Streaming Japanese movies #5: Rage and Rent a Friend

Each week members of the CAMERA JAPAN team pick their favourite Japanese films to watch at home on all kinds of streaming services, both paid and for free.

Theodoor STEEN (Programmer) picks Rage (LEE Sang-il, 2016)

Rage, by famous Korean-Japanese director LEE Sang-Il (Hula Girls, Unforgiven) ask the question: who can we trust? When a murderer escapes justice, the lives of three different people (a young woman, a teenage girl and a gay man) are uprooted when a stranger arrives in their town and they fall for his charms. But which of these strangers might be the murderer?

Be warned, Rage is a very grim and harrowing feature, containing scenes of extreme (sexual) violence. But it is also a heartfelt drama about love and trust, fear and desire, that will haunt the viewer for days. Thanks to LEE Sang-il’s excellent command of style it might also be one of the most well-shot and edited films in recent memory. Highly recommended.
Click here to stream Rage on Eyelet

Lis-Britt DALKARL (Website & Newsletter Editor) picks Rent a Friend (AKIYAMA Mayu, 2018)

“Do you think men and women can be friends?” This is the question Nasa blurts out to Yanase-san, a man she meets by chance in a bar on a night out with a work colleague. She is intrigued when Yanase-san tells her about the friendship/romance switch he uses to make sure friends stay friends. The next day, her curiosity is piqued when she finds out from her colleague that Yanase-san is a rental friend. Nasa promptly signs up for a monthly contract with Yanase-san, but without telling him that she intends to write about the experience for her column in an online magazine.

A charming feature film from AKIYAMA Mayu, Rent a Friend explores honesty in relationships, whether platonic friendship or romance. The sympathetic performances by TOKUNAGA Eri and HASHIMOTO Atsushi in the lead roles with ASHINA Sumire as Nasa’s roommate are thoroughly enjoyable. A well-paced story with only a hint of slack in its compact 78 minutes, Rent a Friend is an impressive feature film debut. Even more so when I found out that AKIYAMA used up her savings and took a week off her full-time job to shoot the film!

Rent a Friend is one of twelve Japanese indie films streaming for free until the end of May at Japanese Film Festival Magazine.
Click here to stream Rent a Friend on Japanesefilmfest.org