The Osaka Asian Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 14th edition (March 8-17). It includes a total of 51 films from 17 countries and regions, including 10 world premieres and 9 international premieres.
For the first time since 2015, the festival will open with the world premiere of a Japanese film. This year, it’s RANDEN: THE COMINGS AND GOINGS ON A KYOTO TRAM (嵐電). Directed by Takuji Sukuzi – an actor, a director, and an assistant professor in film at Kyoto University of Art and Design – RANDEN is about three love stories tied to the Arashiyama railway line (also known locally as “Randen”) in Kyoto, located just north of Osaka. The film stars Iura Arata, who is also an ambassador for the Kyoto National Museum.
The festival will close with the local premiere of Vietnamese comedy DADDY ISSUES (Hồn papa da con gái), the second Vietnamese-language film by Japanese director Ken Ochiai (UZUMASA LIMELIGHT 太秦ライムライト). The FREAKY FRIDAY-esque comedy – about a father who switches bodies with his teenage daughter – is the second film adaptation of Japanese novel PAPA TO MUSUME NO NANAKAKAN, following South Korean adaptation DADDY YOU, DAUGHTER ME (아빠는 딸), which was screened at OAFF’s 2017 edition. The novel was also previously adapted into a Japanese TV drama in 2007 starring Hiroshi Tachi and Yui Aragaki.
Ochiai’s first Vietnamese film, SAIGON BODYGUARDS (Ve Si Sai Gon), was the fourth highest-grossing local film in 2016.
The 14-film competition program includes seven feature directorial debuts: Oliver Siu Kuen Chan’s STILL HUMAN (淪落人), Zhou Zhou’s First Film Festival title MEILI (美麗), Han Ka-ram’s Toronto Film Festival title OUR BODY (아워바디), Bai Xue’s THE CROSSING (過春天), Busan Film Festival award winner MAGGIE (메기), Lee Cheuk-pan’s G AFFAIRS (G殺) and local indie JEUX DE PLAGE (浜辺のゲーム). It also includes the international premiere of Jessey Tsang’s drama THE LADY IMPROPER (非分熟女) and Vietnamese film FURIE.
The Indie Forum section, dedicated to Japanese indie films, features seven feature-length films and three shorts, including the local premiere of Slamdance title DEMOLITION GIRL (JKエレジー), as well as the world premiere of Akiyoshi Koba’s NUNCHAKU AND SOUL (ヌンチャクソウル). The selection also includes the latest films by previous participants: SHINJUKU TIGER (新宿タイガー) by Yoshinori Sato, whose HER MOTHER was previously in the Indie Forum in 2017, and SISTERHOOD (シスターフッド) by Takashi Nishihara, whose BLUE RAY (青の光線) premiered at the festival in 2013.
The Special Screenings section also includes two world premieres: PEER (ピア～まちをつなぐもの～), the new film by former Sion Sono assistant director Shinya Ayabe, and Lim Ka-wah’s SOMEWHEN, SOMEWHERE (いつか、どこかで). The latter is Lim’s second film shot in the Balkan region following NO WHERE, NOW HERE (どこでもない、ここしかない), which premiered at last year’s festival.
As it had done last year, the festival has two dedicated sections to films from Hong Kong and Taiwan, respectively.
In addition to the three films in competition, the Hong Kong section also includes Pang Ho-Cheung Lunar New Year comedy MISSBEHAVIOR (恭喜八婆), transgender drama A WOMAN IS A WOMAN (女人就是女人) and short film FAREWELL SUMMER NIGHT by Huang Xiaopeng, one of the co-directors on Stephen Chow’s NEW KING OF COMEDY (新喜劇之王).
The Taiwan section includes DEAR EX (誰先愛上他的), documentary FATHER (紅盒子) and hit melodrama MORE THAN BLUE (比悲傷更悲傷的故事).