In what I believe is a first, two shows were scheduled instead of one for the Montreal stop of the Next Music From Tokyo tour. The Sunday one was initially the only one planned and ended up having a decent sized crowd. But some of the bands wanted to do a Monday show too, which predictably ended up with a small crowd (the rain certainly didn’t help) and featured less bands than the Sunday show since a couple of them didn’t want to do 4 shows in 4 nights (Toronto shows were on Friday & Saturday). Naturally you would think that you wouldn’t be missing anything by skipping the Monday show. If you skipped the show based on that thought well let me say that you were totally wrong and you should repent for your sins. In fact, the Monday show ended up being more exciting and memorable than the Sunday one (which was still great). What the small crowd lacked in size, they made up for with ferocious loudness and a willingness to let go all inhibition while dancing, jumping and even moshing at one point.
Le festival du nouveau cinema from October 4-15, 2017 will be screening films from all over the world at various theaters in Montreal. There are some recent movies from Japan such as Beat Takeshi’s Outrage Coda (the final installment of the Outrage trilogy) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish. Films from the past such as Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django and several gangster films from the 60s by Seijun Suzuki. There’s also an intriguing stop motion animation short film by Takeshi Yashiro called Norman the Snowman. From South Korea there are a couple of recent Hong Sang Soo films and from the past, a Korean western by Kim Jee Woon. There’s a movie from Chinese born but Montreal based director Xiaodan He called Un Printemps d’ailleurs. There is also a Vietnamese horror movie called KFC.
I’m really late on this trend but whatever. This Koi dance aka Love dance is fun and super catchy.
Steven Tanaka is organizing a second tour of Next Music From Tokyo this year after a very successful vol 10 last May. Montrealers are in for a nice surprise this year because there will actually be two shows in Montreal although they won’t be exactly the same. The first will be on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at Le Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent) in Montreal and the show starts at 8pm (doors 7pm) and will feature all the acts. There will be a second (mini) show on Monday, October 9, 2017 with only four of the acts but they will play longer sets and it will be followed by some sort of after party. The Montreal stop is after Toronto and before Vancouver. The lineup of six Japanese indie/underground bands are: Jyocho, Nuito, 午前3時と退屈 (Gozen Sanji To Taikutsu / 3 A.M. and Bored), O’ Summer Vacation & Koutei Camera Girl Drei + opening act: Ame To Kanmuri. Tickets are $14. Hard copy tickets can be purchased at Cheap Thrills or you can buy them online.
My Love Story!! / 俺物語!! / Ore Monogatari!! (2015)
Directed by Hayato Kawai
Screenplay by Akiko Nogi
Starring Ryohei Suzuki, Mei Nagano, Kentarō Sakaguchi
Review: The main character Takeo (Ryohei Suzuki) is a teenager but looks like an older, burly man. People are often scared of him because of his looks but he’s actually a kind, helpful person. His best friend, Suna (Kentaro Sakaguchi), looks like a pretty boy and attracts a lot of girls including the ones that Takeo likes. No girls have ever liked Takeo but one day while walking with Suna he saves a girl named Rinko (Mei Nagano) from a harasser. When she thanks him he instantly falls for her. The next day she finds Takeo with Suna near their school. She wants to show her appreciation further by sharing a cake with them.
Fantasia 2017, total films seen: 22
This was an okay year overall. Last year wasn’t necessarily that much better but it had some super memorable screenings while this year there weren’t any films that wowed me or had the audience go super crazy. Granted, I missed some South Korean movies I really wanted to watch like A Taxi Driver and A Day. Only three films were labeled recommended this year. This isn’t the worst year as far as outright disliking films but the number of films that I enjoyed or liked a lot this year was lower than previous years. I am starting to wonder if my interest in East Asian cinema is waning.
Mini reviews of Free and Easy, The House of the Disappeared, Shock Wave, The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, Napping Princess, Love and Other Cults, Rage, Extraordinary Mission, Night is Short Walk On Girl.
Blade of the Immortal / 無限の住人 / Mugen no jūnin (2017)
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Tetsuya Oishi
Cast: Takuya Kimura, Hanna Sugisaki, Sota Fukushi, Ebizo Ichikawa, Erika Toda
Review: This jidaigeki film was a last minute addition to the festival but what an addition it was being the director’s 100th film. As a result the theater was packed with his enthusiastic fans. It’s an adaptation of the hugely popular manga of the same name. Manji (Takuya Kimura, ex-leader of the recently disbanded boy band SMAP) is a samurai cursed with immortality after killing a hundred men. Fifty years later a young girl named Rin (Hann Sugisaki) seeks out Manji. She wants to hire him to avenge the death of her parents at the hands of Anotsu Kagehisa (Sota Fukushi) and his fellow master fighters.