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

People Still Call It Love -The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019

her love boils bathwater still 2The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is back for 2019 with another handpicked selection of recent (and not so recent) Japanese cinema. This year’s theme is “love” and there is certainly an array on offer from the familial to the romantic and everything in between.

My Friend ‘A’

My Friend A still 1Toma Ikuta stars as a failed journalist working in a small factory who befriends an introverted co-worker (Eita) only to begin to suspect that he may be connected to a series of child murders 17 years previously. One of two films released by Takahisa Zeze (The 8-Year Engagement) in 2018.

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura

Destiny Kamakura horizontalCharming fantasy adventure from Takashi Yamazaki adapting the popular 80s manga by Ryohei Saigan in which a newlywed eccentric author finds himself travelling to the underworld to retrieve his wife who has been taken there as a result of a bizarre clerical error (and a little yokai interference). Review.

Thicker Than Water

Ken-en bannerComedy drama from Hime-anole‘s Keisuke Yoshida in which two pairs of mismatched siblings go head to head. Masataka Kubota stars as a hard working salesman whose conventional existence is threatened by the return of his rowdy ex-con brother (Hirofumi Arai). Meanwhile, Yuria (Keiko Enoue) runs the family business and takes care of her bedridden grandfather while her younger, prettier sister (Miwako Kakei) is an out of work actress with a tendency to flirt with just about everyone she meets.

Pumpkin and Mayonnaise

Pumpkin and Mayonnaise still 1Tsuchida (Asami Usuda) has decided to financially support her singer-songwriter boyfriend Seiichi (Taiga) but he doesn’t know she’s supplementing her income with a part-time job at hostess bar to make ends meet. Meanwhile, her head is turned by an old flame (Joe Odagiri) in Masanori Tominaga’s adaptation of the popular manga by Kiriko Nananan. Review.

Tremble All You Want

tremble all you want still 1Intensely shy and socially awkward, 24-year-old Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) lives in a fantasy world and spends her free time engaging in her favourite hobby of looking up extinct animals on the internet. Harbouring a long standing crush on a middle-school classmate she nicknames “Ichi” (no. 1), her existence is shaken by the unexpected attention of a colleague she refers to as “Ni” (no. 2). An ultimately uplifting yet sometimes heartbreaking tale of learning to forget about anxiety and just live anyway from genre veteran Akiko Ohku. Review.

Dear Etranger

Dear Etranger still 2Tadanobu Asano stars as a man who’s taken the unusual decision to prioritise family life over career but finds himself conflicted when his second wife reveals she is pregnant with their first child in Yukiko Mishima’s empathic family drama. Review.

Yurigokoro

Yurigokoro bannerRyosuke’s life is pretty great. He’s about to open his own restaurant and marry his beautiful fiancée Misako, but his happiness is soon ended when his father is diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer. Going through his belongings, Ryosuke finds a worrying entry in his father’s diary which implies he may have committed a murder. To make matters worse, Misako suddenly disappears without trace. Naoto Kumazawa adapts the bestselling novel by Mahokaru Numata.

Dad’s Lunch Box

Dad's Bento bannerInspired by a viral news story, Masakazu Fukatsu’s cheerful drama stars former hip hop idol Toshimi Watanabe in a role somewhat echoing his own life seeing as he too published a best selling book filled with pictures of the bento he lovingly crafted for his teenage son. Here he plays a divorced dad doing his best to master the traditionally female art of homemade lunch boxes.

Her Love Boils Bathwater

her love boils bathwater stillCapturing Dad’s Ryota Nakano turns his attention mum! Rie Miyazawa stars as a struggling recently single mother whose husband has run off with another woman that he supposedly got pregnant during a drunken one night stand. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, she sets herself to repairing her fractured family while also resurrecting the family bathhouse in the process. Review.

Blindly In Love

Blindly in loveKentaro, 30-something and single, lives a solitary and isolated life, showing little sign of finding a wife and settling down while his career continues to stagnate. Fearing he will be alone all his life, his parents decide to go to a support group for the similarly afflicted hoping to find a candidate for an arranged marriage. They find only one – Naoko, the daughter of a high ranking salaryman. Naoko’s parents do not disclose the fact that their daughter is blind and also disapprove of Kentaro whom they regard as socially inferior. Nevertheless the pair meet and fall in love but can they overcome the various obstacles to their romance?

The Scythian Lamb

scythian Lamb still 1A small town decides to join a scheme to rehome ex-cons in order to combat rural depopulation but fearing that the local community might not accept the new arrivals if they knew where they came from, the authorities decide to keep it a secret. Prejudice and pragmatism go head to head in Daihachi Yoshida’s adaptation of the manga by Yamagami Tatsuhiko and Igarashi Mikio. Review.

Born Bone Born

Born Bone Born still 1Unmarried 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.

Tonight, at the Movies

Tonight at the movie bannerHaruka Ayase and Kentaro Sakaguchi star in a glitzy tribute to the world of golden age cinema! Sakaguchi plays a struggling assistant director failing to make it in the rapidly declining ’60s film industry while dreaming black and white dreams of a more glamorous era. Then, to his surprise, his favourite leading lady steps out of the silver screen and into his technicolor world…

Where Chimneys Are Seen

vlcsnap-2016-07-07-01h01m06s792Classic from Heinosuke Gosho centring on a collection of people living in a shared house and attempting to survive in the complicated post-war landscape. Ogata (Ken Uehara) is happily married to Hiroko (Kinuyo Tanaka) but begins to doubt her when he learns that she has secretly taken a job at the bicycle races to supplement the family income while the unexpected arrival of an abandoned baby raises another series of questions. Review.

Good Stripes

Good stripes still 1Midori and Masao are 28 years old and they’ve been a couple for four years. With the fire going out of their relationship they consider breaking up but then Midori discovers she is pregnant. Shotgun wedding in the offing, impending parenthood begins to bring them closer together as they finally take the time to get to know each other in the second feature from Yukiko Sode.

Three Stories of Love

Three stories of love bannerThe most recent film from Ryosuke Hashiguchi (Hush!, All Around Us), Three Stories of Love presents a triptych of modern alienation in the stories of a neglected wife, a grief-stricken widower struggling to come to terms with his wife’s murder, and a gay lawyer whose arrogance eventually leads to his downfall and a reunion with a schoolfriend he once loved. 

Penguin Highway

Penguin highway bannerA hyperrational 10-year-old is puzzled by the sudden appearance of a bunch of random penguins in the middle of a hot Japanese summer and tries to solve the mystery all while nursing an adolescent crush on a pretty dental receptionist in Hiroyasu Ishida’s adaptation of the Tomihiko Morimi novel. Review.

Of Love & Law

Of love and law still 1Love Hotel’s Hikaru Toda reunites with Fumi and Kazu who run a law firm in Japan specialising in minority issues and particularly those of the LGBT community. Review.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 runs at London’s ICA from 2nd to 10th 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 site, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

London Korean Film Festival Announces Full Programme for 2018

LKFF2018 The ReturnThe London Korean Film Festival returns for its 13th year kicking off in London on 1st November before touring to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Belfast. Opening with indie drama Microhabitat, the theme for this year’s edition is “a slice of everyday life” while the festival will also offer a selection of current hits, independent features, shorts, animation, and a few classics before bringing the London leg to a close on 14th November with Malene Choi’s The Return.

Opening

Microhabitat still 1

  • Microhabitat – A young woman living hand-to-mouth decides rent is an unnecessary expense in the debut feature from Jeon Go-woon who will also be present for a Q&A. Review.

Closing

The Return still 2

  • The Return – A Danish Korean adoptee returns to Korea looking for her history in a semi-autobiographical fiction debut from documentarian Malene Choi. Actress Karoline Sofie Lee will be present for a Q&A. Review.

Special Focus: A Slice of Everyday Life

poet and the boy still

  • The Power of Kangwon Province – a woman goes on holiday and ends up spending the night with a married policeman while an adulterous professor decides to visit the same area in the second film from Hong Sang-soo.
  • Christmas in August – 1998 romantic drama from genre master Hur Jin-ho in which a photographer falls in love with a terminally ill woman.
  • This Charming Girl – an isolated young woman develops a fondness for a shy writer but struggles to overcome past trauma.
  • Grain in Ear – second feature from A Quiet Dream‘s  Zhang Lu in which a woman of Korean ethnicity in North East China makes a living illegally selling kimchee.
  • Treeless Mountain – two little girls have to learn to look after themselves when their mum leaves them with relatives to go and look for their long absent dad.
  • The Journals of Musan – Park Jung-bum’s 2011 film in which he also stars as one of two North Korean defectors trying to adjust to life in the South.
  • Bleak Night – a father investigates the death of his son.
  • Alive – Park Jung-bum directs himself in his 2014 drama about a worker in a soybean paste factory.
  • The Bacchus Lady – Youn Yuh-jung stars as an elderly prostitute in E J-yong’s exploration of life on the margins. Review
  • The Running Actress – actress Moon So-ri steps behind the camera for three connected shorts each inspired by her real life and shot through with self deprecating humour. Review.
  • The Poet and the Boy – a middle-aged, unhappily married poet (Yang Ik-june) is suddenly struck by the beauty of a handsome young man.
  • Possible Faces – a young couple take different paths after splitting up in Lee Kang-hyun’s gentle drama.
  • Mothers – a woman becomes the guardian of the illegtimate son of her late husband in the second film from Lee Dong-eun (In Between Seasons)
  • The Land of Seonghye – Seonghye falls from the corporate ladder in Jung Hyung-suk’s indie drama.

Cinema Now

korean little forest 1

  • Heart Blackened – Jung Ji-woo remakes Fei Xing’s Silent Witness in which a wealthy CEO hires a fancy lawyer to defend his daughter who has been charged with the murder of her step-mother, a famous pop-star.
  • Love+Sling – father and son wrestlers face off when the girl next door turns down the son’s confession because she likes the dad…
  • The Princess and the Matchmaker – thematic sequel to The Face Reader starring Shim Eun-kyung as a princess who prefers the astronomer brought in to find the perfect match to anyone he suggests.
  • Seven Years of Night – thriller taking place over seven years beginning with the death of an innocent girl. Q&A chaired by Anton Bitel.
  • Little Forest – a lost young woman retreats to her country home in Yim Soon-rye’s take on the much loved Japanese manga. Review.
  • The Witness – a middle-aged salaryman witnesses a murder but selfishly keeps quiet even as the death toll rises.
  • Hotel by the River – the latest (?) from Hong Sang-soo in which a poet and his two estranged sons chat about death .

Woman’s Voices

hit the night still 1

  • Hit the Night – Bitch on the Beach‘s Jeong Ga-young once again stars as an extremely forward screenwriter “interviewing” her crush on the pretext of research. Jeong Ga-young will be present for a Q&A moderated by Sophie Brown as well as for a director talk at Kingston University at 11.30am on 7th November. Review.
  • For Vagina’s Sake – documentary in which director Kim Bo-ram travels around the world exploring attitudes to menstruation.
  • Grown Up – filmmaker Jang Hye-yeong chronicles the process of bringing her disabled sister home to live with her in Seoul.
  • Women’s Voices Shorts Programme

Indie Firepower

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  • Motel Cactus – a series of encounters take place at a love hotel in Seoul. Introduction by Tony Rayns.
  • Camel(s) – a middle-aged couple have a lengthy one night stand in Park Ki-yong’s indie drama. Park Ki-yong will be present for a Q&A.
  • Old Love – Park Ki-yong’s most recent film in which old lovers reconnect at Incheon airport. Park Ki-yong will be present for a Q&A.
  • Adulthood  – a 14-year-old girl’s life is turned upside-down when her long lost uncle shows up at her father’s funeral and cheats her out of her inheritance. In order to get the money back she has to pose as his daughter so he can scam a lonely pharmacist. Review.
  • Back From The Beat – an aspiring DJ’s life is disrupted when he makes an unwise remark about employment rights. Introduction by Tony Rayns.

Contemporary Classics: Lee Myung-se & The 1990s

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The subject for this year’s classic film special focus is director Lee Myung-se who began his career with Gagman back in 1988.  Lee will be present at each of the screenings for a Q&A. 

  • My Love, My Bride – Park Joong-hoon and Choi Jin-sil star as a mismatched couple in Lee’s romantic comedy.
  • First Love – an aspiring actress falls head over heels for a chain smoking writer from Seoul.
  • Their Last Love Affair – a married poet falls for a journalist who said some nice things about his work… screening with Short Can’t Live Without You

Animation

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  • The Shower – animation based on a short story by Hwang Sun-won in which a young boy becomes fascinated by a girl who plays by the stream.
  • Pororo, Dinosaur Island Adventure – Cute penguin Pororo returns for another adventure in which he travels to a tropical island to save some dinosaurs from a greedy alien and his robot minions.

Mise-en-scene Shorts

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Artist Video

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The London Korean Film Festival runs 1st – 14th November in London before touring the country until 25th November. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information are available via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

BFI London Film Festival Confirms Complete Programme for 2018

1272508_burning_924331The BFI London Film Festival returns for 2018 with a packed programme of the best in recent international cinema. As usual there are a fair few East Asian films on offer including the long awaited return from Lee Chang-dong, the latest from Jia Zhang-ke, and Bi Gan’s 3D followup to Kaili Blues.

Cambodia

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  • The Prey – Jimmy Henderson’s Jailbreak followup follows an undercover cop arrested during an operation who subsequently gets drawn into a corrupt prison warden’s sideline of sending prisoners out as targets for hunters while the Chinese military plan a rescue mission.

China

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  • Ash is Purest White – in the latest from Jia Zhang-ke, Zhao Tao plays a gangster’s moll who goes to prison on his behalf only to find that her loyalty has not been valued.
  • Dead Pigs – Cathy Yan satirises the modern Chinese economy through the tales of a collection of people caught up in the machinations of a shady real estate conglomerate.
  • Long Day’s Journey into Night – a man returns to his home village after many years for his father’s funeral and to look for lost love in Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues followup.
  • Shadow – Zhang Yimou returns to the world of period epics with a tale of proxy war as a great general (Deng Chao) makes use of a double to combat palace intrigue.
  • Suburban Birds – an engineer finds a diary of a boy with the same name giving way to a tale of adventure when one of the boy’s friends goes missing in Qiu Sheng’s debut feature.

Hong Kong

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  • A Family Tour – A Chinese director living in exile in Hong Kong travels to Taipei to present a controversial film banned in the Mainland, but also to see her mother who is travelling around the island on an old persons’ package tour. Not wanting to attract attention, she follows the coach around pretending to be a local.

Indonesia

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  • May the Devil Take You – a young woman pays a long overdue visit to her estranged father who is dying. With doctors unable to identify a cause for his condition, the supernatural begins to raise its head.

Japan

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  • Asako I & II – Ryusuke Hamaguchi adapts Tomoka Shibasaki’s novel in which a young woman spots a man who looks exactly like her long absent lover in cafe, only he has a completely different personality.
  • Mirai – a little boy learns to cope with the arrival of his baby sister in the latest from Mamoru Hosoda.
  • Of Love & Law – Hikaru Toda reunites with Love Hotel’s Kazu and Fumi and explores their lives and work at an Osakan law firm specialising in minority issues. Review.

Korea

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  • Believer – Lee Hae-young offers a Korean take on Johnnie To’s Drug War.
  • Burning – the long awaited return by Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, Burning adapts a short story by Haruki Murakami and revolves around three people – a novelist, another man, and a fashion model, as they become embroiled in a strange incident.
  • Last Child – moving drama in which a bereaved family takes in the boy their son died saving only to discover all is not as it seems. Review.
  • Little Forest – gentle tale in which a wounded young woman retreats to her country home to figure things out. Review.
  • The Spy Gone North – Yoon Jong-bin’s thriller follows a South Korean spy on an infiltration mission in the North.

The festival will also be previewing the first two episodes of Park Chan-wook’s BBC TV series, The Little Drummer Girl.

Events

  • Lee Chang-dong screentalk – director Lee Chang-dong will be taking part in a screentalk at the BFI on 20th October, 12pm

The BFI London Film Festival takes place at various venues across the city from 10th – 21st October 2018. 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 4th September, for Champions on 5th September, and Members 6th September, with general ticket sales available from 13th 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.