[ REVIEW ]

 

 

Hatsu-koi (Gay First Love) (2007)

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[World/New Zealand Premiere] Out Takes 2007 (NEW ZEALAND, 2007.05.24-06.13)
[Asian/South Korea Premiere] Seoul LGBT Film Festival (KOREA, 2007.06.06-10)
[Japan Premiere] Kansai Queer Film Festival (JAPAN, 2007.07.20-24)
Latitude☆P (JAPAN, 2007.07.29)
AQFF FUKUOKA (JAPAN, 2007.08.23-9.17)
[Southeast Asian/Indonesia Premiere] Q! Film Festival Jakarta (INDONESIA, 2007.08.24-09.02)
Q! Film Festival Bali (INDONESIA, 2007.09.06-08)
CINEMA ARTONE SHIMOKITAZAWA (JAPAN, 2007.10.20-11.02)
[South America/Brazil Premiere] Festival Mix Brasil de Cinema e Video da Diversidade Sexual (BRASIL, 2007.11.12-12.23)
[Hong Kong Premiere] Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (HONG KONG, 2007.11.22-12.02)
art space ABURAGAME (Okayama, JAPAN, 2007.12.08-09)
InD Blue presents "First Love of The Happy Prince" (HONG KONG, 2007.12.14-16, 12/29-31)
[European/Germany Premiere] Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (GERMANY, 2008.02.07-17)
[Australia Premiere] Mardi Gras Film festival (AUSTRALIA, 2008.02.14-28)
Q! Film Festival Bandung (INDONESIA, 2008.02.27-03.02)
NETY (ueno/Tokyo, JAPAN, 2008.03.1-31)
PLANET PLUS ONE (Osaka, JAPAN, 2008.03.22-04.04)
[Netherlands Premiere] CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS, 2008.04.02-20)
Q! Film Festival Jogjakarta (INDONESIA, 2008.04.20-26)
[Greek Premiere] Athens International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (GREECE, 2008.05.23-27)
[Hungary Premiere] Hungarian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival (HUNGARY, 2008.07.02-06)
Kagawa Rainbow Film Festival (takamatu/Kagawa, JAPAN, 2008.09.14)
[Uruguay Premiere] Llamale H - Uruguay International Film Festival of Sexual and Gender Diversity (URUGUAY, 2008.09.05-11)
[Portugal Premiere] The 12th Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (PORTUGAL, 2008.09.19-27)
[Romania Premiere] "Gay Film Nights" - Gay & Lesbian Festival Cluj-Napoca, Romania Be An Angel (ROMANIA, 2008.10.13-19)
Tama Art University (Tokyo, JAPAN, 2008.10.15)
[Spain Premiere] The XXIX Mostra de Valencia (SPAIN, 2008.10.14-22)
Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (SPAIN, 2008.10.16-25)
Brasilia International Film Festival (BRAZIL, 2008.10.29-11.09)
Asian Hot Shots Berlin (GERMANY, 2009.01.13-18)
SHIP (Yokohama, JAPAN, 2009.02.21-22, 28)
Beijing Queer Film Festival (Beijing, CHINA, 2009.06.17-21)
Koganecho Film Festival (Yokohama, JAPAN, 2009.09.18-23)
Meiji Gakuin University (Tokyo, JAPAN, 2009.10.16)
The 1st InDBear International Film Festival (HONG KONG, 2010.06.12-07.01)
 



No matter the age, falling in love remains always a first time. But the very first time, this shows Hatsu-koi realistically in a fresh and unpretentious way, is especially full of traps and insecurities and might imprint the pattern for life: it is alike exiting and dangerous. The adventures of young Tadashi is of global validity, touching themes like mobbing, homo marriage and different shades of sexual behaviour, with the specific taste of today''s Japanese environment young gay people find themselves in.
Wieland Speck, director of Panorama, Berlin International Film Festival


Hatsu-koi is a sweet gentle film about coming of age in the contemporary world of Japan. Sensitive yet melancholic, the film takes us on a joyride. It reminds us on how pure it is to be in love again and make us look back to our own first love experience. the docu-drama style is engaging but the Imaizumi Koichi adds some comic funny moments to lighten up the story. The camera work works on a manga style approach that brings on some delights.
John Badalu, Director of Q! Film Festival in Indonesia


Do you remember the taste of first love? Do you remember how simple love should be? Hatsu-koi is a lovely, funny and romantic love story among boys. It reminds us how sweet and unforgettable first love is. No matter what kind of love you are looking for, Hatsu-koi tells you love is actually all around us. All you have to do is believe in love and you will come across your real lover someday. With a living and meaningful script, Imaizumi Koichi once again proved his talent in scriptwriting and filmmaking. Pay attention to the young actor, Murakami Hiroshi, who has a brilliant performance in this growing-up story.
Jonathan HUNG, Director of In D Blue in Hong Kong


Kawaii. Everything about Hatsu-koi starting with its main actor is kawaii. The boy''s infatuation with plastic robots, his love for robot literature and his schoolboy-like expression when he finds himself in a robot toy store are all cute. Rare, yet innovative cuts (from 1st person POV to 3rd person POV) also contribute to this theme of cuteness. It will be quite easy for both cinephiles and filmmakers to fall in love with director-producer team''s Koichi + Hiroki lastest work. They might also find themselves leaving the theater with a sudden interest in plastic robots.
Josh KIM, Korean Filmmaker


Imaizumi Koichi is a good-looking man. In fact, he''s so photogenic, and has such a strong presence, that I asked him to be in my dance performance ''The Middle of the World'' in March 2000. It was 1999, when I was the director of the Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, that he made his first film Angel in the Toilet. Seeing a new talent grow as a filmmaker - a filmmaker firmly based in Tokyo''s gay community who christened all his new films at the TILGFF and gained a larger audience each time - was a huge reward for the festival staff. Imagine my surprise, then, when he found talent even more photogenic than himself for his latest film Hatsu-koi Imaizumi''s pop, sexy camera shots deliciously portray the youthful beauty of his new star. There''s no doubt that people around the world will fall in love with these photogenes when the film comes to a theatre near you very soon!
Kawaguchi Takao, Dancer/Choreographer, Former director of the TILGFF


Imaizumi Koichi makes films with an unusual flavour. His cooking method is simple, but his ingredients - his values, worldview and a unique sense of rhythm - produce exotic results, even when roughly chopped. I call this flavour the Habakari Spice. Once you taste it you will never forget it, and it''s even habit-forming. From its plot to its characters, Imaizumi''s latest film Hatsu-koi is full of this wonderful flavour!
Otsuka Takashi, Artist


It was when I watched Imaizumi''s debut film Angel in the Toilet that I fell in love with him. He himself was in the film as the angel, and I fell in love with his eyes - sad, even frightened, but there was this little light of mischief twinkling in the back of them. Those eyes were of a film director. In his second film, Naughty Boys, he became a cupid who gleefully manipulated a set of star-crossed gay lovers. His eyes were those of a mischievous child. This balance between comical and cynical had become his signature style. Imaizumi''s latest film Hatsu-koi shows yet another kind of light in his eyes, one that is different from before. The new light is like the gentle rays of the spring sun. The film''s last scene celebrates the union of two gay men in the spring sunlight, but the mischievous sparkle of Imaizumi''s gaze from behind the camera was unmistakably there. Captured by those eyes, I fell in love with Imaizumi Koichi all over again.
Margarette aka Ogura Toh, Editor/Writer


Being honest to myself has been and still remains my motto, so this film struck me right in the gut. Some things can only be expressed through film. This one touched me so deeply it made me cry. And then it made me feel refreshed. Seeing it encouraged me to work hard again.
Sakurada Munehisa, Photographer
 


 

Japan has been upfront with a number of teen-targeted gay themed films, and a number of them were easy-favourites. Hatsu Koi is another gay themed film that deals with gay teenagers in love.

Tadashi is in love with Kota. However, Kota is afraid that being labeled as a gay may cause him trouble. So, Kota keepts his distance away from Tadashi, which is hurting Tadashi.

Maybe I am shallow, but I don''t really see the reason to be obsessed with Kota. There is hardly any chemistry here. Unlike otherr gay themed films from Japan, where the actors are usually cute, this film fails to pick a good one to make Kota stands out.

 



Another Japanese Gay Film that was released in 2007. Take a look at the synopsis:


Tadashi, in his last year of high school, is secretly in love with his classmate, Kota. But he dares not tell him about it. On summer day, he was picked on by his classmates calling him fag, which shooed Kota away from him.



Deeply hurt and depressed, Tadashi spotted on a train a gay couple – Hiroki and Shinji, who were chatting so happily that he followed the two men before he knew it…

No matter how old you are, no matter how many times you experience it, the beginning of love is always like the first one. Interwoven with such familiar issues as coming out, and gay marriage, and also sprinkled with both love making and hard-core sex, “Hatsu-Koi” is a growing up story of a not-so-sure-yet-but-so-much-desired gay teen that takes place in Tokyo.

“Hatsu-Koi” means “First Love ” in Japanese.


Tadashi has fallen in love with his fellow-pupil, Kota, and doesn’t dare to tell anyone. This destroys all hope he ever had of getting together with Kota. Thoroughly depressed, Tadashi meets a gay couple on the train. Hiroki and Shinji are fascinating. In Hatsu-Koi, director Imaizumi Koichi tells a story about coming of age, coming out and a gay marriage that is sprinkled with both love and hard-core sex, at the centre of which is a teenager who doesn’t yet know what he wants.



 

 

 

 

 





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