Archives For tetsuya nakashima

I just got really into Japanese film about a year ago (thank you, Internet) – a few of my friends are really into J-Pop and anime, but none of them are really interested in any J-films or directors. When I went abroad to study, I met a bunch of people who were into films (duh! it was film school, after all) and we went into films all the way.

One of my first memories  (maybe 2003?) of Japanese Cinema was Battle Royal. My! What an example, eh? I was blown away~~ I don’t have other memories of J-Film prior to that other than animated films like Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) and Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)… which brings me to my post of the day for the Blogathon~~~

The Top10 Japanese Films I Watch this Past Year

in the order in which I saw them from earliest to latest~
only between these past 365 days – some of my fave didn’t make it

  • Kiraware Matsuko no Issho (Memories of Matsuko)
    by Tetsuya Nakashima (loads of people with Miki Nakatani, and Eita)
  • Tekkonkinkreet
    by Michael Arias (voice of Yu Aoi)
  • Love Letter
    by Shunji Iwai
  • Cha no Aji (The Taste of Tea)
    by Katsuhito Ishii
  • Sasame-yuki (The Makioka Sisters)
    by Kon Ichikawa
  • Tenshi no Tamago (Angel’s Egg)
    by Mamoru Oshii – sooooo weird xD
  • Wool 100%
    by Mai Tominaga
  • Hyakuman-en to Nigamushi Onna (One Million Yen Girl)
    by Yuki Tanada (starring Yu Aoi)
  • Tsumiki no Ie (La Maison en Petits Cubes)
    by Kunio Kato *short film
  • Aruitemo, Aruitemo (Still Walking)
    by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Almost made it, xD

and a half~~~

I just read over NipponCinema that the Japanese Cinema Blogathon has started. (yesterday, really…)

What is the Japanese Cinema Blogathon?

Japanese Cinema Blogathon 2009

Someone over at thought it’d be a cool idea to unite forces in order to promote Japanese Cinema. Write, share ideas… anything goes as long as it’s about Japanese Cinema. Check their list of on-going activities

I’ll start off with something simple

What I Like about Japanese Cinema

My history with Japanese Cinema isn’t as broad as other people’s. I don’t watch too many older classics, because they are harder to get~~ I mean, it’s just easier to get contemporary stuff. ;P but there are some really great films that I’ve been able to watch this past year.

1. They can be about nothing at all, yet hold so much meaning or be so entertaining.
I saw Kore-eda’s Aruitemo, Aruitemo (Still Walking) a couple of days ago. I think that’s perhaps my favorite Japanese film from last year *laughs* – besides from the fact that I really like Hiroshi Abe *laughs*. That film felt so right to me, from the moment we saw Ryo’s sister and mother discussing and trying to cook in the kitchen, to the very last scene of Ryo’s family walking. There was no big reveal of someone having another kid, or someone getting kidnapped or killed, someone having an affair – none of that. One of the things that just stands out was Ryo and his mom finally remembering the name of the Sumo wrestler… and always being late. Heartbreaking.

A similar thing I can tell you of Linda Linda Linda, which I saw and liked, but LOVED after repeated viewings. Nobuhiro Yamashita’s story of a group of girls trying to make it on time to play on the school festival. Nothing at all! But add to that Doona Bae as non-Japanese lead singer, and rock!!

2. They can be bizarrely good.
From high-on-drug-styled film Survive Style 5+, bike-riding rococo lolita adventures on Shimotsuma Monogatari (Kamikaze Girls), Moulin Rouge!-meets-Amelie-meets-Sin City-esque dramedy musical Kiraware Matsuko no Issho (Memories of Matsuko) – or even high-school-hardcore-Survivor Battle Royale. They are not your typical film, they can only be Japanese. LOL

3. They don’t treat animation as if it’s only for kids.
Yes, Japanese Cinema is not only Anime – to the dismay of some of my friends – but they do a pretty darn good job animating films like Paprika, Tekkonkinkreet, Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies. Since the day I discovered Hotaru no Haka 6 years ago, it’s become my favorite animated film to date. LOL

Tetsuya Nakashima’s latest film, PAKO to Maho no Ehon is one horrorific Japanese film – and you should see it for it. Nakashima has become quickly in one of my favorite Japanese directors (alongside Shunji Iwai, who is, by the way, a total different approach to filmmaking) and Memories of Matsuko is my favorite Japanese film to date.

Nakashima is quickly turning into my Japanese sort of Tim-Burtonesque filmmaker stylist, in the way he uses rich visual enhancements to his storytelling – thanks to his background in CMs, and just found out and remembered watching this – He combines amazing color treatment, art direction, cinematography and mashes it all up with anything he can… be it a bit of violence, grandeur musical numbers, and animation.

PAKO to Maho no Ehon - Paco and the Magical Picture Book

In the end, it isn’t much of a surprise when you begin watching Paco and the Magical Book and find yourself in a very Disney-nesque world (the film starts with a Lion-King-esque chant, literally) – after all, this is supposed to be aimed at a younger audience. However, don’t ever fool yourself thinking that this will dumb down anything that Tetsuya wants to show… which includes a punk-goth-tatooed-blond nurse (Anna Tsuchiya), a psychologically-insane-ex-child-star-bum (Satoshi Tsumabuki), a raging-drag-queen whom a lot of people are referring to as ‘gay’ (Jun Kunimura), and a blood-sucking-neck-biting-vampiresque nurse (Eiko Koike). And don’t forget the grumpy old man who doesn’t back down when hitting the kid (Koji Yakusho)… well, I actually laughed at that bit. Does that make me an asshole??

Yes, the film is nuts, but it’s worth watching. For international audience, it might not be recommended to watch with their kids, unless they are willing to read subtitles… because films like this should be enjoy in its original language. I still think is not as brilliant as Matsuko, but I will have to see it once more with proper subtitles to form a strong opinion. And man! Those CGI animated sequences… and the whole thing, like I said~~ dramatic comedy meets Disney on LSD. I think that’s the perfect description for Nakashima’s style.

I’ll leave you with some links,

Once again… imcomplete internet data makes me keep track of films in here~ xD Sept. 4 –

WOW, it’s the end of the month O_o, geez Time flies by~~~ The following were on my list of latest buys of Region 3 from Hong Kong:

  • Kiraware Matsuko no Issho
  • Love Letter
  • Hoshi ni Natta Shounen
  • Swing Girls
  • Niji no Megami
  • RIRI SHUSHU (Lily Chou Chou) no Subete

Continue Reading…

Oh yeah! God is grand!

Nippon Cinema updates saying Memories of Matsuko will be coming! Once again~~~ The UK distributor Third Window Films has it listed in its website.


Now… will that be only a Region 2, or will they be my salvation and released a Region 1??? xD Please kamisama, let it be a Region 1~~~~ xD

Also on other Matsuko news~~~~

Memories of Matsuko, Kamikaze Girls and Dasepo Naughty Girls will all be playing at the Cube Cinema in Bristol during August.

Memories of Matsuko will be having a one-off screening at the Curzon cinema in Clevedon on the 31st of August as a part of it’s film club.

*EDIT* I just got an email back saying they will only release this on Region 2 PAL, in January. BUMMER.