It is an eclectic mix this week, taken from a variety of sources: film festival programmes, critics’ lists and random online finds.
- อยากรักก็รักเลย (Pu Chai Lulla (Yak Rak Goh Rak Loie)/Yes or No, Thailand, 2010) – Another film from this year’s BFI Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Yak Rak Goh Rak Loie is the first Thai production to be promoted as a ‘lesbian film’ and is a “[d]isarmingly sweet tale of two Thai students who must decide whether they are brave enough to live lesbian lives.” While I wouldn’t expect anything earth-shattering here, it is certainly a film important for the Thai LBTG community and Thai filmmaking history.
- 阳阳 (Yang Yang, Taiwan, 2009) – Yang Yang is a half-French, half-Chinese teenager who excels at track & field. When her mother marries her coach, she gains a stepsister and must struggle with issues of “identity, love and belonging”. Looks promising, although I really don’t care for the film poster.
- Örnjägarens son (aka Stimme des Adlers/The Eagle Hunter’s Son, Sweden/Germany/Denmark, 2009) – Set in the utterly remote but breathtakingly beautiful lands of Mongolia, Örnjägarens son is about a young boy, who loses the family’s prized eagle and sets out to look for it, as well as for his elder brother that recently left for the city. N.B. If you live in Wales (Swansea or Mold), this film has two screenings planned for early April as part of the WOW Festival – details here.
- ガマの油 (Gama no Abura/Toad’s Oil, Japan, 2009) – One of those somewhat quirky, but (im)possibly charming Japanese films. The eccentric Takura must deal with the fact that his teenage son Takuya has fallen into an irreversible coma after an accident and keeps watch over the boy at the hospital. There he is joined by his wife as well as his son’s friend Saburo – recently released from juvenile detention – and ends up impersonating Takuya on the phone to keep his child’s girlfriend in the dark about the situation. The toad’s oil – the Japanese equivalent of heall-all snake oil – has a lot to cure and it’s not just Takuya (who is really too dead to be cured). Gama no Abura comes with a poster that is appropriately and inspiringly wacky.
- Stand van de sterren (Position among the Stars, Indonesia, 2011) – An award winning documentary and the final part of a trilogy (the other parts being Stand van de zon/The Eye of the Day, The Netherlands, 2001, and Stand van de maan/Shape of the Moon, The Netherlands, 2004). Stand van de sterren made it onto quite a few critics’ lists, including in this wonderful compilation of lists of 2011 film highlights. The trailer gave me goosebumps.
- Marhuľový ostrov (Apricot Island, Slovakia/Hungary, 2009) – This film recently screened at the EU Film Festival 2012: Europe in Love in New Delhi, which my Dad alerted me to. More screenings are planned for other parts of India. Marhuľový ostrov looks intense – it’s the story of a woman igniting rival passions in two brothers – but well made. Here’s a poster that looks… um, peachy (apricoty?).