It’s been a while since we have had news about the indie film project 나를 잊지 말아요 (Naleul Ijji Malayo/Remember O Goddess, South Korea), but Lee Yoon Jung recently posted an update with some big news: there has been a change of cast! Not just any cast member either, but the lead. Continue reading »
I’m kinda starving (it’s almost 4 p.m. and I haven’t had lunch yet), so I’ll give you this week’s trailers without any further ado and shall head to the kitchen to make myself some gyoza and bibimbap.
I’m actually not multiple days late with this Trailer Weekly but just right on time! I haven’t had dinner yet though … but that’s more so because I can’t make up my mind what to have. Ideally soup (which is comfort food in my book) with dumplings (gyoza, mandu, momos, whichever) but I haven’t got any dumplings and I’m not about to start making any from scratch on a Sunday night at 10 p.m. (if I had wonton wrappers, maybe). Ramen would do as well, but no ramen noodles in the house either so I think it’ll end up being a soup concoction involving some sort of Asian noodles, seaweed and miso. No tofu though, boohoooo. I really wish, by the way, corner shops would carry tofu (I eyed some halloumi cheese today, vaguely hoping it might turn out to be a block of soy, but of course it wasn’t). Anyhow, before I get too deep into my food contemplations, better I go cook something and leave you to peruse this week’s Trailer Weekly selection.
Country: South Korea
Director: Yeun Sang-Ho
Studio: Studio Dadashow, KT&G Sangsangmadang
Screenplay: Yeun Sang-Ho
Art Direction: N/A
Animation Direction: N/A
Soundscore: Eom Been
Voice Cast: Yang Ik-joon, Oh Jung-se, Kim Hye-na, Kim Kkobbi, Park Hee-von
Runtime: 97 min
Distribution: Terracotta (UK)
Seen at the Terracotta on Tour screening at the Genesis Cinema thanks to winning tickets from Eastern Kicks. Special thanks also go to the Korean Film Council, which provided me with online access to the film. The King of Pigs will screen in London on March 8, 2013 as part of the Pan-Asia Film Festival and will be released on DVD by Terracotta on March 11, 2013.
학교 2013 (Hakkyo 2013/School 2013, South Korea, 2013), a television drama that recently aired on KBS2, explores the life and struggles of high school students on a number of levels, tackling issues such as the pressure of academic achievement, strained relationships with parents and suicide, but also the hierarchical structures of classrooms and bullying, breaking with the silence that still surrounds many of these problems in Korean society. Hakkyo 2013 deserves praise for the candid as well as sensitive portrayal of these issues, but it does not go all the way, for although the picture it presents is surprisingly dark, it is not one entirely without hope. Indeed, as television productions face the judgment of a media regulation agency and weekly viewing figures from an audience that remains hesitant about open conversations on such issues, it is left to a few, audacious films to play out the worst scenarios imaginable until the very end. One of these films – in animated form – is 돼지의 왕 (Daegieui wang/The King of Pigs, 2011).
Sunday was Chinese New Year so I will begin this Trailer Weekly with 恭喜发财! (Gong xi fa cai!). I actually ventured out to London’s Chinatown with a friend, fully intent on enjoying some Taiwanese food but the restaurant I had in mind had a queue about a mile long, even at 3 in the afternoon. In the end we opted for Japanese (vegetable & tofu tempura bento, plus lovely gyōza) and later watched a Japanese film at my friend’s house (Ghibli’s 「おもひでぽろぽろ」/ Omohide Poro Poro/Only Yesterday, 1991, after initially considering 「火垂るの墓」 / Hotaru no Haka/Grave of the Fireflies, 1988, even buying some comfort food and then copping out. Jajaja…). Anyhow, it ended up being a pretty un-Chinese Chinese New Year, despite all intentions. Ah well.
In terms of this belated Trailer Weekly, I thought it was time for another ‘Special’, with J-actresses that I know from doramas as the focus: Anne, Karina, Koyuki, Yoko Maki, Ueno Juri and Takeuchi Yuko. Continue reading »
Director: Inudo Isshin
Adaptation from: Matsumoto Seicho’s bestselling novel of the same title (1959)
Screenplay: Inudo Isshin, Nakazono Kenji
Cinematography: Takahiro Tsutai
Soundscore: Ueno Koji (Theme song: Nakajima Miyuki)
Cast: Hirosue Ryoko, Nakatani Miki, Kimura Tae, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kaga Takeshi, Nomaguchi Tori, Sugimoto Tetta, Kuroda Fukumi, Honda Hirotarō
Runtime: 131 min
Distribution: Toho (Japan)
Seen at the ICA as part of the Japan Foundation’s 10th Touring Film Programme “Once Upon a Time in Japan”. The film screened February 3 (sold out) and 5 (nearly sold out), with a Q&A with the director following on both days. The JPF also organised a Director’s Talk with Inudo on February 6. For further screenings in the UK see Bonus Bits below.
To make an author’s most popular bestseller into a successful film can never be easy, but imagine the challenge if that the story has already been told on the screen multiple times – once as a film (1961, dir. by Nomura Yoshitaru), sixfold as a TV dorama (1961, Fuji TV; 1971, NKH; 1976, Nippon Television; 1983, TBS; 1991, again Nippon Television and 1994, NKH Nagoya). It also doesn’t help if the tale in question is a mystery drama and everyone, thanks to the original’s and the numerous screen adaptations’ popularity, already knows whodunnit. Yet this is the challenge that Inudo Isshin, commissioned by the production studio, took on when setting out to make another Zero no Shōten film in time for the 100th anniversary of the novelist’s birthdate. Continue reading »
I’ve decided that today’s Trailer Weekly (okay, strictly speaking, I’m still a week behind) should be dorama-inspired. As in, full of films starring actors that I have seen and enjoyed in TV series but whose work on the big screen I also want to explore further. This one happens to be all about actors, but I’ll do an actress version at some point too. Continue reading »
My sister was visiting this past week so I played tour guide and ate a lot. Japanese food, Taiwanese food and South Indian food and, twice, at the awesome Candy Café. Plus goodies like ตะโก้ from the various Asian supermarkets in Chinatown (one of my favourite places in London). The brilliant thing about having an equally Third Culture Kid sister is that we just walk into these places and go ahhh! in total and utter delight of things we both know from childhood days. Or take pictures of the Doraemon cake slices in the Asian bakeries (invoking memories of cakes that never tasted like anything much but had the most elaborate, sometimes even 3-D scenes realised in buttercream). We/I didn’t do much film-wise, though I did drag my more cinematically mainstream oneesan into Beasts of the Southern Wild.
So here I am with the Trailer Weekly a day late. It’s such a busy time for me both at university as well as with all my gazillion part-time jobs and now with the London Film Festival added on top, I’m just barely squeezing in a few hours of sleep each night and not really doing much else! Hence the lack of posting.
I have however been jotting down notes on the films I have seen so far -「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」 (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/Wolf Children, Japan, 2012),「愛と誠 」(Ai to Makoto/For Love’s Sake, Japan, 2012), 「夢売るふたり」 (Yume Uru Futari/Dreams for Sale, Japan, 2012), 물고기 (Mulgogi/A Fish, South Korea, 2011) and「ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ」 (Raiku samuwan in rabu/Like Someone in Love, Japan/France, 2012) - with several more still to come. Only Yume Uru Futari didn’t impress me all that much, most others (most of all Ookami Kodomo and Ai to Makoto!) I wish I could rewatch already tomorrow!
By the way, I think all the film posters this week – except the one for the Iranian film – are super boring. Boohoo.
Trailer Weekly day. I’m back in London and suffering from the sudden 15 degree drop in temperature (the weather is just miserable!) and the fact that my breakfast doesn’t include mango anymore. Boohoooo. Never mind that the autumn months are looking insanely busy already, leaving me unsure whether I’ll have even time to breathe… all my September weekends are already planned out and some of October’s as well. Although I’m still a bit disappointed that I had to turn down presenting at the Cultural Translation and East Asia: Film, Literature and Art conference, which takes place in Bangor, Wales, next week, I know it was the more sensible decision in terms of time and workload. Despite the full schedule ahead, I’m hoping I will fit in more film reviews this month, as only three in August was a new low – sorry!
On to trailers, trailers: we are 50/50 this week: 50% Korean, 50% Japanese.
Director: Matsuyama Hiroaki
Adaptation from: Shinobu Kaitani’s manga「ライアーゲーム」(Raia Gemu/Liar Game)
Screenplay: not credited
Cinematography: Miyata Nobu
Soundscore: not credited
Cast: Matsuda Shota, Tabe Mikako
Runtime: 131 min
Trailer: on YouTube
Film’s official website: in Japanese only
Seen on a British Airways flight from London to New Delhi (August 2012). The theatrical and/or DVD versions may differ slightly.
As you might guess from a title like Raia Gemu – Saisei, there is a lot that precedes this film. It all starts with a manga,「ライアーゲーム」(Raia Gemu/Liar Game, 2005 – ongoing), which went on to inspire two seasons of a TV drama (2007, 2009), a first film (「ライアーゲーム ザ・ファイナルステージ」/Raia Gemu za Fainaru Suteji/Liar Game – The Final Stage, 2010), a spin-off drama series 「アリス イン ライアーゲーム」 (Arisu in Raiagemu/Alice in Liar Game, 2012) and of course Raia Gemu – Saisei itself. Continue reading »
Earlier this month I wrote about the wonderful indie project 나를 잊지 말아요 (Remember O Goddess), a Korean-American film noir that is currently in the making. The project’s Kickstarter campaign was successfully completed a while ago and it also won Indiewire’s Project of the Week.
Apologies, I’m a day late here – have been having internet problems. Initially few films caught my attention this week (I hope the film posters are showing – because they don’t want to load for me!). There were plenty of new trailers at Apple or Traileraddict, but none for films that I really, really wanted to see. But there are several Korean film trailers I was thinking of including for a while already, plus a couple of new, Japanese finds. Continue reading »
Director: Yasuharu Ishii, Toshio Tsuboi, Akihiko Watase
Screenplay: Takayuki Takuma
Cast: Matsumoto Jun, Aragaki Yui, Nakai Kiichi
There is a plethora of Asian dramas out there, the majority of which suffer from the same ailments: weak, often completely nonsensical plot lines and an overindulgence in clichés and stock characters. The 11-episode Japanese dorama スマイル (Smile, 2009) has none of these faults, but sets itself apart with the pertinent as well as heart-wrenching story of Hayakawa Vito (played by a very tanned Matsumoto Jun), a hardworking half-Japanese, half-Filipino man who always has a smile on his face. Vito has only ever lived in Japan, speaks only Japanese and really knows nothing about Filipino culture yet has suffered from prejudice for being a ‘foreigner’ (‘gaijin’) since childhood. This discrimination makes no sense at all but persists in Japan to this day, with Sumairu courageously putting the issue of racism in Japanese society at the core of this drama. Continue reading »