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Yasujiro Ozu & BFI Japan 2020 (feat. Alexander Jacoby) – The Movie Robcast

Yoko Tsukasa in Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Autumn (1960)

Welcome to this bonus episode of The Movie Robcast. The BFI Player Japan 2020 season continues in June with a collection dedicated to Yasujiro Ozu, joining fantastic collections on Akira Kurosawa and Classic Japanese movies.

We had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Alexander Jacoby about Yasujiro Ozu and why the director is so important to Japanese cinema. An expert on Japan and Japanese film, Alex conveys why the director’s films remain enjoyable, accessible and continue to dazzle today.

The BFI Player collection includes the numerous masterworks Ozu made, including Early Spring, his final movie An Autumn Afternoon and his most famous film, Tokyo Story.

This episode is a cut down of a longer interview...

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Family Matters – Alexander Jacoby Discusses Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu on set

The BFI Player Japan 2020 season continues in June with a collection dedicated to Yasujiro Ozu, joining fantastic collections on Akira Kurosawa and Classic Japanese movies.

A giant of Japanese cinema, Ozu made 54 films before succumbing to cancer on his 60th birthday in 1963. The BFI Player collection will feature 25 of the 36 surviving Ozu movies, by far the most that have been made available on VOD.

The collection includes the numerous masterworks Ozu made, including Early Spring, his final movie An Autumn Afternoon and his most famous film, Tokyo Story. The latter has appeared in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s Greatest Films of All Time polls since 1992. In 2012 it placed no...

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Hidden Stains – Jon Knautz Talks The Cleaning Lady

His 2007 feature debut may have been titled Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, but writer/director Jon Knautz has become a filmmaker notable for movies providing women with complex, meaty roles. Sure, the films he directs and co-writes swim in the more shadowy side of the lake, but works such as The Shrine, Girlhouse and Goddess of Love are notable for their compelling female leads and character driven stories.

This also applies to The Cleaning Lady, Knautz’s latest movie, co-created with regular collaborator Alexis Kendra. As well as performing co-writing and producing duties, Kendra also stars as Alice, a “love addict” feeling trapped in a joyless affair with a married man. To distract herself from this, Alice befriends Rachel Alig’s shy Shelley, the cleaning lady in her building...

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Dark Alchemy – Sam Ashurst Talks Frankenstein’s Creature

 

Perhaps the most unusual film playing at FrightFest 2018 is Sam Ashurst’s singular directorial debut, Frankenstein’s Creature. Based on a one-man play by the film’s star James Swanton, it is a breathtaking experience.

Set in the ruins of an unnamed house and shot in a single, fixed take, this is the Frankenstein story as told exclusively from the Creature’s point of view.

Ashurst was good enough to give up a chunk of one Saturday afternoon to discuss his memorable creation. Being a working film critic, this meant a conversation steeped in movie knowledge. And if you like the below, we recommend you check out the Arrow Video podcast the director co-hosts with special effects artist Dan Martin.

It was a lengthy, rewarding conversation, ranging from the practicalities of shooting l...

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Ranger Danger – Jenn Wexler On Creating Horror’s New Bad Boy

Currently making an impact on the festival circuit, Jenn Wexler’s The Ranger is a horror home-run. When a gang of punks run foul of the law they flee to a cabin in the nearby woods. But soon discover the laws of nature are governed by a terrifying park ranger with a lethal zero tolerance policy on infractions.

Deftly working in elements of Green Room, The Blair Witch Project and Friday the 13th, it rises above mere pastiche due to Wexler’s deft direction and great performances from Chloe Levine as the troubled Chelsea and Jeremy Holm, larger than life as the titular park official.

A horror movie producer for Glass Eye Pix, The Ranger is Wexler’s directorial debut...

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Lean, Green Thrilling Machine – Jeremy Saulnier talks Green Room

Jeremy-Saulnier-directs-Green-Room

Channelling the same sweaty-palmed tension, blood black humour and savage brilliance of Night of the Living Dead, Straw Dogs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Assault on Precinct 13 (phew!), Green Room is writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s tour-de-force follow-up to his first rate first movie, Blue Ruin.

Starring Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots (who previously appeared together in the aptly named Fright Night), a punk band find themselves in serious trouble when falling foul of a gang of right Nazi pieces of work, led by Patrick Stewart on masterful, chillingly dead-eyed form.

Saulnier reveals secrets behind shooting and casting this brutal must-see movie, and provides tantalising hints of what’s up next…

How did you get Patrick Stewart to play a neo-Nazi psychopath?

He’s up for an a...

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Mei Leng Yew talks Safiyah Flies Across The Ocean

Mei-Leng-Yew-interview---Safiyah-Flies-Across-The-OceanAs movie lengths grow ever longer and more arduous, the short film continues to prove good things often come in small packages.

One such good thing is Safiyah Flies Across The Ocean, a touching story set in 2011 about a young British-Egyptian girl waiting to hear news from her father who is caught up far away in the Arab Spring. Deciding that her mum is standing in the way of her reuniting with her dad, Safiyah decides to embark upon a journey to find him.

A children’s adventure story and quietly powerful political drama, in 13 brief minutes it packs in more character, emotion, magic and wonder than most blockbusters do in ten times that duration.

Earlier this year we caught up with the film’s writer Mei Leng Yew to discuss what drew her to the subject and how this gem came to be.

Ele...

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Brad Pitt and David Ayer Talk Fury

Fury Press Conference - Brad Pitt, David Ayer, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, John BernthalDepicting the last just war as a hellish landscape of body parts and impossible moral quandaries, Fury is a potent mix of a guys on a mission movie shot with a modern viewpoint. War’s brutalising effects, the atrocities the Nazi regime inflicted upon its own people and heart-in-throat battle sequences are shown with raw immediacy putting you inside the eponymous Sherman as the shells fly.

Closing the 2014 London Film Festival, the film was joined by its director David Ayer, plus cast members Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, John Bernthal and Logan Lerman. At the film’s press conference they spoke eloquently and informatively about bringing to the screen a memorable portrayal of conflict in the final days of World War 2.

Questions were asked by the moderator and journalists from a...

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Mizuho Nishikubo talks Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni's Island - Junpei, KantaTwo brothers’ experiences on an island off the North tip of Japan in the year’s after World War 2 form the core of Mizuho Nishikubo’s Giovanni’s Island. When the Soviet army lay claim to the island of Shitokan, Junpei and Kanta find themselves forced to share their home with a Soviet family and their school with Soviet children before seismic decisions jeopardise the fragile peace and send the boys on a terrifying journey.

We caught up with director Nishikubo and associate producer Francesco Prandoni to discuss the film.

Mr. Nishikubo, this is your first film in five years. How did it come about?

Mizuho Nishikubo: Giovanni’s Island’s writer, Shigemichi Sugita, told me he had come across an interesting, or not interesting maybe I should say unusual war story that he wanted to...

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Benedict Cumberbatch on playing The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - posterBased on the life of British mathematical genius Alan Turing, The Imitation Game was a fine choice to open the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Leading the team at Bletchley Park who cracked the Nazi Enigma code machine, Turing was also the father of modern computing and without his work you may not actually have the PC, tablet or phone upon which you’re reading this.

But, Turing’s life was beset by secrets, including his homosexuality which he was forced to conceal during a period in British history when discovery brought harsh jail sentences or damaging experimental drug treatments.

The Imitation Game delves into Turing’s work during World War 2, an unhappy childhood at an exclusive public school and a scandal in the early 50s that saw Turing arrested for gross indecency and was only r...

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