Nippon Connection Confirms Full Lineup for 2019!

marriage hunting beauty still 1Nippon Connection, the largest showcase for Japanese cinema anywhere in the world, returns with another fantastic selection of new and classic films screening in Frankfurt from 28th May to 2nd June. Opening with the latest quirky rom-com from Tremble All You Want’s Akiko Ohku Marriage Hunting Beauty, the festival will also welcome Guest of Honour Shinya Tsukamoto with a screening of his latest film Killing plus classics Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tokyo Fist. Meanwhile, this year’s classics strand is dedicated to Golden Era actress Ayako Wakao. The programme in full:

Nippon Cinema

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  • And Your Bird Can Sing – Adapted from the novel by Yasushi Sato, And Your Bird Can Sing follows a trio of lost youngsters as they drift into an almost certainly destructive ménage à trois.
  • Another World – a middle-aged man keeps his family at a distance but the reappearance of a childhood friend begins to shake his world in the latest from Junji Sakamoto.
  • Asako I & II – A young woman finds herself torn between old love and new in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s whimsical drama. Review.
  • The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine – Taisho era tale of sumo and revolution in which a band of anarchists find themselves fascinated by an itinerant troupe of female sumo wrestlers shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 in the latest from Takahisa Zeze.
  • Dare to Stop Us – Kazuya Shiraishi’s nostalgic look back at the heyday of Wakamatsu Production through the eyes a young female AD. Review.
  • Dawn Wind in my Poncho – a trio of college kids takes a last roadtrip before graduation.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – zany comedy from Hideki Takeuchi in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Hard-Core – a purehearted guy with a violent streak laments the cruelty of the modern world but finds friendship with a lonely homeless man and a robot they find in an abandoned factory.
  • Inuyashiki – an angry young man and mild-mannered dad get superpowers on the same day in Shinsuke Sato’s blockbuster manga adaptation. Review.
  • It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up – ensemble drama from Ryuichi Hiroki following 10 years in the lives of a collection of lost souls from small town Japan.
  • Jam – Returning to the realms of Dangan Runner, Sabu brings three dreaming guys together through the power of cosmic coincidence. Review.
  • Killing – a samurai prefers not to pick up his sword in Shinya Tsukamoto’s first foray into the jidaigeki.
  • Love at Least – a young woman with bipolar tries to get her life together but is frustrated by the reappearance of her supportive boyfriend’s manipulative ex. Review.
  • Lying to Mom – When her son tries to hang himself, the mother of the Suzuki family knocks herself out in an effort to save him and winds up in a coma. When she wakes up, she can’t remember anything of the incident. Lacking the heart to tell her the truth, the family pretend he is alive and well and living in Argentina.
  • Marriage Hunting Beauty – manga adaptation from Akiko Ohku in which a beautiful woman with terrible taste in men decides to get married.
  • The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan – shogi drama from Toshiaki Toyoda.
  • Ramen Shop – a bereaved ramen chef travels to Singapore after finding the diary of his late mother.
  • Room Laundering – a young woman puts her ability to see ghosts to a productive use. Review.
  • Special Screening: Tetsuo: The Iron Man – classic 1989 cyberpunk from Shinya Tsukamoto.
  • Special Screening: The Legend of the Stardust Brothers – rediscovered ’80s cult classic from Macoto Tezka.
  • Special Screening: Tokyo Fist – classic boxing drama from Shinya Tsukamoto.
  • Thicker Than Water – ironic warring siblings comedy. Review.
  • We are Little Zombies – anarchic pop comedy in which four orphaned kids decide to start a band!

NIPPON VISIONS

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  • Ahum – atmospheric black and white horror film in which a nuclear plant employee begins to lose his grasp on reality.
  • 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.
  • The Call of Zon – experimental science fiction film in which a small town has been walled off by a mysterious force known as Zon for the past 20 years.
  • The Chaplin – Ren Osugi stars as a prison chaplain ministering to death row prisoners.
  • Complicity – an undocumented man from China starts working at a soba restaurant but lives in constant fear of discovery.
  • Jesus – a 10-year-old boy moves to his grandmother’s out in the country and has to attend a Christian school.
  • Life Finds a Way – the latest from Hirobumi Watanabe is a meta take on the filmmaking process.
  • Melancholic – a graduate of a top university takes a job in a bathhouse and is shocked to discover it doubles as a yakuza killing ground in Seiji Tanaka’s ironic debut.
  • Sea – a man who witnessed a rape as a teenager but did nothing to help muses on his failings when he meets the perpetrators again years later.
  • Tourism – two women take a trip to Singapore but things take a turn for the strange when one gets lost.

Nippon Docs

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  • Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa – documentary exploring the child soldiers who fought under the Japanese during the battle of Okinawa.
  • From All Corners – a young man gives up his job to become a cardboard picker.
  • I Go Gaga, My Dear – director Naoko Nobutomo follows her elderly parents and charts the development of her mother’s Alzheimer’s.
  • Japanese Documentaries Presented by NHK World-Japan – two NHK docs including the first episode of 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, and another about a Syrian musician’s discovery of a piano which survived the 1945 nuclear attack.
  • Kagura Troupe on the Beat – traditional shinto music and dance.
  • Portraits of the Rainbow – Ayumi Nakagawa follows photographer Leslie Kee as he photographs members of the LGBT community in order to combat their invisibility within Japanese society.
  • Sending Off – Nippon Connection regular Ian Thomas Ash returns with a documentary following a doctor and her team of nurses as they offer hospice care to patients in their homes.
  • Shinjuku Tiger – Yoshinori Sato follows the man in the tiger mask often seen around Shinjuku.
  • Tower of the Sun Love at Least director Kosai Sekine uses Taro Okamoto’s Tower of the Sun as a jumping off point to explore the evolution of Japanese culture

Nippon Animation

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Nippon Retro: Ayako Wakao – Magnificent Icon of Japanese Cinema

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  • An Actor’s Revenge – Kon Ichikawa classic in which an onnagata attempts to avenge the death of his parents.
  • The Blue Sky Maiden – cheerful melodrama in which a young woman travels to live with her birth father’s family but is fiercely resented by her step-mother and half siblings. Marks the first collaboration between Yasuzo Masumura and his later muse. Review.
  • Elegant Beast – satirical comedy from Yuzo Kawashima in which a criminal family meets their match in a wily entertainment accountant.
  • Floating Weeds – Ozu classic in which the leader of an itinerant theatre troupe reunites with his former lover in a seaside town.
  • The Goddess of Mercy – Yasuzo Masumura’s adaptation of the Junichiro Tanizaki novel in which a bored housewife enters a relationship with a woman she meets at art class who reminds her of the goddess of mercy. Review.
  • The Red Angel – Ayako Wakao stars as a frontline nurse in Masumura’s powerful anti-war drama. Review.
  • Seisaku’s Wife – a young woman marries an old man and continues to live alone after he dies suddenly becoming a social pariah until she falls in love with a model soldier.
  • Women are Born Twice – Wakao stars as a melancholy geisha in another comic drama from Yuzo Kawashima.

Nippon Connection takes place in Frankfurt, Germany from 28th May to 2nd June. Tickets are available from 11th May via the official website where you can also find full details on all the films as well as timetabling information. Unless otherwise stated, films screen in Japanese with English subtitles. In addition to the films the festival will also host a series of events including director talks and workshops in a rich cultural programme. You can keep up with all the latest information by following the festival on FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickr, and Instagram.

Chinese Visual Festival 2019 Announces Full Lineup

Tracey still 3The Chinese Visual Festival returns for its 9th edition in May 2019 with a weeklong celebration of Chinese language cinema including a special focus on the legendary Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan who will be in attendance for a series of conversations and Q&As.

Thursday 02 May:

6.10pm: First Night Nerves + Stanley Kwan Q&A 

BFI Southbank, NFT1

first night nerves still 1Stanley Kwan returns to the stage with a backstage melodrama of backstabbing actresses as a veteran star makes her comeback alongside the talented youngster who threatens to eclipse her…

The legendary director will be present in person for a Q&A following the UK premiere of the film.

Friday 03 May:

4pm: Crack of Dawn: Roundtable Discussion with Director Ying Liang

King’s College London, Anatomy Museum
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Director Ying Liang whose When Night Falls, Sunny Day, and Family Tour are all screening in the festival will be in conversation with East Asian cinema specialist Tony Rayns, and film scholars Jessica Yeung and Victor Fan.

7pm: When Night Falls + Ying Liang Q&A

Joint ticket with A Sunny Day
King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

When Night Falls still 1The mother of a man sentenced to death for killing six policemen continues to fight for justice in Ying Liang’s probing drama. 

7pm: A Sunny Day + Ying Liang Q&A

Joint ticket with When Night Falls
King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Sunny day still 1A young woman visits her father for lunch in Ying Liang’s Occupy-themed short.

Saturday 04 May:

2pm: A Family Tour + Ying Liang Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Family Tour still 1An exiled film director takes a “holiday” to Taiwan in order to tag along after her mother’s old persons’ tour bus knowing they will likely never meet again in Ying Liang’s poignant semi-autobiographical drama. Review.

6.15pm: Rouge + Stanley Kwan Q&A

BFI Southbank, NFT3

Rouge still 1Stanley Kwan’s sumptuous supernatural romance stars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung as a pair of lovers who determine on double suicide, only she is the only one who dies. 50 years later, her spirit returns to a much changed ’80s Hong Kong in search of answers.

The director will be present for a Q&A following the film.

Sunday 05 May:

1pm: Stammering Ballad

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Stammering ballad still 1A Chinese folksinger leaves his hometown to wander and eventually ends up on China’s Got Talent only to return home and find his beloved landscape much changed in this visually stunning documentary.

3.30pm: Women + Stanley Kwan Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Kwan women still 1A woman leaves her husband after discovering he has been unfaithful and joins the “Spinsters’ Club” but is conflicted when he wants to patch things up. Stanley Kwan will also be present for a Q&A following a screening of his 1985 debut feature.

5.30pm: Stanley Kwan in Conversation

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Register Free

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The legendary director joins EasternKicks’ Andrew Heskins and Professor Victor Fan from King’s College London to disuss his life and career in the Hong Kong film industry.

7.15pm: The Land of Peach Blossoms

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre
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Documentarian Zhou Mingying explores a “utopian” restaurant run along collectivist lines in which personal thought is forbidden and becoming like the leader an ideal.

Monday 06 May

1pm: The Drum Tower + Fan Popo Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

drum tower still 1An introverted high schooler and transgender vintage shop owner are the protagonists of the latest short from Fan Popo.

1pm: Meili

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Meili still 1A young girl abandoned by her parents and abused by her brother-in-law hopes to escape with her girlfriend in a powerful debut from director Zhou Zhou.

4pm: Thin Dream Bay + Imagining Evan Yang

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre
Imagining Evan Yang
Independent filmmaker Shu Kei explores the literary life of director and songwriter Evan Yang  .

7.15pm: The Rib

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

47483187072_1c2af9ba0c_oFactory Boss‘ Zhang Wei follows a religious father’s struggle to accept his transgender daughter.

Tuesday 07 May

7pm: Four Springs

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

four springgs still 1Director Lu Qingyi’s beautiful documentary follows his own family through four celebrations of New Year bringing with them both joy and sorrow. Review.

Wednesday 08 May

8.45pm: In Character

BFI Southbank, NFT3

In Character still 1A director making a semi-autobiographical film takes 13 actors back to the Cultural Revolution by bringing them to a disused firearms factory in Sichuan where they must wear the clothes and listen to the music of the era.

Thursday 09 May

3pm: Tracey Cast and Crew in Conversation

King’s College London, Nash Theatre

Tracey still 1The cast and crew of Tracey are in conversation with EasternKicks’ Andrew Heskins and Dr. Victor Fan from King’s College London.

6pm: Tracey + Cast & Crew Q&A

BFI Southbank, NFT2
Tracey still 2A 51-year-old married father of two grownup children begins to come to an acceptance of a transgender identity after hearing the news of the death of a close friend in the beautifully observed debut from Li Jun.

The Chinese Visual Festival runs at BFI Southbank and King’s College London from 2nd to 9th May 2019. Full details for all the films are available via the official website and you can keep up with all the festival’s latest details via the official Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Instagram.

Udine Far East Film Festival Confirms Lineup for 21st Edition

47541986391_dbe90761ea_oThe Udine Far East Film Festival returns for its 21st edition on April 26! As usual, the festival has brought together some of the most highly anticipated East Asian cinema releases with 77 films included in this year’s programme including a retrospective strand dedicated to classic Korean cinema and sidebar on Korean indie comedy. This year’s guests of honour are veteran Hong Kong star Anthony Wong who will be receiving the festival’s Golden Mulberry Award, and Chinese superstar Yao Chen.

China

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  • A Cool Fish – comedy crime caper in which two losers, a woman in a wheelchair, and a dejected security guard get mixed up in a strange series of coincidences. Review.
  • Crossing the Border – heartwarming drama in which a grandpa goes on a tractor roadtrip with his 6-year-old grandson.
  • The Crossing – a teenage girl becomes a mobile phone mule in Bai’s sensitive coming of age drama. Review.
  • Dying to Survive – dark comedy drama in which an aphrodisiac seller becomes rich smuggling generic cancer medication.
  • Lost, Found – remake of the Korean film Missing in which a lawyer in the middle of a custody dispute discovers her nanny has disappeared with her daughter.
  • Pegasus – New Year comedy drama in which a disgraced middle-aged racing driver tries to make a comeback. Review.
  • The Rib – a trans woman tries to get the approval of her devoutly religious father.
  • When Love Blossoms – a Beijing delivery boy is inspired to pursue his secret crush on a real estate agent who is also his roommate.

Hong Kong

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  • Bodies at Rest – a pathologist and his assistant are suddenly accosted by crooks wanting access to a body in Renny Harlin’s action drama.
  • A Home with a View – Mr. Lo sinks all his savings and his father’s pension into buying a flat which has a view of the ocean that calms the rowdy family down, but one day their lovely view is suddenly blocked by an illegal billboard in a dark family comedy from Herman Yau.
  • Hotel Soul Good – comedy in which a hardbitten exec starts seeing ghosts and then forces them to open a hotel with her.
  • Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy – spin-off / sequel to Ip Man 3 starring Max Zhang and directed by Yuen Woo-ping.
  • Missbehavior – New Year rom-com from Pang Ho-cheung in which a secretary tries to replace a bottle of breast milk belonging to her boss after accidentally using it to make coffee for a client.
  • Project Gutenberg – twisty action drama from Felix Chong starring Aaron Kwok and Chow Yun Fat. Review.
  • Still Human – Intouchables-esque drama starring Anthony Wong as a man in a wheelchair who doesn’t immediately take to his Filipina carer.
  • Three Husbands – Fruit Chan satirises modern Hong Kong through the story of a sex worker with a high libido who lives on a boat with her three husbands.

Indonesia

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  • 212 Warrior – historical martial arts action comedy.

Japan

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  • Dare to Stop Us – drama directed by Kazuya Shiraishi set at Wakamatsu Productions in the early 1970s.
  • Every Day a Good Day – tea ceremony drama featuring one of the last screen performances by the late Kirin Kiki.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – local humour comedy in which residents of Saitama have been relegated to second class citizens. Review.
  • HARD-CORE – robot comedy from Nobuhiro Yamashita.
  • Jam – absurdist comedy from SABU in which a singer is kidnapped by a crazed fan.
  • JK Rock – comedy in which a washed up rocker mentors a girl group.
  • Lying to Mom – black comedy in which a family keep up the pretence that their oldest son who committed suicide is alive and well in Argentina.
  • Melancholic – a dejected university graduate takes a job in a bathhouse but discovers it is used as a location for killing after hours.
  • Only the Cat Knows – a disappeared cat places a wedge between husband and wife.

Malaysia

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  • Fly by Night – taxi drivers running an extortion scam become embroiled in crime conspiracy
  • Motif – a policewoman investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl in a small town finds herself digging deep into family secrets.
  • Two Sisters – horror in which a woman is released from a psychiatric hospital and returns to live with her sister only to encounter dark family secrets.

The Philippines

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  • Eerie – a clairvoyant guidance counsellor investigates the deaths of a series of girls at a convent school in Mikhail Red’s supernatural drama.
  • Heaven’s Waiting – two old souls trapped in purgatory find each other in Dan Villegas’ supernatural romance.
  • Miss Granny – Filipino remake of the classic Korean musical comedy in which an old woman becomes young and gets to relive her youth.
  • Signal Rock – indie drama set in an island community where a brother determines to help bring his sister and her daughter home to the Philippines on learning that she is in an abusive relationship abroad.

South Korea

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  • Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug war. Review.
  • Birthday – melancholy family drama exploring the aftermath of the Sewol ferry tragedy.
  • Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home.
  • Default – drama exploring the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
  • Extreme Job – bumbling police officers go undercover running a chicken restaurant to catch drug dealers but the restaurant ends up taking off.
  • The Great Battle – historical drama centring on the siege of Ansi Fortress.
  • Innocent Witness – Jung Woo-Sung stars as a lawyer defending a housekeeper accused of murdering her boss who discovers the only witness to the crime is an autistic teenage girl.
  • Intimate Strangers – Korean remake of the Italian film Perfect Strangers in which dinner party guests unwisely agree to share all their incoming mobile messages.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – comedy in which a family’s life is disrupted when dad gets bitten by a zombie.
  • Rampant – historical zombie action starring Hyun Bin.
  • Romang – romantic melodrama in which an elderly couple fall in love all over again while suffering with dementia.
  • Unstoppable – Ma Dong-seok stars as a former gangster hot on the trail of human traffickers who’ve made the mistake of kidnapping his wife.

Singapore

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  • Konpaku – A young man upset after his girlfriend leaves him ends up in a relationship with the sensuous Midori but is disturbed when strange things start happening to those close to him.

Taiwan

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  • The Devil Fish – spin-off/sequel to the Tagalong franchise this time revolving around an urban legend about a fish with a human face.
  • More than Blue – remake of the Korean romantic melodrama in which two young people try too hard to please each other. Review.
  • The Scoundrels – action drama in which a former basketball player gets mixed up in crime.

Thailand 

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  • 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!
  • Reside – haunted house horror starring Ananda Everingham.

Vietnam

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

Documentaries

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  • BNK48: Girls Don’t Cry – Thamrongrattanarit Nawapol interviews members of the Thai idol group.
  • Kampai! Sake Sisters – documentary following three women in the historically male sake world.
  • People’s Republic of Desire – documentary exploring the growing Chinese online streaming industry. Review.
  • YI DAI YI LU – One Belt One Road – Italian documentary exploring the One Belt One Road initiative.

The Odd Couples

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  • The World of Suzie Wong – classic 1960 British/American HK drama in which an American artist falls for a sex worker.
  • My Name Ain’t Suzie – 1985 HK drama following a 1950s bar girl.
  • City on Fire – 1987 Ringo Lam classic starring Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee in which an undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves only for the operation to go very wrong.
  • Reservoir Dogs – Tarantino’s 1992 crime drama.

100 Years of Korean Cinema:
I Choose Evil – Lawbreakers Under the Military Dictatorship 

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  • Black Hair – Lee Man-hee classic from 1964 in which a betrayed gangster’s moll mulls going straight thanks to the attentions of a cheerful cabbie. Review.
  • The Body Confession – Jo Keung-ha’s 1964 melodrama in which a woman turns to sex work to raise her three children.
  • A Day Off – Lee Man-hee’s bleak 1968 melodrama following an impoverished couple as they face an impossible situation. Review.
  • Promise of the Flesh – 1975 melodrama from Kim Ki-young in which a young woman on temporary release from prison meets man and promises to meet him two years later.
  • Jagko – Im Kwon-taek pioneers the division film in exploring the parallel fates of a partisan and the man who failed to catch him in the very different world of 1980. Review.
  • The Last Witness  – a detective’s investigation of a brewery owner’s murder takes him right into the dark heart of the recent past in Lee Doo-yong’s powerful drama. Review.
  • Ticket – 1985 Im Kwon-taek drama exploring the lives of five “coffee girls”.
  • Lovers in Woomukbaemi – Jang Sun-woo’s 1990 romantic melodrama stars Park Joong-hoon as a henpecked husband who begins an affair with a battered wife. Review.

Info Screenings 

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  • A First Farewell – A muslim boy in Xinjiang prepares to say goodbye to his deaf/mute mother when his father decides to put her into a nursing home.
  • Ten Years Japan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Japan. Review.
  • Ten Years Taiwan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Taiwan.
  • Ten Years Thailand – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Thailand.

Korean Independent Comedies

Coffee Noir

  • Coffee Noir: Black Brown – prohibition-themed comedy as a barista turns her coffee shop into a speakeasy following the outlawing of the beverage.
  • Passing Summer – A couple running a Jeju hotel are stunned when a pair of faces from the past turn up as guests.
  • Saem – a man goes to Seoul to look for his first love but has a rare condition in which he is unable to recognise faces.

Restored Classics 

wheel of Life

  • A Speck in the Water – 1976 Philippine fishing village drama from Ishmael Bernal
  • The Wheel of Life – Omnibus film featuring three tales directed by King Hu, Li Hsing, and Pai Ching-jui in which the same two actors play lovers across different ages.

The 21st Udine Far East Film Festival runs from 26th April to 4th May 2019. Full details for each of the films will be available shortly via the official website where you will also be able to find the daily screening schedule. Screenings take place both at the Teatro Nuovo and Cinema Centrale. You can keep up with all the latest festival news via the festival’s Facebook PageInstagram and YouTube channels, Twitter account, and Tumblr.

Shoplifters Sweeps 42nd Japan Academy Prize

Shoplifters poster 2The 42nd Japan Academy Prize was presented at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa on 1st March, 2019. Hirokazu Koreeda swept the board for a second year in a row with his Palme d’Or winning family drama Shoplifters which picked up eight awards including Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actress. Meanwhile, Kazuya Shirashi’s retro gangster epic The Blood of Wolves picked up prizes for both of its leading men as well as a handful of technical awards.

Picture of the Year

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Animation of the Year

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  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly (Tatsuya Nagamine)
  • Penguin Highway (Hiroyasu Ishida)
  • Mirai (Mamoru Hosoda)
  • Detective Conan: Zero The Enforcer (Yuzuru Tachikawa)
  • Okko’s Inn (Kitaro Kosaka)

Director of the Year

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Best Screenplay

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Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

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  • Sakura Ando (Shoplifters)
  • Haru Kuroki (Every Day a Good Day)
  • Ryoko Shinohara (The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (Tremble All You Want)
  • Sayuri Yoshinaga (Sakura Guardian in the North)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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  • Ittoku Kishibe (Sakura Guardian in the North)
  • Dean Fujioka (Recall)
  • Hidetoshi Nishijima (Life in Overtime)
  • Kazunari Ninomiya (Killing for the Prosecution)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (The Blood of Wolves)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

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Outstanding Achievement in Music

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Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

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Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction

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Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

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  • Tsutomu Imamura (The Blood of Wolves)
  • Takashi Nishimura (Recall)
  • Mitsuo Harada (Samurai’s Promise)
  • Kyoko Heya (Sakura Guardian in the North)
  • Keiko Mitsumatsu (Shoplifters)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording

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Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing

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Newcomer of the Year 

(awarded to all nominees equally – announced along with nominations)

  • Moka Kamishiraishi (A Forest of Wool and Steel)
  • Shuri (Love At Least)
  • Yurina Hirate (Hibiki)
  • Kyoko Yoshine (Kasane, Samurai’s Promise)
  • Kentaro (Cafe Funiculi Funicula)
  • Taishi Nakagawa (Kids on the Slope, Lock-On Love)
  • Ryo Narita (Stolen Identity, The Antique)
  • Ryo Yoshizawa (River’s Edge)

Special Award of Honour from the Association

(Lifetime achievement awards – technical fields)

  • Yasuo Otsuka (animator)
  • Tadashi Kanada (still photography)
  • Tsutomu Sakurai (producer)
  • Keisuke Chiyoda (costuming)

Special Award of Honour from the Chairman

(Lifetime achievement awards celebrating contribution to the film industry)

  • Mariko Okada (actress and producer)
  • Keiko Kishi (actress)
  • Junya Sato (director and screenwriter)
  • Kiju Yoshida (director and screenwriter)

Special Award from the Chairman 

(Lifetime achievement award presented to members of the film industry who passed away during 2018)

  • Isao Takahata (animation director)
  • Yuriko Hoshi (actress)
  • Masahito Tsugawa (actor)
  • Kirin Kiki (actress)
  • Sadaji Yoshida (cinematographer)
  • Mitsuru Kurosawa (producer)

In Memoriam 

(special section commemorating previous winners of the special awards who passed away in 2018)

  • Tadashi Sawashima (director)
  • Chuji Kinoshita (composer)
  • Shinobu Hashimoto (screenwriter, director, and producer)

Special In Memoriam 

  • Masayuki Nagare (world renowned sculptor and founding member of the Japan Academy Prize as well as the designer of the trophy).

Popularity Awards

(nominated by an All Night Nippon audience poll)

Movie: One Cut of the Dead

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Actor: Kentaro (Cafe Funiculi Funicula)

Kentaro Cafe Funiculi Funicular

Source: Japan Academy Prize official website

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season Eight

High Flash still 2Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns for its eighth season from March 12 to April 24 with 16 films screening at AMC River East 21 and various venues around the city.

March 12, 7pm: Fly Me To The Saitama

Introduction and Q&A with director Hideki Takeuchi

Fly Me to Saitama bannerFumi Nikaido stars as the cosseted son of a corrupt Tokyo Governor alongside pop star Gackt as a “mysterious transfer student” in Hideki Takeuchi’s adaptation of the popular ’80s manga.

March 13, 7pm: Ten Years Japan

Introduction and Q&A with segment director Akiyo Fujimura

10 Years Japan still 1Five young directors provide their visions of a near future Japan in an omnibus movie inspired by the Hong Kong original and produced by Hirokazu Koreeda. Review.

March 16, 2pm: The Ito Sisters

Introduction and Q&A with director Antonia Grace Glenn and lead scholar Evelyn Nakano Glenn 

ito sistersDocumentary exploring the experiences of early Japanese migrants along with their American-born children.

March 19, 7pm: Out Of Paradise

Introduction and Q&A with director Batbayar Chogsom

Out of Paradise still 1A man and his heavily pregnant wife make a perilous journey to the Mongolian capital in order to get a caesarian section but once there discover they are unable to cover the medical fees.

March 20, 7pm: A Land Imagined

Introduction and Q&A with director Yeo Siew-hua.

land imagined still 1Singaporean police officer Lok investigates the disappearance of migrant worker Wang in Yeo Siew-hua’s Locarno prize winning crime drama.

March 21, 6.30pm: Funan

Funan still 1French/Cambodian animated co-production set during the Khmer Rouge revolution of 1975 in which a young mother searches for her four-year-old son who was taken away by the regime.

March 26, 7pm: Show Me Your Love

Introduction and Q&A with actress Nina Paw Hee-ching

Show me Your Love still 1A young man making a rare visit home to Malaysia on the death of an aunt is forced to reconnect with his estranged mother whom he left behind when he went to university in Hong Kong. Actress Nina Paw Hee-Ching will be present at the screening for an introduction and Q&A as well as to collect the Career Achievement Award.

March 27, 7pm: Sen Sen

Introduction and Q&A with director An Bon & actress Nina Paw Hee-ching

Sen Sen still 1A young man whose brother has recently passed away makes a surprising discovery on the cell phone he left behind – the live streams of an elderly cab driver known as Granny.

March 28, 7pm: High Flash

Introduction and Q&A with director Chuang Ching-shen & Actor Chen Chia-kuei

High Flash still 1A medical examiner investigating the death of a fisherman who self immolated to protest corporate giant TL Petrochemical uncovers a major conspiracy in Chuang Ching-shen’s crime thriller.

April 6, 2pm: Up the Mountain

up the mountain still 1Documentary by Zhang Yang focussing on the studio of artist Shen Jian-hua in a remote village in Yunnan Province.

April 7, 2pm: Four Springs

Introduction and Q&A with director Lu Qingyi moderated by Shelly Kraicer

four springgs still 1Director Lu Qingyi follows the everyday lives of his parents over four years in the remote town of Dushan in southwest China.

April 12, 6.30pm: Circle of Steel

Introduction and Q&A with director/producer Gillian McKercher and main cast Chantelle Han.

Circle of SteelCanadian chemical engineer Wendy Fong ponders her future in the face of industry layoffs in this special presentation in collaboration with the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago.

April 16, 7pm: The Pension

Introduction and Q&A with segment director Junghuh Deok-jae 

The Pension still 1Omnibus film set in a small hotel which becomes home to parents attempting to come to terms with the loss of their child, a couple trying to rekindle their marriage, a woman who insists on staying in her preferred room, and the substitute manager who invites his girlfriend over for the evening.

April 17, 7pm: Memories of a Dead End

Introduction and Q&A with director Choi Hyun-young

memories of a dead end still 1A young woman in a long distance relationship with a man from Nagoya decides to visit him when he drops out of contact only to discover he is engaged to someone else.

April 23, 7pm: Memories of My Body

Memories of my body still 1A Lengger dancer looks back on his life as a tale of growing acceptance of sensuality lived against a turbulent political backdrop.

April 24, 7pm – Tracey

Tracey still 1A 51-year-old married father begins to reconsider his life choices after the death of a friend, eventually coming to an acceptance of a transgender identity.

Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 8 runs March 12 to April 24. Full details for all the films are available via the festival’s official website. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

New York Asian Film Festival Launches First Ever Winter Showcase

nyaff winter showcase 2019

A regular summer fixture in the New York film calendar, the New York Asian Film Festival is launching its first ever winter showcase set to run Feb. 1 – 3 & 8 – 10 at SVA Theatre. Running under the title “Crazy Broke Asians” the festival will present 15 films showcasing the lives of ordinary people from across the region.

Miss Baek 

Han Ji-min will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film.

Miss Baek still 1Han Ji-min stars as a salty, aloof ex-con who struggles to move past childhood trauma until she makes the fateful decision to save a neglected little girl who reminds her so much of herself. Review.

Fly By Night

fly by night still 1The debut feature from Zahir Omar, Fly By Night takes place in the Kuala Lumpur underworld where a gang of taxi drivers has clubbed together to extort well off passengers they pick up from the airport.

Mee Pok Man 

Cinema still: Mee Pok Man starring Michelle Goh and Joe Ng##########x##########A Singaporean classic, Eric Khoo’s debut follows the awkward proprietor of a noodle shop with a crush on one of his customers, a sex worker who dreams of escaping her pimp and the city itself.

Have a Nice Day

MUBI Have A Nice Day_Still_1© 2017 Nezha Bros Pictures Company Limited, Le-joy Animation StudioLiu Jian’s indie animation puts the modern China under the spotlight as a missing bag of money brings a collection of desperate souls together in the search for a way out of a dead end wasteland. Review.

After this Our Exile

after this our exileAaron Kwok stars as a deadbeat dad whose wife eventually leaves him alone with their young son. When loansharks come in pursuit of gambling debts, father and son are forced on the run and into a life of dubious moralities.

Crying Fist

crying fist bannerRyoo Seung-wan’s boxing drama stars Choi Min-sik as a former olympic silver medalist who now makes ends meet getting beaten up for money on the streets of Seoul. Meanwhile, a troubled young man (played by Ryoo Seung-Bum) who learned to box inside is also looking for a way out. The pair meet in the ring where a more than cash is at stake.

Breathless

breathless still 1Actor turned director Yang Ik-June stars as a brutal gangster whose sentimental heart is restarted by a high school girl with a difficult home life only to discover life’s essential tragedies.

100 Yen Love

100 yen love still 1Sakura Ando stars as a 32-year-old slacker still living at home with her parents. A part-time job in a 100 yen store gives her new purpose when she strikes up a relationship with an amateur boxer and winds up entering the ring herself. Review.

7 Grandmasters

7 grandmasters still 1Jack Lung stars as a veteran kung-fu master about to retire when a young buck begs to become his disciple so that he can learn the skills to avenge his father.

The Mystery of Chess Boxing

mystery of chess boxing

7 Grandmasters’ Li Yi-min returns as another youngster seeking revenge! Originally the kung-fu school’s dunce he gets his game on when the chef teaches him how to fight, eventually teaming up with the inventor of chess kung fu to take down the mysterious Ghost Face Killer.

The Swordsman of All Swordsman

swordsmen of all swordsmenA top swordsman out for revenge against the bandits that killed his father runs into sword enthusiasts Black Dragon and Flying Swallow who may be enemies or allies.

Secret Screening

nyaff secretThe clue is in the name…

King of Beggars

king of beggars 1Stephen Chow stars in Gordon Chan’s loose retelling of the life of 19th century martial artist So Chan who finds himself joining the Beggars’ Sect after being caught cheating on his imperial exams and causing his family to be stripped of all their wealth.

Merantau

merantau still 1Indonesian action star Iko Uwais stars in Gareth Huw Evans early cult hit in which a young man embarks on his “merantau” – a coming of age ritual in which he must leave his village for the city where he rescues a brother and sister from a gang and finds himself at war.

The Raid Redemption

the raid redemptionThe sequel to Gareth Huw Evans phenomenally successful The Raid once again stars Iko Uwais as an intrepid SWAT member who finds himself having to fight his way out when a raid goes wrong.

Lunar New Year Party

nyaff lunarA party to close out the event taking place right after the final screening.

The New York Asian Film Festival Winter Showcase runs February 1 – 3 & 8 -10 at SVA Theatre. Tickets and passes are currently on sale via Eventbrite where you can also find full details for all the films along with screening times. You can also keep up with all the latest news including the upcoming summer season via the festival’s official website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

One Cut of the Dead Triumphs at 61st Blue Ribbon Awards

One Cut of the DeadAhead of the official ceremony on 6th February, the Blue Ribbon Awards has released its list of winners for the 61st edition which honours films released in 2018. Runaway box office hit One Cut of the Dead (released on 28th January in the UK courtesy of Third Window Films) has taken the top spot while Kazuya Shirashi, who took last year’s prize for Birds Without Names, has retained the Best Director award for the three films he released last year – The Blood of Wolves, Dare to Stop Us, and Sunny (not to be confused with the remake of the Korean film by the same name which also makes it into the top 10).

Individual Awards

Best Film: One Cut of the Dead

Best Actor: Hiroshi Tachi (Life in Overtime)

Best Actress: Mugi Kadowaki (Dare to Stop Us)

Best Supporting Actor: Tori Matsuzaka (The Blood of Wolves)

Best Supporting Actress: Mayu Matsuoka (Shoplifters / Chihayafuru Part 3)

Best Newcomer: Sara Minami (Shino Can’t Say Her Name)

Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (The Blood of Wolves / Dare to Stop Us / Sunny)

Top 10

In addition to naming individual prizes, the Blue Ribbon Awards also reveals its “Best 10” films of the year which are presented in no particular order.

One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな!)

One Cut of the Dead still 1One Cut of the Dead has already devoured the Japanese box office and now finds itself the winner of the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award for best film. Opening with a 40 minute single take of zombie mayhem, this hilarious horror comedy begins with a film crew trying to make a zombie movie in an abandoned water filtration plant with a dark past only for some uninvited guests to turn up and join the fun…

Released in the UK by Third Window Films on 28th January.

The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (菊とギロチン)

chysanthemum and the guillotine still 1The recently prolific Takahisa Zeze retreats to the Taisho era for a tale of sumo and revolution as a band of anarchists known as the Guillotine Society find themselves fascinated by an itinerant troupe of female sumo wrestlers shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

The Blood of Wolves (孤狼の血)

blood of wolves still 1Kazuya Shirashi, winner of this year’s best director award, pays tribute to the world of Battles Without Honour in an ’80-style neo-noir in which a straight-laced rookie is partnered with a veteran rogue cop who leads him straight into the heart of darkness. Review.

Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai (SUNNY 強い気持ち・強い愛)

sunny japan bannerNot to be confused with Kazuya’s Shiraishi’s Sunny, Hitoshi Ohne’s Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai is a remake of the classic 2011 Korean film by Kang Hyeong-cheol in which a dying 40-year-old woman reunites with her high school friends from 1990 to relive her memories of a bubble-era adolescence.

Recall (空飛ぶタイヤ)

recall bannerA CEO discovers dark secrets about his own company when a tire comes off one of their trucks and kills a young mother.

Dare to Stop Us (止められるか、俺たちを)

dare to stop us still 1Another of three films released this year by Best Director winner Kazuya Shiraishi, Dare To Stop Us revolves around the legendary figure of Koji Wakamatsu – a hugely influential director of pink film who sadly passed away in 2012 following a traffic accident. Set at Wakamatsu Productions between 1969 and 1972, the film is told from the point of view of female crew member Megumi Yoshizumi, played by Best Actress winner Mugi Kadowaki.

Every Day a Good Day (日日是好日)

every day a good day still 1Starring the legendary Kirin Kiki in one of her final performances, Every Day a Good Day is inspired by the writings of Noriko Morishita and revolves around the serene elegance of the traditional tea ceremony.

Asako 1 & 2 (寝ても覚めても)

Aasako 1 & IIA conflicted young woman struggling to move on from lost love falls for a guy who looks just like her ex but can’t decide whether to embrace the fantasy of unresolved romance or the security of a steady relationship in Hamaguchi’s complex yet playful comedy drama adapted from the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki. Review.

Shoplifters (万引き家族)

Shoplifters still 2This year’s Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters earns Hirokazu Koreeda another spot in the top 10 with a hard hitting tale of marginal lives and manufactured families which continues the long line of Japanese films asking what exactly family means in an increasingly disconnected society. Review.

Yakiniku Dragon (焼肉ドラゴン)

yakiniku dragon bannerDirected by third generation Zainichi director Wishing Chong, Yakiniku Dragon revolves around a Korean-Japanese family in the early ’70s who run a yakiniku restaurant on the outskirts of Osaka.

Source: Eiga Natalie