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I promised a make-up Trailer Weekly today for one of the skipped ones in May, so here it is. If I am honest, I am way more excited about the Bonus Bits (scroll down) than the trailers today – which is not to say that the films listed are not interesting. It’s just that some of the Bonus Bits are news that make me happy! Filmwise, I’m still in Cine-Japan-mode, with a few more entries from the Nippon Connection Festival, a couple of oh-this-actor-is-in-it! and some random finds.

  • マイ バック ページ」 (Mai bakku pēji/My Back Page, Japan, 2011) – This a Nippon Connection entrant/Tsumabuki-Satoshi-is-in-it! item. It actually already screened at the BFI Film Festival last year, which summarised the film as follows: “A rookie journalist in 1969 falls under the spell of a charismatic student radical […] only to realise that he’s capable of murder. Nobuhiro Yamashita and his cast recreate the political turmoil of the period with awesome credibility.”
  • 「しんしんしん」 (Shinshinshin/Shing Shing Shing, Japan, 2011) – I haven’t got a trailer for this one, nor an official poster (but I did find an official web link in Japanese). Shinshinshin screened as part of the “Nippon Vision” section at the Nippon Connection Festival, which was dedicated to post-3/11 films. Synopsis: Tomoyuki was brought up by a mountebank family boss (no idea what that is – the German summary says “market sales group boss”). When trade goes badly, the family – which contains other adopted members, including a girl that Tomoyuki likes – decides to seek luck elsewhere and embarks on a journey to another town. It is “[e]ine einfühlsame Geschichte über die Suche nach Geborgenheit in einer Welt, die rund um die Menschen scheinbar zerfällt” (“a sensitive story about the search for a sense of security in a world that is seemingly falling apart around humanity”).
  • 映画 ひみつのアッコちゃん」 (Eiga Himitsu no Akko-chan/Akko-chan: The Movie, Japan, 2012) – Teaser only (sorry! really failing today). Completely biased choice – Okada Masaki is in it. That’s it. In fact, I am not sure I would have even noticed this film otherwise as the storyline doesn’t appeal to me outright: it is about a young girl, Kagami Atsuki, who owns a magical mirror that allows her to transform herself. With her magical abilities she tries to save a company and also falls in love (this is where Masaki-kun comes in :-)). What does have me intrigued, however, is that Eiga Himitsu no Akko-chan is based on one of the first magical girl manga from the 1960s, which was not only popular in Japan, but in much of Europe and elsewhere, the anime adaptation screening everywhere, from France to Poland to Latin America. I’m not sure I would want to read the manga (don’t care for the art style and the heroine is an elementary school girl), but the film – not the first one based on Akka-chan – at least has aged the lead character and seems to have changed some details. So, watching this for Masaki-kun and to enlighten myself about manga history.

Akko-chan: manga and anime.

  • 誰も守ってくれない」 (Dare mo mamotte kurenai/Nobody to Watch Over Me, Japan, 2009) – Shot entirely on hand-held camera to make the film more realistic, in Dare mo mamotte kurenai a teenage girl must deal with public outrage in the aftermath of her older brother’s arrest for suspicion of murder – of two grade school girls. Kumiko is put under protection of a conflicted policeman, the film offering a “glimpse into the vulnerability, the isolation and even the resilience of the individual when up against a volatile and often intolerant world” (asianwiki.com).
  • 恋の門」 (Koi no mon/Otakus in Love, 2004) – I will say it up front: this one might be a total disaster. It is weird (but what else to expect from a film titled Otakus in Love?). There is Mon, who fails as a mangaka as he stubbornly draws only on stones, “a method that hasn’t quite captured the imaginations of rabid manga fans as of yet” (asianwiki.com). Mon meets Koino. The situation is somewhat unfortunate and involves heels-as-painful-weapons and a peek of panties. In other words, love at first sight. Thanks to fate paths cross again and from then on things take all kinds of bizarre turns – just as one would expect with otakus in love.

Bonus Bits:

  • I have got two tweets to share here today. Shinkai Makoto tweeted this message earlier in the week in reply to someone:I have no details on what kind of film he is working on, but I am just super-excited to know that he has got something in the pipeline!
  • The second tweet is from Hosoda Mamoru:My Japanese is too basic to translate this word for word, but Google Translate allows me to glean at least this much: 「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」 (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/The Wolf Children Rain and Snow) is done! (Hosoda talks about previewing the film in his tweet.) The film is set to be released in Japanese cinemas on July 21, but will have its world premiere on June 25 in France (source: animenewsnetwork.co.uk). Not sure why there, but I have to say France really seems to be on the ball with these things sometimes, as the animation will then also be distributed nationwide in the country in August! It is not the only this has happened: 「カラフル」 (Karafuru/Colorful, 2010) screened in French cinemas, as did 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, 2011), both of which have only been shown as part of film festivals and special events in the UK. Kokuriko-zaka Kara will of course come to British cinemas eventually, but I have given up on Karafuru and am just twiddling my thumbs & praying to the anime gods for a DVD release sooner-rather-than-later.

    Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki – cuteness overload!

  • The Changing Hue of Film Posters: Visualisation of film posters from 1914 to 2012 – a kind of cool project I came across this week. I am not quite convinced at how scientific the project is (I would like more details about the film poster selection, in particular film countries) but then again a fully systematic study would probably take years and a large team of researchers because one could consider so many factors (countries, genres, socio-historic events, directors, etc.). There are certainly plenty of visualisation projects of this kind going on, although I am not sure if any involve film posters. But if you are interested, One Million Manga Pages at lab.softwarestudies is a really fascinating/cool one.

Two make-up trailer weeklies down, one more to go (probably in about two weeks time – Sunday trailer weeklies will be posted as usual.)

P.S. You can book your Hong Kong 15 Film Festival tickets at the Odeon website now.