In an effort to not fall behind with the Trailer Weeklies even more, I’m doing a double Trailer Weekly today – lots of films thus. I am a little late with that too, but that’s because I got to see「ゼロの焦点」 (Zero no Shōten/Zero Focus, Japan, 2009) from the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme
tonight last night when I thought I wouldn’t (the screening was sold out but I got lucky in the end as the first one on the waiting list ). It was quite a thrill to watch – a murder mystery set at a turning point in time for the Japanese nation. 「八日目の蝉」 (Youkame no Semi/Rebirth, Japan, 2011), another film on the Touring Film Programme that I saw on Friday, I enjoyed even more, but hopefully I’ll be able to share my thoughts with you in detail in some reviews soon.
Before we tackle the monster list of eleven trailers, I just wanted to mention (in case you missed it) that I added a new page on Otherwhere: a schedule of all the 2013 (South East) Asian film releases (both home and cinematic) in the UK.
- 「愛のコリーダ」 (Ai no Korīda/In the Realm of the Senses, Japan/France, 1976) – Dir. by Oshima Nagisa. The fact that the ICA had this Japanese film on the programme during the last week of January somehow totally escaped me (in part because I had not heard of it before). Well, I’m not sure if it’s the sort of film I would want to see in a cinema – the ICA describes it as the “most famous erotic film ever made”, but one that presents a “fascinating conundrum: it’s sexually explicit, but is finally more about the mind than the body”. Set in the 1930s, it’s about an innkeeper who leaves his wife for one of his employees, with whom he has an increasingly dangerous affair as the sexual fantasies of the two lovers spin out of control.
- Lore (UK/Austria/Germany, 2012) – Dir. by Cate Shortland. I really rather like what is at the heart of this film: being forced to look in the face of something that shatters everything you ever knew to be true. This is what happens to Lore, a young girl, raised in a Nazi family. When her parents are arrested, she takes her younger siblings to find their grandmother, journeying across a 1945 Germany falling to pieces. On the way they meet Thomas, a young Jewish refugee. Quote the bimonthly programme of Ciné Lumière (which has the film on the programme for March 1-14) “To live, [Lore] must learn to trust a person she has been taught to hate. And as the consequences of her parent’s [sic] actions and beliefs become apparent, Lore must also start to face the darkness within herself.”
- Broken (UK, 2012) – Dir. by Rufus Norris. Another one from Ciné Lumière’s February/March line-up. I can’t quite put my finger on what this film is about – the programme description (“exploration of love”, “coming of age story”) doesn’t really help – but I like the feel of the trailer. There is something that grabs me. Maybe it’s Eloise Laurence, the young actress playing the central character.
- Yabanci (The Stranger, Turkey, 2012) – Dir. by Filiz Alpgezmen. Ciné Lumière is also hosting the London Turkish Film Festival in February/March and this is one of the productions being screened. Özgür is of Turkish descent, but was born and raised in France. In fact, she has never been to Turkey before. When her father dies, she travels there to fulfil his last wish: to be buried in the native land. However, it’s a task that is more challenging than it should, and not because of the emotional turmoil over death. No longer a registered citizen of the country, the dead man cannot be interred in Turkey. And there is also a complicated past that slowly begins to emerge as Özgür meets relatives that are really strangers to her. If some of this sounds comic, it’s not – judging from the trailer, this is a serious film.
- 「雷桜」 (Raiou/The Lightning Tree, Japan, 2010) – Dir. by Hiroki Ryuichi. Raiou has been recommended to me by some of the Otherwhere readers, but I had already heard about it previously for Okada Masaki has one of the lead roles. It has also got such an incredibly beautiful poster that got my attention the moment I first saw it (or maybe it’s just the actors that are both incredibly beautiful). Set in the Edo period, Okada’s character is from a high-ranking family. His every day life is rather empty and boring, but one day he becomes fascinated with a story about Tenku, a monster residing in the mountains near Setamura. Driven by curiosity he heads off to the place and there meets Rai (Yu Aoi), a young woman kidnapped twenty years previously. The two fall in love (I think this comes as no surprise), but as their attraction grows find that their different statuses in society will not let them be together. I don’t think the film will be too original, but it will surely be very pretty, no?
- Pianomania (Austria/Germany, 2009) – Dir. by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis. This one clearly isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s a documentary… about tuning pianos. If you like classical music (I do), if you play the piano (I did, though I was never particularly good but still wish I had one in the house), then you’ll probably enjoy this ”film about love, perfection and a little bit of madness” (quote from the trailer itself).
- 「舟を編む」 (Fune wo Amu, literally: We Knit Ship, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Ishii Yuya. I came across Fune wo Amu quite a while back, when there was only a teaser trailer and a meagre one at that (if I recall correctly, it only included text, not any actual images). Majime is a lexicographer and is obsessed with words. In real life, however, he finds that he struggles to express himself – especially when he want to communicate his love to the girl he has fallen for. It’s a simple story, but I can see the potential for quirky, fun comedy (Japanese style) in it. The only thing that puts me off slightly is that it’s directed by Ishii Yuya, whose 「ハラがコレなんで」 (Hara Ga Kore Nande/Mitsuko Delivers, Japan, 2011) others may have enjoyed, but I personally found rather underwhelming. Note: I really, really hope this isn’t the final film poster (release date is April 13), but I don’t think anyone would be inspired to go see Fune wo Amu based on that.
- Where Is Home? (2013) – Dir. by Aga Alegria. Another documentary and probably like Pianomania it won’t speak to everyone. But it does to me, because it’s about growing up between cultures, which I very much relate to. All I could think when one of the persons interviewed in the trailer explained that to feel alive, “[s]ome people buy sports cars… some people have affairs… I move” was Bingo! Note: it’s a trailer/appeal for crowdfunding for the postediting.
- 「南極料理人」(Omoshiro Nankyoku Ryurinin/The Chef of South Polar aka Antarctic Chef, Japan, 2009) – Dir. Okita Shuichi. I rewatched 「キツツキと雨」(Kitsutsuki to Ame/The Woodsman and the Rain, Japan, 2011) last night and I can’t wait for 「横道世之介」(Yokomichi Yonosoke/The Story of Yonosoke, Japan, 2013) – though after another look at the latter’s trailer, I worry it will make me cry a lot… But director Okita has more films to his name, including his 2009 Omoshira Nankyoku Ryurinin feature about a cook that joins a research expedition to the South Pole, where, remoteness and -59 C temperatures notwithstanding, he manages to serve gourmet meals. Side note: I’m wondering whether Kora Kengo is a personal friend of the director (though they have a ten year age gap)? Kora stars in all but one of Okita’s films and he is finally taking the lead in Yokomichi Yonosoke.
- 「わが心の銀河鉄道〜宮沢賢治物語」 (Waga kokoro no ginga tetsudo ~ Miyazawa Kenji Monogatari/Night on the Galactic Railroad, Japan, 1985) – Miyazawi Kenji wrote Waga kokoro no ginga tetsudo around 1927. It’s been adapted as a film twice, and I would have liked to include both version in the Trailer Weekly, but, alas, I couldn’t. The first adaptation I came across was the one directed by Omori Kazuki in 1996, which is being screened in Scotland this month (indeed, that’s how I originally heard about the film). However, I can’t find a trailer for it anywhere. What I did stumble across while video-hunting was an earlier adaptation by Sugii Gisaburo of the same story into an animated film, curiously using cats in place of humans. You can’t tell much from the trailer, but I just have a hunch I would love this tale (both in animated and live-action form). I have had that feeling ever since I saw the posters for the Omori version, which just so reminded me of「風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト」(Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape, Japan, 1989). Now I also know why: both Waga kokoro no ginga tetsudo and Kaze no Matasaburō were written by Miyazawa. Note: If those nekos look familiar to you – Sugii is also the one who directed「グスコーブドリの伝記」 (Gusukōbudori no denki/The Life of Guskou Budori, Japan, 2012) from Trailer Weekly #32, which was yet another Miyazawa Kenji tale.
- 「メモリーズ・コーナー」 (Memorīzu kōnā/Memory Corner, France/Canada, 2013) – Dir. by Audrey Fouché. No, the Japanese title is not a mistake, despite the director and the production countries involved. It’s simply a film that crosses places and cultures, both in terms of how it was made and the story tells: a young French reporter travels to Japan, investigating a phenomenon that occurred after the 1995 Kobe earthquake – death by loneliness. One of the people she meets is Kenji, who during that time was a photojournalist. After watching the trailer I have to say I want to see more! Fine cast, too.
- Shinkai Makoto wrote a post on Facebook that the dubbing for the「言の葉の庭」 (Kotonoha no Niwa, Japan, 2013) trailer was scheduled for this (well, last) week. Hopefully that means I’ll have something to share with in a future Trailer Weekly soon!
- More posters:
I also thought I would include some alternative posters today. To start, two more for Raiou, the second one of which I hadn’t seen before. What can I say? I think all images for this film are just visual delights. There is a very clear colour scheme that sets a gentle, romantic tone. There is something dreamy. And a tinge of wistful feeling that makes me doubt a happy ending – I think a conclusion à la Romeo & Juliet is much more likely. I’ll have to remember to keep out the tissues when I finally get round to watching this film.
I have also got another poster for Memorīzu kōnā. The one in the gallery above is beautiful. I love its softly-toned colours and the fact that we don’t just get faces but that each person has a background into which we can read a bit of the characters’ stories.
Poster #2 is equally compelling, but for very different reasons. It’s much darker, hinting at the personal tragedy and emotional suffering of one of the characters (who, I’m guessing from the trailer, lost some loved ones in the Kobe earthquake). The fact that the character’s face is turned away is significant, signalling how he has distanced himself from the world around him, how he has become deeply withdrawn into himself. That’s exactly what I sense from the trailer too – that this is someone with very heavy memories, a very heavy burden to bear (perhaps forced into a corner, into a standstill? Maybe that is what’s behind the film title?).