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A little on the gloomy side this time – I will try to ring out the year with some cheerier trailers next week:

  • 津波そして桜 (Tsunami soshite sakura/The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, 2011) – Director Lucy Walker’s “stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower” comes in the wake of the country’s tsunami disaster this year in March. Be warned: the opening images of the trailer are live footage – made me cry. No official film poster is currently available.
  • A State of Mind (UK/North Korea, 2004) – A documentary filmed by two British filmmakers, that follows two North Korean girl gymnasts as they prepare for the 2003 Pyongyang mass games. You can find a review and a fascinating 8 minute video here. For anyone in the UK, BBC4 is showing the documentary on December 29 (and I’m out of country!). Very timely, with Kim Jong-il’s demise this week.
  • W ciemności (In Darkness, Poland, 2011) – A holocaust film. Directed by Agnieszka Holland, In Darkness is Poland’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the upcoming Academy Awards.
  • ネムリユスリカ (Nemuri Yusurika/Sleep, Japan, 2011) – A raped teenager, the daughter born from the rape, a crippled grandfather, and a rapist dying of cancer. This already screened at the Raindance Film Festival in London, but I missed it somehow.
  •  (Shi/Poetry, South Korea, 2011) – An elderly woman in the early stages of Alzheimer starts writing poetry while learning of a terrible crime her teen grandson was involved in. Chances are you will have heard of this film already – it’s been on my to-watch list for quite a while. Michael Phillips, a critic for the Chicago Tribune, recently named it as the best movie of 2011.
  • 페이스메이커(Pe-i-seu-me-i-keo/Pacemaker, South Korea, 2011) – This one is for the runners among you. A drama, but this one is not all gloom I think.
Bonus Links
  • There are various reviews of the recently released trailer of The Hobbit, including from The Guardian and Slate. Wickman, who writes for Slate, complains that “we get what looks like a fan trailer recut from the first three movies” as everything seems a bit too familiar for him. Perhaps, but, I agree with commenters that this has less to do with The Lord of Rings films than with the fact that Jackson is following Tolkien’s book. Or, in the words of a commenter named Ragnar, “What, you expected Gandalf to wear red and Bilbo to be 7 feet tall?”
    Some people are also discussing whether trailers should be reviewed at all: I do think so – a film is just not the film itself, but constructed by all the material that surrounds it.
  • A Guardian interview with Elijah Wood on reprising, if very briefly only, his role as Frodo in The Hobbit. Frodo, Sam & co. will be something I’ll definitely miss from the prequels.
  • The Interview (South Korea, 2011) – An article on a 15-minute mockumentary made by young defectors from North Korea. There is no trailer available yet, but I will keep my eye out for it.