The Osaka Asian Film Festival has unveiled its biggest ever program – a total of 76 films – to unspool next month (March 10-20, 2022).
Its competition section includes the acclaimed Korean debut film “Aloners,” which offers an exacting critique of the alienating effects upon life of modern capitalist economies; Hong Kong biopic “Anita”; the world premiere of “Angry Son,” which combines LGBT and mixed race themes in a heartwarming comedy; Kong Dashan’s new take on “Journey to the West,” as a ragtag group of people on a UFO hunt; “Mama’s Affair,” the second film by Kearen Pang, whose 2017 debut “29+1” won Osaka’s audience award, “No Land’s Man” from Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and festival circuit hit “Barbarian Invasion.”
The spotlight section includes ten titles. Among them are “The Ground Beneath her Feet” from Bangladesh’s Mohammad Rabby Mridha; “A Room of Her own” from China’s Xie Yiran; and Carlo Francisco Manatad’s “Whether the Weather is Fine.”
The largest component section is the twenty-title Indie Forum, a platform for Japanese indie films that allow the winner to claim the Japan Cuts Award.
Continuing the Japanese theme, the festival highlights up-and-coming director, Higashi Kahori and features Yokohama Satoko. The woman director last year won the Grand Prix and the audience award at Osaka with “Ito.” The showcase includes her works, a mixture of early shorts, TV episodes and features.
The festival previously announced Zhang Lu’s “Yanagawa” as its opening film and mystery-drama “Miss Osaka,” from Scandinavia’s Daniel Dencik as its closing title. “Miss Osaka” was filmed in Norway and Japan, with a mixed cast led Danish actress Victoria Carmen Sonne and a Japanese cast that includes Moriyama Mirai, Abe Junko, and Minami Kaho.
The festival aims to be held as an in-person event. Nevertheless, it is choosing to go hybrid with a ten-film online section that runs ahead of the festival’s physical launch. The all-Japanese selection is drawn from the previous editions of the Osaka Asian Film Festival and will be available worldwide. The opening film, on March 3, 2022, is “Torso,” directed by Yamazaki Yutaka and starring Watanabe Makiko and Ando Sakura.