New Teasers/Trailers for Forthcoming Anime Releases「バケモノの子」(Bakemono no Ko/The Boy and the Beast) and「百日紅」(Sarusuberi/Miss Hokusai)

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I have been a bit absent for a while – my apologies. I’m quite busy with writing up my thesis these days and the last thing one wants to do when writing all day long, is writing yet some more. You can however find me posting on tumblr quite a fair bit, as the camera has been the counterbalance against the monotony of my writing-up days.

Anyhow, so while I won’t be posting a film review for probably a good while just yet, here’s a short post with some recently released teasers/trailers.

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Documentary on Takahata’s Kaguya Hime to Be Released in the UK Next Month

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News is out that it is not just Takahata Isao’s「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/The Tale of Princess of Kaguya, Japan, 2013) that is getting a release via STUDIOCANAL in the UK next month, but that a documentary about the animation will be made available as well.

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「思い出のマーニー」(When Marnie Was There) Gets a North American Premiere at NYICFF & Blog Update

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New York Internation Children’s Film Festival: Marnie & Satellite Girl

Earlier this week the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) announced that Studio Ghibli’s「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There, 2014) will be on its programme. The screening will be the North American premiere for the film, which so far has only been shown in Japan (last July) and at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (these past few days).

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GKids Picks up Marnie; the Academy Gives Kaguya a Nod and Rotterdam Does a Ghibli Double Bill

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animation news Various news updates (primarily for animated film fans): Continue reading

KCCUK Is Back with a New Korean Film Nights Programme for 2015

Im Kwon-taek 1

The KCCUK is once again organising Korean films nights on (at least) a fortnightly basis throughout 2015. While details about the programme and frequency of showings are still scarce, it has been announced that the focus, once again, will be on directors – 2012 already saw a “Year of Directors”, followed by a “Year of Actors” (2013) and a “Year of Film Professionals” (2014).  Continue reading

K-Animation 생각보다 맑은 (Saenggagboda Malgeun/Clearer Than You Think) to Premiere in January

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A new Korean animation debut is coming our way: 생각보다 맑은 (Saenggagboda Malgeun/Clearer Than You Think), directed by Han Ji-won (한지원), is due to for release in South Korea on January 22, 2015.

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Some More (J-)Animated Films to Look Forward to in 2015

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Studio Ghibli is on an extended hiatus and, indeed, may never return. Fortunately there is more quality animation to be found in Japan than just Miyazaki & co, with several exciting projects being scheduled for release in 2015. I have already written about Hosoda Mamoru’s「バケモノの子」(Bakemono No Ko/The Boy and the Beasthere and here, which will hit screens in July 2015. However, there is yet more to look forward to:

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LKFF & K-Animation Season Review: 메밀 꽃 필 무렵, 운수좋은 날, 그리고 봄봄 (Memilggot Pil Mulyeob, Woonsoo Joheun Nal, Geurigo Bombom/The Road Called Life) and Some Reflections on the Slump in Korean Animation

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Year: 2013
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Ahn Jae-hun, Han Hye-jin
Producer:  Lee Sang-Wook
Studio: Studio Meditation with a Pencil
Adaptation from: Yi Hyo-seok’s 메밀꽃 필 무렵 (Buckwheat Season); Kim Yu-jeong’s 그리고 봄봄 (Spring, Spring) and Hyeon Jin-geon’s 운수 좋은 날 (A Lucky Day)
Screenplay: Ahn Jae-hun
Art Direction: N/a
Animation Direction: N/a
Soundscore: N/a
Cast: Eom Sang-hyun, Jang Kwang, Ryoo Hyeon-kyeong, Park Young-jae, Lee Jong-hyeok, Jeon Hye-yeong, Kang Eun-tak
Runtime: 90 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer:

This film is part of the K-Animation Season at Otherwhere. Seen at the 9th London Korean Film Festival. Special thanks to the KCCUK for providing me with a press ticket.

In 2011 Ahn Jae-hun and Han Hye-jin released their first feature-length animation, 소중한 날의 꿈 (Soljonghang Naluiggoom/Green Days), after eleven years of hard work. While it failed spectacularly at the box office, the reviews were largely positive, adding yet another work to the recently more active list of Korean animations. With The Road Called Life the team returned to making shorts, offering up an omnibus of three parts (each around 30 minutes long), all adapted from well-known traditional Korean tales set in different eras (1920s, 1940s and 1960s respectively). Continue reading

Review: Usagi Yojimbo at the Southwark Playhouse

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Year: 2014
Country:
UK
Language: English
Director: Amy Draper (@amyrosedraper)
Company:
N/a
Adaptation from: 
Sakai Stan’s long-running manga「兎用心棒」 (Usagi Yōjinbō)
Script: Stewart Melton (@stewmelton)
Design: Ele Slade (@EleSladeDesign)
Lighting design: Joshua Pharo
Projection design:
Nina Dunn (@nina_pixelpixie)
Sound designer: Max Pappenheim (@max_j_p)
Casting director: Annie Rowe (@AnnieRoweCasts)
Fight director: Ronin Traynor (@RoninTraynor)
Soundscore: Hirota Joji (@JojiHirota)
Cast: Amy Ip (@amyip), Kuroda Haruka (@kurodaharuka), Siu Hun Li (@siuhunli) Jonathan Raggett (@JonathanRaggett), Tabuchi Dai
Runtime: 95 min (no intermission)
Official website: None for the play but Usagi Yojimbo (website for the manga) and Facebook page (manga)

Trailer:

Seen at Southwark Playhouse (@swkplay) in London on December 13, 2014. The play runs from November 28, 2014 until January 4, 2015. Details and ticket booking here. Suitable for ages 8+.

Note: All Usagi Yojimbo photos taken from the manga’s Facebook page (no photographer credited).

When I posted my first review on Otherwhere back in 2011, I never really thought about where blogging might take me. Three years on, there have been new-found Asian film fan friends (in London and elsewhere), plenty of screeners, invites ge previews, film festivals and even interviews, as well as the opportunity to do a photoshoot for GIGAN magazine a few months back with several London-based Japanese actors – one of whom was Tabuchi Dai. I have been following Dai’s work ever since and was instantly intrigued when, a few days back, he started posting images on his Facebook page from a play he was involved in: Usagi Yojimbo at the Southwark Playhouse. So off to the theatre I went.

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme: It Only Happens in the Movies?

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It Only Happens in the Movies

One of the first film festivals of the very-quickly-approaching year of 2015 will be the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme (JFTFP), which will kick off in London on January 30th and travel around the country until late March, with Bristol, Belfast, Derby, Birmingham, Dundee, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Newcastle upon Tyne, Kendal (Cumbria) and Nottingham all being planned tour stops. As always, a good dozen films (most fairly recent, a few older) will be on show, all connected through a thematic link, summarised in the 2015 festival title It Only Happens in the Movies?  Continue reading

New Hosoda Mamoru Film「バケモノの子」(Bakemono No Ko/Beast and Boy) Coming in July 2015

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Here’s a lovely surprise that dropped from the skies today: a poster for Hosoda Mamoru’s next feature-length animation,「バケモノの子」(Bakemono no Ko/Beast and Boy). That’s the first I have heard of this film, but I’ll take surprises like this any day. Continue reading

Studio Ghibli’s Kaguya Hime Finally Gets a UK Release Date… Sort of…

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Takahata Isao’s 「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/The Tale of the Princess Kaguya) was released in Japan more than a year ago on November 23, 2013. It has screened at a number of festivals around the world and, thanks to North American distributor GKIDS, is currently in US cinemas – meaning, it has been seemingly everywhere except in the UK. While we still do not have an exact release date, Studio Canal (the film’s UK distributor) has now at least offered a vaguely projected one: Continue reading

Review:「夢と狂気の王国」(Yume to Kyoki no Okoku/Kingdom of Dreams and Madness)

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Year: 2013
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Sunada Mami
Studio:
N/a
Screenplay: Sunada Mami
Cinematography: Sunada Mami
Soundscore: Takagi Masakatsu
Cast: Miyazaki Hayao, Suzuki Toshio, Hideaki Anno
Runtime: 118 min
Distribution: GKIDS (North America), StudioCanal (UK)
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer:

This piece was originally written as a guest review for easternKicks. It comes as part of easternKicks’s coverage of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, with SDAFF providing access to an online screener (thank you!). In the UK, the documentary will be available on DVD from StudioCanal on December 1, 2014. In the US, it will be released by GKIDS in select cinemas on November 28, 2014 and available for digital download on December 9, 2014.

Given that it has been nearly thirty years since Studio Ghibli, Japan’s probably most famous and, internationally speaking, most successful animation studio, was founded in June 1985, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that there has to date been no feature-length documentary on it. Continue reading

LKFF Group Interview with Ahn Sung-ki and Q&A Photos from 화장 (Hwayang/Revivre) Closing Night Gala

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This interview was originally posted on Hangul Celluloid and is republished here with permission (Note: original Korean film titles have been added). All the hard work of transcribing the interview was done by Hangul Celluloid. The photos (from the interview and the Closing Night Gala Q&A) are my own. Special thanks to the KCCUK for organising this interview. Continue reading

LKFF Mini-Review: 킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer behind the Old Man) & Jung Woo-sung Photos

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killer behind the old man

Year: 2014
Country:
Hong Kong
Language: Korean
Director: Jung Woo-sung (정우성)
Studio:
commissioned by Hong Kong International Film Festival (omnibus)
Screenplay: Yoon Jung Lee
Cinematography: N/a
Soundscore: Mowg
Cast: Andy Choi, Woo Sang-jeon, Yoo In-yeong
Runtime: N/a
Distribution: HKIFF
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer: Not available

Seen at the 9th London Korean Film Festival. Special thanks go to the LKFF organisers for providing me with a press ticket.

Screening together with the feature 감시자들 (Gamshijadeul/Cold Eyes, 2013) at the 9th London Korean Film Festival,  킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer Behind, the Old Man) is the directorial debut of Jung Woo-sung. A short originally part of the omnibus Three Charmed Lives – three works directed by individuals better known for their work in front rather than behind the camera – it comes commissioned by Fushan Features and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Continue reading

LKFF Review: 화이: 괴물을 삼킨 아이 (Hwayi: Gwimuleul Samkin Ahyi/Hwayi: A Monster Boy) and Q&A

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hwayi 6 Year: 2013
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Director:  Jang Joon-Hwan
Producer: Lee Jung-dong
Studio: 
Showbox/Mediaplex
Screenplay: Park Joo-suk
Cinematography:  Kim Ji-Yong
Soundscore: Mowg
Cast: Kim Yun-Seok, Yeo Jin-Goo, Lee Kyoung-Young, Jang Hyun-Sung, Cho Jin-Woong, Kim Sung-Kyun, Nam Ji-Hyun
Runtime: 125 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website: N/a
Trailer: (Please note that the trailer reveals quite a lot of the plot – you may want to skip it.)

Seen at the 9th London Korean Film Festival. Special thanks go to the LKFF organisers for providing me with a press ticket.

Hwayi, an Oedipal action thriller that falls neatly into its genre as well as into Korean cinema (of the darker kind) more generally, comes as the long-awaited return of director Jang Joon-hwan, who last made a featurelength film in 2003 (지구를 지켜라!/Jigureul Jikyeora!/Save the Green Planet, 2003).

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LKFF Opening Gala 군도: 민란의 시대 (Kundo: Age of Rampant) – Photos, Q&A and Other Musings

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Shadowplay.

Note: These images were also posted on the London Asian Film Society’s Facebook page.

Opening Gala

Thursday night was the opening gala for the 9th London Korean Film Festival, which will be screening 55 films over the next few weeks (London dates: Nov 6-15). The opening film was Yoon Jong-bin’s 군도: 민란의 시대 (Kundo: Minranui Sidae/Kundo: Age of Rampant, 2013), with the director, lead actor Kang Dong-won and producer Han Jae-duk all in attendance. Continue reading

LFF Review: 우리별 일호와 얼룩소 (Wooribyeol Ilhowa Eolrukso/Satellite Girl and Milk Cow)

satellite girl 2 Year: 2013
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Jang Hyung-yoon (sometimes written Chang Hyung-yun)
Studio:
Nowornever
Screenplay: Jang Hyung-yoon
Art Direction: N/A
Animation Direction:
N/A
Soundscore: Black Magic
Cast: Yeong Yu-mi, Yoo Ah-in, Lee Don-yong, Hwang Seok-jeong
Runtime: 81 min
Distribution: Indiestory Inc.
Film’s official website: http://www.milkcow2014.kr/ (in Korean)
Trailer: 

Seen at the 2014 London Film Festival. This review is part of the K-Animation Season on Otherwhere. Other than two festival screenings, the film has not been released in the UK although it will be shown at the Leeds International Film Festival on November 7 and 10, 2014. A Region A Blu-ray disc with English subtitles is however available from Yesasia.com.

It rather seems that every year there is yet one or another Korean director that we have barely or not at all heard from before that has his/her feature-length animation debut, only then to seemingly disappear forever again. This year (well, last year, if you want to be technical) it is Jang Hyung-yoon that brings an animated tale alive on our screens for the first time.

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Full Programme for the 9th London Korean Film Festival

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The London Korean Film Festival starts next week. The programme has been out for a little while already, so I’m running a little late with this post – fortunately, it’s still just in time. As always, the programme is diverse as can be, with animation, horror, thrillers, rom-coms (and more) all featuring. Most films are recent releases, but a few older ones are on the programme too – most of those as part of mini-seasons (e.g. a Kim Ki-duk season).

The festival managed to snag a number of particularly high profile guests this year, including A-list actors Kang Dong-won and Jung Woo-sung. Yes, Kang Dong-won and Jung Woo-sung! K-pop fans will also be delighted to hear that Donghae and Eunhyuk of Super Junior are stopping by (though I am not sure if any tickets for that special event are still left). Continue reading

Another Hobbity Air New Zealand Video

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air new zealand

You may remember when Air New Zealand released a safety video featuring all kinds of creatures from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings a couple of years back – I wrote about it here. Well, they have done it again and just released what they have called “The Most Epic Air Safetey Video Ever Made”. Continue reading

Ghibli’s TV Anime「山賊のむすめローニャ」(Sanzoku no Musume Ronia/ Ronia Robber’s Daughter) Premieres in Japan

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「山賊のむすめローニャ」(Sanzoku no Musume Ronia/Ronia Robber’s Daughter), Studio Ghibli’s first venture into TV in a collaboration with Polygon Pictures, premiered in Japan yesterday, with BS Premium airing a double episode to introduce (most) characters and the setting.

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LFF Review: 자유의 언덕 (Jayuui Eondeok/Hill of Freedom)

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Year: 2014
Country:
South Korea
Language: English, some Korean
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Screenplay: Hong Sang-soo
Cinematography: Park Hongyeol
Sound: Kim Mir
Music: Jeong Yongjin
Cast: Kase Ryo, Moon So-ri, Youn Yuh-Jung, Kim Eui-Sung, Jung Eun-Chae, Seo Young-Hwa
Runtime: 66 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer: 

Seen at the 2014 London Film Festival. Note: If you have seen the film and can’t make sense of it, I have added some further thoughts (marked as spoilers) after the image gallery.

For the sixteenth feature-length film in someone’s career, Hong Sang-soo’s Jayuui Eondeok feels surprisingly raw: it comes with a fragmented, non-chronological narrative that clearly has a few pieces missing, a camera with a conspicuously amateurish zoom and naturalistic dialogue composed of lengthy and often quite awkward utterances that normally are polished away, if not in the scripting, then certainly in the editing stage of the film making process. These are all, I am told, the director’s typical tricks (I am a Hong Sang-soo novice). Continue reading

Review: 「自分の事ばかりで情けなくなるよ」(Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo/How Selfish I Am)

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How Selfish I am

Year: 2013
Country:
 Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Matsui Daigo
Studio: 
N/A
Screenplay: Matsui Daigo
Original story: Ozaki Sekaikan
Cinematography: Shioya Hiroki
Soundscore: CreepHyp
Cast: Ikematsu Sosuke, Kurokawa Mei, Yamada Maho, Ando Sei, Shunsuke Daitoh  Onoue Hiroyuki
Runtime: 106 min
Distribution: N/A
Film’s official website: Jibun Bakari (日本語)

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gb2_Md4DNs

Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this filmThe film recently screened at the annual London Raindance festival.

If definite answers are something you seek in films, then Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo is probably not one to watch as it falls squarely into the slice of life genre and offers no more than a glimpse into the rather bleak lives of several characters, with many details unexplained.  Continue reading

Two minute preview for「山賊のむすめローニャ」(Sanzoku no Musume Ronia/ Ronia Robber’s Daughter)

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Studio Ghibli’s TV collaboration with Polygon Pictures is set to premiere in ten days (premiere date on NHK: October 11) and a two-minute preview was released today. Unlike the teaser a while back, it introduces some darker moments although it retains a light feel over all.

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Photologia: A Year of Dailies

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Dailies

I have been carrying a camera – usually my Nikon D7100 – around with me all the time for a year, taking at least one picture a day and posting it it as part of a “Dailies” project on my Tumblr account. It wasn’t project that I planned, I just randomly had the idea one day (which happened to be the first of October last year). Continue reading

Review: 「そこのみにて光輝く」(Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku/The Light Shines Only There)

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Year: 2014
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Oh Mipo
Studio:
N/A
Adaptation from:
Novel of the same title by Sato Yasushi
Screenplay: Takada Ryo
Cinematography: Kondo Ryuto
Soundscore: Tanako Takuto
Cast: Ayano Gou, Ikewaki Chizuru, Suda Masaki, Takahashi Kazuya, Hino Shohei, Isayama Hiroko, Tamura Taijiro.
Runtime: 120 min
Distribution: Open Sesame (Tokyo)
Film’s official website: Hikarikagayaku (日本語)

Trailer: A trailer is available, but I’m not linking it here on purpose. I think it’s best to go completely blind into this film – the trailer contains some tiny, spoilerish bits. If you do insist, it’s below the Image Gallery at the end of the post. You might prefer to read this review post-film too.

Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this film. The European premiere of Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku, which was recently chosen as Japan’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, will be at the Raindance Film Festival on September 29, 2014. A second screening will take place on September 30. Tickets can be booked here.

soko nomi nite hikaru kagayaku 7

Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku is the sort of film I would like to write two reviews for: one for the people that have seen it and one for those who haven’t. It is the sort of film about which there is, afterwards, much to discuss, but which it is best to go into blind because not knowing is, at least in a first viewing, much of its power. Continue reading

Eastern Kicks Asks: “The Film that Started It All”

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crouching tiger

Childhood memories & global success story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Recently Andrew Heskins of Eastern Kicks asked a number of critics, film bloggers and friends about “the film that started it all” – i.e. their passion for Asian cinema:

It might not have been the first Asian film you saw, or even the best, but was there one that stood out? That light bulb moment when you realised how much you loved Asian movies and had to write/talk/blog/podcast about it?

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Raindance 2014: Japan, China and Other Recommendations

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raindance 2014

Festival programme number two is from Raindance, London’s premier indie film festival that has been going strong for twenty-one years. This year, Raindance is scheduled to run from September 24 until October 5, 2014 and will screen some 100 feature films and over 150 shorts, host Q&A’s, run workshops – you name it. The festival has long since been a good place for Asian film lovers as a Japanese strand has been part of the programme for many years now and this year includes several feature films as well as a “New Directions in Japanese Cinema” sub-strand for shorts. A few other Asian offerings can usually be found too.

Note: Synopses (in purple) are directly quoted from the Raindance website.

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Scotland Loves Anime 2014: Line-up for Glasgow and Edinburgh

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Scotland Loves Anime 2014

The autumn is a-coming and it’s not just the colourful leaves on the ground that are telling me that: the first programme announcements for various film festivals are dropping. Scotland Loves Anime (SLA), which is scheduled for October, was revealed its line-up a few days ago, with Raindance (September) followed yesterday, while the London Film Festival (October) programme is due today and the London Korean Film Festival (October/November) one on September 15.

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Full-Length Japanese Trailer for「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There)

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After the 1:43 min trailer from nearly two weeks ago, we now have an extended (2:43 min) one from Studio Ghibli – clearly gearing up for the film’s release in Japan in three days (two days, if we go by the timezone that Japan is in). Continue reading

Where Marnie Was

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marnie windmill

The story of When Marnie Was There is set in a little town by the name of Little Overton, a fictional town inspired by a real place – Burnham Overy Staithe on the Norfolk coast. Although Studio Ghibli announced that this setting was going to be changed to a village in Hokkaido in their adaptation, some friends and I still wanted to seek out Marnie’s original home base – just because we are dedicated enough Ghibli fans and because it is more fun to explore the UK by traveling to random places instead of completing the usual checklist of famous sights for foreigners. Continue reading

Coffee, Cake & Cats: At Lady Dinah’s, London’s One and Only Cat Café

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Cat cafés are the sort of thing that seems bonkers when you think about it but that make so much sense when you actually try it out. Despite popular belief that cat cafés are a Japanese invention, the first one apparently was in Taipei, Taiwan, back in 1998. It drew many visitors, including from Japan, who took the concept back home, opening their first, own Café Neko in Osaka in 2004. Now there are some 30-something in Tokyo alone and more than 150 all over the country.

Fortunately, other parts of the world are catching on the trend too. While we can still count all the cat cafés in Europe on a single hand, it won’t be like that much longer I think. The first, Café Neko, opened in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, Le café des chats in Paris, France, followed in 2013, as did one in Totnes, UK (which has, sadly, since closed). Il Neko just started serving cat lovers in Turin, Italy, and Koneko in Brighton, UK, is in the planning. And then there is Lady Dinah’s, or, rather Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, in London, a success story long before it started welcoming human visitors this year in March.

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“Fine on the Outside”: Music Video for「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There)

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priscillaahn02

Another「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There) update: in addition to the sparkling new trailer (which by now has been watched more than 18,000 times – up from the 500 yesterday morning), we also now have a music video for “Fine on the Outside”, the theme song of the latest Studio Ghibli film. It’s a video of the full song, something which is a little surprising. Continue reading

「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There): We Have a Trailer!

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It’s July and Studio Ghibli’s「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There, Japan, 2014) is opening in Japan later this month. A few days ago some more some new images were released, which I held off posting, thinking more would soon follow. Quite right I was – today we have a first trailer for the film: Continue reading

Les secrets du Layout pour comprendre l’animation de Takahata & Miyazaki: Studio Ghibli Exhibition in Paris

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ghibli expo paris

If there was ever a special reason needed to plan a trip to Paris, here’s one now: Art Ludique – Le Musée is holding an exhibition of 1300 original Studio Ghibli layouts from October 4th 2014 to March 1st 2015. Continue reading

「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/When Marnie Was There) Images and Character Profiles

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Studio Ghibli has been gearing up for the release of its next film, Omoide no Mani, a story about the friendship between a lonely orphan, Anna, and the rather otherworldly Marnie. With less than two months to wait – the film is due out in Japan on July 19 – a few more images have been revealed.

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Review: 나의 P.S. 파트너 (Naui P.S. Pateuneo/My P.S. Partner)

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Alternative English title: Whatcha Wearin’?
Year: 2012
Country:  South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Byun Sung-hyun
Screenplay: Byun Sung-yun, Kim Min-soo
Cinematography: Choe Sang-ho
Cast: Ji Sung, Kim Ah-joong, Kang Kyeong-jun, Shin So-yul, Kim Bo-yeon, Kim Sung-oh
Runtime: 114 min
Distribution: CJ Entertainment

Trailer:

Note: The film came with an 19+ rating in South Korea as it contains coarse language as well as some nudity and sex.

When Naui P.S. Pateuneo released in Korean cinemas in 2012, it hit the one-million admissions mark within ten days – faster than any other adult rom-com that had come before. It sold itself with a veiled but racy title (P.S. stands for Phone Sex), enticing viewers with a titillating trailer (watch above) and plenty promise of naughty. Continue reading

Review:「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)

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Year: 2013
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese, some German and Italian
Director: Miyazaki Hayao
Studio:
Studio Ghibli
Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao
Art Direction: Takeshige Youji
Animation Direction:
Kousaka Kitaro
Soundscore: Hisaishi Joe
Theme Song: 
ひこうき雲 (“Hikōki Gumo”/”Contrail”) by Yumi Matsutoya
Cast: Anno Hideaki, Takimoto Miori, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Nishimura Masahiko, Steve Alpert, Kazama Morio, Takeshita Keiko, Shida Mirai, Kunimura Jun, Otake Shinobu, Mansai Nomura
Runtime: 126 min
Distribution: Studio Canal (UK)
Film’s official website: http://www.kazetachinu.jp (日本語),

Trailer:

Special thanks to Studio Canal for an invite to a press screening of Kaze Tachinu prior to its UK release. I also attended the BFI Preview Screening of the film on April 23. Both screenings were subtitled, I have not seen (nor do I intend to) the dubbed version. The film is now showing in select UK cinemas (from May 9, 2014). 

Kaze Tachinu, Miyazaki Hayao’s apparent swan song, comes with a certain kind of echo of「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five)in which a group of young, ambitious men – who later become the founding fathers of modern Japan – seek technological knowledge and progress abroad but soon realise that they, and their nation, are years and years behind. Like these men, Horikoshi Jiro (Anno Hideaki), the hero of Miyazaki’s film, desires to know and create for the sake of knowing and creating, although, several decades on from the Choysu Five, he now envies the Germans, not the English, for their advanced know-how. Continue reading

Update on「思い出のマーニー」(Memories of Marnie): First Images, Theme Song & More.

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ghibli mural with marnie

Spot Marnie.

A few bits and bobs have been trickling in about Studio Ghibli’s next film,「思い出のマーニー」(Omoide no Mani/Memories of Marnie, 2014), which is due to be released in Japan this summer – on July 19 to be exact (mark your calendars!).

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April 2014 Events

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This comes a bit late, as I just don’t have much time to blog at the moment. I’ll keep trying but won’t make any promises, at least not for the next half year or so (I’m in the final stretch of my studies and have a lot to write over the next few months).

April comes with all kinds of film related events – there’s plenty to choose from, but it’s quiet compared to what is awaiting us in May. Continue reading

Review:「レンタネコ」 (Rentaneko/Rent-a-Cat)

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Year: 2012
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Ogigami Naoko
Studio:
N/a
Screenplay: Ogigami Naoko
Cinematography: Abe Kazutaka
Soundscore: N/a
Cast: Ichikawa Mikako, Kusamura Reiko, Mitsuishi Ken, Yamada Maho, Tanaka Kei, Kobayashi Katsuya
Runtime: 110 min
Distribution: Suurkiitos
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer:

The film was previously featured on Trailer Weekly #29. If you are in the UK or Ireland, the film is available to watch for a small fee on the Filmhouse Player.

Sayoko (Ichikawa Mikako) is a crazy cat lady in the making: although she is a little too young to be called a spinster (as per stereotype), she is an unmarried woman with a house full of cats and nothing much else. Continue reading

Photologia: Tesagan Gin Je Festival in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Too Long Ago)

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…also known as the Vegetarian Festival.

It’s an annual festival during the 9th lunar month that is celebrated in a number of South East Asian countries, including Thailand, where it means all kinds of things, but in Bangkok’s Chinatown especially a galore of veg food. Continue reading

Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)

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The Black Square

Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角
Year: 2012
Country: China/Japan
Language: Mandarin, some Japanese
Director: Okuhara Hiroshi
Studio: Black Square Film
Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi
Cinematography: Maki Kenji
Soundscore: Sangatsu
Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki
Runtime: 144 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website:  N/a
Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnvtcEW_MXg

Special thanks to Raindance, which provided me with a preview screener of this film. Kuroi shikaku showed at the 21st Raindance Film Festival on September 28, 2013. I previously featured the film on Trailer Weekly #79/80.

When Japanese film director Okuhara Hiroshi travelled to Bejing in 2008 and visited the Song Zhuang Artist Village he spoke no Chinese. The place – the experience – seemed surreal to him, or, as he explained, “the whole atmosphere felt like science fiction, including the surroundings. I felt I could shoot a Tarkovsky-like movie in this place. […] That’s how it all began.” (quote) Continue reading