It is a Vintage Year for Films

 Wednesday, April 6, 2011


April has arrived and the Cannes Film Festival is looming.

Although applications have already closed I have heard

rumours that it is favouring everything except Japanese films.

However, I always try to ignore these rumours otherwise

I end wasting time on a wild-goose chase.


Who knows the true value of Festival Awards?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Japanese director Takahisa Zeze’s 278-minute opus on crime and punishment.
from The Hollywood Reporter (c) 2010 Heaven’s Project

At the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany,
which has been ended two weeks now, I think it is a bit late to talk about
but maybe I should. Because….
Director Takahisa Zeze’s film HEAVEN’S STORY won the Best Asian Film
Award and the International Critics Association Award.
The film participated in the Forum section, which is for novel films.

Everybody Said Happy New Year to CHINA!

Monday 14, February 2011
in Berlin

I thought it was time to go back to my hotel as I was dozing
at my desk in the booth.
Then a female representative from the
Chinese National TV (CCTV) came up to me and said,
“We have New Year’s Day in China now,
 so please say Happy New Year to all the people in China”.
So I said “Happy New Year” into the camera,
whilst holding a stuffed soft rabbit toy.

Hollywood Shops European Remake

Monday,  14 February 2011
This is the topic covered this morning by a film industry journal.

Egyptian film “678” strongly pushed by Fortissiomo
In China, 313 new cinemas opened last year,
and the number of screens increased by 1,533.
Moreover, another 1,000 screens will open this year.
I roughly calculate that this makes about 300 new seats a day.

America has one screen per 9 thousand people,
whereas China has one per 200 hundred thousand people.
However, China still does not have enough cinemas.
I heard that although 512 films were made only 150 films opened to the public.
I guess at the moment China is going to need to build more and more cinemas.

However, the situation for foreign films in China is not a happy one.
SARFT’s strict import regulations are as tight as ever, in allowing
only 20 foreign films to be released in a year.
This wall stands in our way. Six French films managed to slid safely
into the Chinese market last year,
and the rest were mostly Hollywood productions.
my booth neighbor Eliot is selling
the first Chinese 3D animation feature.
I heard that the executives in Hollywood are
now bored with remaking Japanese films and have been
struggling hard to remake European films or make films
based on European original stories.

“This is good! OK. Let’s make the film on a large scale budget.
We have the potential to make a blockbuster film here in Hollywood”.
This is their attitude. It seems that their favourite genres are
horror, thrillers and science fiction.
They are always overlooking the world.
I think it is okay, but I wonder as they are the world leaders
whether they could do with creating something new.

I wonder is it popular worldwide to make money by rehashing ideas.
Chris Nolan is really amazing. I have to appraise him anew.

By the way, I heard that Madonna was in Berlin
to show the film FOOTAGE directed by her.
At the moment it has sold to Germany, France, Italy, Spain,
Russia, South America and Scandinavia. 

What about America? 

Madonna said, “If it sells when I am attending,
then I must go everywhere in the world to help the sales”. 
Let’s have her come to Japan to promote her film!
But, wait a minute, we have a complete failure.
We can’t attract customers with the
catchphrase, “Madonna is the director”.
The film is a love story about Edward III and an American divorced woman,
plus another love story about a modern married woman and a Russian security guard.
These two love stories run in parallel throughout the film.
I feel I don’t care already.

I am happy with her as an attractive singer,
even if she is getting older, because she is “Madonna”. 

Anyway, a film about the collapsed mine in Chile
has already been made and is being shown on screen.
That is really quick. What a surprise.

There is also a film about current issue “GOODBYE MUBARAK, Egypt Revolusion”. 
It reveals the truth about sexual harrasement in Egypt is being
advertised energettically now,
although it was a taboo subject under the Egyptian regime.
In an image from the film I can see a woman in a really crowded train
and looking really disgusted.
I can guess she has been molested.
It might gain sympathy in Japan.
I have had lot of the same experiences on the Tôkaidô line in Japan.
Well, today is the fifth day and it is a fine morning in Berlin.

About the foreigner’s favourite – the loincloth

Tuesday, 2 February, 2011
cont’d from previous blog entry.

I really love this “new tiger”. 
I bought T-shirts, bags, etc., etc.,

At the New York Film Festival the year before last,
the festival director Marc Walkow and my assistant donned a sumo loincloth.
My assistant sent this as a picture message to me,
and I could see that they were very happy.
It seems that foreigners like the loincloth look.
I heard that Mr Iguchi also wears a loincloth at stage greetings,
wherever and whenever.
Japanese loincloths have lots of overseas fans.
Maybe women cannot understand it,
but at the Rotterdam International Film Festival it was tolerated by audiences
at the freaky performances. The audiences are mixed age groups,
both young and old, but they have a good laugh at the performance, obviously.
In 2009, Joe Odagiri’s debut film directing project
LOOKING FOR CHERRY BLOSSOMS was invited to the festival.
(c) 2008 STYLEJAM, Inc.
Mr Odagiri, Mr Sabu Kawahara and Mr Hiroshi Yamada,
the three main actors, appeared in the style of “A Clockwork Orange”.
They were all dressed in black and wore bowler hats.
The fans in Rotterdam were very happy to see them.
Although they were all wearing the same style,
Mr Odagiri looked in perfect taste,
but Mr Kawahara and Mr Yamada were a bit…
Joe’s interview in Rotterdam by TWITCH

well anyway, they were the funny trio at the festival.
Ooops, I forgot to tell Mr Junichi Inoue, the scriptwriter,
and main actress Kan Hanae-chan
who were invited to attend with the film PURE ASIA,
about the festival atmosphere.
I am sure that Junichi thinks that he regrets like
“Oh… I wanted to do some sort of performance.”
The Netherlands are the land of liberty.
The lack of common sense is no problem!
I like that!