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Two In Tents: Akihiko Shiota's "Wet Woman in the Wind"

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Akihiko Shiota's Wet Woman in the Wind (2016), which is receiving an exclusive global online premiere on Mubi, is showing from November 24 - December 24, 2017 as a Special Discovery.Much like Hollywood, the Japanese film industry goes to the well as often as possible once it hits a lucky strike. Such was the case with the so-called Roman Porno films of the 1970s, an infamous genre of sexploitation primarily identified with Japan’s oldest major studio, Nikkatsu. Financial trouble necessitated a popular, inexpensive product, and these softcore numbers were just the ticket. This may have been the studio where Kenji Mizoguchi and Shohei Imamura made films early in their careers, but by 1971 the Roman Porno factory was in full swing, producing quick, cheap, titillating product for an audience hungry for female toplessness and a great deal of convulsive thrusting.
See full article at MUBI »

Japan’s Softcore Porn Tradition Is Resurrected With a Healthy Blend of Sex, Humor, and Visual Flair

  • Indiewire
If you read Playboy for the articles, “Wet Woman in the Wind” and “Antiporno” may be for you. Part of Mubi’s foray into theatrical distribution, they also represent the return of the Roman Porno — a particular kind of pink film (read: softcore porn) made by the Nikkatsu studio and prevalent in Japan throughout the 1970s and ‘80s.

The first of these, 1971’s “Apartment Wife: Affair in the Afternoon,” spawned 20 sequels within a seven-year span and made Kuzuko Shirakawa a different kind of scream queen long before Jamie Lee Curtis first met Michael Myers. Nikkatsu produced roughly three Roman Pornos a month until 1988, helping the revered studio pivot away from Yakuza flicks. These affairs were short, sexy, and often quite good — critics responded to them with nearly as much enthusiasm as audiences.

Read More:‘Anti-Porno’ Trailer: Japanese Director Sion Sono Returns with a Feminist Take on Sexuality

To celebrate that legacy,
See full article at Indiewire »

Actress Quartet in Focus for 30th Tokyo Film Festival

Actress Quartet in Focus for 30th Tokyo Film Festival
Four female talents have been selected to star in the Japan Now section of the Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival is this year celebrating its 30th edition.

Actresses, Sakura Ando, Yu Aoi, Hikari Mitsushima and Aoi Miyazaki, will fly the flag for the home nation. The festival describes the quartet as “the muses of Japanese cinema,” and said that they had been selected for “the powerful sparks they generate on screen, their collaborations with directors, and their increasing international stature.” Previously the section has been dedicated to (male) directors including Masato Harada and Shunji Iwai.

Sakura Ando has appeared in Sion Sono’s “Love Exposure” and Yang Yonghi’s “Our Homeland.” Yu Aoi marked her feature film debut with Shunji Iwai’s “All About Lili Chou Chou,” and won awards with her role in Lee Sang-il’s “Hula Girls.” Hikari Mitsushima gained worldwide attention for her performance in Sion Sono
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Afm: Nikkatsu to partner with Wild Bunch for Kurosawa's next film

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: Japanese studio and international sales agent pairing up for new sci-fi.

Japanese studio Nikkatsu is partnering with Wild Bunch to handle international sales on the next film from leading Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

The as-yet-untitled project is a sci-fi suspense film produced by Nikkatsu. The produers are keeping details under wraps but say the project is in post-production and based on an unspecified play.

Nikkatsu is handling Asian sales, with Wild Bunch handling all other international territories.

“This is my first film adapted from a theatre play,” said Kurosawa. “I was conflicted about tackling the marriage of satire, humour and sci-fi elements unique to the original work. But after overcoming the difficulties, I feel the different elements will be balanced.”

The film is executive produced by Nikkatsu’s Yuji Ishida, whose credits include Unforgiven, Confessions and Memories Of Matsuko. Kurosawa’s recent films include Creepy, which premiered at Berlin this year, and Daguerrotype
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Busan: A Critic Analyzes the Festival Lineup

Busan: A Critic Analyzes the Festival Lineup
It is not just size but the element of surprise that makes the Busan Intl. Film Festival (Biff) a Mecca for film buffs. A festival whose reputation is founded on discovering and nurturing new talents, picking which films to watch here is like blind-tasting. This is especially true for New Currents, the festival’s main competition showcasing debut or sophomore Asian directors. Like trying out a new grape variety or wine from lesser known regions, the best thing to do is to trust your instincts and take many sips.

Since most overseas film professionals come to Busan to scout Asian films, the World Cinema and Flash Forward sections sometimes fall under their radar. Nevertheless, the programmers of Flash Forward fish for non-Asian indie films that may have slipped through the net in major festivals.

“Bonfire,” a debut by Dmitry Davydov, is set in Sakhia Republic, the little-known federal subject of Russia,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Busan: Mecca for Film Buffs Opens With Strong Slate of New Talents

Busan: Mecca for Film Buffs Opens With Strong Slate of New Talents
It is not just size, but the element of surprise that makes the Busan Intl. Film Festival, which runs Oct. 6-15, a mecca for film buffs. A festival whose reputation is founded on discovering and nurturing new talents, picking which films to watch here is akin to blind-tasting. This is especially true for New Currents, the festival’s main competition showcasing debut or sophomore Asian directors. Like trying out a new grape variety or wine from lesser-known regions, the best thing to do is to trust your instincts and take many sips.

Since most overseas film pros come to Busan to scout Asian films, the World Cinema and Flash Forward sections sometimes fall under their radar. Nevertheless, the programmers of Flash Forward fish for non-Asian indie films that may have slipped through the net in major festivals.

“Bonfire,” a debut by Dmitry Davydov, is set in Sakhia Republic, the little-known federal subject of Russia,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Nikkatsu takes sales on omnibus feature 'Madly'

  • ScreenDaily
Nikkatsu takes sales on omnibus feature 'Madly'
Exclusive: Gael García Bernal among directors on anthology film.

Japan’s Nikkatsu Corporation has taken international sales rights on omnibus romantic drama Madly, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Comprised of six stories, all of which focus on the complications of modern love, the film features behind-the-camera stints from talent including Gael García Bernal, Sion Sono, Sebastián Silva, Mia Wasikowska, Anurag Kashyap, and Natasha Khan, all of whom directed one of the 15-minute vignettes.

Following its premiere in Tribeca, where star Radhika Apte picked up the festival’s best actress award, the film had a subsequent berth at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

The feature was produced by Eric Mahoney and executively produced by Nusrat Durrani.

Durrani commented: “Madly is a thrilling take on a universal subject and its six scintillating films tackle bold themes that represent a global state-of-the-union of love. We are happy to have Nikkatsu represent the film
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Avert Your Eyes! It's Nikkatsu's Roman Porno Reboot Trailer

45 years after Nikkatsu switched its focus from making yakuza movies to focusing on softcore erotica, the celebrated Japanese studio returns to the titillating genre with its Roman Porno Reboot project, and has attracted some pretty heavyweight talent along for the ride.   Directors Sion Sono (Why Don't You Play in Hell?, Love Exposure), Hideo Nakata (Ring, Dark Water), Akihiko Shiota (Moonlight Whispers), Kazuya Shiraishi (Love Paradise in Tokyo) and Isao Yukisada (Crying out Love in the Center of the World) were each recruited to make a 70-80 minute film, shot in one week, which will start screening theatrically from late November, as well as on satellite platform SkyPerfecTV!   The features, entitled Battle, Society, Art, Lesbian and Romance each revisit the roman porno genre...

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Connections in Invisible Ink: A Look Back at Locarno 69

  • MUBI
The OrnithologistIt’s one thing to watch a film festival unfold and take the films as they come when they come, on their own individual merits. It’s another to look back at them as part of a bigger picture, tracing connections made in invisible ink that may not be apparent at the time. That’s one way to look at the competitive selection of Locarno in 2016. As usual, yes, Locarno did take risks very few other A-list festivals would, and it still gets away with stuff other events can’t. (Let’s pause here to remember that Filipino auteur du jour Lav Diaz only went on to the main Berlin line-up after winning the Golden Leopard two years ago.) If getting away with it means tripping over itself occasionally (and in my short time of attending Locarno there have been stumbles, believe me), I’m absolutely fine with it.
See full article at MUBI »

Daily | Locarno 2016 | Akihiko Shiota’s Wet Woman In The Wind

"Wet Woman in the Wind is a curious proposition—a formal genre exercise with energy to spare, and a cheerfully dirty mind," writes Jonathan Romney in a dispatch to Film Comment from Locarno. "Written and directed by Akihiko Shiota, best known for low-key drama titles such as Harmful Insect and action blockbuster Dororo, Wet Woman is one of a series of films commissioned by the Nikkatsu Corporation to celebrate the 45th anniversary of their 'Roman Porno' series of sex films, which originally ran from 1971 to 1988." We're collecting reviews. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

Daily | Locarno 2016 | Akihiko Shiota’s Wet Woman In The Wind

"Wet Woman in the Wind is a curious proposition—a formal genre exercise with energy to spare, and a cheerfully dirty mind," writes Jonathan Romney in a dispatch to Film Comment from Locarno. "Written and directed by Akihiko Shiota, best known for low-key drama titles such as Harmful Insect and action blockbuster Dororo, Wet Woman is one of a series of films commissioned by the Nikkatsu Corporation to celebrate the 45th anniversary of their 'Roman Porno' series of sex films, which originally ran from 1971 to 1988." We're collecting reviews. » - David Hudson
See full article at Fandor: Keyframe »

Locarno soft core porn movie 'Wet Woman In The Wind' stirs buyers

Exclusive: Akihiko Shiota’s latest has gone to South Korea and Taiwan.

Nikkatsu Corporation has sold Akihiko Shiota’s latest film Wet Woman In The Wind, which is set to receive its world premiere in Locarno’s International Competition today Friday (August 5), to South Korea (Orange Yellow Heim) and Taiwan (Movie Cloud).

This is the first Roman Porno film from Nikkatsu in the festival’s main competition since the Japanese company started the softcore porn label in 1971. It also marks the return of Japanese director Shiota to Locarno after his first feature Moonlight Whispers (not a Nikkatsu Roman Porno) was competing for the Golden Leopard in 1999.

The new picture is about a former playwright from the city who seeks to lead a quiet life in the mountain but is caught up in a spiral of desire with a promiscuous young woman. The main cast includes Yuki Mamiya and Tasuku Nagaoka.

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See full article at ScreenDaily »

Nikkatsu will relaunch their Roman Porno productions with leading Japanese directors

More that 1,100 of similar soft-core productions were released in theaters during the 70’s and 80’s by Nikkatsu, which helped to launch the careers of filmmakers like Masayuki Suo (Shall we Dance?, The Terminal Trust), Takashi Ishii (Gonin), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse, Tokyo Sonata, Journey to the Shore), Yojiro Takita (Departures), Koji Wakamatsu (Endless Waltz, United Red Army, Caterpillar) and many more.

The main reason so many directors chose the particular genre was due to the complete artistic freedom given to the them after they have met four criteria:

The film must have a required minimum quota of sex scenes (supposedly a sex scene every five minutes, although this rule was never strictly met) The film must be approximately one hour in duration. It must be filmed on 16 mm or 35 mm film within one week. The film must be made on a very limited budget (about $35,000)

The films were commecially successes and
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

FilMart: Nikkatsu Reinvents ‘Roman Porno’

FilMart: Nikkatsu Reinvents ‘Roman Porno’
Five of Japan’s top directors — Sion Sono and Hideo Nakata among them — will make short features in the classic “Nikkatsu Roman Porno” format for theatrical release and TV broadcast, Nikkatsu has revealed.

Other directors for the “Roman Porno Reboot Project” are Akihiko Shiota, Kazuya Shiraishi and Isao Yukisada.

All will be given the same budget and be required to shoot their films within one week, with running times of 70 to 80 minutes. Exact titles and release schedules have yet to be decided.

In the 1970s and 1980s the Nikkatsu Roman Porno genre, which allowed directors wide latitude if they included a certain number of sex scenes in their films, was the launching pad for many now-prominent Japanese filmmakers, including Yojiro Takita, director of the Oscar winner “Departures.”

The new films will be released theatrically starting this winter and will also be offered to subscribers on the SkyPerfecTV! satellite platform.

The
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Film Review: ‘Journey to the Shore’

Cannes Film Review: ‘Journey to the Shore’
A piano teacher goes on a second honeymoon of sorts with her missing husband when he returns as a ghost in “Journey to the Shore,” Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s competent return to human drama in the vein of “Tokyo Sonata,” albeit with a spiritual dimension. Traversing East Japan from small towns to remote hamlets, the film’s winding, episodic form ultimately conveys a blindingly obvious message, but the way in which its motley characters work through feelings of loss, regret and acceptance have a hushed, timorous sentiment that’s uniquely Japanese. Fans of Kurosawa’s earlier psycho-thrillers may desire more eeriness and visual panache, but those who’ve accepted the helmer’s conscious change of tune and pace should be gently touched.

Films about the deceased returning to comfort their beloved or to take care of unfinished business have many Western exemplars, such as “Ghost” or “Truly, Madly, Deeply.” However, it
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Review: ‘The Voice of Water’

A cult priestess’s quest for her ethnic and spiritual roots lends depth to “The Voice of Water,” an atypical crime drama set in Tokyo’s seamy Koreatown that unravels riveting layers of suspense, violence and humanity. In taking on the equally controversial subjects of religious cults and zainichi (Japanese-Koreans), veteran indie helmer-scribe Masashi Yamamoto eschews any aura of mystique or overtly political angles, instead wryly dissecting the business calculations and power games within such communities, which never cease to surprise or bemuse. Following its Berlinale premiere, “Voice” should be heard loud and clear on the festival circuit.

A stalwart figure in Japan’s independent filmmaking community, Yamamoto enjoyed critical success as a producer when he set up Cinema Impact, a workshop for edgy shoestring-budget projects such as Hitoshi One’s “Be My Baby.” Making a Berlin comeback after his “Carnival in the Night” and “Robinson’s Garden” were invited
See full article at Variety - Film News »

勝手にしやがれ #8. Tokyo Filmex: Where Did Japan Go?

  • MUBI
Above: From left to right, Tokyo FilmEx festival directors Kanako Hayashi and Shozo Ichiyama; and Nobuteru Uchida's prize-winning film, Love Addition.

Last November, I had a conversation with Tokyo FilmEx Festival directors Shozo Ichiyama and Kanako Hayashi. For more than a decade, this duo has helmed Japan’s most serious festival, one dedicated to independent cinema from Asia. Office Kitano, Takeshi Kitano’s production company, has remained its key partner over the years, and helped Japan’s support of Iranian directors as well as groundbreaking figures from China, most notably Jia Zhangke, a regular at FilmEx from the beginning. The festival also revealed the fragile state of art cinema in and from Japan and how a very small, centralized community that has been determining what fits into this category, and what is not allowed in; a community that’s aged while being unable to neither find nor form new heirs.
See full article at MUBI »

Dororo (2007): Film Review

by Colleen Wanglund, MoreHorror.com

Dororo (2007) is a Japanese horror/dark fantasy movie directed by Akihiko Shiota. Based on volume one of a three-volume manga of the same name written by Osamu Tesuka (there's also a 26-part anime), Dororo takes place in feudal Japan and tells the story of a young samurai named Hyakkimaru (Satoshi Tsumbakuki) who was born without 48 body-parts. His father, Daigo, sold those body parts to 48 different demons in exchange for the world. Hyakkimaru’s mother abandoned him, rather than watch Daigo kill him but he is found by a powerful shaman who builds him an artificial body made from the parts of dead children. After his "father" the shaman dies, Hyakkimaru begins a quest to kill all of the demons and get his real body back. He is joined in his quest by a thief who takes the name Dororo (Ko Shibasaki) which means 'little monster'
See full article at MoreHorror »

Trailer for "Boku to Tsuma no 1778 no Monogatari"

It’s been a long time coming, but a trailer for Mamoru Hoshi’s Boku to Tsuma no 1778 no Monogatari has finally been released, nearly a full year after the project was first announced.

The film is based on the true story of science fiction writer Taku Mayumura whose wife died of colon cancer in 2002. After a doctor told him laughter can help the immune system, Mayumura began writing one story of at least 3 pages every day for his cancer-stricken wife. Although the initial prognosis was that she would only survive one year, she went on to live 5 good years with the help of the 1,778 total stories written by her husband for her over that time.

Tsuyoshi Kusanagi of Smap plays Sakutaro, a character modeled after Mayumura, and Yuko Takeuchi plays his wife Setsuko. The two last co-starred together 8 years ago in Akihiko Shiota’s “Yomigaeri”.

Source: Official website
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

Sundance Channel Goes Extreme from August 7 to October 30

Time to call your cable or satellite provider and add the Sundance Channel to your lineup as the network is launching a new season of its late-night destination Asia Extreme™ on August 7, showcasing the sharpest of cutting-edge Asian genre fare every Saturday night at midnight.

You'll note that a few of the offerings aren't strictly horror fare, but we're including everything since just about all of them offer gore and violence, even if the supernatural/horror elements aren't quite there.

From the Press Release:

The 2010 season of Asia Extreme includes the U.S. television premieres of five films from South Korea: The Restless, Shadows in the Palace, Tazza: The High Rollers, Voice, and The Wig. The new season of Asia Extreme premieres on August 7 at 12:00 midnight Et/Pt.

In addition to their on-air presentations, the five premieres will be among the thirteen Asia Extreme titles available free from August
See full article at Dread Central »
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