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!
- 「ハル」(Haru/Hal, Japan, 2013)
Dir. by Makihara Ryoutarou.
When Haru recently popped up on the Scotland Loves Anime programme, I didn’t pay much attention to it – I just hadn’t heard anything about it previously and there was nothing about it that called out to me. Then I stumbled across its source material (which I had been unaware of): a manga. Illustrated by Sakisaka Io – one of the few shoujo mangaka whose work I’m always interested in, simply because her heroines aren’t brainless damsels in distress, but actually have a semblance to real teenagers. Although narrative of Haru was not written by Sakisaka, just the very fact that she was involved in the manga and also responsible for the character design of the animation, is enough for me to want to check out this debut by Makihara Ryoutarou. (Now, if someone could animate Sakisaka’s「ストロボ・エッジ」/Sutorobo Ejji/Strobe Edge, 2007….)
- 「I am Ichihashi ~逮捕されるまで~」（I am Ichihashi ~Taihou Sareru Made~/ I am Ichihashi – Journal of a Murderer, Japan, 2013)
Dir. by Fujioka Dean.
I’m not entirely sure I want to watch this (the trailer makes me seriously queasy already), but I can’t deny that this film has my piqued my interest at least a little bit. Reason being: Recently I (skip-) watched the half-baked TW-drama 就是要你愛上我 (Jiu Shi Yao Ni Ai Shang Wo/Just You, SETTV, 2013), where one of the second leads is played by Fujioka Dean. The curious thing about this actor is that although Fujioka is Japanese, he is developing his career in the Taiwanese entertainment world, rather than in his native country. Considering his age (he was born in 1980), he doesn’t have that many projects to his name – he has only done a handful of dramas and a few movies here and there. And now there’s this film, for which he was active both in front of the camera (as the lead character Ichihashi) as well as behind it (as the director). The story itself is based on the real life murder of 22-year-old Lindsay Hawker, a British teacher in Japan. It’s a gruesome and infamous case, which saw the killer escape from the police and undergo plastic surgery to hide his identity. It sounds like a challenging role to play as well quite a daring and controversial project for a newbie director to take on, if you ask me! Note: Ichihashi has just been released in Japanese cinemas.
- 「 なにもこわいことはない」 (Nanimo Kowaikoto wa Nai/There’s Nothing to Be Afraid of, Japan, 2013)
Dir. by Hisashi Saito.
Also currently on release in Japan is Nanimo Kowaikoto wa Nai. I’m actually not too sure what it is about. The synopsis is quite bare-bones (Eri and Fumiya are a childless couple. They leave side by side, Fumiya makes coffee for Eri in the morning, Eri makes dinner for Fumiya in the evening. Then something happens that rustles the mundane routine in their ordinary lives.). The trailer does not reveal much more (what’s the ‘something that happens’?), but just gives off a slow, mellow vibe. It could really be about anything – but I’m willing to give that a try.
- 창수 (Changsoo/Tumbleweed, South Korea, 2013)
Dir. by Lee Duk-Hee.
One of those bleakies, probably of the bleakest kind. Chang-soo’s earns a living by serving time in prison in the place of others. When outside, he drinks and gambles his life away for he has nothing – no family, no friends, no acquaintances – that matters to him. Then he meets Mi-yeon and wants to escape his meaningless reality for the first time. If only it were so easy…
- 沙城 (Shāchéng/Sandcastle, Singpore, 2010)
Dir. by Boo Junfeng.
Recently the SEAArts Fest screened some short films by Boo Junfeng, which drew my attention to this director. While I did not manage to make time to watch the shorts, I’m quite keen to check out Junfeng’s feature length film Shāchéng from 2010: En, 18, is waiting to enlist in the army. For the time being he is stuck at his grandparents, where he encounters both the secrets of his dead father’s student activist past and the disappearing future of his dementia-suffering grandma. When a sudden tragedy strikes, he is pushed to take a stand as “sandcastles of everything he holds dear seem doomed to be washed away by the tides of time” (quote). Ohhh, this trailer looks so good.
- 더 엑스 (Deo Ekseu/The X, South Korea, 2013)
Dir. by Kim Jee-Woon.
This is not a feature-length film, but a 30-minute short. There is X. He is carrying a mysterious object. There is a chase. And a girl, played by the somehow lovely Shin Mina, pointing a gun at him.
But most of all there is, in the role of X, Kang Dong-won, so actually I don’t care much what the film is about, I’m watching it. The end. Plus, I have now got a good excuse to throw some Kang Dong-won pretty into this Trailer Weekly. :-D
- 甜蜜蜜 (Tián mì mì/Comrades: Almost a Love Story, Hong Kong, 1996)
Dir. by Peter Chan.
I don’t remember how I stumbled across this one, just that I heard somewhere that it is supposed to be really good. Here’s a description (taking the liberty to quote someone here because the words are so much more compelling than mine could ever be):
To refer to Peter Chan’s remarkable motion picture Tian Mi Mi as “Almost A Love Story” (as the English subtitle does) is to do his film an incredible disservice – whilst the movie indeed chronicles much more than just a burgeoning romance, the love story at it’s center is one of cinema’s greatest ever told. The woozy tale of two lost souls trying not to fall in love with each other against destiny’s desires is a swooning lament and soaring tribute to the unfathomable power of the human heart. (quote)