Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) Honours Seijun Suzuki with Retrospective

suzukiThe complete programme for the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2017 has now been revealed and as reported, the festival will be paying homage to the late director Seijun Suzuki with a retrospective featuring ten of his best loved films.

detective 2 3 go to hell bastards stillDetective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards is everything its name suggests – crazy, cartoonish fun as a Joe Shishido goes undercover, hangs out in Christmas themed cabaret bars and sings a few songs all the name of justice (and a paycheck). Review.

youth of the beast stillYouth of the Beast proved a turning point in Suzuki’s career. No longer content to play along with restrictive studio codes, Suzuki embraces his talent for colourful absurdism as Shishido once again finds himself undercover in the yakuza underworld.

tokyo drifter stillTokyo Drifter found few fans among studio bosses, but takes Suzuki’s psychedelic use of colour to all new highs in the story of a gangster unable to escape from his violent past.

gate of flesh stillMaking another foray into wartime desperation, Suzuki adapts Taijiro Tamura’s Gate of Flesh with Shishido as a washed-up former soldier driving a wedge between a group of fiercely loyal prostitutes. Review.

branded to killThe one that got him fired from Nikkatsu, Branded to Kill is the absurd story of a steely hitman with an addiction to the smell of cooking rice who finds his life derailed by a beautiful woman and a butterfly. Review.

ZigeunerweisenZigeunerweisen marks Suzuki’s return to filmmaking after the long series of court battles following his dismissal from Nikkatsu. The first in the Taisho Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen stars Yoshio Harada as one third of an eerily surreal love triangle. Review.

SuzukiKageroza1The follow up to Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za stars Yusaku Matsuda in a ghostly tale of love and writer’s block. Review.

fighting elegy stillSuzuki takes a wry look at the origins of fascism in Fighting Elegy as the young men of his age engage themselves in “manly” pursuits but are obliged to sublimate their other desires into a lust for violence. Review.

princess raccoon stillJoe Odagiri and Zhang Ziyi star in the bizarre yet infectious folktale inspired musical, Princess Raccoon.

pistol Opera stillFor his final film, Pistol Opera, Suzuki revisits Branded to Kill but replaces Shishido with a female assassin longing to be number one.

The full programme for the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival which takes place between 30th June and 8th July, 2017 is now available on the official website. You can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook page, and Twitter account.

The Villainess to Close New York Asian Film Festival 2017

the villainess posterFresh from its Cannes premiere, Jung Byoung-gil’s The Villainess will close the 16th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival which returns to the city from 30th June to 16th July 2017. Thailand’s Bad Genius will open the festival while the Centrepiece Gala will showcase one of the best recent films from the Philippines, Mikhail Red’s BirdshotAltogether there are 57 films included in this year’s lineup hailing from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, The Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The full lineup is as follows:


Battle of Memories posterThrillers dominate the Chinese slate beginning with:

  • Battle of Memories – a sci-fi thriller in which a man erases memories of his failed marriage only for his soon to be ex-wife to order him to retrieve them, only he accidentally ends up with the memories of a serial killer instead.
  • Blood of Youth – a youthful cyber thriller.
  • Duckweed – Han Han’s time travel drama sees a son finally getting to know his petty gangster father.
  • Extraordinary Mission – Alan Mak teams up with Anthony Pun for another undercover cop action fest.
  • Someone to Talk to – Yulin Liu’s adaptation of her father’s novel examines the essential loneliness of Chinese society as reflected in the modern marriage. Review.
  • Soul on a String – Zhang Yang returns with an existential epic taking place in the Tibetan deserts. Review.

Hong Kong Panorama

coldwar 22017 marks 20 years since the Hong Kong handover and the New York Asian Film Festival not only showcases some of the best HK films from the past two decades but also includes a look forward with work from the most promising voices of tomorrow.

  • Cold War 2 – Sequel to the original Cold War, Cold War 2 sees Aaron Kwok return as Hong Kong’s incorruptible police chief still dealing with the aftermath of uncovering mass corruption and with a team of missing policemen still held captive. Review.
  • Dealer/Healer – Sean Lau and Gordon Lam co-star in a ’70s crime drama.
  • Election – Jonnie To’s 2005 classic needs no introduction but stars Simon Yam in a tale of raw gangster ambition.
  • Mad World – Shawn Yue and Eric Tsang star in a moving tale of a father trying to understand his son’s bipolar depression.
  • Our Time Will Come – Ann Hui tells the story of legendary World War II resistance operative “Fang Gu”.
  • Soul Mate – Derek Tsang’s moving melodrama is an ode to the power of female friendship. Review.
  • The Taking of Tiger Mountain – Tsui Hark’s tale of civil war banditry.
  • This is not what I Expected – Romantic comedy starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Dongyu
  • Vampire Cleanup Department – A young man discovers his vampire hunter heritage at the same time as falling for a vampire in this retro horror comedy.
  • With Prisoners – A young man gets into a fight and is sent to a notorious juvenile detention centre practicing extreme, hard-line “rehabilitative” techniques in Andrew Wong’s drama. Official competition.
  • Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight – Two slackers decide to do their civic duty when the zombie apocalypse strikes.


double-lifeA varied lineup from Japan features everything from the Roman Porno reboot to LGBT comedy, quirky sc-fi, and moving family drama.

  • Aroused by Gymnopedies – Isao Yukisada’s entry into the Roman Porno reboot series stars Itsuji Itao as a penniless filmmaker who makes use of the various women in his life to try and improve his dismal circumstances.
  • Close-Knit – less quirky than Ogigami’s other work, Close-Knit is a beautiful family drama in which a neglected little girl finds a family she can feel a part of with her uncle and his transgender girlfriend. Review.
  • Dawn of the Felines – Directed by Koji Shiraishi, this Roman Porno reboot takes inspiration from Night of the Felines but casts its three heroines into a much darker world. Review.
  • Destruction Babies – Tetsuya Mariko paints a grim picture of his nation’s youth in this hard-hitting, nihilistic drama. Review.
  • A Double Life – This impressive debut feature from Yoshiyuki Kishi takes a long look at voyeurism and the damaging effects of obsession. Official CompetitionReview.
  • Happiness – Sabu’s indie leaning sci-fi drama is a meditation on guilt, memory, vengeance and the true nature of happiness. Review.
  • Japanese Girls Never Die – Daigo Matsui adapts Mariko Yamauchi’s novel in which a young woman goes missing and prompts a citywide movement.
  • The Long Excuse – Miwa Nishikawa adapts her own novel in which a self-centred former novelist turned B-list celebrity is forced to re-examine himself following his wife’s death. Review.
  • Love and Other Cults – Eiji Uchida’s latest tells a depressing story of misused and misdirected love. Review.
  • Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio – Takashi Miike and undercover cop Reiji are back with more improbably zany action.
  • Rage – Lee Sang-il adapts another Shuichi Yoshida novel examining three interconnected stories of suspicion following a brutal Tokyo murder.
  • Suffering of Ninko – A buddhist monk tries his best to remain celibate, but he’s just too pretty. Review.
  • Survival Family – When the power suddenly goes off one ordinary family takes to the road but finds it much harder than they expected in Shinobu Yaguchi’s absurd comedy. Review.
  • Traces of Sin – Kei Ishikawa’s dark crime drama stars Satoshi Tsumabuki as a depressed reporter tying to avoid his sister’s incarceration for child neglect by investigating the brutal murder of the ideal family. Review.
  • Wet Woman in the Wind – a writer retreats to the country only to run into a nymphomaniac waitress in Akihiro Shiota’s Roman Porno reboot.


vanishing-timeCyber crime, fantasy, and gentle whimsy mingle in an eclectic selection from Korea.

  • Fabricated City – A young man is framed for a brutal murder in this impressively designed cyber thriller. Review.
  • Fantasy of the Girls – Romantic confusion plagues a production of Romeo and Juliet in this high school drama.
  • Jane – A hit in Busan, Jane follows a transgender woman who takes in homeless kids. Official Competition.
  • Ordinary Person – Kim Bong-han’s drama stars Son Hyun-joo as a hardworking policeman who gets caught up in a conspiracy.
  • A Quiet Dream – Zhang Lu’s gently ephemeral meditation on dislocation. Review.
  • A Single Rider – Lee Byung-hun stars as a bankrupt fund manager discovering some uncomfortable secrets when making an impromptu visit to his wife and son in Australia.
  • Split – Drama in which an autistic boy’s talent for bowling is exploited by an unscrupulous couple who later come to care for him.
  • The Tooth and the Nail – A man is accused of murdering his chauffeur in this post-war mystery.
  • The Truth Beneath – a politician’s daughter goes missing during a campaign and her mother will stop at nothing to find out what happened. Review.
  • Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned – Uhm Tae-hwa’s time slip drama is a beautifully designed tribute to childhood friendship. Review.
  • The Villainess – Fresh from its Cannes premiere, Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess will close the festival and follows an undercover assassin torn between two men from her past.

Southeast Asia

Bad GeniusesCasting the net wider the festival will also showcase some of the best recent hits from underrepresented areas of Asia:

  • Bad Genius – The opening night gala, Bad Genius sees a group of super smart students earning extra money by cheating on tests set off on a mission to Australia to get the answers to the big exam and send them back to Thailand before their friends sit it. Official Competition.
  • Birdshot – A series of horrifying crimes are revealed when a Philippine Eagle is shot by mistake in Mikhail Red’s mystery drama. Official Competition.
  • Kfc – Vietnamese body horror from Le Binh Giang. Official Competition.
  • Mrs. K – A former assassin attempts to save her husband and daughter from the legacy of her own past in this Malaysian action drama starring Kara Hui.
  • Saving Sally – Unusual romantic comedy from the Philippines mixing live action and animation.
  • Town in a Lake – The secrets of a small town are exposed when a young girl is murdered in Jet Leyco’s Philippine drama.


The Gangster_s Daughter posterPick your poison – monsters, gangsters and love dominate the entries from Taiwan.

  • Eternal Summer – LGBT drama in which the intense friendship between two boys is thrown into confusion when a girl arrives from the city.
  • The Gangster’s Daughter – Unusual family drama in which a gangster resumes custody of his estranged daughter and brings her to the city from her rural home. Official Competition.
  • Godspeed – Black comedy in which a drug dealer gets derailed by a well-meaning taxi driver.
  • Mon Mon Mon Monsters – Horrible kids catch a strange creature and then torture it before hastening the apocalypse in Ko Gidden’s provocative teen horror/comedy.
  • Road to Mandalay – Two migrants fall in love on the way to Bangkok but find their romance frustrated by the difficulties of city life in Midi Z’s indie drama.
  • The Village of No Return – New Year action comedy which takes place in an isolated village where the population has had its memory wiped so the people can live “happily”.


Banseom Pirates posterOnly two documentaries on offer this year, both from Korea:

  • Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno – Jung Yoon-suk’s second documentary centres on the titular Korean punk bank but uses them as a springboard to explore youthful resistance in modern Korean society.
  • Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman –  Jero Yun’s documentary follows its protagonist over three years as she tries to build a life for herself after being (unintentionally) trafficked out of North Korea.

The 16th New York Asian Film Festival runs from 30th June to 16th July 2017 at Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater and SVA Theatre, and will also welcome a number of high-profile guests including veteran HK actor Tony Leung Ka-fai who will receive the 2017 Star Asia NYAFF Lifetime Achievement Award, Korean actor Gang Dong-won who will receive the Star Asia Award, and Thai actress Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying who will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award. Tickets for the festival will be available to the public from 15th June but members of Film Society or Subway Cinema are entitled to priority booking from June 13.

You can find all the latest information on the official website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.



Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2017 opens with Fueled: The Man They Called Pirate

over the fence still 1Now in its fifth year, Toronto’s Japanese Film Festival is back with another excellent selection of recent and classic cinema hits. Expanded to include a few extra guests and even more movies, the festival runs from 8th – 28th June and will also boast an appearance by one of Japan’s best loved actors, Joe Odagiri, who will introduce both Her Love Boils Bathwater and Over the Fence.

man called pirate bannerThe festival kicks off with a screening of Fueled: A Man they Called Pirate, an adaptation of the novel by Naoki Hyakuta. Inspired by real events and directed by Eternal Zero‘s Takashi Yamazaki, A Man they Called Pirate is the story of one very determined Japanese oil man who is convinced his country’s future lies in oil rather than coal and commandeers an oil tanker to sail to Iran to prove his point.

scoop!Masaharu Fukuyama stars as a jaded paparazzo rediscovering his photojournalist mojo in Hitoshi One’s oddly moving satire of the gutter press, Scoop!. Review.

himeanole stillRomantic dreams so often turn to nightmares, but rarely with the blood soaked fury of Keisuke Yoshida’s Himeanole.

birthday wishesAi Hashimoto and Aoi Miyazaki star as a mother and daughter cruelly separated by fate in Yasuhiro Yoshida’s family melodrama, Birthday Wishes.

ChihafuruPart one of Norihiro Koizumi’s Karuta themed drama Chihayafuru stars three of the best up and coming Japanese actors in Suzu Hirose, Mone Kamishiraishi, and Shuhei Nomura.

Part II will also screen at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in July.

Samurai Hustle ReturnsA sequel to Samurai Hustle, Samurai Hustle Returns continues in the same vein as the hapless Edo era heroes finally get home only to see it under threat from unscrupulous lords.

rudolf the black cat stillRudolf the Black Cat follows its titular kitty as he finds himself lost and homeless in Tokyo after venturing outside of his native Gifu.

midnight diner stillInspired by the hit TV show, Master is headed to the big screen in the Midnight Diner movie which sees him take in a mysterious young girl. Review.

The second Midnight Diner movie will also be screening at the Japanese Cultural Centre Toronto during July.

satoshi stillSatoshi: A Move for Tomorrow stars Kenichi Matsuyama in a biopic of tragic shogi player Satoshi who gave everything in the name of the game. Review.

The ondekozaA highlight of this year’s programme, Tai Kato’s little seen and recently restored documentary The Ondekoza was filmed over a period of two years and follows the small group of musicians who went on to create the taiko drumming style which has become so popular overseas.

her love boils bathwater stillA big winner at this year’s Japan Academy Prize, Her Love Boils Bathwater is another heartwarming/rending family drama from Capturing Dad director Ryota Nakano and stars Rie Miyazawa as goodhearted woman suddenly struck by tragedy. Joe Odagiri will also be attending to present the film. Review.

over the fence stillOne of two films recently released by Nobuhiro Yamashita, Over the Fence is the third in a series of film adaptations inspired by the beautifully bleak works of Hakodate native Yasushi Sato. Joe Odagiri will also be in attendance to present the film in which he plays a recently divorced man returning to his home town but failing to start over until he meets eccentric bar girl/zoo keeper Satoshi. Review.

Honoji Hotel BannerHaruka Ayase stars in Honnouji Hotel – a classic example of the time slip movie in which she steps into a hotel elevator only to emerge at the 16th century court of Oda Nobunaga (Shinichi Tsutsumi)!

I am a hero stillComedian Yo Oizumi plays an aspiring mangaka with big dreams and possibly deluded hopes who finally discovers the power of his ordinariness during the zombie apocalypse in Shinsuke Sato’s blockbuster action/comedy I am a Hero. Review.

what a wonderful family stillYoji Yamada reunites with the cast of Tokyo Family and a few more old friends for another tale of humorous family drama, What a Wonderful Family. Review.

projects stillJapan’s housing estates were once symbols of post-war aspiration but now they’re largely deserted and home only to elderly residents prepared to put up with cramped conditions, no lifts, and basic amenities. Junji Sakamoto returns with a surreal comedy satirising everything from gossipy village mentality to alien invasion in the warmhearted if wistful Danchi (AKA The Projects). Review.

What's for dinner mom stillTwo sisters return to their family home which is about to be torn down only to find a collection of recipes left behind by their late Taiwanese mother who died twenty years before in Mitsuhito Shiraha’s food/family drama, What’s for Dinner, Mom?

shin godzilla stillGodzilla is back and bigger than ever in Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi’s Shin Godzilla.

gukouroku stillGukoroku: Traces of Sin begins in classic thriller territory as depressed reporter Tanaka immerses himself in the still unsolved brutal murder of an “ideal” family in an effort to distance himself from his sister’s incarceration for child neglect. As might be expected he discovers a far darker trail of social inequality and the damaging effects of elitism coupled with the legacy of childhood trauma. Review.

Survival family landscaepWhen all the power suddenly goes off, one ordinary family is forced to flee the city in search of life on the land but how do you cope with the apocalypse when you’re used to 24hr convenience and efficient public services? Hilariously, according to Shinobu Yaguchi’s latest comedy drama, Survival Family. Review.

flower and sword bannerAnother in the long line of movies focussing on samurai who fight with things other than katana, The Flower and the Sword is set in the exciting world of flower arrangement!

hirugao posterA sequel to the hit TV Drama, Hirugao is an old fashioned romantic melodrama in which separated lovers are reunited only to find their love story threatened by forces outside of their control. Review.

Rage StillLee Sang-il adapts another Shuichi Yoshida novel for three interconnected tales of doubt and suspicion following an unsolved, brutal Tokyo murder in Rage.

in this corner of the world horizontalAward winning animation In this Corner of the World centres on the life of a young woman of Hiroshima towards the end of the war.

MumonThe ninja aren’t up for Oda Nobunaga’s plans to create a peaceful Japan under his control so they’re up to all their secretive tricks in Yoshihiro Nakamura’s epic jidaigeki, Mumon, The Land of Stealth.

After the festival concludes, the Japanese Cultural Centre Toronto will also be screening part II of Chihayafuyu and Midnight Diner during July as well as upcoming anime Hirune Hime: Ancient and the Magic Tablet.

The festival runs at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto from 8th to 28th June, 2017 and you can find more details about all the films, guests, and events on the festival’s official website and keep up with all the latest news via their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Rage, Snow Woman Join Okja at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

Rage StillThe Edinburgh International Film Festival has a long and proud history of showcasing East Asian cinema and this year is no different with several high profile movies making their UK premieres in the Scottish capital.

Scroll down for a handy list and ticket links:

in this corner of the world horizontalSunao Katabuchi’s award winning animation In This Corner of the World receives its UK premiere at Edinburgh ahead of a domestic release from Animatsu. A moving historical drama, the animated feature examines the life of a woman in Hiroshima towards the end of the second world war.

Godspeed stillTaiwanese dark comedy crime thriller Godspeed follows the adventures of a hapless drug dealer whose plans are derailed by an encounter with a strange taxi driver.

OKJA 013 - 60.arwNeeding little introduction, Okja is the latest film from Bong Joon-ho and the story of a little girl and her strange animal friend which has been kidnapped by a shady international organisation.

rage still 2Lee Sang-il reunites with Unforgiven’s Ken Watanabe and enlists an all star cast including, Kenichi Matsuyama, Aoi Miyazaki, Chizuru Ikewaki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Go Ayano, Mirai Moriyama, and Suzu Hirose for Rage – another exploration of human darkness based on a novel by Villain’s  Shuichi Yoshida.

Snow WomanKiki Sugino brings a modern twist to the classic tale of the Snow Woman who steals the breath of mortal men daring to spend a night in her forests only to find her icy heart melting and ultimately broken by the cruelty of human frailty.

Tokyo Idols stillKyoko Miyake’s documentary Tokyo Idols takes a look at the idol phenomenon as it operates within modern pop culture.

mole song stillTakashi Miike never stops! Mole Song: Hong Capriccio is a sequel to the original Mole Song in which undercover cop Reiji gets himself mixed up with a yakuza and his unusual daughter.

operation mekong bannerPlaying in the Night Moves section, Dante Lam’s Operation Mekong stars Eddie Peng in an action packed crime adventure in which Chinese special forces make a daring raid into Thailand in search of a drug syndicate.

vampire cleanup department stillA return to the classic Hong Kong horror comedies of the past, Vampire Cleanup Department is the story of a young man who discovers he comes from a long line of vampire hunters only to fall for a rare “human type” vampire.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 21st June to 2nd July 2017, and you can find all the latest details on the festival’s official website, or follow the official Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

At a glance – full list of Asian films playing at the festival:

Takashi Miike to Present World Premiere of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure at NIFFF

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Diamond is Unbreakable posterThe eagerly awaited live action adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s much-loved manga, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, is to make its world premiere at the 17th Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival.

One of several films from prolific director Takashi Miike set for release this year, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable stars Kento Yamazaki and adapts the fourth arc of the manga which follows the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar, Josuke Higashikata, as he discovers the world of “Stands” in the picturesque town of Morioh in 1999.

Now in its 17th year, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival has a long history of showcasing Asian Cinema with a dedicated annual strand. Films already announced for this year’s festival include:

ZOMBIOLOGY- ENJOY YOURSELF TONIGHT posterAlan Lo’s Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight in which two slackers decide to do their civic duty by saving Hong Kong from the zombie apocalypse.

MEATBALL MACHINE KODOKU posterYoshihiro Nishimura’s Meatball Machine Kudoku – the latest gore fest from this notorious director is a return to the world of 2005’s Meatball Machine in which a debt collector suffering with terminal cancer is infected by the alien necroborg virus and decides to get some revenge on a cruel and unforgiving world.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR posterAlex Cheung’s 1983 Shaw Brothers comedy Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star will also play in the festival’s outdoor sci-fi retrospective strand, Laughing in Space. This wacky outing stars Cherie Chung as a suicidal young woman who is later raped by space aliens but encounters two also suicidal private investigators who embrace the chance to let the world know about the alien threat as their way out of a desperate situation. Yes, this is a comedy.

A CHINESE FEAST posterTsui Hark’s A Chinese Feast features in a special selection of culinary films marking Neuchâtel’s nomination for the “City of Taste” 2017. Starring Leslie Cheung, A Chinese Feast is the classic Chinese New Year movie mixing food and fun for a feel good family comedy.

The festival will also be marking the death of the late Seijun Suzuki with a retrospective of around ten of the director’s films to be announced at a later date. The full programme for the 17th Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival which runs from 30th June to 8th July, will be unveiled on 15th June and you can keep up with all the latest festival news via the official websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

Nippon Connection 2017 – Nippon Retro Preview

sada abe posterEach year the Nippon Connection film festival runs a retrospective programme alongside its collection of recent indie and mainstream hits. The subject for this year’s strand is Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno. Heading into the 1970s, Japanese cinema was in crisis mode as TV poached cinema audiences who largely stayed away from the successful genres of the 1960s including the previously popular youth, action, and yakuza movies which had been entertaining them for close to 20 years. Daiei, one of the larger studios known for glossy, big budget prestige fare alongside some lower budget genre offerings went bust in 1971, Shochiku kept up its steady stream of melodramas, but Nikkatsu found another solution. Taking inspiration from the “pink film” – a brand of soft core, mainstream pornography shown in specialised cinemas and made to exacting production standards, they created “Roman Porno” which made sex its selling point, but put big studio resources behind it, bringing in better actors and innovative directors to lend an air of legitimacy to its purely populist ethos.

Over 40 years later, Nikkatsu Roman Porno has been rebooted for the modern era and two of these more recent films – Kazuya Shiraishi’s Dawn of the Felines, and Akihito Shiota’s Wet Woman in the Wind will also be screening in the festival’s Nippon Cinema strand. The retrospective offers the opportunity to see some of the original 1970s offerings curated by pink film expert Jasper Sharp who will also be in attendance to present some of the films as well as a lecture on the history of Roman Porno and Japanese erotic cinema.

All the films on offer are directed by one of two directors each of whom is closely associated with the Roman Porno movement:

Tatsumi Kumashiro

Tatsumi Kumashiro’s career took a while to get going – in fact he made his feature debut at 41 with A Thirsty Life (AKA Front Row Life) – the story of a stripper and her daughter who also wants to strut her stuff on the stage. Sadly, although the film attained some critical success, it flopped at the box office. Kumashiro retreated into television before making a return to the cinema when Nikkatsu launched its Roman Porno line. In contrast with Tanaka, Kumashiro leant towards gritty realism and stylistic experimentation which brought him critical acclaim even from overseas, mainstream critics.

ecstacy black roseEcstacy of the Black Rose is a more comedic effort than most of Kumashiro’s output and takes an ironic look at the genre as a put upon director gets fed up when his leading actress falls pregnant and becomes obsessed with finding a woman whose moans he overheard at the dentist’s.

FOLLOWING DESIRE stillFollowing Desire received a Kinema Junpo award for best screenplay as well as the best actress prize for Hiroko Isayama who plays a stripper intent on taking down her rival for the top spot!

TAMANOI, STREET OF JOY (A.K.A. STREET OF JOY) stillKumashiro’s Tamanoi Street of Joy takes place on the last day of legal prostitution in 1958 and follows the girls as they mark the occasion in their own particular ways.

TWISTED PATH OF LOVEFurther proving Kumashiro’s critical stature, Twisted Path of Love was among Kinema Junpo’s 1999 list of the greatest Japanese films of the 20th century. The story of a young man who returns to his hometown but attempts to shed his identity, burning a hole in the conventional village life through sex and violence, Twisted Path of Love also displays Kumashiro’s interesting use of common censorship techniques for artistic effect.

woman with red hair stillOften regarded as Kumashiro’s masterpiece, The Woman with the Red Hair picked up a Kinema Junpo best actress award for Junko Miyashita, as well as ranking fourth in their annual best of the year list. The story centres on construction worker Kozo who, along with friend Takao, rapes his boss’ daughter who subsequently becomes pregnant. While she asks Takao to marry her, Kozo embarks on an affair with the mysterious red-haired woman.

world of the geisha - stillAnother of Kumashiro’s most well-regarded Roman Porno, The World of the Geisha takes place in a geisha house in 1918 and examines the various tensions which exist between the women themselves and their customers who have come to the house to escape external political concerns. The film again demonstrates Kumashiro’s tendency to ironic commentary as he tampers with intertitles to make a point about censorship.

Noboru Tanaka

Though Tanaka was often overshadowed by Kumashiro and another director, Chusei Sone, he is now regarded by some as the finest of Roman Porno filmmakers. Interestingly enough, Tanaka studied French literature at university but later developed in interest in poetry which eventually led him into filmmaking as a way of expressing his rich visual world. After working as a production assistant on Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, Tanaka applied to Nikkatsu and was accepted onto the directing track where he worked with such legendary figures as Seijun Suzuki and Shohei Imamura. Where Kumashiro’s films lean towards realism, Tanaka’s are often surreal and known for their poetic qualities and unusual use of colour.
NIGHT OF THE FELINES stillNight of the Felines provides the inspiration for Kazuya Shirashi’s reboot Dawn of the Felines and follows the comical adventures of three prostitutes.

stroller in the attic stillStroller in the Attic is among the best known in the Roman Porno canon and adapts an Edogawa Rampo short story about a ’20s boarding house filled with eccentric guests.

SADA AND KICHIInspired by the same real life case as In the Realm of the Senses, Noburu Tanaka’s Sada and Kichi takes a more lurid look at the strange case of Abe Sada who strangled her lover after a brief affair and then cut off his genitals to wear as a kind of talisman.

You can get more information on all the films via Nippon Connection’s official website, but tickets for this strand are only available directly from the Deutsches Filmmuseum. Behind the Pink Curtain author and pink film/Roman Porno expert Jasper Sharp will also be giving a lecture on the genre on Friday 26th May at 3pm at Mousonturm Studio 1 (admission free!).

Nippon Connection 2017 takes place from May 23 – 28, 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany. You can find the full details for all the films, screening times and ticket links on the festival’s official website and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the Nippon Connection Facebook PageTwitter account, Instagram channel and blog.

Nippon Connection Blog Up and Running for 2017 Festival

emperor in August stillNippon Connection returns for 2017 in just under a week’s time and to whet your appetite for all the amazing films about to shown in Frankfurt from May 23 – 28, the festival has re-launched its very own blog. The best way to keep up with Nippon Connection 2017 as it happens, the blog will be updated throughout the festival with diary entries, reviews, essays, and interviews so it’s the next best thing to actually being there! The very first entry is dedicated to the recipient of the 2017 Nippon Honour Award, Koji Yakusho, whose The Emperor in August and Tampopo will both be screened during the festival.

Nippon Connection 2017 takes place in Frankfurt from May 23 – 28, 2017.  Ahead of the opening on Tuesday, you can check out our previews of the Nippon Cinema and Nippon Visions strands as well as previews for the animation on offer and the Roman Porno retrospective (which includes a lecture with film scholar Jasper Sharp) arriving later in the week.

Be sure to follow the blog for all the latest during the event, and you can also keep up with the festival via the official website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

2017 Festival trailer