The Japanese film industry has been relatively quick to recover from the pandemic, despite the slow rollout of vaccinations in Japan. So industry leaders are bringing lineups to FilMart packed with titles that will hopefully play to packed theaters at home in the coming months.
One is Gaga Corporation, which is bringing “Junk Head,” a first feature by stop-motion animator Takahide Hori that has won kudos around the international festival circuit. Set in a future where clones live in their own subterranean world while the humans who drove them underground trundle toward extinction, it is a quirkily imaginative blend of sci-fi, fantasy and comedy. Release in Japan is set for March 26.
Meanwhile, Toei has brought “Last of the Wolves,” Shiraishi Kazuya’s highly-anticipated sequel to his 2018 cops-and-gangsters actioner “The Blood of Wolves,” which won a shelf of awards, including an Asian Film Awards best actor prize for star Yakusho Koji. In the new film one disgruntled gangster threatens to end the uneasy peace between two Hiroshima syndicates. An Aug. 20 opening has been penciled in.
On a lighter note, sales outfit Free Stone is representing “The Aobas’ Dining Table,” a dramady that started as short web series produced by a Scandinavian lifestyle website. The cast, however, is all Japanese. So is the scrumptiously-presented food that is a highlight.
The story centers on Haruko (Nishida Naomi), a single mom who lives with her teenaged son, her friend Meiko (Kubo Haruka) and Meiko’s boyfriend under one mostly harmonious roof. Then an estranged former bestie asks Haruko to let her daughter Yuko (Kurihara Aino) stay while she attends summer school. Haruko agrees, setting in motion a possible reconciliation – and disruption to her happy, if unconventional, family life. Release is scheduled for the summer.