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I’ve had a long weekend (as in a busy one, working both days), so I’m just squeezing this Trailer Weekly in (and just in time). Still lagging behind on reviews I’m afraid. 😦

Back to films from the world over this week, with some Japan still. The London’s East End Film Festival coming up in July, so I had a closer look at the programme today. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to any screening during the festival as I have tons to do and have quite a few film events already booked, but there are certainly films to add to the to-watch list.

  • Lal Gece (Night of Silence, Turkey, 2012) – This Turkish film won the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale and is “quite literally a chamber piece, confined totally to the bridal chamber on the night of an arranged marriage between a 14-year-old bride and a man recently released from prison after serving sentence for two honour killings, setting stage for a surprising struggle for power”(quote from festival programme). I’m not sure how precise the “confined totally” (my emphasis) is, because the trailer does show some scenes outdoors, but any filmic work predominantly set within a limited physical space always gets my attention. What is also striking from the (not subtitled) trailer is the contrast between groom and bride – an old, worn man opposite to what is so clearly a minor and I can’t by the life of me understand how anyone could even conceive laying hand on such a child. Screens July 6 (with Q&A) at the East End Film Festival.
  • Hasta la vista (Come as You Are, Belgium, 2011) – Unlike most, I wasn’t a fan of Sideways (USA, 2004), which had a related premise of wine & sex on a road tripbut the fact that Hasta la vista’s men on the road are “sight impaired Jozed, paraplegic Philip and wheelchair-bound Lars” changes the situation a bit. Furthermore, the film has won a number of prizes (including Grand prix de Americas at Montreal World Film Festival) and received positive reviews. Screens July 7, with Q&A at East End Film Festival. Not liking the poster, which is clichéd to start with.
  • Cut」 (Japan/France/USA/South Korea/Turkey, 2011) – I find it fascinating when a filmmaker from one country goes to make a film in another. I’m not referring to merely setting here, but where everything from the film’s language to the actors is from the director’s target culture, like Abbas Kiarostami’s 「ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ」 (Raiku samuwan in rabu/Like Someone in Love, 2012) that recently screened in Cannes to mixed reviews. Cut is another example, being a “Japanese punk masterpiece made by an Iranian director in-exile”. In the production, “obsessive filmmaker Shuji [runs] through the streets with a megaphone bemoaning the death of cinema and hosting clandestine rooftop film screenings until, finding himself in debt to the yakuza, he decides to turn himself into a human punching bag of the mob” in what is an “excessive, moving and frequently ridiculous ode to cinephilia. Not everyone’s cup of tea for sure, but the film I personally am most interested in from this festival. Screens July 5.
  • Verano (Summer, Chile, 2011) – The East End Film Festival synopsis is as follows: “On a hot summer day in the south of Chile, small events shape the lives of visitors and employee at an old thermal resort. A beautiful, meandering drama of everyday moments, interaction with nature and romance as a day slowly unravels into fragments of happiness and discovery.” The trailer is difficult to judge as we see snapshots rather than getting a real sense of the narrative. The film purposefully uses ‘amateur techniques’ to offer a more intimate look at its subject, but whether this works I can’t say. What’s for certain is that Verano is probably another film not for a mainstream audience. Screens July 4.

Also screening at the East End Film Festival: রানওয়ে (Rāna’ōẏē/Runway, Bangladesh, 2011 – much recommended!) and the Tsukamoto Shinya films (Kotoko, 2012, and 「鉄男」/Tetsuo 1 and 2, 1989 and 1992 respectively).

And beyond the festival:

  • ひかりのおと」 (Hikari no oto/The Sound of Light, Japan, 2011) – Dairy farmer or musician? That’s the choice that Yusuke Kariya must make after his father has an accident. Although the review on filmbiz.asia highlights both positive and negative aspects, it concludes that Hikari no Oto is “[a] small but heartfelt film that’s saved by its absolute simplicity”.
  • スイートリトルライズ」 (Suītoritoruraizu/Sweet Little Lies, 2009) – The verdict for this film “about the tiny fissures in relationships rather than the big cracks” is quite a bit more positive and the praises (“superbly observed light drama about a couple who quietly embark on separate affaires”, “There’s nothing remotely new about the plot … [b]ut the movie is more than fine as it is”, “Ruriko is a role that confirms the 34-year-old actress as one of the finest of her generation in Japan”), the review sings make me interested – and I’m normally not one for films on affairs.

P.S. Anyone have a clue why the Japanese like to have English words transcribed into their language as film titles so much?