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I have been spending quite a bit of the weekend at the cinema, enjoying the BFI’s Anime Season with「ホッタラケの島 〜遥と魔法の鏡〜」(Hottarake no Shima: Haruka to Mahō no Kagami/Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror – touching but with narrative weaknesses) and「アキラ」(Akira/Akira – more violent than I normally care for but oh so brilliant) on Saturday and – after rushing there straight from work -「ももへの手紙」 (Momo e no Tegami/A Letter to Momo – another kind awesome) following today. Much of this Trailer Weekly was actually written during work hours, but I’m finishing it off after walking from the BFI Southbank (via the ICA and Chinatown) to Look Mum No Hands, one of London’s too few late-night cafés. I do have my bike with me, but sometimes after a cinema visit I feel rather reflective and the speed of cycling doesn’t quite go with it. So walk I did, in drizzling rain, and reflect too, about the films seen this weekend, London, life and the world. My mind still feels overloaded with thoughts and the only conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m feeling restless. Hmm.

Moving on to trailers….

  • Abosheshey (At the End of It All, India, 2012) – Anyone else thinking Lord of the Rings here? It’s just that I love that (very similar) line and scene from The Return of the King when Frodo utters “At the end of all things…” (a quote that’s pretty much straight out of Tolkien’s book by the way). Abosheshey, however, has nothing to do with The Lord of the Rings, but is Aditi Roy’s debut feature, “a gripping journey of a young man in search of his identity”. Indian-born Soumyo returns from San Francisco to Kolkata, something that “should have been a quick journey [but] turns into a voyage of self-discovery and an exploration of the great metropolis that is Kolkata, a living, breathing character in the film”. Abosheshey netted the NETPAC award for Best Asian Film. It’s on the programme for the London Indian Film Festival and will screen June 27 (ICA) and July 2 (Watermans Cinema).
  • Gattu (Gattu, India, 2011) – One more from the London Indian Film Festival. Gattu is a young boy, who works in a scrap yard but often manages to slip out to fly kites – his one real passion in life. Rajan Khosa’s film has been going around the film festival circuit and received a special mention at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. Screens twice (June 24 at the ICA, June 25 at Watermans Cinema), both times with a director’s Q&A.
  • Amreeka (USA/Canada/Kuwait, 2009) – I posted about the soon-to-screen 달팽이의 별 (Dalpaengieui Byeol/Planet of Snail) documentary earlier this week, which is distributed by Dogwoof in the UK. Curious, I hopped over to the Dogwoof website to explore their catalogue, which is full of goodies. I plan on featuring some of these in upcoming Trailer Weeklies, starting today with Amreeka, which is one of the catalogue items I had the chance to see at the Bird’s Eye Film Festival in 2010. Struggling with a politicised life in the West Bank, a Palestinian-Christian single mother, Muna, and her teenage son, Fadi, emigrate to the United States of America to join other family members there. Muna, who previously worked in a bank, finds she has to start from the very bottom, serving burgers and chips at a fast food restaurant. To her own surprise Muna finds friendship and support in an American Jew when she, her son and wider family, mistaken as Muslims in a post 9/11 climate, suffer discrimination and harassment. The story isn’t entirely new, but told with honesty and heart.
  • Entre Nos (USA, 2009) – Entre Nos comes to mind when I think of Amreeka, not because it is in Dogwoof’s catalogue (it isn’t), but simply because I saw the film at the same festival. It’s equally a tale of immigration, this time involving a Colombian family. Entre Nos, however, is grittier and ever more touching as it is semi-autobiographical – director Paola Mendoza based the story on her own mother’s experiences. In Entre Nos, Mariana and her two children, recently arrived from their native country, fall between the cracks of the American system after her husband abandons them. Mendoza’s film leaves questions in the air that are disconcerting, showing an American experience that often remains invisible.
  • 海上传奇的海报 (Hai Shang Chuan Qi/Wish I Knew, China/The Netherlands, 2010) – I featured a Jia Zhangke film last week and am continuing the theme here. Some of Jia’s films I bookmarked ages ago, so when I looked through these links today, I rediscovered one which has details on a symposium (entitled “Dislocations”) on the director that is taking place on June 14 at the University of Sussex. The symposium includes a screening of I Wish I Knew and, honestly, I wish I had remembered so I could have put aside time for it.
  • 「歩く、人」 (Aruku, Hito/Man Walking on Snow, Japan, 2001) – Truth be told I don’t know too much about this film. I bookmarked it a while ago and I haven’t been able to find a trailer for it, but something of its synopsis speaks to me: as they commemorate the second death anniversary of their wife/mother, a father and his adult two sons, one of whom is estranged, have to face one another when “unspoken feelings reappear and clash”. Aruku, Hito screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. Note: Thanks for trailer hint to Captain Banana!

Bonus Bits:

Bonus Gallery (completely unrelated to films & trailers):

Why I cycle in London: it can be awesomely scenic, like on Friday, when I had to go an academic conference in South London, journeying from East London towards the Thames via the canal, crossing the Isle of Dogs and taking the Greenwich Foot Tunnel beneath the river to emerge to the view of the Cutty Sark on the other side:

A view of “The City” on the way back:

Found it really disheartening to discover that the Traffic Light Tree had disappeared from the Isle of Dogs though! (Images of the tree, since I never got to take one!)

Today, my reflective walk-with-the-bike home from the BFI took me past the KCCUK (random people in the photograph):