I’m late. Again. The problem is that I often work on Saturdays and then come home and fall into bed. (Like yesterday. I went to bed at 6 p.m. and then woke up at 8 a.m. this morning.). Since this keeps happening and I don’t like posting the Trailer Weekly late, I’m going to officially make Sunday the day for Trailer Weeklies from now on. I am assuming this won’t cause any hardship on anyone, and at least it’ll spare you my constant apologies about being late.

I browsed various international film festival catalogues this week, so it’s a diverse selection of goodies. All serious, comedies somehow always pass me by…

  • Toomelah (Australia, 2011) – “[T]his is the country where director Ivan Sen’s mother grew up and his deep personal connection to the place is palpable throughout this confronting, brutally honest dramatic feature… Raw, intimate, and laced with humour, Toomelah seamlessly intertwines issues like the Stolen Generation, substance abuse and cultural erasure with an everyday story about one boy caught in the downward spiral of a neglected community.” (quoted from the Sydney Film Festival via the Bradford International Film Festival). Screened in Cannes’s prestigious Un Certain Regard section last year.
  • Hinter diesen Bergen (Beyond these Mountains, Switzerland/Germany, 2010) – The trailer is not subtitled, but you can read a synopsis here or peruse the English press kit (.pdf file). The story in a sentence: A psychological character study of two girls, just out of high school, as they struggle with their lives, friendship and future in a small, increasingly suffocating Swiss town. The film looks (feels) super-intense and might be slow, but I get the sense of a real tour-de-force from the lead actresses. And then there’s the title: the German “hinter” in fact is more ambiguous than “beyond”, because it denotes either something is (hidden) behind the mountains (the town that’s set/imprisoned within them) or something that is beyond it (the dreams, freedom and hope of some of the townspeople, their wish to escape). It may be that ‘beyond’ is the more accurate translation, but, in German, both meanings are there and make the title intriguingly darker. Verdict from hollywoodreporter.com: “…unusual to find such an accomplished feature made by a director who’s still in the midst of his studies.”
  • 향기의 상실 (Hyanggiui Sangsil/Magic & Loss, Japan / Malaysia / Korea / Hong Kong/ China / France, 2010) – Talk about the longest list of production countries ever… Japancinema.net, which describes the film as “the bastard love child of Black Swan, Fight Club and LOST“, has a scathing review, but I’m still kind of intrigued. Apparently it’s highly experimental and “tries something different”, also featuring three languages (Japanese, Korean, English). I might end up disappointed, but I’ll still give this film a try if I get the chance.
  • カルテット!」 (Karuteto!/Quartet!, Japan, 2012) – A family that’s full of music but falling apart, until the father one day suggests they form a quartet. Okay, this might be cheesy and it’s only Mimura Junichi’s second film, which adds no more reassurance, especially since his first one 僕たちのプレイボール (Bokutachi no pureiboru aka Bokutachi no Play Ball, 2010) doesn’t really captivate either. But I’ll watch this for the classical music and keep my fingers crossed that Karuteto! will offer a sensitive character study of sorts. Maybe.
  • Une vie mielleure (A Better Life, France, 2011) – From the trailer, it’s obvious that it’s a carefully crafted work from a country with a great film-making pedigree, from reviews, only more appeal is added: “Filmmakers the world over want to surprise audiences, and French auteur Cédric Kahn has certainly done so in A Better Life. Like life itself, the movie starts in one direction, then heads in another, hits a detour and finally comes to rest in a completely different place and even country. One is hard put to label this movie. It’s a drama, for certain, but a romance becomes a meditation on parenthood, then turns into a bit of a crime story” (from hollywoodreporter.com). Screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival and scored a “Best Actor” win at the Rome Film Festival.
  • シーソー seesaw」 (Shīsō/Seesaw, Japan, 2011) – One of those small, under-the-radar films that I often end up loving because they reveal more truth about life than the big-budgeted hypes. The trailer looks okay, but it’s this review that won me over. Plus, it’s a bleakie! The film has screened only at film festivals (including the Bradford International Film Festival in 2011) and is currently seeking crowd funding for wider release. That’s not the official film poster by the way – there wasn’t one, heck, even finding non-romaji film title was a bit of a task – but kinda loving the symbolism of the film’s three ticket versions.