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As promised, a make-up Trailer Weekly (with two more to follow over the next couple weeks).

Yesterday, when I posted the review for 「ヒミズ」 (Himizu/Himizu, 2011) and then added a link to the Trailer Weekly (#14) that featured the film, I ended up wondering if there would ever be a post where I would be able to cross off all the films. I don’t know. I post many more trailers than films that I am able to watch and review, or even just watch. In fact, looking through, there are plenty Trailer Weeklies from which I have not even seen one film, often for lack of time (and/or money) but also because it isn’t easy to see the movies I’m most interested in. They are not released in UK cinemas. DVDs are not always available, or are available but not with subtitles. Or they are sold with the wrong region setting (something that really irks me by the way). Hurdles of that sort.

If I’m sounding pessimistic, it might be because I have just read the news from Asia-specialised UK distributor Third Window Films that “due to the resounding opening weekend failure of Himizu (and that of Villain before it)” it will be suspending any future theatrical releases. It’s terribly discouraging to hear this, as I know it is not because Himizu is a bad film (it’s fabulous!) – but that most people would simply rather see the latest, more-of-the-same Hollywood blockbuster (which last weekend probably meant Prometheus). Sigh. I’m not sure if there is much hope for change, but meanwhile I’ll keep cheering all those foreign films, subtitled productions, indies and other non-mainstream fare that I believe people are truly missing out on.

  • 三峡好人 (Sānxiá hǎorén/Still Life, China, 2006) – Trailer with (mostly) Portuguese subtitles. You may remember my review of Andrea Segre’s Io Sono Li (Li and the Poet, France/Italy 2011), in which Zhao Tao had the female lead. Not only was Zhao outstanding in this wonderful work, but I was also intrigued by how Segre discovered her: purely by chance, when watching Chinese films. Although I don’t know which films these were, my hunch is that one or the other most likely was directed by Jia Zhangke, who has worked with Zhao on a regular basis (Jia and Zhao are also married). Hence, my quest to find some works of Jia’s that star Zhao. Sānxiá hǎorén is one of them.
  • রানওয়ে (Rāna’ōẏē/Runway, Bangladesh, 2010) – directed by Tareque Masud. Runway is on the programme for the London Indian Film Festival (I know it’s Bangladeshi!). I sometimes find it hard to pick out good films from that part of the world as with a plethora of Bollywood productions around, you can’t easily figure out what else there is. But this tale – about a teenage boy that lives next to the Dhaka International Airport and “gets pulled into a world of violent revolutionary politics” – came with the note attached that its late director, Tareque Masud, was a Cannes prize winner, which is a good enough endorsement for me. UPDATE 30/7/2012: Review added on Otherwhere.
  • মাটির ময়না (Matir Moina/The Clay Bird, Bangladesh, 2002) – And this is the film that Tareque Masud received an award for at the Cannes Film Festival (he won the FIPRESCI Prize, as part of the Directors’ Fortnight screenings). Again, socio-political issues are at the heart of the story about a family torn apart by religion and war. The film is set in the late 1960s, in the turbulent times when Bangladesh, then part of Pakistan, was fighting to become an independent nation.
  • Children of the Tsunami (UK, China, Denmark, Netherlands, Canada, 2011) – Directed by Dan Reed. One of the documentaries that will be screening at upcoming the Doc/Fest Sheffield. It focuses on six Japaese children that experienced the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.
  • 김씨 표류기 (Kimssi Pyoryoogi/Castaway on the Moon, South Korea, 2009) – This one has been on my to-watch list for a while as people keep recommending it to me. It’s about a man called Kim (surname of course, hence also the Kimssi in the original title, which more literally translates as “Mr. Kim’s Floating Story”). Kimssi’s suicide attempt leads him not to heaven, but leaves him stranded on a nameless island on the Han river. A girl who hasn’t ventured out of her riverside apartment in years espies him there with her binoculars and is slowly drawn out of her isolated world as she watches him struggle for survival. It looks silly, but apparently there is depth to it.
  • 「一枚のハガキ」 (Ichimai no hagaki/Postcard, Japan, 2010) – You will know by now that Shindo Kaneto, one of Japan’s master filmmakers, passed away in late May. Ichimai no hagaki was his last film – made at age 98! Given Shindo’s recent death, I thought it would be only appropriate to feature it in a Trailer Weekly and I’m holding out hope that the BFI will include it on the July programme of its Two Masters of Japanese Cinema tribute to Shindo and Kozabura Yoshimura. (The programme for June has already been released.)

That’s it for today. The next Trailer Weekly will follow on Sunday as usual, meanwhile, watch something good that’s not a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster. 🙂