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15 Films you cannot miss at the 14th Osaka Asian Film Festival

osakafilmsWe present a list of fifteen films you shouldn’t miss at the 14th Osaka Asian Film Festival which will take place from March 8th – 17th, 2019 in Osaka, Japan.

A Woman Is a WomanA Woman Is a Woman by Maisy Goosy Suen – Hong Kong | 2018 – 93 min.
International Premiere

Sung Chi Yu has been happily married for 10 years but has kept a secret from her husband Chi Hung and step-daughter Lai Kei: she is a transwoman. Everything falls apart when her husband discovers this secret. Meanwhile, Lai Kei develops her first emotions for love towards her male classmate Ghiu Ling Fung but he is hiding his own battle with gender identity. Since childhood, he has dared to think and behave like a girl but never dared to reveal it to his religious and conservative family who tell him to act like a man. In his teenage years he finds himself exploring the notion of love and identity with the help of an imaginary ideal feminine image named Rose. She springs from his heart and walks by his side through many hardships. Both Chi Yu and Ling Fung will have to overcome the prejudice of others to find happiness in themselves.

By interweaving the stories of two characters struggling to be themselves, the film helps audiences understand and empathise with LGBTQ people and their quest for acceptance. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 8th, 2019 | Friday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 14:10 pm
March 15th, 2019 | Friday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Billie Emma

Billie & Emma by Samantha Lee – Philippines | 2018 – 100 min.
International Premiere

Set in the mid-90’s, the film tells the story of Billie, a girl exiled from Manila to a small provincial town to live with her spinster aunt who is also the town’s religion teacher. Despite trying to get through the last year of high school without incident, the moment she enters the place she sets tongues wagging with her cool look and different attitude. Billie tries to hide herself from the world until she meets Emma, the ambitious, star student who everyone idolises. Initially awkward with each other, Emma slowly coaxes Billie out of her shell and they soon fall in love but things get complicated when Emma finds out that she’s pregnant…(Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 11th, 2019 | Monday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:55 pm
March 14th, 2019 | Thursday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:05 pm

Trailer:

 

Bulbul Can Sing

Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das – India | 2018 – 95 min.
Japan Premiere

Bulbul is a young woman who lives in a village in India’s Assam state. She has two best friends, Bonny and Sumu, and they are coming of age and finding their own identities but who they want to be and what their community expect them to be are two different things as they find themselves at odds with the social mores and moral codes of their village. Clashes emerge as Bulbul finds herself experiencing the first glimmers of attraction for a guy, Sumu is bullied for not acting like a traditional man and Bonny finds the pressures of the community become unbearable. As fear and doubt assail the three friends, Bulbul must find her own voice and sing. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 10th, 2019 | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:00 pm
March 15th, 2019 | Friday | ABC Hall | 16:00 pm

Trailer:

 

G Affairs

G Affairs by Lee Cheuk Pan – Hong Kong | 2018 – 105 min.
Japan Premiere

A human head, sans the body, links the lives of a female student, a cellist, an autistic teenager, a police detective, a prostitute, a teacher and a dog. As the police investigate and try and find the body, a culprit and a motive, it seems that the link between these disparate people goes deeper than first expected and as detectives root around for answers, they discover everything leads to keywords starting with the letter “G”. With every twist in the case, the desperation felt by people in Hong Kong begins to resonate strongly until the grisly truth is revealed. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 8th, 2019 | Friday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:00 pm
March 16th, 2019 | Saturday | ABC Hall | 10:20 am

Trailer:

 

Homestay

Homestay by Parkpoom Wongpoom – Thailand | 2018 – 132 min.
Japan Premiere

The Guardian, a celestial being, informs a stray soul that it has won the opportunity to return to Earth in the body of a recently deceased high school teenager named Min. The boy had recently committed suicide and is in a hospital morgue, so his body up for grabs. Being in the new body is no different than living in a homestay. It’s temporary and not for free. There are also rules. The spirit must find out who is responsible for Min’s death. If it fails, it will die and leave this homestay for eternity.

And so the spirit becomes Min and he must solve the reason for the death while being unable to reveal his secret to anyone. To do this, he must negotiate living with a fractured family as well as a confusing and sometimes hostile school environment. This fantasy thriller is based on the Japanese novel “Colorful” by MORI Eto and with fantastic special effects and good acting, it remains a great way to examine issues around social and family pressures and teen suicide. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 12th, 2019 | Tuesday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:10 pm
March 14th, 2019 | Thursday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 20:25 pm

Trailer:

 

Maggie

Maggie by Yi Ok-seop – Korea | 2018 – 88 min.
Japan Premiere

A scandalous X-ray photograph of two people caught having sex causes trouble at a hospital and rumours spread. Nurse, Yeo Yoon-young thinks it might be her and her boyfriend and intends to resign but when she arrives at work no one else is there except the hospital’s deputy, Dr Lee. Apparently, everyone called in sick but Lee has her suspicions that they are lying. While this commotion is going on, strange sinkholes start to appear at random in Seoul and young labourers, including Yoon-young’s slacker boyfriend, are mobilized to fill them in.

Off-beat and likeable, this is an amusing film manages to connect these random story elements as it circles around the idea of doubt and misunderstanding infecting human relationships. It is delivered with a wry sense of humour and visual style by new director Ok-seop YI and really comes to life when new actress Lee Joo-young is on the screen as Yoon-young. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 13th, 2019 | Wednesday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:20 pm
March 17th, 2019 | Sunday | ABC Hall | 15:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Meili

Meili by Zhou Zhou – Taiwan, China | 2018 – 88 min.
Japan Premiere

Beauty and happiness rarely go together, as one saying goes and no better is that illustrated than the titular character of this film, Meili. Her name means beauty but her life is ugly because she has been cruelly treated by those around her. Abandoned by her parents, raised by her hopeless sister and abused by her brother-in-law, both of whom constantly harass her for money, her only happiness is her girlfriend Li Wen. As Meili struggles to hold down jobs in a small city, Li Wen’s work takes her to Shanghai and a split develops and it looks as if Meili could be left behind in horrible circumstances. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 10th, 2019 | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 20:50 pm
March 13th, 2019 | Wednesday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 20:55 pm

Trailer:

 

Missbehavior

Missbehavior by Pang Ho-cheung – Hong Kong | 2019 – 88 min.
Japan Premiere

The mobile chat group “Nosy Bitches” comprises six ladies and two gentlemen. They were once very close, but for various reasons have become alienated. That changes when one member, June, accidentally uses a bottle of breast milk belonging to her mean boss to make coffee for a client. June doesn’t need a disaster at work so she calls upon the her old friends to help her rustle up another bottle of breast milk by the end of the day. What follows is a series of grudging reunions for the “Nosy Bitches” as we get to know them. This cohort includes a nursery teacher, former bandmates, a gay couple whose relationship is on the rocks, and a policewoman who believes another member stole her boyfriend. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 14th, 2019 | Thursday | ABC Hall | 13:00 pm
March 17th, 2019 | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 10:00 am

Trailer:

 

Ode to the goose

Ode to the goose by Zhang Lu – Korea | 2018 – 121 min.
Japan Premiere

Yun-young, a former poet, has taken an older woman named Song-hyun on a spontaneous trip to his mother’s birthplace, the quiet port city of Gunsan. They lodge in a Bed & Breakfast run by a Korean man who was born and raised in Japan and now lives in Gunsan with his Japanese daughter. Despite arriving together and agonisingly hovering around consummating their relationship, Yun-young and Song-hyun drift apart as she becomes interested in the B&B manager and he becomes interested in the manager’s daughter. Subtle feelings and tender encounters lead to strife and a break in both the relationships and narrative. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 9th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 20:50 pm
March 17th, 2019 | Sunday | ABC Hall | 12:50 pm

Trailer:

 

Our Body

Our Body by Han Ka-ram – Korea | 2018 – 95 min.
Japan Premiere

After eight years of studying, an existential crisis hits Ja-young just on the eve of the civil servants’ exam and she skips it. At 31 and with no ambition, she drops out of society and finds herself in the grip of inertia. This changes when she is swept up by the presence of Hyun-joo, an amateur runner and writer who is full of life. Drawn by her vitality, Ja-young takes up running in the hopes of becoming like her new running-mate and soon gets herself back on her feet, getting a part-time job and exercising with Hyun-joo after work. Following Hyun-joo takes on a darker edge for Ja-young as they become more intimate and, following an incident, soon loses herself again… (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 9th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 14:10 pm
March 15th, 2019 | Friday | ABC Hall | 13:20 pm

Trailer:

 

Sisterhood

Sisterhood by Nishihara Takashi – Japan | 2019 – 87 min.

“Fragments of reality captured on film and reconstructed for one person’s fiction.”
Tokyo-based documentary film director Ikeda interviews people about feminism. His subjects include a student in a bad relationship, a nude model, a musician and others who provide fresh material. Their fragmented lives are interwoven with the director’s personal issues throughout a narrative that creates a cohesive whole that speaks of the changes to society we are living through today. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 9th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 16:00 pm
March 13th, 2019 | Wednesday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 21:10 pm

Trailer:

 

Still Human

Still Human by Oliver Siu Kuen Chan – Hong Kong | 2018 – 111 min.
Japan Premiere

Cheong-wing is a paralysed and hopeless divorcé in need of a caregiver. He has scared off the previous ones with his cantankerous attitude and it looks like his new live-in Filipino domestic helper, Evelyn, will be the next walk-out. That doesn’t happen. Due to tough personal circumstances she has had to come to Hong Kong to earn a living even if that means enduring a hard to please client. Living under the same roof in a public housing complex, these two strangers develop an unlikely relationship as they learn more about each other and overcome life’s difficulties and rediscover their dreams together. Just when they think they have lost all hope, little do they know, life still has a lot to offer. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 9th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:00 pm
March 14th, 2019 | Thursday | ABC Hall | 18:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Tanabata's Wife

Tanabata’s Wife by Choy Pangilinan, Charlson Ong, Lito Casaje
Philippines | 2018 – 81 min.
International Premiere

Tanabata is one of a number of Japanese immigrant farmers in La Trinidad Valley in Benguet. It is some time before the war and Americans are busy colonising the Philippines but life is quiet for the middle-aged and lonely man who some describe as being as lively as a corpse. With two loyal friends, Tanabata often stares out at his cabbage fields and drinks sake as he drowns in his melancholy. Then, one day, a young and feisty Bontoc woman named Fas-ang appears like a ray of sunshine.

Fas-ang descends from the mountains with two friends on her way to find work in the big city but an offer from Tanabata convinces her to stay with him and become a farmhand. As the seasons pass and the two get closer, they fall in love and start a family. However, much like farming, love has its seasons as age and cultural differences come between Tanabata and Fasang who is attracted to the city lights of Baguio and still attached to a young man from her village. Will their love weather the various storms? (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 13th, 2019 | Wednesday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:40 pm
March 16th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

 

The Crossing

The Crossing by Bai Xue – China | 2018 – 99 min.
Japan Premiere

Sixteen-year-old Peipei crosses the border nearly every day as she travels between the home she shares with her parents in Shenzhen to her Hong Kong high school. Customs officials glimpse her school uniform and innocent face and wave her through without a second thought. The biggest problem she faces is how to fund a trip to a hot spring in Japan with her best friend. With a foot on both sides of the border, she is the perfect vessel to smuggle iPhones to the mainland and this is the reason a handsome smuggler named Hao recruits her into his gang. Peipei jumps at the chance to earn extra cash, little considering the danger her activities will put her in. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 9th, 2019 | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:25 pm
March 15th, 2019 | Friday | ABC Hall | 10:20 am

Trailer:

 

With All My Hypothalamus

With All My Hypothalamus by Dwein Baltazar – Philippines | 2018 – 110 min.
Japan Premiere

There is a mysterious young woman who wears a uniform who can be seen walking the streets of downtown Old Manila. She can be seen cutting through bustling open-air markets and shopping arcades and internet cafes where people go about their daily business. Her name is Aileen and Aileen has it. Looks, charisma, and grace. She also has four very different guys hopelessly in love with her.

A silent street thief looking for intimacy, a lonely widower who runs a second-hand shop looking for sex, a provincial boy who works at a clothing store who yearns a wife, and a hyperactive student in search of a soulmate, all see it in Aileen as each lets their hypothalamus, the part of the brain that some consider the seat of love, dictate things. Amidst the ceaseless chatter of Manila, under the phosphorescent glow of street lights and the warm embrace of the sun, four lonely romances are played out. (Osaka Asian Film Festivals Catalogue)

Schedule:
March 11th, 2019 | Monday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:30 pm
March 16th, 2019 | Saturday | ABC Hall | 13:20 pm

Trailer:

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