Country: UK Language: English Director: Amy Draper (@amyrosedraper)
Adaptation from: Sakai Stan’s long-running manga「兎用心棒」 (Usagi Yōjinbō) Script: Stewart Melton (@stewmelton) Design: Ele Slade (@EleSladeDesign) Lighting design: Joshua Pharo
Projection design: Nina Dunn (@nina_pixelpixie) Sound designer: Max Pappenheim (@max_j_p) Casting director: Annie Rowe (@AnnieRoweCasts) Fight director: Ronin Traynor (@RoninTraynor) Soundscore: Hirota Joji (@JojiHirota) Cast: Amy Ip (@amyip), Kuroda Haruka (@kurodaharuka), Siu Hun Li (@siuhunli) Jonathan Raggett (@JonathanRaggett), Tabuchi Dai Runtime: 95 min (no intermission) Official website: None for the play but Usagi Yojimbo (website for the manga) and Facebook page (manga)
Seen at Southwark Playhouse (@swkplay) in London on December 13, 2014. The play runs from November 28, 2014 until January 4, 2015. Details and ticket booking here. Suitable for ages 8+.
When I posted my first review on Otherwhere back in 2011, I never really thought about where blogging might take me. Three years on, there have been new-found Asian film fan friends (in London and elsewhere), plenty of screeners, invites ge previews, film festivals and even interviews, as well as the opportunity to do a photoshoot for GIGAN magazine a few months back with several London-based Japanese actors – one of whom was Tabuchi Dai. I have been following Dai’s work ever since and was instantly intrigued when, a few days back, he started posting images on his Facebook page from a play he was involved in: Usagi Yojimbo at the Southwark Playhouse. So off to the theatre I went.
Country: Japan Language: Japanese Director: Sunada Mami
Studio: N/a Screenplay: Sunada Mami Cinematography: Sunada Mami Soundscore: Takagi Masakatsu Cast: Miyazaki Hayao, Suzuki Toshio, Hideaki Anno Runtime: 118 min Distribution: GKIDS (North America), StudioCanal (UK) Film’s official website: N/a
This piece was originally written as a guest review for easternKicks. It comes as part of easternKicks’s coverage of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, with SDAFF providing access to an online screener (thank you!). In the UK, the documentary will be available on DVD from StudioCanal on December 1, 2014. In the US, it will be released by GKIDS in select cinemas on November 28, 2014 and available for digital download on December 9, 2014.
Country: Japan Language: Japanese Director: Oh Mipo
Adaptation from: Novel of the same title by Sato Yasushi Screenplay: Takada Ryo Cinematography: Kondo Ryuto Soundscore: Tanako Takuto Cast: Ayano Gou, Ikewaki Chizuru, Suda Masaki, Takahashi Kazuya, Hino Shohei, Isayama Hiroko, Tamura Taijiro. Runtime: 120 min Distribution: Open Sesame (Tokyo) Film’s official website: Hikarikagayaku (日本語） Trailer: A trailer is available, but I’m not linking it here on purpose. I think it’s best to go completely blind into this film – the trailer contains some tiny, spoilerish bits. If you do insist, it’s below the Image Gallery at the end of the post. You might prefer to read this review post-film too. Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this film. The European premiere ofSoko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku, which was recently chosen as Japan’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, will be at the Raindance Film Festival on September 29, 2014. A second screening will take place on September 30. Tickets can be booked here.
Recently Andrew Heskins of Eastern Kicks asked a number of critics, film bloggers and friends about “the film that started it all” – i.e. their passion for Asian cinema:
It might not have been the first Asian film you saw, or even the best, but was there one that stood out? That light bulb moment when you realised how much you loved Asian movies and had to write/talk/blog/podcast about it?
The story of When Marnie Was Thereis set in a little town by the name of Little Overton, a fictional town inspired by a real place – Burnham Overy Staithe on the Norfolk coast. Although Studio Ghibli announced that this setting was going to be changed to a village in Hokkaido in their adaptation, some friends and I still wanted to seek out Marnie’s original home base – just because we are dedicated enough Ghibli fans and because it is more fun to explore the UK by traveling to random places instead of completing the usual checklist of famous sights for foreigners.Continue reading “Where Marnie Was”
Country: Japan Language: Japanese, some German and Italian Director: Miyazaki Hayao
Studio: Studio Ghibli Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao Art Direction: Takeshige Youji
Animation Direction: Kousaka Kitaro Soundscore: Hisaishi Joe
Theme Song: ひこうき雲 (“Hikōki Gumo”/”Contrail”) by Yumi Matsutoya Cast: Anno Hideaki, Takimoto Miori, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Nishimura Masahiko, Steve Alpert, Kazama Morio, Takeshita Keiko, Shida Mirai, Kunimura Jun, Otake Shinobu, Mansai Nomura Runtime: 126 min Distribution: Studio Canal (UK) Film’s official website: http://www.kazetachinu.jp (日本語), Trailer:
Special thanks to Studio Canal for an invite to a press screening of Kaze Tachinu prior to its UK release. I also attended the BFI Preview Screening of the film on April 23. Both screenings were subtitled, I have not seen (nor do I intend to) the dubbed version. The film is now showing in select UK cinemas (from May 9, 2014). Kaze Tachinu, Miyazaki Hayao’s apparent swan song, comes with a certain kind of echo of「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five), in which a group of young, ambitious men – who later become the founding fathers of modern Japan – seek technological knowledge and progress abroad but soon realise that they, and their nation, are years and years behind. Like these men, Horikoshi Jiro (Anno Hideaki), the hero of Miyazaki’s film, desires to know and create for the sake of knowing and creating, although, several decades on from the Choysu Five, he now envies the Germans, not the English, for their advanced know-how. Continue reading “Review:「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)”
Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角 Year: 2012 Country: China/Japan Language: Mandarin, some Japanese Director: Okuhara Hiroshi Studio: Black Square Film Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi Cinematography: Maki Kenji Soundscore: Sangatsu Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki Runtime: 144 min Distribution: N/a Film’s official website: N/a Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnvtcEW_MXg Special thanks to Raindance, which provided me with a preview screener of this film. Kuroi shikaku showed at the 21st Raindance Film Festival on September 28, 2013. I previously featured the film on Trailer Weekly #79/80. When Japanese film director Okuhara Hiroshi travelled to Bejing in 2008 and visited the Song Zhuang Artist Village he spoke no Chinese. The place – the experience – seemed surreal to him, or, as he explained, “the whole atmosphere felt like science fiction, including the surroundings. I felt I could shoot a Tarkovsky-like movie in this place. […] That’s how it all began.” (quote) Continue reading “Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)”
Original Language: English Year: 1967
Author: Joan Robinson Publisher: Collins Place of Publication: London Genre: Children’s novel Edition: Collins Modern Classics (2002 edition, second-hand copy) Other Editions and Translations: No other editions are currently in print in English. The book has apparently been translated into several languages, although I can only confirm that there is a Japanese version (「思い出のマーニー」) as well as a German one (Damals mit Marnie). Update: If you are UK-based, you can now purchase a Kindle version of When Marnie Was There on amazon.co.uk. Elsewhere, you’ll still have to seek out second-hand copies of the book.