CinemAsia Announces Complete Programme for 2020

CinemAsia returns to Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March for its 13th edition bringing with it another fantastic selection of recent East Asian cinema. This year’s festival opens with the European premiere of Japanese indie Mrs Noisy, and closes with heartwarming Taiwanese drama Heavy Craving, both of which are directed by female filmmakers.

Bhutan

China

  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family facing a crisis thanks to the recently instituted One Child Policy. Review.
  • Saturday Fiction – Gong Li stars as an actress returning to Shanghai after a long absence to star in a play directed by an old flame but may have ulterior motives in the latest from Lou Ye.
  • The River in Me – documentary exploring traditional folksong in modern China
  • The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.

Hong Kong

  • 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. Review.
  • Little Q – touching drama following the life of a guide dog who is assigned to a grumpy pastry chef. Review.
  • Suk Suk – voted the best HK film of 2019 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Suk Suk follows two older men who meet by chance and fall in love after decades of keeping their true identities secret.

Indonesia

  • A Man Called Ahok – biopic of controversial political figure Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
  • Bumi Manusia – period romance adapted from the novel by Pramoedya Ananta Toer in which a member of the Javanese royal family falls for a girl who is half-Dutch.
  • Gundala – superhero action from Joko Anwar
  • Homecoming – a couple get into an accident on the way to spend Eid with family bringing them into contact with the mysterious Santi.

Japan

  • Complicity – an undocumented man from China embraces his cover identity and takes a job in a soba restaurant but struggles to maintain his sense of self in Chikaura’s sensitive drama. Review.
  • Mrs Noisy – a writer struggling to come up with new material after winning a major award is distracted by a vendetta with her noisy neighbour.
  • Tezuka’s Barbara – Macoto Tezka adapts the manga by his famous father in which a novelist (Goro Inagaki) becomes obsessed with a woman he picks up off the street (Fumi Nikaido).

Korea

  • Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Review.
  • Moonlit Winter – drama in which a teenage girl finds a love letter addressed to her recently divorced mother and determines to identify the sender, little knowing the secret her mother has been keeping.
  • Princess Aya – a princess with the power to turn into an animal marries an enemy prince to broker peace but finds herself beset by new threats in this charming animation.
  • Yellow Ribbon – Ju Hyun-sook’s documentary focussing on the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster.

Malaysia

  • Two Sisters – horror in which a young woman is discharged from a psychiatric hospital into the care of her novelist sister only to discover a new threat lurking in the family home.

Philippines

  • John Denver Trending – youth drama based on a true story in which a farm boy’s life is turned upside down when a video of him beating up a classmate goes viral.
  • Overseas – documentary following those training to become overseas domestic helpers.
  • Verdict – a woman suffering domestic abuse tries to get help after her drunken husband hurts their child but struggles to find justice in a patriarchal society.

Taiwan

  • 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.
  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and a cross-dressing student. Review.

CinemAsia takes place in Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March, 2020. Full details for all the films can be found on the official website where tickets are already on sale, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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.

Happiness is a State of Mind – The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is back for 2020 with another handpicked selection of recent (and not so recent) Japanese cinema hits. This year’s theme is “happiness”, encompassing not only life’s ups but also its down in the pursuit of fulfilment in contemporary Japan.

My Love Story!!

My Love StoryTakeo is a big guy with a big heart but awkward when it comes to romance. When he saves timid transfer student Rinko from a street harasser and falls in love at first sight, he is convinced she must have fallen for his super-handsome friend and determines to get them together in this charmingly innocent high school rom-com. Review.

Our Meal for Tomorrow

Our Meal for tomorrowAn introverted high school boy and outgoing girl grow closer after participating in a joint sack race, but their romance is threatened by a dark secret…

Her Sketchbook

Her sketchpadAn introverted otaku has become a virtual shut in so her father finds her a quiet job testing video games which doesn’t require much interpersonal interaction. Whilst there, she meets a sympathetic colleague who encourages her to express herself designing character illustrations for the games.

A Banana? At This Time of Night?

A banana at this time of nightYo Oizumi stars as a man with muscular dystrophy who is determined to live an independent life in his own home. After striking up a friendship with medical student Hisashi (Haruma Miura) he falls for volunteer carer Misaki and asks Hisashi to help him woo her little knowing she is his girlfriend.

Organ

OrganWartime drama starring Erika Toda as a kindergarten teacher who evacuates her children to a nearby temple to try and protect them from the firebombing of Tokyo.

The Actor

the actorKen Yasuda stars as a jobbing actor experiencing a small revolution when he’s brought in for a big film role for a foreign director and falls for the pretty daughter of a local izakaya owner.

Little Nights, Little Love

little lights little love27-year-old Sato is patiently waiting for love. A chance encounter with a smartly dressed woman who agrees to fill in one of his questionnaires could be just what he’s been looking for…

Jesus

jesus still 1A small boy is forced to relocate to the mountains after his grandfather dies. Though the family is not Christian, he finds himself doubly out of place having to attend a Catholic school where a little bit of religious confusion sees him befriended by a Tiny Jesus. Review.

Another World

Another World still 1Three 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. Review.

Bento Harassment

Bento Harrassment still 1Fed up with her teenage daughter’s moodiness, a single mother tries to communicate with her via passive aggressive bento in this charming family drama. Review.

My Dad is a Heel Wrestler

My Dad is a Heel Wrestler still 1Former pro-wrestler Takashi Omura injured his knee and now makes a living playing a “heel” – a cockroach mask-wearing villain of the ring. Takashi’s 9-year-old son Shota had no idea what he does for a living until he snuck into the ring. Horrified to discover he’s such a loser, Shota tells his classmates that his dad’s the hero wrestler Dragon George…

Lying to Mom

lying to mom still 1Yuko is knocked out trying to save her son who has hanged himself in his bedroom. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, but when she wakes up she has no memory of the incident and her family don’t have the heart to tell her what really happened, electing to keep up the elaborate pretence that he is alive and well and living in Argentina. Review.

Shadowfall

Shadowfall bannnerA burglar gets a nasty surprise when he breaks into a house where a woman is preparing to commit a murder!

And Your Bird Can Sing

And your bird can sing still 1Three slackers struggle to accept love in modern day Tokyo in Sho Miyake’s contemporary adaptation of Yasushi Sato’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel. Review.

Sea of Revival

Sea of revival still 1A man moves to his partner’s hometown when her father falls ill, but tragedy follows him and his gambling addiction spirals out of control.

The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps

House where the mermaid sleeps still1Kaoruko is separated from her husband and has two small children. One day she gets a call to say that her daughter has drowned in a swimming pool and has been declared brain dead. She and her husband then have a difficult choice to make, donate her organs so another child can live, or wait until her heart stops beating.

Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler

Kakegurui bannerIt’s high stakes high school in this adaptation of Homura Kawamoto & Toru Naomura’s gambling manga Kakegurui in which grades are decided at the gaming tables!

Ten Dark Women

10 dark womenKon Ichikawa’s classic black comedy in which a sleazy TV exec gets his comeuppance when his wife and nine mistresses team up to plot his death.

I Go Gaga, My Dear

I Go Gaga, My Dear bannerTV doc director Naoko Nobutomo follows her ageing parents as her mother’s Alzheimer’s-related dementia intensifies. Review.

Ride Your Wave

ride yourwave bannerThe latest feature from Masaaki Yuasa in which a surfer and fireman fall in love only for him to die in an accident at sea which convinces her to stay away from the water until…

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020 runs at London’s ICA from 31st January to 16th February before touring to:

Full details for all the films are available on the official Touring Film Programme website. You can also keep up to date with all the year round events organised by Japan Foundation London via their main siteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

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 

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

China

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

Camera Japan Announces Complete Programme for 2019

camera japan logo

Camera Japan, the premier Dutch showcase for Japanese film, returns for its 14th edition this September with another fantastic selection of recent indie and mainstream cinema. This year’s theme is “youth” and the programme has a special focus on films made by or about young people.

Contemporary Cinema

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  • 12 Suicidal Teens – 12 teens meet in an abandoned hospital to commit mass suicide but instead find themselves trying to solve the mystery behind the death of a young boy in a youthful drama from 20th Century Boys’ Yukihiko Tsutsumi.
  • Another World – three childhood friends reunite but find it difficult to escape from the shadow of the past in Junji Sakamoto’s tale of frustrated male bonding. Review.
  • Astral Abnormal Suzuki-san – indie comedy in which a young YouTuber and her family become part of a TV show.
  • Bento Harassment– A single mother fed up with her teenage daughter’s nonsense starts sending passive aggressive messages through bento in a tale inspired by a real life blog.
  • The Chaplain – the final film from the late Ren Osugi in which he plays a compassionate preacher ministering to those on death row. Review.
  • The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine – Takahisa Zeze’s Taisho era tale of female sumo warriors and bohemian anarchists. Review.
  • Every Day a Good Day – charming tea ceremony memoir starring Haru Kuroki and the late Kirin Kiki. Review.
  • The Fable – a top hitman is given the challenge of laying low as a normal person for a year only to be sucked into yakuza drama. Heartfelt zany fun! Review.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority in this surreal comedy from the director of Thermae Romae. Review.
  • Hard-Core – an overly idealistic slacker and his simple-hearted buddy make friends with a damaged robot while accidentally getting mixed up in dangerous politics in Nobuhiro Yamashita’s adaptation of the cult manga. Review.
  • Jam – Sabu gets back to his roots with a tale of three guys on the run. Review.
  • Jesus – a little boy discovers he has a friend in tiny Jesus only to find himself feeling betrayed in Hiroshi Okuyama’s whimsical debut. Review.
  • Just Only Love – a lovelorn OL realises her boyfriend’s not that into her in Rikiya Imaizumi’s romantic drama.
  • The Kamagasaki Cauldron War – Osaka’s “invisible slum” is thrown into chaos when someone steals the local yakuza’s ritual bowl. Review.
  • A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic – a young woman struggles to take care of herself when her mother joins a cult and her dad takes to drinking.
  • Little Miss Period – surreal drama starring Fumi Nikaido in which periods are anthropomorphised as giant pink heart-shaped buddies.
  • Love at Least – sensitive drama in which a young woman with bipolar tries to face up to her feelings for her supportive (perhaps too much so) boyfriend when his manipulative ex shows up and starts interfering in her life. Review.
  • Melancholic – a Todai graduate slums it in a bathhouse only to discover the place doubles as a yakuza killing ground after hours. Review.
  • Mimicry Freaks – intense horror film in which a man wakes up on a hospital bed in the woods to be told he was executed thirty years previously.
  • My Dad is a Heel Wrestler – a nine-year-old boy exaggerates his wrestler dad’s success in this charming comedy starring real life wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi.
  • My Father the Bride – a woman returns to her island home for the second anniversary of her mother’s death only to find her father wearing her mother’s clothes and apparently about to marry a man.
  • Okinawan Blue – three tales intertwine at an Okinawan guest house.
  • Only the Cat Knows – the disappearance of the family cat symbolises the distance in a long term marriage in a whimsical romantic drama starring legendary actors Chieko Baisho and Tatsuya Fuji with a notable cameo from Mikako Ichikawa. Review.
  • Orphan’s Blues – poetic drama in which a young woman with unexplained memory loss determines to track down a childhood friend. Review.
  • Queer Shorts – two mid-length queer films including Shun Nakagawa’s Kalanchoe in which a high school class becomes curious about their LGBT lessons, and Mika Imai’s Until Rainbow Dawn in which two deaf women fall in love.
  • Red Snow – impressionistic mystery starring Masatoshi Nagase and Arata Iura in which a journalist’s investigation of a thirty year old child disappearance begins to open old wounds. Review.
  • Rise of the Machine Girls – reboot of Noboru Iguchi’s classic splatter franchise.
  • Samurai Marathon – period drama directed by Bernard Rose in which the local lord’s idea of training his out of shape men through a marathon is misconstrued by the Shogun. Review.
  • Vision – Juliette Binoche goes rare herb hunting for Naomi Kawase.
  • We Are Little Zombies – four bereaved kids deal with their ennui in the time honoured fashion of going on an adventure and starting a punk band in Makoto Nagahisa’s anarchic drama. Review.

Classics

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  • Crazed Fruit – Sun Tribe classic starring Yujiro Ishihara and his future wife Mie Kitahara alongside Masahiko Tsugawa in a tale of youth gone wild as two brothers fall for the same girl.
  • I Was Born, But… – Ozu’s classic silent movie in which two boys fear losing face to their friends over their dad’s less than impressive job. Review. Will be screened with live instrumentation from Gonçalo Almeida, Riccardo Marogna, and Phillip Ernsting.
  • Kids Return – youthful drama from Takeshi Kitano in which two lost young men muse on missed opportunities. Review.
  • The Legend of the Stardust Brothers – rediscovered cult gem from Macoto Tezka following the rise to fame of two aspiring pop stars. Review.
  • The Sun’s Burial – Nagisa Oshima classic set in the slums of Kamagasaki.
  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man – Shinya Tsukamoto’s legendary cyberpunk masterpiece.

Documentaries

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  • Day of the Western Sunrise – partially animated documentary interviewing the surviving sailors of Lucky Dragon No. 5.
  • Kampai! Sake Sisters – documentary focussing on three women in the sake trade which has historically been a very male profession.
  • Queer Japan – a joyful exploration of LGBTQ+ life in contemporary Japan.
  • Sending Off – Ian Thomas Ash returns with his latest doc following a doctor providing hospice care to patients in their homes.
  • Tower of the Sun – Kosai Sekine’s doc focussing on the famous Taro Okamoto statue constructed for World Expo in Osaka in 1970.

Animation

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  • Aragne: Sign of Vermilion – indie anime in which a young girl steps up to the plate after noticing a weird bug coming out of an old lady’s arm.
  • Chieri and Cherry – kids stop motion animation in which a girl and her stuffed toy try to save some puppies from a mean crow.
  • MAQUIA: When the Promised Flower Blooms – directorial debut from screenwriter Mari Okada in which a young immortal is exiled from her tribe and raises a human baby to maturity only to lose him to time. Review.
  • Penguin Highway – a precocious little boy determines to solve the mystery behind the random appearance of penguins in his small town. Review.

Camera Japan 2019 takes place across two weekends in Rotterdam (25th – 29th September) and Amsterdam (3rd – 6th October). Full information on all the films as well as ticketing links can be found on the official website. You can also keep up to date with all the latest news via Camera Japan’s official Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram channel.

Raindance Returns for 2019 with Selection of East Asian Festival Favs

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London’s Raindance Film Festival returns from 18th to 29th September with a handpicked selection of independent filmmaking from across the globe. This year’s programme features a handful of East Asian indie features with a particular concentration on documentaries.

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly ai weiwei yours truly

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei holds an exhibition of postcards sent to political prisoners across the world in a documentary filmed by Cheryl Haines.

Demolition Girl (Japan)

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A teenage girl starts earning extra money performing in niche videos in which she wears her school uniform and stomps on things in order to escape from her feckless family members in Genta Matsugami’s exploration of life in small-town, working class Japan. Review.

My Dearest Sister (Japan)

my dear sister

A filmmaker who has lived abroad for many years finds herself at odds with her mother and sister in her relationship to her overbearing father in Kyoka Tsukamoto’s autobiographical documentary.

Night Cruising (Japan)

FILM NIGHT CRUISING

Documentarian Makoto Sasaki follows blind musician Hideyuki Kato as he tries to achieve his dream of directing a science fiction movie.

A Dobugawa Dream (Japan)

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A young man shuts himself away following the suicide of a friend then escapes to find a substitute family with an eccentric older man, a barmaid, a dancer, and a police officer.

Bombie (Laos)

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Documentary by Tanner Matthews and Shelby Baldock following bomb disposal officers in Laos.

On the President’s Orders (Philippines)

On the President's orders

Documentary by James Jones and Olivier Sarbil exploring the effects of Duterte’s war on drugs on those who carry it out.

Song Lang (Vietnam)

Song Lang still 1

Beautifully filmed, highly atmospheric tragic romance set in 1980s Saigon in which an embittered thug falls for a Cải lương opera star. Review.

Raindance Film Festival takes place at Vue Piccadilly, 18th to 29th September. Tickets are already on sale via Eventbrite. You can also keep up with all the latest details via the festival’s official Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube channels.