19 September 2014

Camera Japan Festival 2014 / カメラジャパン・フェスティバル2014

Camera Japan Festival 2014 / カメラジャパン・フェスティバル2014

2-5 October, LantarenVenster, Rotterdam
6-9 October, De Melkweg, Amsterdam
10-12 October, Kriterion, Amsterdam

Check out the schedule for more details.

CAMERA JAPAN, the Netherlands’ annual celebration of Japanese film and culture, is back for its 9th year.   The organisers have selected 43 films from the past year’s bumper crop of Japanese films.  The films will be accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, live performances, a Film Brunch, a Kids’ Day and, of course, a range of Japanese delicacies for filmgoers to enjoy.

Most of the films are Dutch premieres and many have been the recipients of awards both in Japan and abroad. The thriller Forma by debut female filmmaker Ayumi Sakamoto received the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlinale in February.  The lovely film The Tale of Iya by young director Tetsuichiro Tsuta won a Special Mention at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year and went on to win prizes at Tromsø, Pan Asia, and Hong Kong.   Azuma Morisaki’s Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days has been very popular with both audiences and critics. Many Japanese film critics named it the best film of 2013 and it went on to win Best Film at the the Kinema Junpo Awards and the Nippon Cinema Award for audience favourite at Nippon Connection 2014, among other plaudits.  Ken Ochiai’s nostalgic look back at the golden age of chanbara (sword-fighting dramas) Uzumasa Limelight recently won the Cheval Noir prize at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. 

The festival opens in Rotterdam on Thursday, October 2nd with Sang-il Lee’s jidaigeki remake of the Clint Eastwood western Unforgiven.  It stars Ken Watanabe as a former samurai on the run in the wilds of 19th century Hokkaido.  Under the heading of J-Dream, this year’s CAMERA JAPAN plans to “[shine] its light on all that is weird, wondrous and fantastic.  .  .  The theme programme is a wide and wild selection of exploitation, action, horror, fantasy and science fiction.”  The J-Dream programme includes 16 films such as the intimate documentary Love Hotel by Phil Cox and Hikaru Toda, the Midnight Madness winner Why Don’t You Play in Hell? by Sion Sono, and the much talked about The Apology King by Nobuo Mizuta, in which comedian Sadao Abe solves small and big problems as a specialist in the traditional act of apologising.

Other highlights of the festival include a live double-bill of performances by the young artists Cuushe and aus, as well as lectures by architecture historian and Japan specialist Dave van Eijnsbergen on ‘manga architecture’, by Japanologist and literary translator Luk van Haute on fantasy elements within the Japanese literary tradition.  Urban planner Rob van der Bijl will present an exhibit of urban photography converted into manga inspired images and artist Yoshiyuki Koinuma will present newly created work inspired by games, biology, science fiction and Japanese comics.

I highly recommend the animation programme, which features Katsuhiro Otomo’s award-winning Short Peace (ショート・ピース, 2013) – read my reviews of Shuhei Morita’s Possessions and Otomo’s Combustible to learn more.  There are also two programmes of Geidai (Tokyo University of the Arts) animation – one for kids (read about Mari Miyazawa’s Twins in the Bakery) and one is a must-see selection of their best works by students.  I have written reviews for many of these films, so click on the film titles to learn more:

In A Pig’s Eye, WADA Atsushi, Japan 2010, 11 min
A Gum Boy, OKUDA Masaki, Japan 2010, 4 min
Writings Fly Away, ORIKASA Ryo, Japan 2011, 14 min
A Wind Egg, OKAWARA Ryo, Japan 2012, 11 min
Sunset Flower Blooming, HU Yuanyuan, Japan 2012, 11 min
The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop, TSUGEHATA Aya, Japan 2012, 10 min
Maze King, KIM Hakyun, Japan 2013, 7 min
It’s Time For Supper, MURAMOTO Saki, Japan 2013, 9 min
00:08, KUBO Yutaro, Japan 2014, 6 min
My Milk Cup Cow, ZHU Yantong, Japan 2014, 11 min

Here is the full line-up of films to be screened:


Bayonetta: Bloody Fate (ベヨネッタ ブラッディフェイト, Fuminori KIZAKI, 2013)
Geidai Animation Kids Selection
Geidai Animation Best Selection
Roujin Z (老人Z, Hiroyuki KITAKUBO, 1991)
Short Peace (ショート・ピース, Katsuhiro OTOMO, Shuhei MORITA, Hiroaki ANDO, Hajime KATOKI, 2013) - read my reviews of Possessions and Combustible

Tale of a Butcher Shop (ある精肉店のはなし, Aya HANABUSA, Japan, 2013)

Beyond Metabolism (Stefanie Gaus/Volker Sattel, Germany, 2014)
Get Action!! (Junya KONDO, Japan, 2014)
Hybrid (MMAドキュメンタリー HYBRID, Japan, Daishi MATSUNAGA, 2013)
Love Hotel (Phil COX / Hikaru TODA, UK/France, 2014)
Super local hero (スーパーローカルヒーロー, Toshinori TANAKA, Japan, 2014)
Tale of a Butcher Shop (ある精肉店のはなし, Aya HANABUSA, Japan, 2013)

feature film
Friendship (友達, Mikihiro ENDO, 2013)

And the Mud Ship Sails Away (そして泥船はゆく, Hirobumi WATANABE, 2013)
The Apology King (謝罪の王様, Nobuo MIZUTA, 2013)
Broken Pieces (こっぱみじん, Yuji TAJIRI, 2014)
Capturing Dad (チチを撮りに, Ryota NAKANO, 2012)
The Crazy tune for Maria (マリア狂騒曲, Kishu IZUCHI, 2013)
Dancing Karate Kid (琉球バトルロワイアル, Tsukasa KISHIMOTO, 2013)
Danger Dolls (少女は異世界で戦った, Shusuke KANEKO, 2014)
Forma (Ayumi SAKAMOTO, 2013)
Friendship (友達, Mikihiro ENDO, 2013)
Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats (福福荘の福ちゃん, Yosuke FUJITA, Japan/UK/Italy/Taiwan/Germany , 2014)
Greatful Dead (グレイトフルデッド, Eiji UCHIDA, 2013)
High Kick Angels (ハイキック・エンジェルス, Kazuhiro YOKOYAMA, 2014)
Jossy’s (女子ーズ, Yuichi FUKUDA, 2014)
Kanagawa University of Fine Arts: Office of Film Research (神奈川芸術大学映像学科研究室, Yuichiro SAKASHITA, 2013)
Kept (, Maki MIZUI, 2013)
Kids Return: The Reunion (キッズ・リターン 再会の時, Hiroshi SHIMIZU, 2013)
Leaving on the 15th Spring (旅立ちの島唄~十五の春~, Yasuhiro YOSHIDA, 2012)
The Little House (小さいおうち, Yoji YAMADA, 2014)
Live (ライヴ, Noboru IGUCHI, 2014)
Ningen (Guillaume GIOVANNETTI / Çağla ZENCIRCI, Japan/Turkey/France, 2013)
Pecoross' mother and her days (ペコロスの母に会いに行く, Azuma MORISAKI, 2013)
Short Hope (ショートホープ, Masaki HORIGUCHI, 2014)
The Snow White Murder Case (白ゆき姫殺人事件, Yoshihiro NAKAMURA, 2014)
Still the Water (2つ目の窓, Naomi KAWASE, 2014)
The Tale of Iya (祖谷物語 -おくのひと, Tetsuichiro TSUTA, 2013)
Unforgiven (許されざる者, Sang-Il LEE, 2013)
Uzumasa Limelight (太秦ライムライト, Ken OCHIAI, 2013)
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (地獄でなぜ悪い, Sion SONO, 2013)
Zentai (ゼンタイ, Ryosuke HASHIGUCHI, 2013)

short film

Fantastic Shorts
- The Lust of Angels, a take on 1960s political exploitation films, Ninja Theory (Extended Edition), a puppet animation about the daily life of ninjas in a peaceful world, and At the Last Stop Called Ghost Chimney, about a girl taking the on her last day of school.
Keblujara (ケブルジャラ, 2013/14)
- 4 experimental shorts by Akihito NONOWE, Isao SANO, and Konoka TAKASHIRO
New Directions in Japanese Cinema: NDJC shorts
Serori (Pedro COLLANTES, The Netherlands/Spain/Japan, 2014)
Short Shorts Film Festival (a selection from SSFF)

Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014