The Raindance International Film Festival returns to London in a week’s time and it has a strong selection of Japanese films for attendees to view including a stop-motion animation. The festival launches on September 20th and runs until October 01st and it will take place at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square. Tickets are already on sale so all that’s left to do is to introduce the films.
The festival will open with Oh Lucy!, the feature-length directorial debut of Atsuko Hirayanaga which charmed critics at Cannes. The film follows a 55 year old office worker who discovers a new side to herself when she meets an unconventional English teacher who gives her a blonde wig and calls her Lucy. Through him, she hopes to escape her dull life but the fantasy she thinks he offers isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Director Atsuko Hirayanagi and lead actor Josh Hartnett will be at the film’s premiere to take part in a Q&A on September 20th.
Love and Other Cults is from UK Japanese film specialists Third Window Films. It’s about a girl named Ai who falls into various “families” such as a cult, gangsters and the boy who falls in love with her and tries to keep track of her. The director is Eiji Uchida (Greatful Dead, Lowlife Love) both of which were also released by Third Window Films. Eiji Uchida will be present at the screening alongside the film’s producer on September 27th to take part in a Q&A.
Ghost Roads is a supernatural comedy about a struggling rock musician who buys an amp that is haunted by the spirit of a blues musician. The rocker makes a deal for ultimate stardom but there’s a hidden catch… Two of the film’s four directors will be at the festival’s screening on September 25th for a Q&A.
Swaying Mariko is a drama about an ordinary housewife who is married to a much younger man. She is trapped in a horrible workplace where her manager constantly harrasses her and the customers are rude and she gets no respite at home because her husband is constantly absent which leads her to think he is having an affair. With all of this pressure, her perception of reality slowly begins to fragment. Director Koji Segawa and lead actor Misa Namba will be present for a post-screening Q&A which takes place on September 21st.
Perfect Revolution stars follows a a man who has cerebral palsy who works as an activist for the sexual rights of disabled people. He meets a callgirl who has a personality disorder and the two start a relationship which defies conventions.
Noise takes place eight years after a deadly knife attack in Akihabara. Despite the passage of time, the same pressures exist and three people who suffered because of the event face still face immense pressure and so they try to overcome their problems and find meaning in their lives. The director and two of the film’s actors will be at the festival’s screening on September 26th.
Thedocumentary Boys for Sale looks gay prostitution in Shinjuku’s red-light district. It features candid interviews and animation to give audiences an insight into the lives of these sex workers. The producer is Ian Thomas Ash and he will be at the screening on September 28th for a Q & A with the film’s Director of Photography Adrian “Uchujin” Storey.
Mukoku is about the son of a kendo master who was once had the potential to master the art but stopped practicing it after a tragic incident. His life changes when he comes into contact with a rap-obsessed high school boy who has the potential to excel. The screening on September 30th has a Q&A attached with one of the film’s producers, Hideki Hoshino.
Junk Head is a stop-motion animation which the director spent four years making. The story takes place in a dystopian future where human beings have lost the ability to procreate. Human’s had created clones to supplement their dwindling workforce but the clones rebelled and went underground where they have mutated. A lone explorer is sent in search of them to retrieve genetic information.
And that’s the line up of Japanese films at this year’s Raindance. Hopefully, you will find something you like and attend the event!