As some of you may know, the start of 2010 for me has been a rather gruelling period spent finishing off another book manuscript which I’ll post details about on this website closer to its publication date. This is the reason why my posts during January have been rather sporadic, and are going to continue to be so for February, I’m afraid, as I’m going to be taking a well earned holiday before heading off to Japan at the end of the month for the legendary Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in Hokkaido. I’ll post on my adventures from Yubari while I’m there. I’m going to be partaking in a panel discussion there with a couple of other guys who are also active in curating Japanese cinema programmes across the world, namely Marc Walkow of Outcast Cinema and Alex Zahlten of Frankfurt’s Nippon Connection, which should be a lot of fun. Which leads me on to this particular post, as Nippon Connection have just sent me through a taster of what’s in store this April, promising an end to this long dark winter of the soul.
Nippon Connection is the largest event devoted to Japanese film outside of Japan, and in fact, probably inside Japan too. This year’s festival celebrates its tenth anniversary between 14-18 April, with another impressive programme, which is set to include the latest from 9 Souls/Blue Spring/Hanging Garden director Toshiaki Toyoda, The Blood of Rebirth; Takashi Miike’s Crows II; Miwa Nishikawa’s Dear Doctor, the best Japanese film of last year according to the critics of Kinema Junpo magazine; actor Koji Yakusho’s directing debut, Toad’s Oil; Tekkon Kinkreet director Michael Arias’ live action debut Heaven’s Door; and many other titles.
I should also point out that beyond the big name titles on the press release, Nippon Connection boast a brilliant selection of independent work from first time directors, which always lead to some exciting discoveries. In previous years, they’ve presented the likes of Yasutomu Chikuma’s Now, I… and Tokachi Tsuchiya’s A Normal Life, Please, so there’s always plenty of fresh new gems to stumble across in its packed programme.
Just before I head off however, I’d also like to remind all UK Japanese film fans that the Japan Foundation UK’s touring programme is kicking off at the ICA on Tuesday 9th February with six films going out under the banner “Girls on Film: Females in Contemporary Japanese Cinema” which will be also travelling to the following venues:
9 to 17 February – ICA, London
22 February to 4 March – Showroom, Sheffield (Except German plus Rain)
5 to 9 March – Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast (Except Non-ko)
10 to 14 March – Filmhouse, Edinburgh
13 to 21 March – Arnolfini, Bristol