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January 2013 events

It’s January, which means it’s a new year. And plenty of things for you to do and films to see this month already, although we are bit on the thin side Korean-wise (at least for the moment).

Let me know if I have missed anything!

LAST UPDATED: 14/1/2013

시 (Shi/Poetry, South Korea, 2010), Film 4, UK wide (Jan 8, 2013) 

Film 4 will be showing the widely-lauded Shi (dir. by Lee Chang-dong) on January 8th (at 10:55 pm). The film is about an elderly woman in the early stages of Alzheimer who decides to take a poetry class. A review from the Guardian calls it a “remarkable … meditation on the the nature of life, death and memories” (quote) and movie critic Michael Phillips, of the Chicago Tribune, picked it as the Best Movie of the year 2011. More here.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi, ICA, London, UK (Jan 11-17, 2013) 

The ICA is showing a US-made documentary on the world’s greatest sushi chef for one week in January:

Meet 85 year-old Jiro Ono […]. His tiny restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is tucked away in a Tokyo subway station and only seats ten, yet bears 3 Michelin stars and has a month-long reservation waiting list. Jiro runs this culinary gem with a will of iron, deft fingers and his eldest son, Yoshikazu. Their fascinating relationship lies at the heart of this wasabi-infused tale, as the apprentice struggles with the sometimes overbearing aura of the master. David Gelb’s feature film nimbly explores every facet of Jiro’s daily life, from his total commitment to the craft to his role as patriarch, making our mouths water along the way. (quote)

The screening schedule is here.

Studio Ghibli Triple Bill: , Prince Charles Cinema, London, UK (13 January 2013) 

It’s Studio Ghibli times three (or 300 minutes of Studio Ghibli if you want it another way), which means「となりのトトロ」 (Tonari no Totoro/My Neighbour Totoro, Japan, 1988) plus 「紅の豚」 (Kurenai no Buta/Porco Rosso, Japan, 1992) plus「千と千尋の神隠し」 (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, Japan, 2001). Ohhhhh! I’m tempted, I’m tempted, I must admit, especially because the films will be screening subtitled (yay!). You can book here.

KCCUK’s Korean Film Night: 효자동 이발사 (Hyojadong Ibalsa/The President’s Barber, 2004), London, UK (17 January, 2013) 

The Year of 12 Directors is over, but we are getting the Year of 4 Actors in 2013, and this is the first film that has been confirmed. Book here.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Anime, Japan Foundation, London, UK (18 January 2013) 


Not a film, but Kihara Hirokatsu and Suwa Michihiko, two renown figures in the Japanese animation industry, are coming to London to talk about the world of Japanese animation. Helen McCarthy, a journalist, author and anime expert, joins them “to explore the different sources of anime – both manga adaptations and originally crafted stories – and discuss their position in the Japanese animation industry, suggesting what the future holds for the medium”.

Attendance is free, but you must reserve.

Zipangu Double Screening: 「アトムの足音が聞こえる」 (Atomu no ashioto ga kikoeru/The Echo of Astro Boy’s Footsteps) and 「人食山」 (Hitokui-Yama/Man-Eater Mountain, 2009), Roxy Bar and Screen, London, UK (January 19, 2013) 

Fans of Japanese animation, there is even more for your this January as there is another double bill – presented by the Zipangu Fest – at the Roxy Bar and Screen, featuring two films:

  •  「アトムの足音が聞こえる」 (Atomu no ashioto ga kikoeru/The Echo of Astro Boy’s Footsteps, Japan, 2011) – Tominaga Masanori’s documentary for anime fans about “the mysterious double life of the pioneering animation sound designer Matsuo Ohno”.
  • 「人食山」 (Hitokui-Yama/Man-Eater Mountain, 2009) – A 28-minute short that is kind of animation and kind of not – it’s a kami-shibai (paper theatre drama). The story: An inspector and his team are led into the mountains by a serial killer to where he disposed of his victims. They arrive at the place of their darkest desires…

More details here.

On the trails of Astro Boy:

On the trails of Astro Boy:「アトムの足音が聞こえる」.

Secret Movie, Asian Movies Meetup, Roxy Bar and Sceen, London, UK (21 January 2013) 

It’s a surprise movie, hosted by Andrew Heskins of Eastern Kicks this month. He tells me that it’s “horror – but not scary and a lot of fun… very crazy!”

Anyhow, place and time are here and you can also like the Asian Movies Meetup Facebook page.

Talk for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme: “United Red Army and the Legacy of Koji Wakamatsu” – Jasper Sharp, London, UK (Jan 23, 2013) 

See separate post for details. Free, but must reserve.

Talk for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme: “Japanese Cinema of the Time…What was made back then?” – Alexander Jacoby, London, UK (24 January 2013)  

See separate post for details. Free, but must reserve.

Loco London, Hackney Picturehouse, London, UK (24-27 January, 2013)  hk

Loco London is a film festival that brings you “four days of the world’s best funny films” (shouldn’t that be “the world’s funniest films”?), including two productions from Asia, “each illuminating different facets of the world’s new political, social and economic centre of power” (quote):

  • Jan 26, 2013: 低俗喜劇 (Dīsú xǐjù/Vulgaria, Hong Kong, 2012) – Dir. by Pang Ho-cheung. This is “a fast-paced, full-on satire of the movie business from one of the hottest talents in Hong Kong cinema. It tells the story of producer To Wai-chen’s increasingly outrageous attempts to get his latest movie made, involving sex toys, gangsters, an unfortunate mule and a starlet known as Popping Candy, for reasons that become very clear” (quote). Book here.
  • Jan 27, 2013: Ufo in Her Eyes (China, 2011) + Q&A – Dir. by Guo Xiaolu. Ufo in Her Eyes previously screened at the Terracotta Film Festival, so this is a chance to see it again for everyone who missed it (like me). Synopsis: “[R]ural mine worker Kwok Yun’s life is changed for ever when she thinks she sees a UFO hovering over Three Headed Bird Village. She alerts the authorities, who immediately send a team to investigate, while the village’s ambitious mayor … spots a tourist opportunity. As money and visitors pour in, the village is transformed, and Kwok Yun has to adjust to a very different life” (quote). The director, a resident of Hackney, will take questions after the screening. Book here.

If you want more of the funny fare, you can peruse the website for Loco London.

Ufo Madness.

Ufo Madness: Uforia.

돼지의 왕 (Dae gi eui wang/The King of Pigs, South Korea, 2011), Bristol and Sheffield, UK  (25 January, 2013 onwards) 

Dae gi eui wang, one of a batch intriguing animated films coming out of South Korea in the past few years, is a getting a UK cinema release via Terracotta Distribution, currently with screenings in Bristol and Sheffield scheduled. See Terracotta’s website for details and possible future screenings elsewhere (Komedia Brighton and James Dublin International Film Festival are currently listed, no date for the former, while the latter takes place February 14-24, 2013). It’s a definitely a dark film, but much recommended!

「砂の女」(Suna no onna/Woman of the Dunes, Japan, 1964) + Screen Talk, Barbican, London, UK (27 January 2013)  

Featured as part of the Barbican’s Step into the Dark season – films “exploring dystopia, the sublime and the surreal, where the dark comes alive on the silver screen” (quote), this masterpiece directed by Teshigahra Hiroshi is about a mysterious woman whose house is at a constant threat to disappear underneath sand unless she scoops it out every day. Local villagers trap a man in her house, who initially tries to escape but eventually resigns himself to his fate and also becomes the woman’s lover. Apparently it’s “Haunting. Erotic. Unforgettable” (quote) – and, boy, all the screenshots I have seen on the web look just fabulous. It’s horror, but of the psychological sort, and can I say that for once I am totally intrigued? (If you can’t make the screening, a DVD is available.)

More info at the Barbican website.

woman in the dunes screen shots

Gorgeous cinematography, no doubt.

Chinese Film Forum, Manchester (January 29-30, 2013)  

A Chinese Film Forum is scheduled for January 29 and 30th, 2013. The conference itself is on the themes of “creation and circulation of Chinese identities in and through cinema” and will be held at Manchester’s Chinese Arts Centre. It will also include a screening of 记忆望着我 (Ji yi wang zhe wo/Memories Look at Me, 2012), a film directed by Song Fang, at the Cornerhouse. (You can attend the screening only, if you prefer.)

The film is scheduled for January 29th (book here); full details for the forum yet to be announced. You can check the official blog of the Chinese Film Forum for updates.

Terracotta Film Club: 警察故事 (Jǐngchá Gùshì/Police Story, Hong Kong, 1985), Prince Charles Cinema, London, UK (30 January 2013)  hk

Terracotta, one of the British distributors for Asian films, is starting a monthly film club at the Prince Charles Cinema, with an action film starring and directed by Jackie Chan being their first offering. You can book at the Charles Prince Cinema website, which also reveals that the February film will be the above-mentioned Vulgaria – good news if you can’t make the Loco London 11 p.m. screening.

Talk for the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme: “Art, events and bodies in 1960s Japan” – Peter Eckersall, London, UK (30 January, 2013)  

See separate post for details. Free, but must reserve.

Films at the Japanese Embassy, London, UK (TBA)    

We haven’t had one in a while, but if they organise a screening again I’ll add the details here.