We present a list of twenty films you should not miss at the 15th Osaka Asian Film Festival which will take place from March 6th – 15th (2020) in Osaka, Japan.
About the festival:
The Osaka Asian Film Festival aims to facilitate human resources development and exchange, to invigorate the Osaka economy, and to increase the city’s appeal, through providing opportunities to watch excellent Asian films, supporting filmmaking in Osaka and attracting filmmakers from Asian countries and regions to Osaka. Promoting Osaka worldwide as a gateway city for Asian films, and engaging with many people from the fields of culture, art, education, tourism and business, from Osaka and all of Asia, OAFF works as an open platform to contribute to the development of Osaka and cinema.
Maryanne and Yin are committed lovers at university but historic events threaten to separate them as they and their friends join the nascent student strike all in the hope of protecting Hong Kong’s democracy. Idealism meets reality as Yin has to face opposition from his family whose business is badly affected by student blockades and Maryanne becomes ever more committed to the cause. Despite the strain of their respective ties, their pure feelings bind them together but will the chaos tear them apart?
Taking in nearly a decade of Hong Kong’s explosive politics from the student movement to the turmoil caused by the Extradition Bill which erupted into an unprecedented Anti-Extradition Movement, the film charts some of the most vital moments of Hong Kong’s history through a handsomely lensed romance and heartfelt family drama that tracks the characters from free-thinking teens into adulthood and responsibility. (Jason Maher)
March 7th | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 21:00 pm
March 13th | Friday | ABC Hall | 13:25 pm
It’s a man’s world and in writer/director Rae RED’s film, most men are violent and creeps so what is a girl to do when violence rules everything? This is the question that the titular Girl has to answer as she runs a daily terrifying and exhausting gauntlet of sexual harassment and physical threat in and out of work. An incident pushes her to the point of breaking but the serendipitous appearance of a gun allows her to upend the traditional power structures and gives her a dangerous sense of power. However, the film becomes much more than a revenge-thriller as it launches into being a pathology of violence that stretches back decades and explores the life of a gun and each of the people whose hands it passes through. (Jason Maher)
March 7th | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 14:40 pm
March 11th | Wednesday | ABC Hall | 19:05 pm
During the Korean War around 1,500 children were sent to Poland as refugees. Polish people who had endured World War II acted as surrogate parents and raised the children with a love that helped them overcome the trauma they had experienced. For a short period of time they were together and then the children were sent back to North Korea. Director CHOO Sang-mi took this little-told story and pulled together all of the evidence she could gather and travelled to Poland to interview the teachers to document their words and the bond they have with the children which they still feel to this very day. What do the old Polish teachers who taught the children think now? And what happened to the children? The film seeks to find hope in the tragedy of division, shedding light on ‘children who have gone to Poland’, which is buried in history and unknown in Korea. (Jason Maher)
March 11th | Wednesday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 18:50 pm
Rei is unable to express her opinions well due to her introverted nature. Her time with her boyfriend, NAKAMURA, is calm but nothing passionate. One night, Rei strongly wishes that she could meet her real father, who was separated from her at an early age by her parents’ divorce. From that night onward, introverted Rei’s heart burns with an enduring passion. Through conversations with her mother, complicated memories, dreams and her reunion with her father, Rei’s thoughts about her family are gradually revealed.
This film is set in Ginza, which is a special place for my family, and Yamanashi, the land of Mt. Fuji, where I felt something mysterious when I was a child. The feelings for the family that I depicted in this film are not necessarily positive. Rei, the protagonist, is confused. But she chooses to be honest. I hope the audience will be encouraged by Rei’s sincerity. (Sakamoto Yukari)
March 10th | Tuesday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 18:30 pm
In a suburban area of a city lives Sakura Ueno and her mother. Sakura has recently quit her job and decided to work temporarily in a nursery school at a friend’s request. There she meets a whole lot of cute kids including Ai who she gets to know. Ai’s father, Shindo, often comes to pick her up late after school. Seeing this father pick up his daughter reminds Sakura of her relationship with her own father who has largely been absent from her life and Sakura begins to feel close to Shindo, going so far as to cook dinner for him and his daughter. This triggers a memory of her father, following this, changes happen… (Jason Maher)
March 9th | Monday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 16:30 pm
March 14th | Saturday | Umeda Burg 7: Theater 7 | 15:00 pm
After spending time in Sweden, Jean returns to Thailand with a madness for minimalism and the desire to convert her house into a home office. It will be a big task because the space she uses is a former music studio that her brother and mother still live in so there are three lifetimes worth of objects to remove and Jean has to go through everything. Our mini-Marie Kondo gets off to a ruthless start but soon begins to analyse the value of various items and this is where the drama comes in as she comes across items that belong to her family and friends and ex-boyfriend, and those items bring back memories. “More emo, more problems”, Jean says as she tries to junk stuff but this film shows with rich detail in props and set design, perfect framing and editing, a modern life with all its ties and characteristics, warmth and sadness, and how these qualities in an item cannot be trashed so easily. (Jason Maher)
March 7th | Saturday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:00 pm
March 12th | Thursday | ABC Hall | 13:10 pm
Set against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, a lonely 14-year-old Eun-hee moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness wherever she may find it. Deprived of attention from her family, she roams the neighborhood with her best friend, attempts romantic relationships with both girls and boys alike and is sent to the hospital with an unclear diagnosis. When Young-ji, a new teacher, arrives, she becomes the first adult Eun-hee feels really understands her. (OAFF 2020)
March 15th | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 9:30 am
Following the death of her mother, high school girl Sora’s closest contact is with her grandfather. That relationship is far deeper than her one with her distant father. When the old man dies, Sora is left bereft and with nobody to talk to but her discovery of his wartime diary offers her some form of escape because it hints at a treasure buried in a local forest. Just as the old man departs, a mysterious vagrant appears in town. Mute and only walking backwards, he crashes into Sora’s life and his presence forces a change in the relationship between daughter and father.
Majestically shot with beautiful black and white visuals and graceful camerawork, mystery and profound emotions in this story and moving performances make this a distinct and compelling film as audiences will be guided into the lives of the characters, accompanying them on a satisfying emotional journey. (Jason Maher)
March 12th | Thursday | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 20:20 pm
March 13th | Friday | ABC Hall | 15:50 pm
An ambitious, modern-minded young Tibetan entrepreneur named Tenzin finds his fate is marked when he begins to see strange visions as he goes about his business trying to establish a coffee shop in Kathmandu. Unable to ignore these supernatural portents, he seeks the help of a holy man who tells him that he will soon die unless he finds a special woman known as a “dakini” to help save him. Tenzin will find his increasingly desperate search will bring him face to face with his own neuroses and the limitations of modern life as well as initiate an awakening that reveals the age-old Himalayan respect for and celebration of the power of feminine energy that is needed in our own volatile era.
The ultra modern melds with the ancient mystical in a film sumptuously shot with widescreen vistas to capture the beauty of the locations with dreamlike sequences that should be enjoyed on the big screen. (Jason Maher)
March 8th | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:15 pm
March 12th | Thursday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:40 pm
Fate is a funny thing. Take for example the meeting of Zack and Sarah. Polar opposites yet fated to be together when they meet by chance on a bus ride. Zack is a 20-something momma’s boy who works with computers and is no good at talking to girls romantically while Sarah is an aspiring singer who is seeking to find her own voice amidst career and relationship troubles. What connects them is that they both share the same interest in music and the band Ben & Ben. After the bus ride, they part ways but the words and music they shared continue to reverberate throughout their lives as they encounter family and romantic troubles. They are repeatedly separated and reunited while chasing their dreams and we notice that they are meant to be together.
With a cast of sparky supporting characters, a charming romance mashed up with music and drama, “Last Song Syndrome” celebrates the creativity of love and youth to make a feel-good film. (Jason Maher)
March 8th | Sunday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:50 pm
March 10th | Tuesday | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:15 pm
To see the second part of this article, go here: PART 2
For more information about the programme and schedule please visit the official website of the festival here: http://www.oaff.jp/