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We go the world round this time.

  • This Is Not a Film (Iran, 2010) – Came across this on the ICA’s website, which will be screening the documentary for two weeks in April. When Jafar Panahi, one of Iran’s most important filmmakers, was facing a criminal trial for “propaganda against the regime” and was unable to make films in the way he would have liked, he turned the camera (and an iphone) on himself. The link is not for a trailer (there isn’t one for this non-film), but a 6-minute cut from the production. Watch it, and then put it on your list of must-see films. And, Londoners, mark April 1-12 on your calendars.
  • 경의선 (Kyeong-eui-seon/The Railroad, South Korea, 2006) – Made in 2006, this film was originally released in South Korea in 2007 and now had a second release earlier this month. Not sure why? I’m also not certain it’ll be any good, although the synopsis makes it sound like the kind of ‘bleaky’ (I think I’m just going to declare that as a new genre) that, depending on the film maker, can be excellent.
  • Boy (New Zealand, 2010) – You all well know that I watch a lot of ‘bleakies’, but here’s a comedy. Features: a child with a larger-than-life vision of his absent father, an obsession with Michael Jackson, AND we’re in the oh-so-awkward ’80s. Totally love it already.
  • Cirkus Columbia (Bosnia Herzegovina, 2010) – There is humour in this, but don’t be deceived: this film has deeper and more serious issues to deal with than a man’s gorgeous new girlfriend that catches everyone’s eye when he brings her to his old town. It’s set just after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, but before the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s. I’m including the original film poster here, which I think is more interesting than the stylised international one.
  • その街のこども 劇場版 (Sono Machi no Kodomo: Gekijoban, Japan, 2010/2011) – Originally screened as a drama in 2010 and was then re-edited into a film in 2011. Sono Machi no Kodomo (literally That City’s Children) is the story of child survivors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake who meet as adults on the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. It’s a bleaky of course, but I’m intrigued that the leads, Sato Eriko and Moriyama Mirai, are not just acting, but in fact experienced the Hanshin earthquake in real life. The film poster lacks originality though – I feel like I have seen this kind of design for a few Japanese films already.
  • On the Ice (USA, 2011) – First made as a short in 2008, this was then turned into a feature-length film.  It’s Andrew Okpeaha MacLean lauded debut film and won awards at the Berlinale and the Seattle International Film Festival. It promises a character study, and the sense I get from the trailer is that things may be much, much more complex and twisted than what they seem like at first.

Bonus Bits