Review: Usagi Yojimbo at the Southwark Playhouse

usagi yojimbo

Year: 2014
Country:
UK
Language: English
Director: Amy Draper (@amyrosedraper)
Company:
N/a
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)

Trailer:

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+.

Note: All Usagi Yojimbo photos taken from the manga’s Facebook page (no photographer credited).

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.

Continue reading “Review: Usagi Yojimbo at the Southwark Playhouse”

Review:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyoki no Okoku/Kingdom of Dreams and Madness)

ghibli docu

Year: 2013
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

Trailer:

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.

Given that it has been nearly thirty years since Studio Ghibli, Japan’s probably most famous and, internationally speaking, most successful animation studio, was founded in June 1985, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that there has to date been no feature-length documentary on it. Continue reading “Review:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyoki no Okoku/Kingdom of Dreams and Madness)”

Review: 「自分の事ばかりで情けなくなるよ」(Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo/How Selfish I Am)

 

How Selfish I am

Year: 2013
Country:
 Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Matsui Daigo
Studio: 
N/A
Screenplay: Matsui Daigo
Original story: Ozaki Sekaikan
Cinematography: Shioya Hiroki
Soundscore: CreepHyp
Cast: Ikematsu Sosuke, Kurokawa Mei, Yamada Maho, Ando Sei, Shunsuke Daitoh  Onoue Hiroyuki
Runtime: 106 min
Distribution: N/A
Film’s official website: Jibun Bakari (日本語)

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gb2_Md4DNs

Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this filmThe film recently screened at the annual London Raindance festival.

If definite answers are something you seek in films, then Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo is probably not one to watch as it falls squarely into the slice of life genre and offers no more than a glimpse into the rather bleak lives of several characters, with many details unexplained.  Continue reading “Review: 「自分の事ばかりで情けなくなるよ」(Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo/How Selfish I Am)”

Review: 「そこのみにて光輝く」(Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku/The Light Shines Only There)

soko nomi nite hikaru kagayaku 4
Year: 2014
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Oh Mipo
Studio:
N/A
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 of Soko 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.
soko nomi nite hikaru kagayaku 7
Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku is the sort of film I would like to write two reviews for: one for the people that have seen it and one for those who haven’t. It is the sort of film about which there is, afterwards, much to discuss, but which it is best to go into blind because not knowing is, at least in a first viewing, much of its power. Continue reading “Review: 「そこのみにて光輝く」(Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku/The Light Shines Only There)”

Eastern Kicks Asks: "The Film that Started It All"

crouching tiger
Childhood memories & global success story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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?

Continue reading “Eastern Kicks Asks: "The Film that Started It All"”