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  • World Premiere


The Asian Angel


Director: ISHII Yuya (石井裕也)

2021|Japan|128min|Language: Japanese, Korean, English|Subtitles: English, Japanese

Date Time Venue
3/14 Sun 17:10 ABC Hall 《Closing》
The Asian Angel
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IKEMATSU Sosuke (池松壮亮)
ODAGIRI Joe (オダギリジョー)
KIM Min-jae
KIM Yae-eun

Following the death of his wife, young novelist AOKI Takeshi (IKEMATSU Sosuke) has been raising his eight-year-old son Manabu alone. He quits Japan with his boy and travels to Seoul hoping to stay with his estranged older brother Toru (ODAGIRI Joe) but what he discovers is that his brother's life is nothing like he was told as the man struggles to make a living importing dubious cosmetics. In a foreign land and barely able to speak the language, when Toru’s business partner disappears on him, Takeshi must step up and help his brother in another scheme somewhere in the countryside.

Meanwhile, a struggling singer named CHOI Seol (Moon CHOI) is embroiled in a relationship with the controlling president of her talent agency. With no parents to call on and an older brother and younger sister to support, Seol submits to the pressure her label puts her under to perform what they tell her but when she is dropped by them and dumped by her lover she loses her purpose in life. Cast adrift, she heads to her family home in the countryside and this is when she fatefully meets Takeshi…

In this film, where there are various divisions between people, the story places characters who share their pain together to create a new type of “Asian Family Movie” that will illuminate a new era.

About the cast and crew

“The Asian Angel” is an original film by writer/director ISHII Yuya, a young talent who rose to prominence with his hit 2013 film “The Great Passage” (舟を編む) which netted him a number of Best Director accolades, including one at the 2013 Japanese Academy Awards. His global reputation rose further with “The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue” (映画 夜空はいつでも最高密度の青色だ/2017) for which he was given Best Director at the 2018 Asian Film Awards. “The Asian Angel” was shot entirely in Korea with a cast and staff that was 95% Korean.

Taking the lead role is Japanese actor IKEMATSU Sosuke, a young talent who has worked with influential directors like KORE-EDA Hirokazu (是枝裕和), TSUKAMOTO Shinya (塚本晋也) and also ISHII, appearing in a number of his films including “The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue”. The lead female role was taken by Korean star Moon CHOI, a popular actress who came to prominence for her award-winning performance in “Anarchist from Colony” (2017: OAFF 2018 Opening Work), and “Our Body” (2018: screened at OAFF 2019). They are joined by veteran actor ODAGIRI Joe who appeared in “The Great Passage” and who has collaborated with Korean filmmakers such as KIM Ki-duk and KANG Je-kyu. The South Korean crew includes Director of Photography KIM Jong-sun, whose work includes “Alive” (2014) while the music is by PARK In-young, whose scores include “Pieta” (2014).

Filming took place from February to March last year and ISHII has commented how they were able to miraculously complete the shoot safely despite the issues presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Distributor in Japan


Moon CHOI (Cast)

Moon CHOI (Cast)

Director ISHII Yuya Stage Greeting

Director ISHII Yuya (石井裕也) gave a stage greeting before the World Premiere of the festival’s closing film "The Asian Angel" and explained how he came to make it, revealing that he and Korean director PARK Jung-bom (“The Journals of Musan”) met at the Busan International Film Festival in 2014 and they got along well together leading to PARK then joining as a producer for “The Asian Angel.” The film was shot entirely on location in South Korea and sequences in the film show the Korean food culture of having fun while eating and drinking as well as the closeness between people. ISHII stated, "I made this film with the hope that we could come together and create free human relationships and a community despite our different languages and nationalities. We live in a world of inconvenience and suffocation, but I am proud to have made a film which suits the era we are currently living in. I hope you will enjoy it."

KATSURA Saaya, ABC TV Announcer

Director ISHII Yuya

Moon CHOI, who appeared in the film, made the following comments in a video message. ““The Asian Angel" is a film depicting the journey of becoming a family across countries, and I thought its theme was similar to the Osaka Asian Film Festival, which is held every year as a bridge to connect Asia through films. Personally, this is a very meaningful and special film festival for me as my latest films have been screened there every year since "Anarchist from the Colony" in 2018.

For two months, director ISHII Yuya, IKEMATSU Sosuke (池松壮亮), ODAGIRI Joe (オダギリジョー), and Korean actors and staff were working together, eating the same Korean food, breathing the same air, watching the same sea, and creating a film with one heart. I hope that our thoughts and feelings will be conveyed to everyone who sees this film. "