Update on「思い出のマーニー」(Memories of Marnie): First Images, Theme Song & More.

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ghibli mural with marnie

Spot Marnie.

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!).

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April 2014 Events

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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

Review:「レンタネコ」 (Rentaneko/Rent-a-Cat)

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Year: 2012
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Ogigami Naoko
Studio:
N/a
Screenplay: Ogigami Naoko
Cinematography: Abe Kazutaka
Soundscore: N/a
Cast: Ichikawa Mikako, Kusamura Reiko, Mitsuishi Ken, Yamada Maho, Tanaka Kei, Kobayashi Katsuya
Runtime: 110 min
Distribution: Suurkiitos
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer:

The film was previously featured on Trailer Weekly #29. If you are in the UK or Ireland, the film is available to watch for a small fee on the Filmhouse Player.

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

Photologia: Tesagan Gin Je Festival in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Too Long Ago)

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…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

Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)

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The Black Square

Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角
Year: 2012
Country: China/Japan
Language: Mandarin, some Japanese
Director: Okuhara Hiroshi
Studio: Black Square Film
Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi
Cinematography: Maki Kenji
Soundscore: Sangatsu
Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki
Runtime: 144 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website:  N/a
Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnvtcEW_MXg

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

「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」(Mai Mai Miracle): In the Words of Those Who Have Seen It

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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:

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「クロスロード」(Crossroad): 1.59 Minutes of Shinkai Makoto to Inspire Your Day

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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.

Enjoy!

Dates & Details for BFI Studio Ghibli Retrospective Part 1 (April)

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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.

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Studio Ghibli Retrospective Announced, Including London Premiere of「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)

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Copyright unknown.

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

KCCUK Film Screenings: Year of Film Professionals & Korean Novels on Screen Seasons

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Webtoon to Film: 이끼 (Iggi/Moss).

The KCCUK has released details for films it will be screening over the next two months, both as part of the previously announced Year of Film Professionals as well as for the  Korean Novels on Screen Season. Continue reading

Mai Mai Miracle Kickstarter Reaches First Stretch Goal at US$60,000

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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

Mai Mai Miracle Kickstarter Reaches US$30,000 Goal… in Just 18 Hours

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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

All the Anime/Anime Limited’s Mai Mai Miracle Kickstarter for UK/US Release

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How some of us feel now that this Kickstarter has been announced…

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.

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February 2014 Events

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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!

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Photologia: Austria in the Winter, Minus the Snow

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Old farmhouse and meadows, somewhere in the countryside.

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.

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Pan-Asia Film Festival 2014

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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

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter TV Anime from Miyazaki Goro

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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

Trailer Weekly #98

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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!

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The Simpsons’ Tribute to Miyazaki

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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.)

 

 

Trailer Weekly #97

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Trailer Weekly 97

I can’t count, which is why I ended up with seven films this week instead of the usual six. Of course, I could have moved one to the next Trailer Weekly, but I think they all deserve to be featured today.

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January 2014 Events

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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

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Trailer Weekly #96

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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.


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Book Review: When Marnie Was There & Musings on the Studio Ghibli Adaptation-to-Come

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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).

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

Trailer Weekly #95

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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…

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January Film Screenings at the Japan Foundation, Touring Film Programme Events & Ticket Competition

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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.

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East Side Stories: Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2014

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JF Touring Film Programme 2014

Well, that answers my question about 「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises, Japan, 2013) maybe showing up on the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme in 2014. The answer is, no, it is not one of the screenings, so we will have to keep guessing if absence of the words “UK Premiere” on the Glasgow Film Festival website was accidental or is a hint at something…

Anyhow, even without Kaze Tachinu, the programme for the forthcoming Japan Foundation’s annual film tour looks fantastic – half of the titles are films that I have featured on past Trailer Weeklies, meaning I pretty much want to see everything! Let’s see how that works out time-wise, but it is a good thing I haven’t yet scheduled my weekend shifts for February yet as I am definitely going to have to keep the weekend of February 1st and 2nd free. Continue reading

First UK Screening Date for Studio Ghibli’s「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)

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Just fresh off the press: 「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises, Japan, 2013) is set to screen at the Glasgow Youth Film Festival on Sunday, February 9, 2014 (news via animenewsnetwork). That’s the first screening for Miyazaki’s film in the UK I have heard of so far.

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Trailer Weekly #94

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Trailer Weekly, the first in a long while. Especially for all you loyal readers (you know who you are :-) ) who missed this feature. Enjoy.

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Introducing the Next Ghibli Project:「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There)

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We are twiddling our thumbs here, because neither Miyazaki Hayao’s「風立ちぬ](Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises, Japan, 2013) nor Takahata Isao’s 「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/Princess Kaguya, Japan, 2013) have yet made it to UK shores, but there is already another Studio Ghibli project to look forward to: it has just been announced that「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There) is being adapted for the screen by Yonebayashi Hiromasa. Continue reading

LFF Review:《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young)

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Year: 2013
Country:
China
Language: Mandarin
Director: Vicki Zhao
Studio:
Multiple involved, including China Film Group
Adaptation from:
2007 novel of the same title by Xin Yiwu
Screenplay: Li Qiang
Cinematography: Li Ran
Soundscore: Dou Peng
Cast: Mark Chao, Han Geng, Yang Zishan, Jiang Shuying
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distribution: China Film Group
Film’s official website: N/a

Seen at the 2013 London Film Festival at a screening with a director’s Q&A. Previously featured in Trailer Weekly #75.

Trailer:

In the opening scene of《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young) the heroine, Zheng Wei (Yang Zishan), finds herself in a lush fantasy world, populated by fairy tale creatures both good and bad, only to awaken and find it was all a terrible dream. No more than a few minutes long, this opening reveals much of what is wrong with Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchū, for as luxuriantly beautiful that dream world is – the scene must have cost a good chunk of the film’s 30 million yuan (US$5 million) budget – it is also completely irrelevant, for nothing that happens is of any importance for the story that follows. Continue reading

Photologia: Brick Lane Sundays

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Update: I still don’t have my computer back. I drafted this post previously, but wasn’t going to publish it for a while yet because I was planning to go back to Brick Lane for more photographs. However, since other posts aren’t really going to happen until I get my own computer back, I thought I might as well send this one out to the world in the meantime. (I actually have a film review ready too, but no pictures uploaded for it, as my picture folder is you-can-guess-where. And I don’t want to google for the same images again…)

When I moved to London in 2009, I didn’t know the city at all and, by pure chance, ended up living on a side street of Brick Lane, essentially sealing my fate to become an East Londoner (I have moved house twice since, but loyally stayed in the East, which is generally considered the ‘poorer’ and more ‘ethnically mixed’ part of the city. I think it’s young, alive and hip.). Brick Lane is known for its curry houses – thanks to a large number of Bangladeshi immigrants, it has been London’s ‘Banglatown’ for decades – but also its weekend market, where everything from vintage clothes to unique art is sold. Another highlight are the food stalls, which serve cheap and tasty treats from all around the world.

Note: Obviously the white corner of the header photo needs to be blackened out. I just don’t own an editing programme at the moment that lets me do that.

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How Amazing It All Would Have Been: Miyazaki and Takahata’s Pippi Longstocking

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Occasionally Facebook is good for something, like today, when a link to an article at the Comics Alliance popped up, describing a Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao project that never happened: an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s famous children’s book series Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking). Continue reading

Kaguya Hime, in Other Forms and Retellings.

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Recently I came across a Tumblr post from rnedicinal about the Japanese folktale of かぐや姫 (Kaguya Hime/Princess Kaguya), which of course provided the basis for Studio Ghibli’s forthcoming film. Other than including two traditional paintings of Kaguya, the poster also shared the actual tale: Continue reading

Review: 《饮食男女2》 (Yǐnshí nánnǚ2/Joyful Reunion)

joyful reunion 2Year: 2012
Country:
Taiwan/China
Language: Mandarin
Director: Tsao Jui-yuan
Studio:
N/a
Screenplay: Chen Shih-chieh, Hsu Wei-ching, Zhou Yanzi, Hsu Li-Kong
Cinematography: Chin Ting-chang
Soundscore:
Cast: Kenneth Tsang, Grace Kuei, Huo Siyan, Blue Lan, Jiang Mengjie.
Runtime: 107 min
Distribution: Tang Moon International
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer:

Subtitled DVD and Bluray (All Region) are available via Yesasia.com.

Nearly twenty years ago there was Ang Lee’s 《饮食男女》 (Yǐnshí nánnǚ/Eat Drink Man Woman, Taiwan, 1994). It was one of those films that everyone watched (it was both a box office and a critical success) and that also travelled well – even people who don’t generally watch Asian cinema will often have seen it. Continue reading

Ghibli-Docu:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyōki no Ōkoku/The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness)

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While the founders and rocks of Studio Ghibli – Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao – were busy working away on their films「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises) and「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/Princess Kaguya) respectively, Sunada Mami had his camera on them to make the first documentary on the animation studio: 「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyōki no Ōkoku/The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness, Japan, 2013).

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Trailer Weekly #93 (Pretending It’s Sunday on a Thursday)

Okay, let’s pretend briefly it’s last Sunday… because I’m late again. I did kind of expect it to happen as I worked both Saturday and Sunday and also am super-busy this week at uni (double-tutoring load, various meetings, including one with my supervisor, which always takes priority over everything else).

I’m generally becoming very conscious of time, or lack thereof. I have been starting to scale down on some commitments, because I would like this to be my last year at UCL, which means I need to get that pesky-little-thing-called-PhD done. (X_X) Wahhhh! I’ve been in London since 2009, I’ve been doing the same thing long enough and my nomadic restlessness is only increasing with every passing day…so… mentally I’m overly ready to move on, but practically still quite a lot needs to happen before that to occur. The current aim is to submit my thesis by the late summer/early autumn next year and do the VIVA (the oral examination one is required to undergo and pass to obtain a doctorate in the UK) within a couple of months of that and to be outta here before 2014 is over. Yes, 2014… that all still seems so far away, but I know it isn’t!

Anyhooooo…. before you get to bored about all this personal talk, let me give you some films. And because I’m this over-educated person I can’t actually count and ended up with seven trailers instead of the usual six!

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Trailer Weekly #92

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By the rate I’m going, I might have to rename this Trailer Monthly, but… I’ll keep trying.

Doing a mix of Japan and Korea today, plus a Russian wildcard from the 1970s.

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November 2013 Events

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November events… like October, it’s a busy month, full of festivals and other special screenings. I wrote this post somewhat in a rush, so I have the feeling I must have missed some of what is going – let me know if you notice any glaring omissions!

Note: Will do the Events Widgets on the side in the morning, need to go to bed!

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East Winds Opens in Coventry Today

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Sake-Bombin’ it.

Here is another festival I am late posting about: The East Winds Film Festival in Coventry, organised by CUEAFS and Third Window Films. The programme was released in bits and pieces over several weeks, which I don’t think is a particularly good idea. I mean, I understand announcing opening and closing films separately, but the rest of the programme should generally be available all at once – anything other than that is just very difficult to keep track of.

Anyhow, the fun starts in the English Midlands later this afternoon with some scary stuff since it’s Halloweeeeeen (And to get you into the mood, here’s a spine-chilling manhwa for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!).

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London Korean Film Festival, 2013 Edition, Somewhat Belatedly but Still in Time…

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The London Korean Film Festival is back for (I think) the 8th time already and is due to run from November 7-22, 2013, at the Odeon West End, Odeon Panteon St. and the KCCUK. The programme was released probably some two weeks ago already (sorry, I’m so busy at the moment!), but no one’s yet written a post that includes original titles in 한국 and trailers… so I might as well.

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Photologia: Bangkok, around and about

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*Sorry for the lack of posting at the moment… I just seem to be going between my three part-time jobs, studying a wee bit (not enough at all) and sleeping a couple of hours (not enough either). Plus trying to fix some issues with the computer (hard disk, wahhh!), which is time consuming. (ㅠ_ㅠ) But this post has been lingering around in nearly-finished-form for quite a while, so I might as well just publish it.* 

Bangkok, like quite a few Asian cities, is big and busy, day and night. It’s not always fun to get around Bangkok, because traffic jams (see above) can really grate on your nerves.

I didn’t get much time in busy-Bangkok – not even two full days. I would have liked more than that (I had no chance to go to Chatuchak, the weekend market, or Asoke’s Chamlong, a Buddhist-vegetarian restaurant that I like) but I guess there’s always the next visit? I did however get to go on the subway (the Bangkok M.R.T., in the picture below), which I was kind of excited about.

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Of Noina, Fallang and Som-o: Thailand, Revisited (Photologia)

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Recently I snuck out of the UK for a super-short, not-really-planned trip to… Thailand. Reason being: to surprise my Mom, who was on holiday there with my Dad and sister, and not expecting me to show up at all. Not the first time I’ve pulled this kind of trick, but the first time it involved flying half-way around the world!

Note: I’m still getting the hang of my new DSLR and am not 100% comfy with it yet, but it’s better than when I was testing it out in Greece already!

Note 2: You can click to enlarge pics, but they appear grainy – not the originals on my computer, but WordPress somehow doesn’t quite like something. X_X

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Leeds International Film Festival Announces Kobayashi Masaki Retrospective and More

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The Leeds International Film Festival, one of the biggies on the UK festival calendar, released its programme a couple of days ago, with quite a bit of East Asia on the programme. To start off with, there will be a Kobayashi Masiki retrospective, then the fest’s popular Fanomenon Anime Day returns and some additional entries from China, South Korea and Japan will screen as well.

The festival runs from November 6 – 21 this year and tickets can be booked already. Continue reading