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The Podcast

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A regular magazine programme about East Asian film, with the latest news, reviews and interviews


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A regular magazine programme about East Asian film, with the latest news, reviews and interviews






Episode 54 - easternKicks Picks for December

James and Andy curate a selection of new and recent releases from streaming platforms, cinema and more. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:19 - Introduction 02:29 - Streaming picks... 03:43 - Netflix, including Sweet Home Season 2, Believer 2 and Hard Days 16:27 - Amazon Prime, including Ashiap Man, The Family, Kwaidan and Third Window 24:08 - Cinema picks, including Godzilla Minus One, Yoshiki: Under The Sky and Raging Grace 21:52 - Outro


Episode 53 - easternKicks Picks for November

In the first of a new format, James and Andy curate a selection of new and recent releases from streaming platforms, cinema and festivals. Plus Andy catches up with Geran and Walid director Areel Abu Bakar in trendy Hackney Wick. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:19 - Introduction 00:02:36 - But first, what easternKicks Picks IS, and what it ISN'T 00:06:24 - Streaming picks, including Ballerina, Yellow Door 90’s Lo-Fi Film Club and In my Mother’s Skin. 00:39:44 - Cinema picks, including Back Home, Past lives and Where the Wind Blows. 00:46:49 - Areel Abu Bakar interview 01:03:16 - Festival roundup, including BFI London Film Festival and London Korean Film Festival. 01:21:52 - Outro


Episode 52 - Halloween Special: Visible Secret

James and Andy look back on Ann Hui's unsung ghost comedy Visible Secret, newly released by Radiance Films and screening in London, as well as more Hong Kong horror in the form of new cinema release Back Home. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:35 - Introduction 01:38 - Visible Secret introduction 06:40 - Great talent in front and behind the camera 14:09 - The plot 16:57 - Lost in the crowd - why was it overlooked? 36:20 - Back Home 44:51 - Outro


Episode 51 - A Tokyo Melody: Remembering Ryuichi Sakamoto

This episode Colette Balmain joins James and Andy to chat about Tokyo Melody, a 1985 documentary that recently resurfaced at Japan Cuts 2023 about Ryuichi Sakamoto, and to chat about the great musician, innovator and composer's legacy. Yonah Sichrovsky speaks to the film’s director Elizabeth Lennard. Meanwhile, Frank Djeng, king of audio commentaries, shares his thoughts on Sakamoto. Plus we have the return of the easternKicks picks! All in this bumper-packed show! This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:02:09 - We discuss Tokyo Melody 00:16:30 - Yonah chats to Elizabeth Lennard 00:40:28 - Sakamoto's legacy 00:52:33 - Frank Djeng remembers Sakamoto 00:56:19 - Sakamoto's legacy continued 01:07:20 - easternKicks picks 01:22:48 - Outro


Episode 50 - Focus Hong Kong, Summer 2023

This episode James and Andy introduce the lineup for two summer events for new-ish UK festival Focus Hong Kong, curated by some rather familiar names. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:32 - Introduction 01:42 - What is Focus Hong Kong? The full disclosure... 04:55 - Memories to Choke On, Drinks to Wash Them Down 11:16 - Made in Hong Kong 15:58 - Where the Wind Blows 21:44 - A Guilty Conscience 24:43 - Let it Ghost 27:53 - Nomad (Leslie Cheung) 36:26 - Outro You can see the full details for Focus Hong Kong on the official website:


Episode 49 - Mikhail Red interview / Deleter

Andy chats to Filipino filmmaker Mikhail Red while at Udine Far East Film Festival, while James and Andy take a trip through highlights of his career so far and the latest hit starring Nadine Lustre, DELETER. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:33 - Introduction 02:13 - Career highlights 13:28 - Deleter 26:58 - Andy chats with Mikhail Red 54:27 - Outro Deleter had its International Festival Premiere at 25th Far East Film Festival 2023. You can find the EXCLUSIVE shots from Red's next film Friendly Fire here.


Episode 48 - Mark Dacascos interview / Brotherhood of the Wolf

This episode Andy and James are joined by Yonah Sichrovsky to chat about Brotherhood of the Wolf, returning to home media in a new 4K restoration. Yonah also chats to star Mark Dacascos himself about the film, appearing in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Iron Chef! This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:33 - Introduction 00:02:09 - Highlights from Mark Dacascos's career 00:07:00 - Crying Freeman - Christophe Gans and Dacascos's first collab 00:12:37 - Brotherhood of the Wolf 00:47:46 - Yonah chats to Mark Dacascos 01:05:10 - Outro Brotherhood of the Wolf is released on UHD, Blu-Ray and DVD from 15th May by Studiocanal.


Episode 47 - Calamity of Snakes special

Oh, the Calamity! The Calamity of Snakes! Andy and James discuss the controversial exploitation flick, released by Unearthed Films in a glorious 2K restoration, and wonder... just where is the fourth floor? Listen in if you dare, but don't get too distracted knitting. That might not be a bundle of wool... This episode’s handy timecodes 00:33 - Introduction 02:53 - The new restoration 11:24 - Background to the production and cast 15:55 - The "plot"!!! 18:10 - The missing floor mystery 19:39 - Snake carnage 22:28 - Context and style 32:01 - The unavoidable bad side 44:06 - Outro Calamity of Snakes is released on Blu-Ray and DVD from April 25th by Unearthed Films


Episode 46 - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom special

This episode Kay Hoddy chats to the director of 2022 Oscar nominated Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Pawo Choyning Dorji. Meanwhile, James gives us a rundown of recent releases on the streaming platforms. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:33 - Introduction 00:01:58 - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom intro 00:05:46 - Pawo Choyning Dorji interview 00:34:25 - Review of the film 00:45:07 - James Mudge's streaming roundup 01:12:37 - Outro Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is released in UK cinemas from 10th March by Peccadillo Pictures.


Episode 45: The Horror of Junji Ito

With the new series Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre debuting on Netflix, James and Andy are joined by self-confessed Ito fans Colette Balmain and Niina Doherty to chat about his works and how they've been adapted to film and television over the years. Has anyone done him justice...? This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:33 - Introduction 00:01:37 - Junji Ito in context 00:10:46 - Early adaptions 00:12:34 - Tomie film and TV series 00:34:12 - Uzumaki (2000) 00:40:05 - Other adaption in early 2000s 00:44:22 - Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack (2012) 01:47:37 - Junji Ito Collection (2018) and Junji Ito Maniac (2023) 01:00:50 - Uzumaki, Tomie and other potential adaptions 01:13:55 - Outro Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre is streaming now on Netflix.


Episode 44: the End of Year Show 2022

It's time for the End of Year Show! James and Andy look back on 2022, the highs and lows. Did anything change for Asian film? What were the big releases and trends? Will there be ranting about that certain recent survey? There's only one way to find out: listen!!! This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:01:53 - What were the big releases? 00:08:25 - Decision to Leave, innit? 00:25:16 - Other key cinema releases 00:41:37 - Trends, what have we seen from different countries 00:50:22 - The home entertainment renaissance 00:47:46 - Legacy and influence 01:01:45 - The Sight and Sound '100 Greatest Films of All Time' 01:26:35 - Takeaways from 2022? 01:32:36 - The end of the End of the Year Show!


Episode 43: Infernal Affairs 20th Anniversary Special

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of its original release, Stephen Palmer joins Andy and James to discuss the Infernal Affairs Trilogy starring Tony Leung and Andy Lau. Meanwhile, Phillip O'Connor shares his thoughts on the inevitable fates of our protagonists. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:03:00 - Context and concept 00:08:25 - Creative team 00:11:50 - Infernal Affairs 00:25:19 - Infernal Affairs II 00:40:29 - Infernal Affairs III 00:47:46 - Legacy and influence 00:51:53 - Phillip on the inevitability of fate 01:05:42 - The Departed 01:18:09 - Conclusions 01:23:39 - Outro The Infernal Affairs Trilogy is available now on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.


Episode 42: London Film Festival roundup

James and Andy take a look at Asian films screening at the 66th BFI London Film Festival 2022, and Andy chats to the director of Liquor Store Dreams, So Yun Um. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:32 - Episode introduction 00:01:27 - On to the festival, and the many films from Korea (?) 00:18:14 - So Yun Um interview, Liquor Store Dreams 00:37:18 - Films from Japan 00:39:09 - Films from Thailand and beyond, plus documentaries and more 00:52:25 - Thoughts on the festival 01:06:07 - Outro The BFI London Film Festival 2022 takes place from 5th to 16 October. See the official site for listings.

Episode 41: Happy Anniversary, Squid Game?

On the first anniversary of the show debuting on Netflix and with a big win at the Emmys, we look back at the impact of Squid Game and ask what it really means for the future of both the creators and cast, and Korean film and TV in general... This episode’s handy timecodes 00:32 - Episode introduction 02:13 - For those that missed it...(what?) 14:02 - The success of the show, and creators and cast 26:40 - What does that mean for other shows? 44:57 - Wrapping up 48:37 - Outro

Episode 40: Making Waves

James and Andy chat exclusively about Focus Hong Kong's Making Waves, a Hong Kong screening programme coming to London from 8 to 10 July. Full disclaimer, they might have had something to do with it... This episode’s handy timecodes 00:31 - Episode introduction 01:43 - An introduction to Focus Hong Kong 05:00 - The Making Waves programme 06:19 - Comrades, Almost A Love Story and Peter Chan holo-presence 13:41 - July Rhapsody 18:32 - Anita 22:34 - Hand Rolled Cigarette 24:51 - Breakout Brothers 26:48 - The First Girl I Loved 28:24 - Tales from the Occult 35:43 - Outro Making Waves takes place at the Soho Hotel and Garden Cinema from 8th to 100th July. Check the website for more details.


Episode 39 - The Sadness special

To celebrate the global release of gruesome horror The Sadness on Shudder, James and Andy chat through the film, with an exclusive interview with the films director, Rob Jabbaz. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:31 - Episode introduction 01:54 - The Sadness, a quick explainer 08:39 - Rob Jabbaz interview 28:11 - Reactions to the interview 34:52 - easternKicks Picks! 42:40 - Outro The Sadness is available to exclusively stream on Shudder from 12th May.


Episode 38 – Spotlight on... Zatoichi

This time Jonathan Wroot, senior lecturer in film studies, joins James and Andy to chat in detail about the topic of his new book, Zatoichi! As well as the various influences and successors. And yes, we chat Rutger Hauer too! This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:44 - Episode introduction 00:02:12 - Before we start, how did our guest get into Asian film? 00:06:05 - Kitano's Zatoichi, was it a remake? 00:13:10 - Let's go back to the start 00:17:08 - How star Shintaro Katsu's previous work fed into the film series 00:20:22 - Zatoichi begins 00:25:05 - A minor diversion on Shintaro Katsu's brother 00:29:09 - Something for everyone, the Daiei way 00:30:23 - How wacky did the films get? 00:32:46 - Are there roots to disabled swordsmen? 00:38:14 - The Marvel connection 00:40:45 - Good ol' Westerns 00:45:34 - Zatoichi The Last 00:47:54 - The female versions 00:52:13 - Let's talk about Rutger (and other influences) 01:07:26 - Recommendations on where to start 01:15:43 - Outro Jonathan's book, The Paths of Zatoichi, is available now from Use discount code LXFANDF30 and get 30% off! Music played on the show: Zatoichi’s Lullaby, sung by Shintaro Katsu. The most commonly known version of the Zatoichi theme song, which first turned up in Zatoichi and the Fugitives (#18). Festivo – the musical number from the end of Zatoichi 2003, written and composed by Keiichi Suzuki.


Episode 37 – The Long Walk special

Seriously cutting into their Giallo viewing time, James and Andy chat to Laos film director Mattie Do and her other 'alf, screenwriter Christoper Larsen in detail about their superb genre-crossing sci-fi horror, The Long Walk and much more. This episode’s handy timecodes 00:00:31 – Episode introduction 00:02:16 – Interview with Mattie Do and Chris Larsen 00:52:32 – The easternKicks take on The Long Walk 01:08:05 – Outro The Long Walk is available on digital now via Light Bulb Film Distribution in the UK, and Yellow Veil Pictures in the US.


Episode 36 - The End of the Year Show

This episode is a real meeting of minds, as Panos Kotzathanasis of Asian Movie Pulse joins James and Andy to chat about the trends and topics of the year, all bizarrely summed up by titles of soul and funk songs (?) Meanwhile easternKicks regulars Niina and Theo share thoughts on their favourite films of the year. This episode's handy timecodes 00:00:44 – Episode introduction 00:02:39 – What's in Santa's hat (don't ask!) 00:03:33 – Smoke.Netflix.Chill 00:18:26 – (Get on the) Partyline 00:34:55 – Niina on Howling Village 00:37:43 – Sitting in Limbo 00:45:07 – East West Shuffle 00:53:54 – Theme For "Five Fingers Of Death" 01:05:03 – Spice Of Life (Oh Yes, You're the Best) 01:06:21 – Theo on Drive My Car 01:19:56 – Outro


Episode 35 – All Aboard... for Hellbound!

Is this deja vu? A Korean streaming series taking Netflix by storm. No, it's not Squid Game, but Train To Busan director Yeon Sang-ho's Hellbound. James and Andy chat about the series and wonder, will there be another? Meanwhile James has some more easternKicks picks. This episode's handy timecodes 00:00:44 - Episode introduction 00:02:28 - Putting Hellbound in context 00:07:52 - A brief synopsis 00:11:29 - How it fits with Yeon's other work 00:22:29 - Just what are the demons? 00:24:12 - Comparison with Yeon original Jiok/The Hell animations 00:29:50 - Ah man, more 'VIPs'? 00:31:17 - Other throwaway elements (or are they?) 00:33:43 - On the cast (and casting choices) 00:37:05 - Will there be more? 00:46:06 - Other Korean series making waves 00:55:05 - easternKicks picks 01:07:52 - Outro