Cinema of Japan

Japanese Films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019

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The Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place between 19th and 30th June. There are around 121 new features from 42 countries across the globe. Japan makes up a tiny fraction, perhaps the smallest. It could be that I have missed titles in the line-up but I did scour the catalogue. The films do look good, though.

Here they are:

Samurai Marathon 1855

サムライマラソン 「Samurai Marason」Samurai Marathon Film Poster

Duration: 104 mins.

Release Date: February 22nd, 2019

Director: Bernard Rose

Writer: Hiroshi Saito, Bernard Rose (Screenplay), Akihiro Dobashi (Manga)

Starring: Takeru Satoh, Shota Sometani, Mirai Moriyama, Nana Komatsu, Munetaka Aoki, Hiroki Hasegawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Naoto Takenaka, Danny Huston, Junko Abe, Mugi Kadowaki, Mariko Tsutsui,

Website IMDB

Whoa! Bernard Rose, the guy who directed Candyman and Paperhouse has travelled to Japan to do this jidaigeki! It’s produced by Jeremy Thomas (Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) and has a score by American composer Philip Glass! There’s an awesome star-studded cast who should need no introduction, as well. Here’s some background on the film over at Variety. It’s also based on real history (link).

Synopsis: It is the 1850s and feudal Japan is thrown into chaos as Americans led by Commodore Perry (Danny Huston) have parked their battleships off the coast and demanded the country open up. Katsuaki Itakura (Hiroki Hasegawa) is a feudal lord who runs Annaka-han and to toughen up his warriors for potential attacks, he holds a marathon that runs along a mountain path for about 58 kilometres. Samurai of all stripes are expected to take part but so has the lord’s rebellious daughter, Princess Yuki (Nana Komatsu) who escapes the castle to take part in the dangerous marathon. What is a simple exercise is mistakenly viewed as an act of treason by the central Edo government. Jinnai Karasawa (Takeru Satoh) is a ninja who has infiltrated Annaka to masquerade as a samurai in the service of Katsuaki Itakura and spy but he realises the mistake by his government and tries to stop assassins already making their way to the lord’s castle.

Ponoc Short Films Theater: Volume 1 – Modest Heroes Ponoc Short Films Theater Volume 1 – Modest Heroes Film Poster

劇場版 七つの大罪 天空の囚われ人 「Chiisa na Eiyū – Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen」

Release Date: August 24th, 2018

Duration: 54 mins.

Director/Writer: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Kanini & Kanino), Akihiko Yamashita (Invisible), Yoshiyuki Momose (Samurai Egg)

Starring: Fumino Kimura (Kanini), Rio Suzuki (Kanino), Joe Odagiri (Invisible Man), Machiko Ono (Mama). Min Tanaka (Blind Man), Sota Shinohara (Shun), Kentaro Sakaguchi (Doctor, The Father),

Animation Production: Studio Ponoc

MAL ANN Website

Synopsis: Modest Heroes consists of three short films lasting around 15 minutes each and they were made by three directors:

“Kanini & Kanino” is a fantasy adventure story about two crab siblings.

“Samurai Egg” is about the love between a mother and a boy.

“Invisible” is about the struggle of an invisible man.

There are also two international co-productions involving Japan on offer in the short strand Image is Memory here.

Here’s coverage of past Edinburgh International Film Festivals:

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018

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