A long list. And, save one (and a half) almost exclusively Korean:
- 창피해 (Chang-pi-hae/Life is Peachy, Korea, 2011) – Although there have been quite a number of films on male/male relationships (서양골동양과자점 앤티크/Antique Bakery; 쌍화점/A Frozen Flower; 왕의 남자/The King and the Clown, etc.), Kim Su-hyeon’s Life is Peachy is apparently Korea’s first major production focusing on a lesbian relationship. The plot sounds quite layered, but there is a shot that can be heard in the middle of the trailer, which makes me wonder whether the film will play out in the usual terms of many gay-themed Asian movies – i.e. extremely tragic ending such as in the Japanese ボーイズ ラブ (Bōizu Rabu/Boys Love, 2006 and 2007, with Boys Love 1 being epically tragic and Boys Love 2 just slightly more hopeful) or the Thai เพื่อน…กูรักมึงว่ะ (Phuean…Ku Rak Mueng Wa/Bangkok Love Story, 2007, which I have not seen, but hear is as tragic as it gets). But then even Brokeback Mountain was tragic.
- 달팽이의 별 (Dal-paeng-i-eui Byeol/Planet of Snail, Korea, 2011) – Planet of Snail won the top prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam last week and looks like a true gem. The documentary focuses on Young-Chan, a deaf and blind man, and Soon-Ho, his wife, who has a physical disability due to a spinal injury. Together they live in a “muted world that can only be reached by touch”. Young-Chan, an aspiring writer, explains the metaphorical title as follows: “We call ourselves ‘snails’ because we cannot hear or see and our lives are as slow as the snails. Now I live on earth where time runs so fast which makes me hard to follow the life of the earthmen.” For the trailer, film clips and other media, go to the documentary’s official website. UPDATE 27/6/2012: Review added on Otherwhere.
- 보트 (Bo-teu/Boat aka No Boys, No Cry, Korea/Japan, 2009) – Randomly came across this after clicking on a picture of the handsome-looking actor Tsumabuki Satoshi. Sometimes being superficial pays off, because this sounds and looks intriguingly intense.
UPDATE 11/12/2011: Review added on Otherwhere.
- 천사의 숨소리 (Cheon-sa-eui Soom-so-ri/Angel’s Breath, Korea, to be released in 2012) – Perhaps not the most interesting film in this week’s trailer selection, but a mother-son story that seems to involve both comedy and gravitas. It’s the final twenty seconds of the trailer that catch my interest.
- 양 한 마리, 양 두 마리 (Yang Han Ma-ri, Yang Doo Ma-ri/ Moscow, Korea, 2009/2011) – Very short trailer only, and it’s hard to tell whether this will be good or not. But, there’s something. So I will definitely keep an eye on this production, which was released in Korea last week.
- 아멘 (A-men/Amen, Korea, 2011) – Kim Ki-duk’s latest, enough said.
- 오래된 인력거 (O-rae-doin In-ryeok-geo/My Barefoot Friend, Korea, 2011) – A documentary by Lee Seong-Gyou (이성규) on barefooted-rickshaw pullers in Kolkata, India. Even the trailer is already not for the fainthearted, but it’s the kind of film no one should look away from.
And, finally, the only completely non-Korean recommendation this week:
- L’artiste (The Artist, France, 2011, directed by Michel Hazanavicius) – A black and white film. A silent film. Set in Hollywood of 1927. Shot in 2011. How could I not want to watch this? It’s been a surprise hit at film festivals. And Slate’s Dana Stevens called it “enormously likeable”.
UPDATE 17/2/2012: Review added on Otherwhere.