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FILM/ Festivals – Reviews #NYAFF2017

More from Tanimaru!

 

Tokyo Sky

Shinji and Mika are two young people trying to make their way in Tokyo. He is a day laborer blind in one eye and she is a girl from “inaka” the countryside with a dysfunctional past. One of Shinji’s friends dies while on the job and at his funeral Mika and Shinji begin a relationship – a relationship that is slow and careful as the world around them changes with death and people moving on. Both actors charm you as they manage the dog eat dog world of Tokyo. There is a street singer appearing throughout the film and they suppose another loser in Tokyo, but in the end, her face appears on the side of a van advertizing her first EP.

Aside from a couple of places where animation suddenly appears, the claustrophobia and busy world of Tokyo is accurately rendered. The narration is a bit on the nose in places and one might wonder if it is really necessary because the visuals do a very good job of telling the story of what it is like living for the city and trying to find love and companionship.
Happiness
I have followed the work of Masatoshi Nagase since his first films with Argo Project more than 25 years ago. Nagase is a veteran now, a true leading man with the gravitas fitting Japan’s most famous actors. His sensitive performance in AHN still stays with me. Here in HAPPINESS he is guided by Sabu, whose film CHASUKE’S JOURNEY was a cinematic tour de force in last year’s NYAFF. Nagase plays a man who arrives in a small town with a happiness helmet and when the residents put it on, they see they most treasured memories. But there is a dark side, that will soon emerge for Nagase’s character and it is here where the film take a turn into a kind of madness. Nagase is stoic throughout. A carefully measured performance of depth. HAPPINESS is not happiness at a certain point in the film, but the journey leading to happiness, for the patient, is worth taking.
Aroused By Gymnopedes
Since this is a Nikkatsu film, it is easy to understand why just about every 10 minutes there is a sex scene, but what is so strange is the lack of a coherent story to wrap around the frequent trysts in the movie. Furuya is a has been director. Washed up, hasn’t made a film in about a decade and in the midst of a possible come back, his lead actress quits. Thus begins a series of wanderings as Furuya beds numerous women including his student and finally a nurse at the hospital where is wife lies in a coma. There is also a horny neighbor who tries to seduce him from the start. The music of Erik Satie seems to be the cue for the sex business to start with whomever is in close quarters to Furuya but this one trick pony runs out of steam pretty early in the film. The composition “Gymnopies” by Satie was played by Furuya’s wife and clearly it was her tool to arouse him – a tune that obviously continues to play in his head with every woman he encounters.
Dawn Of The Felines
DAWN OF THE FELINES is a romp. A look at the lives of young ladies in Tokyo trying to make ends meet via sex for sale agencies. Masako is the lead lady who has a on and off relationship with a client. There is another who is clearly a single mom trying to manage child care while she turns tricks and finally Rie, who is married but unknown to her husband is also having sex for money. The film is clever shooting on the streets of Tokyo in a wonderful guerilla style. The actors are not shy about showing the underbelly of sex life in Tokyo – a world that is pretty much out of the view for a foreigner. So with some laughs and sad moments, the reality of life in Tokyo is revealed. Don’t point a finger at these ladies – they know full well what they are doing.
DEALER HEALER
Totally retro in design and execution, DEALER/HEALER is an homage to the early films of Chinese gangsters and the ladies who love them. “Cheater Hua” is the archetype of the gangster who is reformed and proceeds to get the members of his inner circle to do the same. My only criticism is the overly used soundtrack that is way to on the nose. This may also be a homage but in some ways it seems to take away from storytelling, but if you like this genre, DEALER/HEALER will please
RAGE
Is an elegant thriller. A fine performance by Ken Watanabe. We have missed this subtile but powerful work in a small film. He reaffirms his status and stardom. The rest of the cast is also effective and committed. The intertwining stories don’t really connect, so re-reading the synopsis for RAGE – I wanted to have a frame for these comments. Each of the three stories is so compelling I keep wondering why “rage” became the title? There is clearly rage in the Okinawan story, even though it subverts geography to place a American GI drinking area next door to Naha’s main market – the real distance is at least a 30 minute drive and this is important because this is the inciting incident of the this story. I was moved, entertained and I was engaged in the firm and confident structure of the film but at the end I kind of wished that one of the stories had been the focus of the film.
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July 14, 2017 Posted by | ART, avant-garde, CULTURE, FILM, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Concert of the Summer! MUSIC /Festivals – FELA TRIBUTE w/ Roy Ayers, Seun Kuti and EGYPT ’80 Sunday, 7/16 – 2pm Central Park #Summerstage *nyc

WE RECOMMEND this MUST-SEE CONCERT!

Come Early! Prepare to Move your Feet in joy!

FELA was the subject of a fabulous Broadway musical directed by Bill T Jones.

Fela was a constant critic of the Nigerian government of his time and many of his songs were protest songs with an infectious beat.

Two of his sons took up the mantle of their father’s musical legacy: Femi and Seun. Seun is backed by one of his father’s original bands – Egypt ’80.

Come hear the music for yourself and understand why FELA is so revered by people who love music.

 

For the first time, Fela Kuti collaborator Roy Ayers will join with Fela’s son in an homage to the iconic pioneer of Afrobeat. Roy had collaborated with Fela while Fela was still pioneering new African music and creating classic beats.

Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers gives new meaning to the word “longevity.” Born into a thriving musical family in 1940, Ayers immediately dove headfirst into the scene, eventually emerging as one of the most well-respected funk, soul and jazz composers living today. He also plays the vibraphone with unflinching panache. His early career saw him experimenting mostly with post-bop jazz, as he was signed to a multi-album deal with Atlantic Records. When he transitioned over to Polydor Records in the ‘70s, his sound evolved as well. Ayers became one of the grand designers of the irrepressibly ear-pleasing mashup genre of jazz-funk. Taking style hybridization one step further, Ayers became a key participant in the acid jazz revolution, which masterfully mixed jazz with hip-hop and funk, garnering him the longstanding moniker “The Godfather of Neo-Soul.” Some of his most beloved hits include “Everybody Love the Sunshine,” “Searchin’,””You Send Me”, and “Running Away”, while he played with his band Ubiquity, He has been sampled constantly.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

 

Seun, the sprightly offspring of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, has had a passion for music since he was a little boy. He petitioned his father to let him sing at his side, and his dream was soon realized, as the two joyfully harmonized. When his dad sadly passed away, Seun was asked to lead his band, Egypt 80. Seun, only 14 at the time, rose to the opportunity, adding his own viewpoint to the group. He has continued to imbue the sound with sophisticated strata, channeling the deep and varied cultural, African origins of the genre. The band plays new music, along with the classics that Fela shepherded, such as ‘Shuffering and Shmiling,” “Colonial Mentality” and “Army Arrangement.” Seun and Egypt 80 have remained vital, political and true to their historically imperative roots.

Underground System

The glorious grab bag of internationally-grown members of Underground System (who take their name from a Fela Kuti song) reads like a roll call of musical and cultural diversity. Conceived in Brooklyn, this unstoppable female-fronted corps of neo-afrobeat-deconstructionists has cultivated a sound as inimitable as its members. Hinged on a tight, seamlessly executed stage show, this group astonishes wherever they go, compelling crowds to dance with unbridled vim. To provide a sliver of a glimpse of insight into their unfathomably varied roots, their original dance floor track “Bella Ciao” received worldwide fanfare, as several DJs and producers cut and remixed it. The song is a “retro-futuristic” reimagining of an anti-fascist WWII ballad from Italy, sung by the African American-Italian lead singer (Domenica Fossati) who was born in Miami and raised in Venezuela. Citing influences from the South Bronx girl group ESG to the Brit-new wave cult crew XTC, this subterranean organization of deliciously scrambled afrobeat re-inventors continues to soar across broadening musical horizons. Promoting their soon-to-come debut album, Underground System is touring with irresistible vitality, acquiring praise as they spread majestically modified, delectable African beats to dance halls around the country.

Rich Medina

For the past two decades, Rich Medina has cemented his reputation as an elite DJ. Outside the club, he’s a father, educator, platinum-selling record producer, poet, designer, public speaker and journalist. From his humble beginnings at TK Nightclub in Philadelphia to his current status manning the decks at four of New York City’s most popular recurring parties, Rich Medina has taken crowds on a sonic journey through hip-hop, house, Afrobeat, funk and soul, unearthing one musical gem after another and adhering to a singular, uplifting creed: Love Afro Life. Medina is also an advisory board member of (his alma mater) Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection where he is a guest lecturer and panel moderator for their music and Africana departments.  His writing has been featured in many esteemed publications including The FaderWax Poetics and Complex Magazine.

Please note, City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage will be recording/filming this show for future use. Guests at this show and Rumsey Playfield visitors on this day may be included in the recording and film footage. A designated area may be made available onsite for individuals who do not wish to be filmed.  By attending this show at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, you are indicating your willingness and consent to participate and appear in the recording and film footage created by City Parks Foundation and its partners.

Details

Date:
July 16 
Time:
2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Time(s):
Doors 2pm / Show 3pm
Cost:
Free

BE THERE for the Concert of the Summer,

July 14, 2017 Posted by | avant-garde, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, HOLIDAY GUIDES, Music, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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