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Sinophiles Rejoice! Another Hit! #JapanCuts2017 MY DAD AND MR ITO

Thanks, Tanimaru!

 

Remembering ONE MILLION YEN GIRL which was a wonderfully entertaining movie, I guess I was expecting a bit more screw ball antics with this movie. How surprised I was to see another well crafted picture that speaks so much about aging in Japan, family responsibilities and the complicated relationship between a very traditional Japanese father and his daughter. The cast all shine and even a cameo by a notorious aunt is delightful. Simply lensed and composed, we follow as the father haplessly moves from his son’s home to the daughter’s apartment that she shares with Mr. Ito. He is 54 and she is 34, so this kind of “living in sin” disturbs the father and prompts their early sparing. It all reaches a crescendo as the father seeking a place to call his own decides to return to the family house outside the city only to have a freak storm burn down a favorite persimmon tree (memory of his wife) and as a branch breaks off, the entire house itself. All ends as the father decides to join seniors in a home, and carrying a single bag, he heads for the train and his final stage of life. As he departs, Aya has the urge to pursue him and complete some unfinished business between father and daughter.

Lily Franky has to be complimented for his true and steady performance. He anchors the movie and, when he is not on screen, you feel it. Aya  felt a bit one note to me. Forever pouting or complaining, the smile on her face as she pursued her Dad revealed some aspects of her performance we wished we could have seen earlier.

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July 23, 2017 Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, FILM, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ilm/Festivals SUMMER LIGHTS is a HIT! #JapanCuts2017

Another Tanimaru RAVE!

 

The opening 20 minutes of just the first person account of the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima is gripping. Recounting the bombing and caring for her dying sister in the days that followed. The interview completed, in the park the director meets a young woman from Hiroshima. With the sounds of the summer insects accompanying them, she tells him more about the tragedy of Hiroshima. The film has a documentary feel as they walk the busy streets seeking a okonomiaki restaurant for lunch. She is persuasive as they navigate to find a place to eat but she is clearly leading the way with a passion for things that are old. Finding the right place, they are treated to a history lesson from the owner and it sets the woman into a new pensive mood. Suddenly she grabs his hand and they run to catch a train to the seaside. It is there while meeting a young boy and his granddad that she reveals her name – Takeda Michiko, the same name as the sister of the interviewee. They decide to join the granddad and grandson for dinner – somehow meeting his crew has been forgotten. Akihiro has joined an alternate reality on the day Obon is celebrated, the festival for the ancestors. It turns out that Michiko is a ghost – the sister who passed away. The fable ends as Akihiro explains it all to the little boy. 

 

Even though the dialogue is a bit stiff and on the nose at times, it is good to see that the film was included, even though the director was not Asian. Like DAGUERROTYPE, the creative work is showcased regardless of ethnicity or nationality. Kudos to “Japan Cuts” for pushing the envelope for the second time in the festival

July 23, 2017 Posted by | CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , | Leave a comment

Film/Festivals -Review WEST NORTH WEST #JapanCuts2017

Another gifted review from Tanimaru

It starts with a typical and embarrassing scene at Immigration in Japan. A young Iranian woman clearly has issues that need to be dealt with. She later finds herself in a coffee shop and notices another woman crying alone at a table. The Iranian woman’s phone rings and it is clearly someone from home. Excited and distraught she speaks too loudly and customers leave. The woman crying in the corner comes to sit with her and their conversation becomes so loud more customers complain. They leave and the crying woman offers the Iranian woman a ride home – and she declines at first but later accepts. So begins WEST NORTH WEST.

The Iranian woman needs a friend, Kei becomes her friend, but Kei’s lover is jealous. The Iranian woman finds it hard to accept Kei’s lifestyle, so with her nameless bird she contemplates a life staying in Japan.
What makes the film so beautiful are the silences. the performers soak up the atmosphere in each scene and they are so present with each other. Behavior substitutes for dialogue. The cinematography enhances this wide masters, simple and subtle camera moves allowing life to happen in the frame. A simple Iranian meal with yogurt Iranian style prepared by Naima allows them to bond. Naima shares food and Kei returns the favor with applying makeup followed with a night where Kei works as a bartender. They dance in wild abandon, observed by Ai, Kei’s lover. Ai becomes ill and needs surgery and for the first time, Ai’s mother realizes that “Kei” is not a man. It is a disturbing encounter for Kei. When Ai is released from the hospital she silently confronts Naima, telling her to never see Kei again And then Ai seeks out Kei finding her where she swims, but Kei dismisses her. They later hook up but Kei is ready to break up. Ai warns Kei that Naima is “not like us” – but what does “us” mean? Baro tries to sing at the bar where Kei works and does poorly. Some customers insult her and this is too much for Kei who attacks one of the men. He retaliates brutally. Baro dresses her wounds prompting Kei to try to kiss her, but Naima declines.
So many scenes play out in real time including a ride on a Tokyo bus that was clearly captured without anyone knowing. Kei and Ai find their way back to each other and Naima graduates. Before Naima departs for Iran, they meet one last time at the bar. It is bittersweet – but they both have closure. This is a unique and wonderful film. Please have patience to fully enjoy it.

nimaru

 

 

July 21, 2017 Posted by | ART, CULTURE, FILM, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Film/Festivals – JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film July 13-23, 2017, at Japan Society *nyc

North America’s Largest Festival of New Japanese Cinema Announces First Confirmed

Highlights for 11th Annual Installment + ‘CUT ABOVE’ Awardee

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film


July 13-23, 2017, at Japan Society

Poster art (l-r) for Over the Fence, ANTI-PORNO and Neko Atsume House, part of the 2017 JAPAN CUTS festival.

Presenting titles never before seen in New York and many screening for the first time in North America or even outside Japan, JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film presents the best new movies made in and around Japan and the filmmakers and performers who made them.

 

 

Set for July 13 to 23, the 2017 JAPAN CUTS festival will feature an exclusive premiere roster of nearly 30 films, ranging from big budget blockbusters to powerful shoestring indies, and includes spotlights on documentary cinema, experimental films, shorts and recent restorations of classic Japanese favorites. With the full schedule to be announced in early June, highlights confirmed to date include:

Over the Fence – East Coast Premiere: Critically-acclaimed drama by popular indie director Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda Linda Linda), starring featured festival guest Joe Odagiri.

ANTI-PORNO – East Coast Premiere: Festival favorite Sion Sono’s subversive take on the Roman Porno genre, commissioned by famed Nikkatsu movie studio.

Neko Atsume House – North American Premiere: Family-friendly comedic drama adapted from Japan’s internationally beloved cat collecting app.

Daguerrotype – New York Premiere: Celebrated director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first French-language film, a Gothic horror fantasy with an all-European cast.

Resistance at Tule Lake: East Coast Premiere: Resonant documentary about incarcerated Japanese-Americans standing up for justice during WWII.

Also this year, the festival will award the 2017 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film to Joe Odagiri—a matinee idol, fashion icon and bone fide power brand in Japan, whose immense talent and diverse roles have been blazing Japanese screens for nearly two decades.

“Joe Odagiri is just one of many special guests who will attend this year among celebrated established filmmakers and some equally remarkable breakout talents,” says Aiko Masubuchi, Senior Film Programmer at Japan Society. “Following current trends in the industry, this year we’ll also focus on work that breaks the boundaries of social mores, national borders, and formal constraints through radical cultural phenomena, international co-productions, and avant-garde pieces expanding our definition of what Japanese cinema means today.”

In the run-up to this year’s festival, the JAPAN CUTS programming team served as jury of the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival’s Indie Forum section, awarding the 2nd annual JAPAN CUTS Award to Love and Goodbye and Hawaii directed by Shingo Matsumura on March 11, 2017. Additionally, the first JAPAN CUTS Audience Award winner Flying Colors from the festival’s 2016 10-year anniversary edition receives an encore screening on Friday, June 2, 7:00 pm as a “JAPAN CUTS Classic” in Japan Society Monthly Classics programming.

Emphasizing the diversity and vitality of one of the most exciting world cinemas, JAPAN CUTS gives cinephiles their first (and sometimes only) chance to discover the next waves of filmmaking from Japan. Founded in 2007, the festival presents the biggest Japanese blockbusters, raucous genre flicks, peerless independents, arthouse gems, radical documentaries and avant-garde forms, along with unique collaborative programs, workshops and panels put together with the cooperation of other international organizations. Special guest actors and filmmakers join the festivities for Q&As, award ceremonies, and the wild themed parties and receptions audiences have come to expect, with live music, food and libations.

Through its Film Program, Japan Society has introduced Japanese cinema to New York’s international audiences since the 1970s, presenting works by the era’s then new giants Shohei Imamura, Seijun Suzuki, and Hiroshi Teshigahara and others upon their first release, and groundbreaking retrospectives on now-canonical figures such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. Special guests such as Akira Kurosawa, Machiko Kyo, Toshiro Mifune, Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola, and Hideko Takamine had already been part of Japan Society’s events before JAPAN CUTS launched.

Since JAPAN CUTS’ inception, the festival has attracted nearly 50,000 filmgoers and presented over 275 feature films, many never-before seen in the U.S. The first annual JAPAN CUTS was one of the most successful single events in the Society’s 2007-08 centennial celebration. The festival has premiered several films that have gone on to garner international acclaim, including: 0.5mm, 100 Yen Love, About Her Brother, Buy a Suit, Confessions, Death Note, Fish Story, Kamome Diner, Love Exposure, Milocrorze: A Love Story, The Mourning Forest, Ninja Kids!!!, Sawako Decides, Sukiyaki Western Django, Sway, Sketches of Kaitan City, The Tale of Iya, and United Red Army.

The Japan Society Film Program offers a diverse selection of Japanese films, from classics to contemporary independent productions, including retrospectives, thematic repertory film series, and U.S. premiere screenings. Its aim is to entertain, educate, and support activities in the Society’s arts and culture programs. More at www.japansociety.org/programs/film.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | ART, avant-garde, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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