Tag Archives: Hirokazu Koreeda

A New Wave of Booking Scheme Titles

We’re very excited to now have 18 new titles available to book now on the Booking Scheme from our new partnership with New Wave Films! We’ll also be adding two more from them in the coming months, An Episode in the Life of an Iron picker will be available to book from the 14 July and When I Saw You (which we will be showing at the Booking Scheme Preview Day) will be available to book from the 25 August.
The collection includes a varied collection of some of the most highly regarded world cinema of recent years.

Here’s a quick round-up of what’s on offer:

5 Broken Cameras | Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi | Pal, Isr, Fra, Net | 2011 | 94 mins
Available now

Winning the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2012 and nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2013, 5 Broken Cameras follows a Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat, and his non-violent resistance in the face of the Israeli army. Using footage collected over 5 years and 5 different cameras, 5 Broken Cameras documents first-hand the violence and intimidation witnessed against people living near the barrier.

A Christmas Tale | Arnaud Desplechin | France | 2008 | 150 mins
Available now

Junon, the matriarch of a bitter, feuding family learns she needs an urgent bone transplant and so, over Christmas, brings the family together. Amidst tensions involving mental illness, loss and banishment, the Vuillard family learn of Junon’s illness, but the decision about who will donate, and whether to go ahead with the operation, sparks bitter rivalries, arguments and tremendous fallings out. Cannes favourite Arnaud Desplechin, directs Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Almaric in this dark comedy. The question really is, who will give their mother the greatest gift this Noel?

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker | Danis Tanovic | Bosnia & Herzegovnia, France, Slovenia | 2013 | 75 mins
Available 25 August

A poor Roma family faces further troubles when the mother Seneda is told she needs an urgent operation after a miscarriage but they lack medical insurance and can’t afford the hospital bills. Tanovic makes use of non-professional actors who are playing out an episode from their own lives.

Caesar Must Die | Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani | Italy | 2012 | 76 mins
Available now
The latest film from the Taviani brothers, who have been making films for over 60 years, Caesar Must Die picked up the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012. The film tells the story of preparations for a performance of Julius Caesar inside a high security male prison. As Shakespeare’s play is recreated on the stage, it is also given life in the experiences and memories of the prisoners.

Elena | Andrey Zyvagintsev | Russia | 2011 | 109 mins
Available now
Elena is the dutiful housewife of Vladimir. Elena and Vladimir met later in life and both have children from previous marriages. They come from drastically different backgrounds and Elena’s marriage has brought her financial security. When Vladimir has a sudden heart attack he finds himself reunited with his estranged daughter and, in a surprise move, rewrites his will to give everything to her. Elena starts to panic for her part in the will which she has been counting on to ensure she can support her unemployed son, whom Vladimir hates. Winning the 2011 award for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, Elena is a daring film about familial ties.

How I Ended This Summer | Aleksey Popogrebskiy | Russia | 2010 | 130 mins
Available now


Existential thriller How I Ended This Summer won the BFI Film Festival Film of the Year Award in 2010. Recent graduate Pavel and seasoned meteorologist Sergei have to work at a polar station on a desolate and deserted island in the Arctic Ocean along together for several months. Almost abandoned on this remote outpost, with failing equipment and an unclear purpose paranoia and suspicion mounts, and the two start to hold important information back from each other.

In The Fog | Sergey Loznitsa | Bel, Lat, Rus, Ger, Net | 2012 | 127 mins
Available now
At the Western Frontiers of the USSR in 1942, the region is under German occupation. Sushenya, a rail worker, is arrested with a group of suspected saboteurs and is the only one that is spared from hanging. His survival draws suspicion from the resistance fighters who believe he is a traitor and plot revenge. In the continual unexpected twist of events Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances.

Le Quattro Volte | Michelangelo Frammartino | Ita, Ger, Swi | 2010 | 88 mins
Available now


Le Quattro Volte quietly tells the story of the last days of an old shepherd who lives with his goats in a medieval village in the beautiful south of Italy. The passing of time and life is told through beautiful imagery and wavering between drama and comedy.

Like Someone in Love | Abbas Kiarostami | Fra, Jap | 2012 | 109 mins
Available now
Only Kiarostami’s second film to be made outside Iran, Like Someone in Love is set in Tokyo and concerns the relationship between an elderly professor and a young prostitute over the course of a day. Though he has hired her Takeshi has no interest in sleeping with Akiko but solely in having some company. Nevertheless Akiko’s jealous boyfriend is determined to confront Takeshi.

The Missing Picture | Rithy Panh | Cambodia, France | 2013 | 92 mins
Available now
This Oscar nominated documentary explores the director’s experiences of life under the Khmer Rouge. Mixing archive footage with hand-made clay figures to recreate scenes never filmed or footage since lost, this is a deeply personal and affecting portrait of life under dictatorship.

Nostalgia for the Light | Patricio Guzmán | Chile | 2010 | 157 mins
Available now


The Atacama Desert in Chile sees two distinct groups of people searching; one is a group of astronauts looking for answers in the cosmos, the other is a group of mothers, survivors of Pinochet’s dictatorship, searching for the bodies of their loved ones who may or may not have been buried in the desert. A stunning documentary, full of hallucinatory images and rare insight.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey, Bosnia & Herzegovnia | 2011 | 157 mins
Available now
Over the course of one long night a convoy of policeman, a medical examiner and the state prosecutor escort two prisoners over the Anatolian steppes. The prisoners have confessed to murder but are reticent about giving away the location of the body. It is not clear if they are simply forgetful, lost or trying to buy themselves times. As the night wears on the mystery deepens but Ceylan’s focus is on the effects of the crime on those who surround it than with the crime itself. A masterful, entrancing film.

Silence | Pat Collins | Ireland, Germany | 2012 | 87 mins
Available now
Eoghan is a sound recordist who is tasked with recording background noise devoid of any man-made sounds. To do so he returns to rural Ireland where he grows up and travels around the countryside. Along the way he encounters others and is drawn into considering his own past: why he left and what he left behind.

Sleep Furiously | Gideon Koppel | UK | 2008 | 94 mins
Available now


Koppel’s documentary is a loving study of the small town in Ceredigion where he grew up – and where his parents found refuge from the Nazi’s in World War 2. The town is in slow decline and the instigator for the film is the closing of the local school – but Koppel finds many in the town who are still determined to revive the local economy and to preserve their hometown.

Still Walking | Hirokazu Koreeda | Japan | 2008 | 115 mins
Available now
The Yokoyama family reunite at their parents home to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son. Though the house has stayed the same since the family left home each member of the family has subtly changed. Set over the course of a single day Still Walking is a perfectly performed drama and possibly the best example of Koreeda’s remarkable ability to evoke a powerful and thought-provoking emotional reaction.

Tabu | Miguel Gomes | Portugal, Germany, Brazil, France | 2012 | 118 mins
Available now
A restless retired woman teams up with her deceased neighbor’s maid to seek out a man who has a secret connection to her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa.

Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives | Apichatpong Weeasethakul | Thailand, France, UK, Germany | 2010 |  114 mins
Available now

As he lies dying on his deathbed Uncle Bonmee relates the story of his many past lives to his loved ones. In his last days he is cared for by the ghost of his wife. A strange, wonderful and entirely original film Uncle Bonmee was the recepient of the Palme D’Or in 2010.

Unrelated | Joanna Hogg | UK | 2007 | 100 mins
Available now
Unhappily married Anna escapes on holiday with her friends, Verena and George to Tuscany. Once in Tuscany Anna chooses instead to spend most of her time with Verena and George’s teenage children. Though initially welcoming the children turn against her after a chance accident. Hogg is justly celebrated for her razor sharp depictions of the middle classes and her talents are perfectly formed in this debut feature.

The Wall | Julian Pölsler | Austria, Germany | 2012 | 108 mins
Available now
A woman is staying in a cabin in the woods with two friends. When they fail to return from a trip to town she sets out to find out where they are. Near the cabin she is stopped by an invisible wall and soon discovers she is trapped alone in the outdoors. With only her dog for company the woman must learn to fend for herself. An adaptation of Marlen Haushofer’s seminal novel.

When I Saw You | Annemarie Jacir | Palestine, Jordan, Greece, UAE | 2012 | 98 mins
Available 25 August 2014
Set in 1967 in the refugee camps in Jordan, Tarek, 11, is one of many Palestinians who have fled across the border to escape the fighting. Tarek struggles to adapt to life in the camp and longs for a way out – and to search for his father. His curiosity leads him to a group of people who are refusing to give up hope of returning home and with them Tarek finds a new purpose. An optimistic and tender coming of age story, When I Saw You has drawn rave reviews and is sure to be a hit with community cinema audiences.

Book a film.

Like Father Like Son

New on the booking scheme

A slew off new releases from Peccadillo Pictures kicks off February and in the next few months we have a selection of new (And some familiar) titles from Arrow Films.

A Magnificent Haunting | Ferzan Ozpetek | 2012 | Italy | 105 mins
Available now

After the hugely popular Loose Cannons Ferzan Ozpetek returns with another spectacular comedy. A young aspiring actor, Pietro, moves to Rome in the hope of landing a starring role. He takes a job in a bakery to support himself while he tries for auditions and when he hears of a slightly run-down apartment going for cheap he snaps it up to escape his overprotective cousin. When he arrives he finds the previous tenant too scared to come inside to collect her things – and it quickly transpires that the flat is haunted. To Pietro’s delight however, the ghost are the members of a 1940s theatrical troupe who offer to help him coach him for a forthcoming audition if he will track down their missing member.

Kuma | Umat Dag | 2012 | Austria | 93 mins
Available now

Umat Dag, a Turkish-Austrian filmmaker, presents his debut feature – a precise and illuminating depiction of an unusual marriage. Ayse a 19 year old Turkish woman is chosen to be married to Hasan, the son of Fatma and Mustafa. However when Ayse arrives in Austria where Hasan’s family live it quickly becomes apparent that she is destined to be the second wife of Mustafa, given Fatma’s ailing health. Though manipulative, Fatma, is from a villain, dedicated as she is to ensuring her husband will be cared for after her passing, and Dag takes care to ensure the audience can understand each character’s motivations.

In the Name Of… | Malgorzata Szumowska | 2013 | Poland | 102 mins
Available now

A Catholic priest, Adam, is sent to help run a halfway house in rural Poland. He turned to religion fairly late, at 21, and it seems that he, like the boys in the retreat, is running away from something. The enforced isolation, though unexplained it is clear Adam does not wish to be here, causes him to harbour thoughts of temptation. Though Adam claims that his religion has been liberating for him, it is apparent that he is also refusing to acknowledge his desires. Winner of two awards at Berlinale 2013.

Any Day Now | Travis Fine | 2012 | USA | 98 mins
Available now

A dramatisation of the landmark 1970s court case in which a homosexual couple fought for adoption rights. Alan Cumming is Rudy Donatello, a musician and drag performer who is dating Paul Feiger (Garret Dillahunt), an assistant district attorney who has only come out to Rudy. Rudy’s neighbour, Marianne a drug addict with a disabled son, is busted for possession and her son, Marco is left uncared for. Distraught that Marco is being left to fend for himself Rudy takes him in and applies for custody of the child. However when his relationship with Paul becomes known the authorities take Marco away and Rudy convinces Paul to fight for the right for gay couples to adopt children for their neighbour’s disabled son after his mother was imprisoned. Both Dillahunt and Cumming give astounding performances in Fine’s impassioned drama.

I Wish | Hirokazu Koreeda | 2011 | Japan | 128 mins
Available now

Returning to the Booking Scheme this month I Wish has already proven a hit with community cinemas. A sweet family drama, I Wish focuses on two brothers who’ve parents have split up, Koichi lives with his mother while Ryu lives with his father. The arrangement is supposed to show that the split is temporary but as months go by it begins to seen more and more permanent. Joichi and Ryu dream of getting their family back together and over the phone they hatch a plan inspired by the rumour that if you make a wish at the precise point where two of Japan’s new bullet trains pass each other at top speed the incredible energy at that point will make it come true. The only problem is getting there…

A Hijacking | Tobias Lindholm | 2013 | Denmark | 103 mins
Screen from 1 May 2014

Another familiar film – A Hijacking will be rejoining the BFFS Booking Scheme this May! Tobias Lindholm’s masterful thriller has been justly praised for its spectacular direction, strong performances and unnerving tension. Lindholm, who wrote the Oscar nominated The Hunt, meticulously researched this dramatisation of the hijacking of a Dutch cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. The attention to detail heightens our immersion and the film is riveting and suspenseful. Split between the crew held hostage on the boat and the negotiations taking place from the shipping company headquarters, A Hijacking shows the extraordinary pressures on both sides of the crisis. Pilou Asbæek and Søren Malling, stars of Borgen and frequent collaborators with Lindholm, are exceptional as the ship’s cook and the company CEO who takes on the negotiations personally respectively.

Love Is All You Need | Susanne Bier | 2012 | Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany | 116 mins
Screen from 20 April 2014

Susanne Bier’s bittersweet romantic comedy makes the most of a catalogue of problems for her leads which makes their eventual meeting all the more rewarding. Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a hairdresser who’s undergoing chemotherapy (the original Danish title was a ‘The Bald Hairdresser’) finds her husband cheating on her shortly before they are due to fly out to their daughter’s wedding. Philip (Pierce Brosnan, expertly cast) a widower and a lemon seller is similarly frustrated by life and evidently Ida and Philip are fated to meet. What makes Love Is All You Need such a joy is the rich characters, the bitter humour and terrific chemistry. 

Looking for Hortense | Pascal Bonitzer | 2012 | France | 100 mins
Screen from 10 August 2014

A droll French comedy starring Kirsten Scott Thomas and Jean-Pierre Bacri. Damien and Iva, a well-to-do Parisian couple who are nevertheless bored with each other and both considering affairs. Iva however needs to keep Damien on side at least so she can use him to acquire work papers for her relative who’s being threatened with deportation. As ever Thomas gives a fantastic performance.

Like Father, Like Son | Hirokazu Koreeda | 2013 | Japan | 121 mins
Screen from 20 October 2014

Koreeda latest film concerns two Japanese families who learn that their 6 year old sons were accidentally swapped at birth after the hospital uncovers evidence of its mistake. The two families are encouraged to spend a  period of 12 months getting to know each other before swapping their sons back. The film focuses on one of the fathers, Ryota Nonomiya, a busy architect who has raised Keita to be a hardworking, disciplined and successful child. His biological son, Ryusei has been brought up in a larger, more laid back family; poorer but happier. Ryota and the other parents worry: which child has had the better upbringing? Which child should live where? Meanwhile the boys delight in exploring new homes and new surroundings. It’s a playful and delightful film,that toys with the ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ debate and explores how the familial bond is developed.

Looking further ahead; South Korean thriller The Taste of Money is available from 1 November 2014 and daring Danish comedy Klown is available from 7 December 2014.

The films of the BFFS Conference – reactions, notes and how to screen them

The BFFS National Conference is over and what a fantastic weekend it was! As a follow-up to last week’s post about the films we were screening at the conference I’m going to take a quick look at: why we screened the films we did;  what the reactions to the films were, and booking information for those who want to screen the titles in their venue.

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How we pick the films

The films screened at the National Conference are selected to serve several purposes. On the one hand we try to preview forthcoming titles that gives community cinema programmers the opportunity to preview titles ahead of release to help with programming. We also try to highlight Booking Scheme titles – this isn’t a strict rule but for the most part we will usually screen a majority of our own titles.

Then there is the consideration of supporting the film with extra content – this might be a Q&A or a discussion – and we always provide programme notes for each film that includes detailed information about the film as well as words from the filmmakers talking about the making of the film.

Finally we try to pick films that we know are suited to the community sector and which could be overlooked otherwise. So you can always expect documentaries, independent and international cinema as well as short films.

So how did we pick this year’s titles? (click the links to view our programme notes)

Blackfish – Certainly one the year’s best documentaries, Blackfish is a devastating piece of work exposing the the inherent cruelty of keeping killer whales in captivity. It has a tremendous impact raising awareness of these animals’ plights and in engaging viewers to reconsider their views towards places like Seaworld. It has also sparked a wide debate and has seen rebuttals from Seaworld following its release, all of which have benn challenged by the filmmakers.

We were joined for this screening by Patrick Hurley, Distribution Manager at Dogwoof, for a Q&A about the reactions to the film from Seaworld, campaigning organisations and even Pixar, who have altered the plot of the forthcoming Finding Nemo sequel as a result of Blackfish.

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Gloria Gloria is the latest film to be released by Network Releasing, one of our partner distributors, and like No and Out in the Dark before it Network Releasing have made the film available to BFFS Members and Associates as part of an early release window. The screening thus helped allowed us to take advantage of this opportunity and promote it to the membership. The film was also introduced by Jaq Chell, BFFS Operations Manager.

Jaq talked about the legacy of No which we screened as a ‘secret film’ at last year’s conference. No was a huge success for BFFS and has accumulated the most bookings for any BFFS Booking Scheme title. A hugely important film that  we were thrilled to help get this film seen by new audiences. Likewise, Jaq explained the importance of Gloria both as Chilean film taking a look at contemporary life in the capital Santiago and as a film anchored around a strong female character, richly detailed and stunningly performed. The lack of strong female characters in mainstream film is well noted but Jaq reinforced the fact with a statistic that only 11% of characters in major films last year were female. It is vital then that films that do focus on independent and unique female characters are seen and that is one of the things that really drew us to Gloria. 

Like Father, Like Son – Following the success of I Wish, the most recent film from Hirokazu Kore-eda, we were excited to be able to preview another of his films to delegates. Kore-eda is one of the most consistent directors who has created a string of rich, powerful and human dramas – usually centred around the theme of family. His latest is a delightful and warm-hearted drama that has been picking up buzz since it premièred at Canned Film Festival and won the admiration of Steven Spielberg and the rest of the jury.

We were fortunate to be able to get Alexander Jacoby, a lecturer in contemporary Japanese cinema at Oxford Brookes University to give a talk covering Kore-eda’s career, comparisons with legendary filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu and Kore-eda’s perception of the modern Japanese family. In contemporary Japan families usually only have one child and there is a risk of children being withdrawn due to a lack of social interaction – apart from through technology. Kore-eda’s films, although focused on the same themes and utilising similar motifs and reference points as Ozu’s, offer their own perspective and a rejection of nostalgic perceptions of the past. Jacoby also discussed how Like Father, Like Son examines the nature of family relationships and argues that blood ties as the traditional basis of a family unit is not as important as the relationships that we build up. 

The Artist and the Model – The latest film from Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba, The Artist and the Model is a brand new release from Axiom Films and is a moving portrait of an aging sculptor drawn reinvigorated by his love of art when a fugitive from the Spanish Civil War takes refuge in his studio. It is a film that covers the great themes of life – art, love, death. It is centred on a tremendous performance from the great Jean Rochefort.

Following the film BFFS volunteer and Film Unit Acting Chair Gemma Bird led a lively discussion about the film which debated: whether the sexual content was at odds with the rest of the film; whether or not the war should have played a bigger part in the film, or if the concentration on art was more relevant; the cinematography of the film; and the nature of the characters.

Encounters Film Festival 2012 Award Winners Collection

We screened five of the short films included in this collection which covered an astonishing mix of styles and subject including stop-motion animatio in the form of the Oscar nominated Head over Heels, political satire in On This Island and a darkly humorous Icelandic short about a family evicted from their house and forced to live in a box on the roof of a tower block in When Rabbits Fly. 

Audience Reactions

For all the films screened at the National Conference we take a reaction score from the audience. We take a rating from A – E and then workout an overall percentage by scoring each rating. These are the reaction scores for this weekends films:

Blackfish – 88.6%
Encounters Short Films – 66.6%
Gloria – 69.7%
Like Father, Like Son – 88.6%
The Artist and the Model – 72.3%

All of the films received great scores with Blackfish and Like Father, Like Son sharing the highest score. The scoring categories are:
A- Excellent
B- Very Good
C- Good
D – Average
E- Poor

How to screen the films

If you are interested in screening any of these titles the booking information follows:

Blackfish

Dogwoof Popup Cinema: DCP available now | Popup@dogwoof.com | 020 7831 7252
BFFS Booking Scheme: DVD/Blu-ray (Screen from 16 November) | rich.bffs@gmail.com | 01142 210314

Gloria

Network Releasing: DCP | Martin Myers | martin@miracle63.freeserve.co.uk | 07836 360343
BFFS Booking Scheme: DVD (Screen from 22 November) | rich.bffs@gmail.com | 0114 2210314

Like Father, Like Son

Verve Pictures: DCP (on release from 18 October) |  sarah@vervepictures.co.uk | 020 7436 8001
Verve Pictures: DVD/Blu-ray (screen from January 2014) | angus@vervepictures.oc.uk | 020 7436 8001

The Artist and the Model

Axiom Films: DCP available now | Daniel@axiomfilms.co.uk | 020 7243 3111
BFFS Booking Scheme: DVD/Blu-Ray (date TBC) | rich.bffs@gmail.com | 01142 210314

Encounters Short film Collection

BFFS: DVD | rich.bffs@gmail.com | 01142 210314
More information here

A quick round-up of new titles and BFFS National Conference news

We’re all hands on deck getting prepared for the BFFS National Conference and Film Society of the Year Awards which unfortunately means I’ve been neglecting the blog a little, so in light of that, here’s a rundown of the new titles on the scheme, and a look at the films you’ll be able to preview at the National Conference. Continue reading

I Wish

New title – I Wish available April 1st

BFFS are delighted to continue bringing film society and community cinema programmers access to the fantastic and varied catalogue of Arrow Films (The Hunt, Cinema Paradiso and many more…)

The latest addition is the heart warming Japanese film I Wish

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05jKUWmgBQM?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Twelve-year-old Koichi lives with his mother and retired grandparents in Kagoshima, in the southern region of Kyushu, Japan. His younger brother Ryunosuke lives with their father in Hakata, northern Kyushu. The brothers have been separated by their parents’ divorce and Koichi’s only wish is for his family to be reunited. When he learns that a new bullet train line will soon open, linking the two towns, he starts to believe that a miracle will take place the moment these new trains first pass each other at top speed. With help from the adults around him, Koichi sets out on a journey with a group of friends, each hoping to witness a miracle that will improve their difficult lives.

I Wish is the latest film from Hirokazu Kore-eda,  the director of Nobody Knows and Still Walking.

Read the five star review from The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw

Read and download the BFFS programme notes to accompany I Wish – feel free to hand these out to your audience

Book now to screen the film from April 1st.