Before we get started on trailers, please head over to indiewire.com, check the four films nominated for “Project of the Week” and vote. (Hint: I voted Remember O Goddess. I did check out the others, but it’s still Remember O Goddess I want to see the most.)
As for this week’s trailers:
- 코리아 (Koria/As One, South Korea, 2012) – I’m not a fan of sports films. It’s pretty much always the same story: some sports(wo)man with great potential, who is training for some big goal and has a seemingly insurmountable hurdle thrown his/her way. Then comes the big climax on the day of the competition, when s/he either succeeds against all odds or loses out, the latter always accompanied with some sort blablabla about how it’s not all about winning. Sometimes you’ll get an arch rival thrown in, or, in the worst of the lot (usually the mid-range budget Hollywood chick flick sport dramas) there will also be a love line with an unbelievably gorgeous guy. With all this predictability, I was ignoring Koria for the longest while, despite the fact that its release (it opened in South Korea on May 4) was preceded with a lot of buzz thanks to its divided-Korea-united theme and its cast. I’ve got to admit: the cast is stellar. I finally watched the trailer and, bang!, there was Ha Ji-won, who has been awesome in everything I have seen (including in k-dramas, like 시크릿 가든/Sikeurit Gadeun/Secret Garden, 2010, that made no sense whatsoever but still managed to suck me in thanks to HJW’s fierce performance). And there was also Bae Doona. I didn’t immediately recognise Bae’s name, but I sure recognised her face: she played one of the just-out-of-high-school girls in the 2001 gem 고양이를부탁해 (Goyangireul Butakhae/Take Care of My Cat). Sports drama or not, I’ll be watching Koria after all.
Ha Ji-won, looking fierce as usual.
- グスコーブドリの伝記 (Gusukōbudori no denki/The Life of Guskou Budori, Japan, 2012) – This was another one I wasn’t really paying attention to. I did note when the teaser trailer came out, but wasn’t quite captivated. Then Genkina Hito posted the extended trailer and wrote that Guskou Budori is based on an original novel by Miyazawa Kenji. Miyazawa Kenji! The writer of 風の又三郎 (Kaze no Matasaburō), whose film adaptation I adored! That’s all that it took to get me interested. Can’t wait for Gusukōbudori no denki now.
- 이방인들 (Ibangindeul/The Strangers, South Korea, 2011) – In Ibangindeul, Yeon-hee returns to her hometown some time after her mother died in a fire incident there. She meets Seok, who lost his father in the same fire and spends some time with him, trying to heal from the trauma. And then there is a young girl that makes Yeon-hee recall her childhood. That’s the story. It doesn’t sound like anything too gripping, but depending on how it’s played out, how sensitively emotions and memories are explored it could make a lovely film. Or not.
- U.F.O. (U.F.O., South Korea, 2011) – Teaser trailer only. This one could be average as well. The plot involves U.F.O.’s: a high school boy sights a U.F.O. at a mountain one day and returns there with three friends despite being warned off. Three believe they have made contact with aliens. One can’t be too sure, because he blacked out. Another disappears. This could be funny, but it first premiered at the Punchon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea), so it might just be a typical sci-fi flick. But the poster does have me interested because there is a clear, symbolic separation between the four boys – a mystery to be figured out.
- Beast of the Southern Wild (USA, 2012) – It’s the wondrous tale of a fantastical journey of a six-year-old girl, which debuted at Sundance, looks utterly intriguing and way too difficult to put into words. Tiny lead actress Quvenzhané Wallis seems like one of those total naturals in front of the camera.
- Un amour de jeunesse (Goodbye First Love, France/Germany, 2011) – Ignore the cheesy film title and skip right to the trailer. Mia Hansen-Løve’s second film after Le père des mes enfants (The Father of My Children, France, 2009). The Guardian praised it. The Irish Times panned it. I can see the argument for both.
- 宇宙兄弟 (Uchū Kyōdai/ Space Brothers aka Space Brothers: Let’s Go to Space, Brother, Japan, 2012) – This doesn’t come “last” in the queue, it’s just that I happened upon the trailer last from all the ones I’m posting this week (and I have to give Gekina Hito another shout out for that). I mentioned Uchū Kyōdai recently in Trailer Weekly #30 when it was still trailerless for some strange reason (given that the film’s release date in Japan was May 5th). It’s a story – manga-originated, anime-adapted – about two rather different brothers (played by Oguri Shun and Okada Masaki – double yay!) with a shared dream to go to space. I still haven’t read the manga nor watched the anime (currently airing), but Uchū Kyōdai’s awesomeness is said to derive from sensitive characterisation and the development of the brothers’ relationship (see Enzo’s fab recaps over at Lost in Anime. And while you are there, dig into the posts on Tsuritama too. And Sakamichi no Apollon. And don’t blame me if you spent the rest of your weekend watching anime.). I do wonder how a short film can succeed in bringing these things across and sort of wish it had been made into a dorama instead, although I suppose with the space storyline that would have been a too costly endeavour. P.S. I’m loving both brothers’ whacko hairstyles, faithfully carried over from the manga of course.
And the Trailerless…
A few still trailerless creations that also deserve mention:
- Una noche (lit. One Night, US/Cuba/UK) – dir. by Lucy Mulloy. “Marked by a vibrant evocation of Havana street life and excellent performances from three non-pro naturals, ‘Una noche’ throws off a restless energy well attuned to its tale of impetuous Cuban teens preparing to make the dangerous ocean journey to Florida.” You can read the full review at Variety.
- The Life of Pi (US, 2012) – dir. by Ang Lee. I didn’t realise a film adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel was underway, but yay! Apparently it’s been in the works for a while, shedding a number of directors along the way, including M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (quite a strange mix, don’t you think?). I am definitely curious to see what Lee will make of it as it can’t be an easy story to put on the screen. Quote the director himself (pre-production): “How exactly I’m going to do it, I don’t know. A little boy adrift at sea with a tiger. It’s a hard one to crack!” The Life of Pi is slated for a December 21st release.
I’ll supply trailers for these in future Trailer Weeklies once they become available.