Weekly Roundup: September 19

Pia Film Festival
PIAFF is happening in Tokyo right now. Stay up to date on screenings and events via the festival’s website (Japanese).

Female Directors in the Spotlight
The lineup for Rotterdam’s Camera Japan Film Festival is set with a focus on women directors. The roster includes four films by Tanada Yuki (including her newest release Round Trip Heart, 2015), Momoko Ando’s 0.5 mm (2014), Mipo O’s Being Good (2015, see the Eiga Files review here) and The Light Shines Only There (2014), Kazami Shiori’s Chokolietta (2015), Watanabe Yoshiko’s Tig Hug (2013), Sugino Kiki’s Taksu (2014), and Matsui Hisako’s What Are You Afraid Of? (2015).

Totoro Walking Tour
Fans of Miyazaki’s beloved film My Neighbor Totoro (1998) can now join a “Totoro Walking Tour” in Saitama’s Sayama Hills, the setting that inspired Miyazaki’s iconic animation. Organized by Kurosuke House, the next tour is set for Dec. 5 with only 30 spots available (at only 300 yen), so plan ahead. For visitors with Japanese itineraries throughout the year, Kurosuke House is open year round on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (10am-3pm).

For those who happen to be in Busan this fall, the Busan Cinema Center plans to run 18 Studio Ghibili films as a warmup to the Busan International Film Festival. My Neighbor Totoro will showcased in the Open Cinema section in celebration of Studio Ghibli’s win of Asian Film Maker of the Year.

Militarism in Media
This week, The Japan Times’ Mark Schilling points a pen at the rising theme of militarism in recent cinema, particularly blockbuster productions like Takashi Yamazaki’s 2013 controversial hit Eien no Zero (Eternal Zero). As Schilling suggests, certainly there is a great deal to unpack in this recent narrative interest, particularly given a background of political dissent regarding Abe’s remilitarization plans and the anniversary of WWII. Higuchi Shinji’s new release Attack on Titan: World End invites analysis from this perspective.

Kitano Returns
A person of ongoing controversy himself, all-round media megastar Kitano Takeshi will have a new web presence. Scheduled to debut in the fall, Kitano will publish an online web magazine, contributing poetry, manga, and an editorial column entitled Owarai KGB (カツラ・ガンガン・バラス), an “Agony Uncle” serial. One can only hope it is as grumpy and incendiary as his recent opinions on the film industry.

Perfume Across Platforms
Two big news items from the JPop trio Perfume this week. (1) The group’s PR team announced the simultaneous Japan/US release of their new documentary We Are Perfume—World Tour 3rd Document. The premiere is set for October 31st and the group will also screen in the Panorama Section of the Tokyo International Film Festival. (2) Fans “went nuts” over the group’s cameo appearance in Apple’s iPhone6 presentation.

Japanese Films Selected for TIFF
It’s ironic that the Tokyo International Film Festival rarely features domestic films in its line up. This year, however, three Japanese films have made it into the program: Uguri Kohei’s Foujita, Fukada Koji’s Sayonara, and Nakamura Yoshihiro’s The Inerasable. To reinforce a returned emphasis on domestic cinema production, the festival is also organizing a Japan Now section that features new and recent films from home. For its inagural run, Japan Now will feature the works of director Harada Masato.

New Releases
9/19 The Anthem of the Heart (心が叫びたがってるんだ).  Anime. Dir. Nagai Tatsuyuki.

9/19 A Room of Her Own – Rei Naito and Light (あえかなる部屋 内藤礼と、光たち). Dir. Nakamura Yuko & Onishi Hayato.

9/19 Chigasaki Story (3泊4日、5時の鐘). Dir. Misawa Takuya.

9/20 THE SOUND OF TIGER & BUNNY ライブビューイング . Anime. Dir. Yonetani Yoshimoto.

9/19 A Dance for Blue Whales (シロナガスクジラに捧げるバレエ). Dir. Katsuraguchi Katsumi.

9/19 Attack on Titan: End World (進撃の巨人 ATTACK ON TITAN エンド オブ ザ ワールド). Dir. Higuchi Shinji.

9/19 Lingering Memories (過ぐる日のやまねこ). Dir. Tsuruoka Keiko.

9/19 NORIN TEN~The Story of Gonjiro Inazuka (NORIN TEN~稲塚権次郎物語). Dir. Inazuka Hidetaka.

9/18 Haikyuu!! the Movie, #2: Winners and Losers (ハイキュー!! 勝者と敗者). Anime. Dir. Mitsunaka Susumu

9/19 Heroine Shikakku(ヒロイン失格). Dir. Hanabusu Tsutomu.

9/19 Autumn of Poplars (ポプラの秋). Dir. Ohmori Kenichi.

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