「山賊のむすめローニャ」(Sanzoku no Musume Ronia/Ronia Robber’s Daughter), Studio Ghibli’s first venture into TV in a collaboration with Polygon Pictures, premiered in Japan yesterday, with BS Premium airing a double episode to introduce (most) characters and the setting.
Country: South Korea
Language: English, some Korean
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Screenplay: Hong Sang-soo
Cinematography: Park Hongyeol
Sound: Kim Mir
Music: Jeong Yongjin
Cast: Kase Ryo, Moon So-ri, Youn Yuh-Jung, Kim Eui-Sung, Jung Eun-Chae, Seo Young-Hwa
Runtime: 66 min
Film’s official website: N/a
Seen at the 2014 London Film Festival. Note: If you have seen the film and can’t make sense of it, I have added some further thoughts (marked as spoilers) after the image gallery.
For the sixteenth feature-length film in someone’s career, Hong Sang-soo’s Jayuui Eondeok feels surprisingly raw: it comes with a fragmented, non-chronological narrative that clearly has a few pieces missing, a camera with a conspicuously amateurish zoom and naturalistic dialogue composed of lengthy and often quite awkward utterances that normally are polished away, if not in the scripting, then certainly in the editing stage of the film making process. These are all, I am told, the director’s typical tricks (I am a Hong Sang-soo novice). Continue reading
Director: Matsui Daigo
Screenplay: Matsui Daigo
Original story: Ozaki Sekaikan
Cinematography: Shioya Hiroki
Cast: Ikematsu Sosuke, Kurokawa Mei, Yamada Maho, Ando Sei, Shunsuke Daitoh Onoue Hiroyuki
Runtime: 106 min
Film’s official website: Jibun Bakari (日本語）
If definite answers are something you seek in films, then Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo is probably not one to watch as it falls squarely into the slice of life genre and offers no more than a glimpse into the rather bleak lives of several characters, with many details unexplained. Continue reading
Studio Ghibli’s TV collaboration with Polygon Pictures is set to premiere in ten days (premiere date on NHK: October 11) and a two-minute preview was released today. Unlike the teaser a while back, it introduces some darker moments although it retains a light feel over all.
I have been carrying a camera – usually my Nikon D7100 – around with me all the time for a year, taking at least one picture a day and posting it it as part of a “Dailies” project on my Tumblr account. It wasn’t project that I planned, I just randomly had the idea one day (which happened to be the first of October last year). Continue reading
Director: Oh Mipo
Adaptation from: Novel of the same title by Sato Yasushi
Screenplay: Takada Ryo
Cinematography: Kondo Ryuto
Soundscore: Tanako Takuto
Cast: Ayano Gou, Ikewaki Chizuru, Suda Masaki, Takahashi Kazuya, Hino Shohei, Isayama Hiroko, Tamura Taijiro.
Runtime: 120 min
Distribution: Open Sesame (Tokyo)
Film’s official website: N/A
Trailer: A trailer is available, but I’m not linking it here on purpose. I think it’s best to go completely blind into this film – the trailer contains some tiny, spoilerish bits. If you do insist, it’s below the Image Gallery at the end of the post. You might prefer to read this review post-film too.
Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this film. The European premiere of Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku, which was recently chosen as Japan’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, will be at the Raindance Film Festival on September 29, 2014. A second screening will take place on September 30. Tickets can be booked here.
Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku is the sort of film I would like to write two reviews for: one for the people that have seen it and one for those who haven’t. It is the sort of film about which there is, afterwards, much to discuss, but which it is best to go into blind because not knowing is, at least in a first viewing, much of its power. Continue reading
Recently Andrew Heskins of Eastern Kicks asked a number of critics, film bloggers and friends about “the film that started it all” – i.e. their passion for Asian cinema:
It might not have been the first Asian film you saw, or even the best, but was there one that stood out? That light bulb moment when you realised how much you loved Asian movies and had to write/talk/blog/podcast about it?
Festival programme number two is from Raindance, London’s premier indie film festival that has been going strong for twenty-one years. This year, Raindance is scheduled to run from September 24 until October 5, 2014 and will screen some 100 feature films and over 150 shorts, host Q&A’s, run workshops – you name it. The festival has long since been a good place for Asian film lovers as a Japanese strand has been part of the programme for many years now and this year includes several feature films as well as a “New Directions in Japanese Cinema” sub-strand for shorts. A few other Asian offerings can usually be found too.
Note: Synopses (in purple) are directly quoted from the Raindance website.
The autumn is a-coming and it’s not just the colourful leaves on the ground that are telling me that: the first programme announcements for various film festivals are dropping. Scotland Loves Anime (SLA), which is scheduled for October, was revealed its line-up a few days ago, with Raindance (September) followed yesterday, while the London Film Festival (October) programme is due today and the London Korean Film Festival (October/November) one on September 15.
The story of When Marnie Was There is set in a little town by the name of Little Overton, a fictional town inspired by a real place – Burnham Overy Staithe on the Norfolk coast. Although Studio Ghibli announced that this setting was going to be changed to a village in Hokkaido in their adaptation, some friends and I still wanted to seek out Marnie’s original home base – just because we are dedicated enough Ghibli fans and because it is more fun to explore the UK by traveling to random places instead of completing the usual checklist of famous sights for foreigners. Continue reading
Cat cafés are the sort of thing that seems bonkers when you think about it but that make so much sense when you actually try it out. Despite popular belief that cat cafés are a Japanese invention, the first one apparently was in Taipei, Taiwan, back in 1998. It drew many visitors, including from Japan, who took the concept back home, opening their first, own Café Neko in Osaka in 2004. Now there are some 30-something in Tokyo alone and more than 150 all over the country.
Fortunately, other parts of the world are catching on the trend too. While we can still count all the cat cafés in Europe on a single hand, it won’t be like that much longer I think. The first, Café Neko, opened in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, Le café des chats in Paris, France, followed in 2013, as did one in Totnes, UK (which has, sadly, since closed). Il Neko just started serving cat lovers in Turin, Italy, and Koneko in Brighton, UK, is in the planning. And then there is Lady Dinah’s, or, rather Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, in London, a success story long before it started welcoming human visitors this year in March.
Another「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There) update: in addition to the sparkling new trailer (which by now has been watched more than 18,000 times – up from the 500 yesterday morning), we also now have a music video for “Fine on the Outside”, the theme song of the latest Studio Ghibli film. It’s a video of the full song, something which is a little surprising. Continue reading
It’s July and Studio Ghibli’s「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There, Japan, 2014) is opening in Japan later this month. A few days ago some more some new images were released, which I held off posting, thinking more would soon follow. Quite right I was – today we have a first trailer for the film: Continue reading
If there was ever a special reason needed to plan a trip to Paris, here’s one now: Art Ludique – Le Musée is holding an exhibition of 1300 original Studio Ghibli layouts from October 4th 2014 to March 1st 2015. Continue reading
Studio Ghibli has been gearing up for the release of its next film, Omoide no Mani, a story about the friendship between a lonely orphan, Anna, and the rather otherworldly Marnie. With less than two months to wait – the film is due out in Japan on July 19 – a few more images have been revealed.
Alternative English title: Whatcha Wearin’?
Country: South Korea
Director: Byun Sung-hyun
Screenplay: Byun Sung-yun, Kim Min-soo
Cinematography: Choe Sang-ho
Cast: Ji Sung, Kim Ah-joong, Kang Kyeong-jun, Shin So-yul, Kim Bo-yeon, Kim Sung-oh
Runtime: 114 min
Distribution: CJ Entertainment
Note: The film came with an 19+ rating in South Korea as it contains coarse language as well as some nudity and sex.
When Naui P.S. Pateuneo released in Korean cinemas in 2012, it hit the one-million admissions mark within ten days – faster than any other adult rom-com that had come before. It sold itself with a veiled but racy title (P.S. stands for Phone Sex), enticing viewers with a titillating trailer (watch above) and plenty promise of naughty. Continue reading
Language: Japanese, some German and Italian
Director: Miyazaki Hayao
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao
Art Direction: Takeshige Youji
Animation Direction: Kousaka Kitaro
Soundscore: Hisaishi Joe
Theme Song: ひこうき雲 (“Hikōki Gumo”/”Contrail”) by Yumi Matsutoya
Cast: Anno Hideaki, Takimoto Miori, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Nishimura Masahiko, Steve Alpert, Kazama Morio, Takeshita Keiko, Shida Mirai, Kunimura Jun, Otake Shinobu, Mansai Nomura
Runtime: 126 min
Distribution: Studio Canal (UK)
Film’s official website: http://www.kazetachinu.jp (日本語),
Special thanks to Studio Canal for an invite to a press screening of Kaze Tachinu prior to its UK release. I also attended the BFI Preview Screening of the film on April 23. Both screenings were subtitled, I have not seen (nor do I intend to) the dubbed version. The film is now showing in select UK cinemas (from May 9, 2014).
Kaze Tachinu, Miyazaki Hayao’s apparent swan song, comes with a certain kind of echo of「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five), in which a group of young, ambitious men – who later become the founding fathers of modern Japan – seek technological knowledge and progress abroad but soon realise that they, and their nation, are years and years behind. Like these men, Horikoshi Jiro (Anno Hideaki), the hero of Miyazaki’s film, desires to know and create for the sake of knowing and creating, although, several decades on from the Choysu Five, he now envies the Germans, not the English, for their advanced know-how. Continue reading
A few bits and bobs have been trickling in about Studio Ghibli’s next film,「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/Memories of Marnie, 2014), which is due to be released in Japan this summer – on July 19 to be exact (mark your calendars!).
This comes a bit late, as I just don’t have much time to blog at the moment. I’ll keep trying but won’t make any promises, at least not for the next half year or so (I’m in the final stretch of my studies and have a lot to write over the next few months).
April comes with all kinds of film related events – there’s plenty to choose from, but it’s quiet compared to what is awaiting us in May. Continue reading
Director: Ogigami Naoko
Screenplay: Ogigami Naoko
Cinematography: Abe Kazutaka
Cast: Ichikawa Mikako, Kusamura Reiko, Mitsuishi Ken, Yamada Maho, Tanaka Kei, Kobayashi Katsuya
Runtime: 110 min
Film’s official website: N/a
Sayoko (Ichikawa Mikako) is a crazy cat lady in the making: although she is a little too young to be called a spinster (as per stereotype), she is an unmarried woman with a house full of cats and nothing much else. Continue reading
…also known as the Vegetarian Festival.
It’s an annual festival during the 9th lunar month that is celebrated in a number of South East Asian countries, including Thailand, where it means all kinds of things, but in Bangkok’s Chinatown especially a galore of veg food. Continue reading
Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角
Language: Mandarin, some Japanese
Director: Okuhara Hiroshi
Studio: Black Square Film
Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi
Cinematography: Maki Kenji
Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki
Runtime: 144 min
Film’s official website: N/a
Special thanks to Raindance, which provided me with a preview screener of this film. Kuroi shikaku showed at the 21st Raindance Film Festival on September 28, 2013. I previously featured the film on Trailer Weekly #79/80.
When Japanese film director Okuhara Hiroshi travelled to Bejing in 2008 and visited the Song Zhuang Artist Village he spoke no Chinese. The place – the experience – seemed surreal to him, or, as he explained, “the whole atmosphere felt like science fiction, including the surroundings. I felt I could shoot a Tarkovsky-like movie in this place. [...] That’s how it all began.” (quote) Continue reading
As we go into the final stretch for the Kickstarter of Katabuchi Sunao’s 「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」 (Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle, Japan, 2009), I thought, why not collect the words of some of those who have already seen the film in one post? Mai Mai Miracle has had so few screenings that for most people the film is a complete unknown, enough perhaps to keep them from supporting this crowdfunding campaign. So, if you are toying with the question of whether to contribute to this Kickstarter, here’s a post to convince you that it’s very, very much worth it:
Anime director Shinkai Makoto has collaborated with Z-Kai, a Japanese company that runs cram schools and correspondence classes, to produce a 1:59 min long commercial. It’s a mini-story – titled 「クロスロード」(Korosuroudo/Crossroad) – of two students cramming for their entrance exams, simple but illustrated in Shinkai’s usual style – in other words, a colourful and light-filled feast for the eyes.
Because the company name doesn’t pop up until the very end (and without any explanation of what they do), it doesn’t feel like a commercial at all, but just a tiny snapshot of the life of two people.
Subtitles in both English and Chinese (simplified) are available, you can select them from the captions menu.
Today I received my monthly BFI Guide in the post, which contained details for the first half of the Studio Ghibli Retrospective. The information isn’t available on the BFI website just yet, so I have listed the screenings (plus trailers) below.
Note that all films, except the Funday screening of 「千と千尋の神隠し」 (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, 2001), will be shown subtitled.
Booking: Priority booking for BFI Champions opens on 3 March, for BFI Members on 4 March. Public booking opens on 11 March.
Although we already knew a Ghibli season was coming – thanks to a mini-announcement in the BFI’s February booklet –, now it’s official: the British Film Institute published a full announcement on their website yesterday, revealing that it would be screening the complete set of Studio Ghibli films over the course of two months. Continue reading
All the Anime’s kickstarter for the English-language release of「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」(Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle, Japan, 2009) has hit its first stretch goal by crossing the US$60,000 barrier. This means that not just subtitles, but a dub – specifically a US dub – will be made for the release. Continue reading
It’s a clear sign that people want this English-language release to happen, for All the Anime’s crowdfunding campaign for Katabuchi Sunao’s magical「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」(Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle, Japan, 2009) reached its US$30,000 goal within less than a day of the Kickstarter having been announced. Continue reading
There have been some tweets and blog post mumblings over the past few days, but it’s official now: All the Anime’s Kickstarter campaign for a UK and US release of Katabuchi Sunao’s absolutely delightful「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」(Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle, Japan, 2009) has gone live today.
February may be a short month, but it’s not lacking in South East Asian film events. The Glasgow Youth Film Festival hits the jackpot with the UK premiere of Studio Ghibli’s「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises, Japan, 2013). London and the rest of the UK wait on as the wider cinematic release of the film has apparently been postponed for later in the year.
Last updated: 4/2/2014
Note: As always, I will be updating this post if I hear of any more events. Let me know if you see anything missing!
Before the weekend is over, I thought I still send out wishes for the Year of the Horse – if only to share the image above.
Some photographs from a recent trip to Austria (over the winter holidays). I was hoping to also go to Budapest (where I have gone before) and/or Prague (where I have never visited previously), but in the end that didn’t happen. I did travel to both Vienna and Graz, plus some towns in the countryside of Austria.
Note: I posted a number of these on Tumblr already.
There are so many film festivals in London that it’s sometimes easy to forget about one, until they remind you with a programme release that they are still there and still screening lots of delightful stuff that you better not miss.
Next month, from February 26 to March 9, it’s the Pan-Asia Film Festival that rolls around for the umpteenth time (sorry, I lost count), with 7 UK premieres and 2 London ones featuring. Continue reading
Back in December I posted some concept art from Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata’s Isao’s Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking) adaptation, which they were working on back in 1971 but which never came to fruition in the end. I mentioned back then that more so than an animated Pippi, I would have loved an animated Ronja – as in Ronja Røverdatter (Ronia the Robber’s Daughter), another character created by the same Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren. It seems now my wish has about to be fulfilled: the news is out that Miyazaki Goro will be directing a TV anime of Ronja. Continue reading
Wee bit late. I was only missing the Trailer Weekly main image last night, but as I’m staying at my sister’s one-bedroom flat for a couple of days, I decided to go to bed, since she had to get up 5 this morning. Which was for me, so she can finish work early and go for Vietnamese-French fusion food (much recommended) and vegan ice-cream (a place I’ve been wanting to try for a year – definitely having matcha) in downtown Vienna with me. In other words, I would have felt guilty leaving the lights on and typing away noisily for another half hour.
We’re 50% Japanese, 50% Taiwanese with trailers today. Hope there’s something for you!
This week’s episode of The Simpsons makes a tribute to Miyazaki in this wonderful animated sequence, apparently as a sort of ‘Thank You’ since the Japanese master of animation announced his retirement a few months back.
It’s a delightful little clip, with references to plenty of Miyazaki’s creations – see how many you can spot! (If you need help, Slate has been compiling a list.)
It’s the first day of 2014 and I’ll start with an Events post, after having to give December a miss. Not all that much is happening this month – in part, because no details have yet been released on a several possible screenings (Asian Movies Meet Up, Korean Film Nights, Terracotta Film Club, Films at the Embassy of Japan). The only one that I’m fairly sure that will happen is the Asian Movies Meet Up, as I recall the organisers skipped December but announced that the event would be back in January. No word meanwhile on what kind of film screenings the KCCUK will be organising this year. It’s probably unlikely that after the Year of 12 Directors (2012) and the Year of 4 Actors (2013), they will run a special, year-long event series with special guests again, but fingers crossed that we’ll at least be getting the bimonthly Korean Film Nights back. I’m not sure about the Terracotta Film Club either (it’s permanent link seems to have disappeared from the Prince Charles Cinema website) and the Films at the Embassy of Japan have always been rather irregular.
Fortunately, there are events that have been confirmed and we can already also look forward to February as the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme will kick off at the last day of this month.
Last updated: 6/1/2014
It’s the last Trailer Weekly of the year and I am actually on time with it – much in contrast to the rest of the year. But I had a lot of films to choose from, which always gets me excited – and that particularly applies to the first film today.
Original Language: English Year: 1967 Author: Joan Robinson Publisher: Collins Place of Publication: London Genre: Children’s novel Edition: Collins Modern Classics (2002 edition, second-hand copy) Other Editions and Translations: No other editions are currently in print in English. The book has apparently been translated into several languages, although I can only confirm that there is a Japanese version (「思い出のマーニー」) as well as a German one (Damals mit Marnie). Update: If you are UK-based, you can now purchase a Kindle version of When Marnie Was There on amazon.co.uk. Elsewhere, you’ll still have to seek out second-hand copies of the book. When Studio Ghibli announced earlier this month that its next project was to be an adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s When Marnie Was There, with Yonebayashi Hiromasa directing, I quickly – after reading unequivocally raving reviews – searched for a copy. First published in 1967 to “great success” (283) and even featuring in BBC children’s programme Jackanory in the 1970s, a few decades on When Marnie Was There had all but disappeared, remaining a precious memory for people who had loved the book as children but could no longer find it anywhere. Continue reading
I am a wee bit late with Trailer Weekly, but I was travelling, which included camping out overnight at Heathrow Airport thanks to a 6 am morning flight (hence I didn’t do much the day after). At least this time I didn’t forget to make a Trailer Weekly header…
The Japan Foundation is organising yet more film screenings. The announcement came in an email newsletter today, with four films (including two animations) being on the programme for January. Unlike the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, all these screenings are free, although an RSVP is required.