“Verregneter Sommer” is a good way of describing today. It’s mid-July, but it has been a semi-chilly, on again, off again rainy day, which really makes it seem not like summer at all. “Verregneter Sommer” actually is a bit hard to translate, “rainy summer” doesn’t really do it justice because “verregnet” means more something like “overly rainy” or “rainy again and again”. The Duden in fact makes it “durch zu lange andauernden Regen verdorben werden” (“to be ruined by rain that continuous for too long”, my translation), which veers a little too much towards the negative in my opinion. But, before this ends up being a pure vocabulary lesson, let’s also make it a literary one.
The phrase “verregneter Sommer”, for me, is intrinsically linked to Ronja Røverdatter (Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, 1981), a lovely children’s book by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, in which the heroine, Ronja, describes the summer in such a way – in denial that it is already autumn. And that’s exactly the problem: today doesn’t feel like summer, it feels like autumn. And it isn’t just today, but nearly all the time, which always makes me feel like we skip summer here in Britain. Boohoo to that.
Before you get all bored, I’ll get on to trailers now.
- L’Enfant d’en haut (Sister, Switzerland, 2012) – I first heard about L’Enfant d’en haut – a raw story about a 12-year old who steals skiing equipment and sells it off in order to earn a living for his older sister and himself – via the recent LA Film Fest, but it has been earning laurels since before that, winning a Silver Bear at the Berlinale earlier this year. Kacey Mottet Klein, the actor that portrays the precocious Simon, has been praised in just about every review – here’s one. Really, really want to see this film! It has only been screening at film festivals so far, but amazon.fr has a DVD release date for August 22nd (in French, no subtitles indicated – I’m optimistic though, since this is a film from multi-lingua land). Trailers: French trailer. Subtitled trailer on trailers.apple.com. In fact, that this film appears at Apple’s trailer site is a pretty good indicator that it will get a cinematic release in the US and elsewhere.
- O Som ao Redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Brazil, 2012) – Another entrant from the LA Film Fest. The synopsis grabs me: “Kleber Mendonça Filho’s astonishing debut film focuses on the residents of one street in an upscale neighborhood in the seaside town of Recife, Brazil. There is a hierarchy: up in the high rise lives a powerful patriarch, who calls the shots. Down below is a bored pot smoking housewife, a bad apple who breaks into people’s cars to steal their dvd players and a private security team that’s been enlisted to keep an eye on the street. Filho’s stylish panoramic eye takes it all in, so that by the time this suspenseful and edgily funny tale reaches its startling climax, you feel you’ve seen an X-ray of all of Brazilian society.” I quite like the trailer too – the score is dramatically effective, drumming up the tension for the climax for which we’ll have to watch the film.
- Prílis Mladá Noc (A Night Too Young, Czech Republic/Slovenia, 2012) – A final offering from, yes, the LA Film Fest (well, there is one more which I would like to share but haven’t found a trailer for, so I’ll save it for now). I can’t say the trailer is too enticing, but its description is: “[T]wo gawky, innocent 12-year-old boys are asked to buy vodka by Katerina, a young woman they barely know, and the two men who accompany her: one her reluctant lover, the other his friend who wants to be her lover. The boys bring the booze to her apartment, and so begins a night they’ll never forget, as they become silent pawns in the strange sexual power games that grown ups play. This finely polished gem of a comedy … subtly shifts from humor to menace to dream, compelling the audience to watch with the same wide-eyed fascination as these two bewildered boys, who will never be quite so innocent again.”
- 「すべては海になる」 (Subete wa umi ni naru/All to the Sea, Japan, 2007) – Before you think I’ve totally abandoned Asia, here’s a Japanese trailer. First off: I’m not familiar with the director. I don’t know the actors and haven’t googled around for any reviews either. The trailer isn’t some slick, immediately-win-you-over affair either, in fact, it looks like a some tiny story and the kind of production that is way off the radar and isn’t going to change anyone’s life at all. However, it delves into the troubled lives of two individuals – a former prostitute that now works in a bookshop and a 17-year old that is being bullied at school and has family problems at home – and explores inner emotional landscapes, which is very much my kind of thing.
- 「バッシング」 (Basshingu/Bashing, Japan, 2008) – A film by Kobayashi Masahiro. Kobayashi is on my directors-to-explore-list and this is one film of his that I’m interested in, or rather, totally intrigued by. The story is about Yuko, a woman who returns to Japan after being freed as a hostage in the Middle East. Her safe return however turns out to be an ordeal as “[i]t seems the whole of Japanese society is against her after being embarrassed and horrified at the international attention she received. Yuko is «bashed» every day by insults in the street, anonymous phone calls and even physical violence. Fired from her job, her isolation from the outside world deepens along with her despair. After losing her only supporter – her father – she begins to think the unthinkable: to return to the only place where the expressions on people’s faces aren’t cold or filled with anger, to the only place she has ever felt needed.” The film is based on a true story, which makes it ever so more fascinating.
- The BFI is having a Jafar Panahi and Mohamad Rasoulof season in August. I don’t know too much about Iranian cinema, but it’s one of those countries that has some amazingly intriguing filmmakers (whether at home or in exile). I have been wanting to see Panahi’s This Is Not a Film (Iran, 2010) for a while now, so it’s a bit disappointing that I will miss it (I’ll be away in August).
- A new poster came out for The Hobbit this week, in preparation for the Comic-Con 2012 in San Diego, where Peter Jackson’s film will be covered in a much anticipated panel discussion (I’m unclear whether the director himself will be there or not). The poster is quite lush in green, but I can’t say I love it. It just looks a bit too unreal – very CGI. I wouldn’t mind the non-realism (or is it hyper-realism?) if it were a painting or drawning, but like this it doesn’t grab me. I don’t know. That’s just my gut reaction to it.
I will leave it at this. I feel like I have been rambling a bit much today…