In March, Helsinki Cine Aasia brings the best new Asian films to Helsinki for the eighth time. The festival selection includes Finnish premieres of new films from Japan, South Korea and China, among others. This year’s opening film is Balloon (2019) from Tibet.

The festival’s guest of honour this year is the Japanese director Amano Chihiro. She will present her film Mrs. Noisy (Misesu Noijii, 2019). The comedy-drama, which premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival last October, tells on a story common to our age: how the lives of regular people turn into internet memes and social media sensation. A small dispute between a writer who has just moved into a new home and her neighbor leads to a conflict and ignites a series of unexpected events. The lives of both women are changed drastically when they are faced with wide-scale public ridicule. Lead actress Shinohara Yukiko received an award for her performance at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Macao this January.

As a Japanese female film director, Amano Chihiro (b. 1982) is one of few. Traditionally there have not been many female filmmakers in Japan, but in recent years their profile has risen. Amano has been making films since 2009. Her input includes several short, middle-length and feature films.

She has stated that she is proceeding to get ahead in the Japanese film industry also in order to pave the way for more female filmmakers. In her films, Amano has shared the stories of women as well as young people and queer people. Her best-known films are No Touching at All (Doushitemo furetakunai, 2014), based on a yaoi manga, and Leap Year Girl (Uruudoshi no shoujo, 2015) which depicts the pressures young adult women have to succeed in life.

Obayashi’s fantastic journey into the history of Japan and its cinema
also screening at Helsinki Cine Aasia is Labyrinth of Cinema (Umibe no Eigakan – Kinema no Tamatebako, 2019), the latest film from legendary Japanese filmmaker Obayashi Nobuhiko. The epic bears a pacifistic message while depicting Japan’s war history through films. The stunningly visual and energetic journey dives into different eras in history as well as the developmental stages of Japanese cinema and its genres. Still making films at the respectable age of 82, Obayashi is famous for his imaginative and unique cinematic expression, which combines inventive techniques with swift storytelling and grand emotions.

The full Helsinki Cine Aasia 2020 programme, including all eighteen films and topical discussions related to the themes of the films, will be announced on Tuesday, February 25th. The festival venues are Korjaamo Kino, Cinema Orion and Kino Regina. Ticket sales begin on Thursday, February 27th.

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