Takiuchi) reconnects with an old flame (Tasuku Emoto)
  • Talking the Pictures – Masayuki Suo’s tribute to the age of the “benshi” silent movie narrator.
  • Hit Me Anyone One More Time – latest from Koki Mitani in which a man gets a blow on the head and loses his memory only to be told he is actually the prime minister of Japan!
  • Kingdom – “wuxia” manga adaptation from blockbuster maestro Shinsuke Sato.
  • The Confidence Man JP – big screen outing for a TV drama starring Masami Nagasawa as a conwoman.
  • The Bucket List – Isshin Inudo’s remake of the US comedy starring Sayuri Yoshinaga and Yuki Amami as two terminally ill women who find the bucket list of a 12-year-old girl and decide to follow it.
  • 12 Suicidal Teens – 12 depressed teens meet in a disused hospital to die but discover new will to live after investigating a murder.
  • The Journalist – political thriller starring Shim Eun-kyung as a reporter attempting to expose governmental corruption and Tori Matsuzaka as a conflicted civil servant.
  • Typhoon Family – family drama in which siblings reunite 10 years after their parents robbed a bank and disappeared.
  • Weathering with You – latest animation from Makoto Shinkai in which a boy runs away from home and meets a girl who can control the weather.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – broad comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority.
  • Sea of Revival – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a man moves back to his partner’s home town but finds that trouble follows him.
  • Another World – Three high school buddies reunite in their small-town home hoping to restore the easy bond of their adolescence while battling middle-aged disappointment in the latest from Junji Sakamoto.
  • One Night – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a scattered family reunites 15 years after one traumatic night.
  • Closed Ward – drama in which a murder occurs at a psychiatric hospital.
  • Masquerade Hotel – mystery starring Takuya Kimura as a detective working undercover at a hotel where he clashes with front desk manager Masami Nagasawa as they try to catch a serial killer.
  • Listen to the Universe – adaptation of Riku Onda’s novel following four aspiring concert pianists directed by Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of Sin)
  • From Miyamoto to You – sequel to a TV drama directed by Tetsuya Mariko (Destruction Babies) starring Sosuke Ikematsu as a shy salesman who falls for Yu Aoi’s office worker.

Best Director

Best Actor

  • Shingo Katori (Sea of Revival)
  • Masaki Suda (The Great War of Archimedes)
  • Kiichi Nakai (Hit Me Anyone One More Time)
  • Ryo Narita (Talking the Pictures)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (The Journalist, Iwane: Sword of Serenity)

Best Actress

  • Yu Aoi (A Long Goodbye)
  • Masami Nagasawa (The Confidence Man JP)
  • Fumi Nikaido (Fly Me to the Saitama)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Riho Yoshioka (Blind Witness)
  • Sayuri Yoshinaga (The Bucket List)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Go Ayano (Closed Ward)
  • Itsuji Itao (My Father, the Bride; The 47 Ronin in Debt)
  • Kiyohiko Shibukawa (Another World, Closed Ward)
  • Ryo Narita (Chiwawa, Fly Me to the Saitama, Farewell Song, No Longer Human)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Ryo Yoshizawa (Kingdom)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Yuki Amami (The Bucket List)
  • Chizuru Ikewaki (Another World)
  • Nana Komatsu (Samurai Marathon, Closed Ward)
  • Masami Nagasawa (Masquerade Hotel, Kingdom)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (One Night)
  • MEGUMI (Typhoon Family; Little Nights, Little Love; One Night)

Best Newcomer

Sources: Eiga Natalie, Sports Hochi

Five Flavours Confirms Complete Programme for 2019

Fly Me to the Saitama still 1Poland’s premier showcase for East Asian cinema Five Flavours has confirmed the complete lineup for its 13th edition to take place in Warsaw from 13th to 20th November, 2019. This year’s festival will have a special focus on contemporary Japanese indie cinema as well as a mini retrospective dedicated to Hong Kong’s Fruit Chan.

Bhutan 

red phallus still 1

  • The Red Phallus – a 16-year-old girl is mocked by her peers because her father carves wooden phalluses for a living.

China

jinpa 1

  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family.
  • Jinpa – philosophical Tibetan western in which a truck driver picks up a vengeful drifter. Review.
  • To Live to Sing – the leader of a struggling Sichuan Opera troupe tries to stave off eviction through impressing a local bureaucrat. Review.

Hong Kong

Still human 1

  • Dumplings – Fruit Chan’s contribution to the Three Extremes omnibus movie in which an ageing TV star hopes to regain her mojo through rejuvenating dumplings. Fruit Chan Retrospective.
  • Durian Durian – a mainland woman comes to Hong Kong to make a living as a sex worker and befriends a local dish washer. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Hong Kong – a mainland sex worker infiltrates an obese family. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Little Cheung – a little boy rides around Hong Kong delivering for his parents’ restaurant. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Made in Hong Kong – Fruit Chan’s landmark handover movie. Review. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Still Human – a grumpy old man makes an unexpected connection with his Filipina carer. Review.
  • Three Husbands – latest from Fruit Chan in which a young woman lives a life at sea with her three husbands. Fruit Chan Retrospective.
  • Throw Down – 2004 Johnnie To classic starring Louis Koo as a former judo champion now a depressed musician and club manager.

Japan

And your bird can sing still 1

  • And Your Bird Can Sing – three melancholy slackers struggle to accept love in Sho Miyake’s adaptation of the Yasushi Sato novel. Review.
  • Blue Hour – a young woman takes her best friend on a roadtrip to her home town but finds old wounds reopening on reuniting with her family. Review.
  • Bone Born Bone – Unmarried pregnant daughter Yuko scandalises her community when she returns home to participate in the bone washing ritual in the second feature from Okinawan comedian Toshiyuki Teruya. Review.
  • Demolition Girl – a high school girl dreams of escaping her small town existence by getting enough money for uni through niche fetish videos of her smashing things. Review.
  • Flowers of Evil – splatter director Noboru Iguchi adapts Shuzo Oshimi’s nihilistic high school manga.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Going the Distance – Forced to choose between his wife-to-be, and a “brother” who grew up with him in the same orphanage, Asahi’s life reaches a crisis point in this comedy/drama debut from Yujiro Hamamoto.
  • Mr. Long – a Taiwanese hit man is adopted by a small town in Sabu’s melancholy drama. Review.
  • One Cut of the Dead – Real zombies mess up the shoot for a horror movie in Shinichiro Ueda’s hilarious comedy. Review.
  • The Gun – Masaharu Take adapts Fuminori Nakamura’s nihilistic novel in which a young man’s life changes when he picks up the gun of a fallen yakuza. Review.

Korea

Door lock banner

  • Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug war. Review.
  • Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home. Review.
  • Maggie – surreal drama narrated by a catfish in which a conflicted nurse explores the interplay of truth and trust. Review.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – comedy in which a family’s life is disrupted when dad gets bitten by a zombie. Review.

Taiwan

Nina Wu still 1

  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student.
  • Nina Wu – psychological drama from Midi Z in which an actress gets her big break but is forced into uncomfortable situations by a difficult director.

Singapore

Wet season still 1

  • Repossession – an ordinary man’s life becomes a nightmare when he loses his cushy corporate job.
  • Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students. Review.

Thailand

Inhuman Kiss banner 1

  • BNK 48: Girls Don’t Cry – Thamrongrattanarit Nawapol interviews members of the Thai idol group.
  • Krasue: Inhuman Kiss – an innocent village girl discovers she is a victim of a strange curse in which her head detaches from her body to hunt for blood! Review.
  • Where We Belong – friendship drama starring members of Thai supergroup BNK48.

Vietnam

Furie still 1

  • Furie – some thugs make a very bad decision when they kidnap a former gangster’s daughter.

Five Flavours takes place in Warsaw from 13th to 20th November 2019. More information on all the films as well as screening times and ticketing links can be found on the official website, and you can keep up to date with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook PageTwitter Account, Instagram, and YouTube Channels.

BFI London Film Festival Confirms Complete Programme for 2019

House of Hummingbird 6The BFI London Film Festival returns for 2019 with a packed programme of the best in recent international cinema. As usual the lineup includes an impressive selection of East Asian hits including Takashi Miike’s Cannes crowd pleaser First Love and sensitive Busan breakout House of Hummingbird.

Bhutan

LUNANA- A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM

  • Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – a frustrated teacher is dismayed to learn he’s being sent to a remote mountain outpost but is eventually won over by the kids.

China

White Snake Banner

  • So Long, My Son – Beijing Bicycle‘s Wang Xiaoshuai returns with a chronicle of the Chinese family from the ’80s reforms to the present day.
  • To Live To Sing – the leader of a struggling Sichuan Opera troupe tries to stave off eviction through impressing a local bureaucrat.
  • White Snake – beautifully animated “prequel” to the classic Lady White Snake folktale. Review.
  • Lucky Grandma – A Chinese-American grandma gambles away her life savings and ends up in the middle of a gang war after unwittingly stealing from Chinese gangsters!

Japan

Miike first love

  • 37 Seconds – a manga artist with cerebral palsy sets out to claim her independence through embracing her sexuality.
  • First Love – a boxer with a brain tumour falls for a trapped sex worker in the latest anarchic crime thriller from Takashi Miike.
  • To the Ends of the Earth – Kiyoshi Kurosawa reunites with recent muse Atsuko Maeda as a lost TV presenter goes searching for herself while filming in Uzbekistan.
  • Family Romance, LLC – Tokyo-set drama from Werner Herzog revolving around a rent-a-relative business.
  • Earthquake Bird – Alicia Vikander stars as a Tokyo-based translator in bubble-era Tokyo who finds herself at the centre of a series of murders.

Mongolia

Öndög 

  • Öndög – a local herdswoman is brought in to take care of a wolf when the police discover a dead body.

Philippines

Overseas]

  • Overseas – Yoon Sung-a’s documentary exploring the lives of Filipina women working overseas.

Singapore

Wet season still 1

  • Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students.

South Korea

Maggie still 1

  • The Dude in Me – body swap comedy in which a jaded gangster gets a second chance to set things right when he swaps bodies with a mild-mannered teen. Review.
  • Heart – the latest from Bitch on the Beach‘s Jeong Ga-young in which she stars as a filmmaker who tracks down a married former lover for some additional advice about extra-marital affairs.
  • House of Hummingbird – a teenage girl from a problematic home finds inspiration in her enigmatic Chinese teacher in Kim Bora’s beautifully observed debut. Review.
  • The House of Us – Yoon Ga-eun’s The World of Us followup in which a young girl trying to get her parents to patch things up becomes a big sister figure to two other kids.
  • Maggie – surreal drama narrated by a catfish in which a conflicted nurse explores the interplay of truth and trust. Review.

Thailand

KRABI, 2562

  • The Cave (Thailand) – dramatisation of the international rescue operation of a team of young football players trapped in a Thai cave.
  • Hope Frozen – documentary following the parents of a little girl who died of a brain tumour as they try to reconcile their decision to opt for cryogenic preservation with their Buddhist beliefs.
  • Krabi, 2562 – Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers team up for an unusual portrait of the Thai tourist town.

The BFI London Film Festival takes place at various venues across the city from 2nd – 13th October 2019. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information are available via the official website. Priority booking opens for Patrons on 3rd September, for Champions on 4th September, and Members 5th September, with general ticket sales available from 12th September. You can also keep up to date with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube channels.