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Juuuuust posting this in time before Sunday is over – I had nearly finished the Trailer Weekly a few hours ago, but then a Japanese friend of mine came for dinner and I was (happily) distracted for a while, enjoying lovely company and yum food (oven grilled summer veg from the farmers’ market + couscous with sour cherries and pistachios + Korean style edamame & cucumber salad + cherries + Greek coffee).

This week’s Trailer Weekly begins with lots of USAmericana (including some big budget films), but trailers from Japan and Korea follow as well.

  • Life of Pi (USA, 2012) – It is here. The first trailer for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. I mentioned it once before in a Trailer Weekly, when I first discovered that a film adaptation was being made of Yann Martel’s 2001 Man Booker Prize winning novel. Life of Pi isn’t an easy novel adapt to film: it’s the story about Pi, a boy from Pondicherry (India), who becomes one of a handful of survivors of a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean. While this still sounds straightforward, the tricky bit is this: the other survivors are all zoo animals and include a zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan and, most problematically, a tiger by the name of Richard Parker, with whom Pi must share a tiny lifeboat, afloat in the middle of absolute nothingness for 227 days – if he can survive. I’m sure it will be a bizarre film in many senses, but I loved the book and the trailer looks intriguing enough (if a bit cheesy in the Hollywoodian way), so I’m looking forward to December 21, 2012 when Life of Pi is set to be released in UK cinemas (US release is November 21, 2012 – why such a gap?).
  • Cloud Atlas (USA, 2012) – This is another book-to-film projects, and another one of those are-you-mad-to-even-try? adaptations. I have heard of David Mitchell’s novel, but have not read it. I’m not quite sure whether this is a film for me or not, but Yonghow of Halcyon Realms directed my attention to it and I think I will give it a try. Much of the cast is pretty awesome (we even get a Korean actress: Bae Doona, who did wonderfully in 고양이를부탁해/Goyangireul Butakhae/Take Care of My Cat, South Korea, 2001). I am not going to attempt a plot synopsis, because, as the filmmakers (there’s a trio) declared themselves, it’s kind of hard to explain what Cloud Atlas is really about. That’s also why we end up with one of the longest trailers I have ever seen – more than 5 minutes. Side note: I hope this is just an interim poster, because it’s as uninspiring as it gets!
  • La Luna (USA, 2011) – Someone – GhibliKids if I recall correctly – praised this short directed by Enrico Casarosa on Twitter a few days ago. I am curious about La Luna, although I’m not too sure whether I will ever get to see it as it screens with Pixar’s most recent animation Brave (USA, 2012), which I’m not really planning on watching.
  • ユリイカ」 (Yuriika/Eureka, Japan, 2000) – Captain Banana, one of Otherwhere’s regular readers, recommended this one to me. HMV had a copy – not super cheap, but still affordably priced. It’s a bleakie about the only three survivors of a violent bus hijacking – a “beautifully shot drama [that] os a serene and resonant meditation on the psychological scars wrought upon the victims of terror and violence and of the courage and inner strength they must find to survive” (from the DVD blurb). This one’s going in the suitcase with me for my August travels, so you can expect a review sooner rather than later.
  • 아주 특별한 손님 (Aju Teugbyeolhan Sonnim/Ad-Lib Night, South Korea, 2006) – I posted about Lee Yoon-ki, the KCCUK’s director of the month, earlier today. The one film they aren’t screening at the cultural centre that I wish they were, is Aju Teugbyeolhan Sonnim, in which a young girl is asked to impersonate the daughter of a dying man by some countryside boys. Lovehkfilm.com writes that Aju Teugbyeolhan is not for everyone – “It’s slow, it’s quiet, and it’s also a gem of a movie” (quote). Thus definitely for me.
  • 광식이 동생 광태 (Gwangshiki dongsaeng gwangtae/When Romance Meets Destiny, South Korea, 2005) – I would never have picked this on the basis of the trailer (not subtitled, unfortunately), but stumbled across it over at Darcy Parquet’s website, where he gave it such a positive review that I’ve just got to put it on my to-watch list.
  • るろうに剣心」 (Rurōnikenshin/Rurouni Kenshin, Japan, 2012) – And for good measure, here’s an extra trailer. Adapted from an internationally popular shōnen manga of the same title (an anime series and two OVAs also exist), Rurōnikenshin is a live-action film set in the early Meiji era. Himura Kenshin, a lonesome wanderer, was once known as the assassin Hitokiri Battōsai but is really a peace-loving man. One day he meets and helps out a young woman fighting a man claiming to be Hitokiri Battōsai. It’s not the sort of film I normally go for, but somehow I’m just a wee bit interested, there’s fine eyecandy and I kinda like the dark bits of that trailer (the fringed, scarred face shot!). Note: Too much text on the poster, but love it otherwise.

Rurōnikenshin, mysterious, dark fellow.

Bonus Bits

  • I subscribe to an online journal on literary translation called Words without Borders and a little while back came across a short but interesting article they published on “LGBT Korea on Film: Anonymity and Representation”. I would love to find some of the films – the shorts especially – mentioned in it, 언젠가 (Uhnjenga/Someday, South Korea, 2010) most of all.
  • As you may have heard, 도둑들 (Do-dook-deul/The Thieves, South Korea, 2012) – mentioned previously on Otherwhere – has been setting box office records in South Korea – the Korean blockbuster beating out the USAmerican one, Dark Knight Rises (USA, 2012). The Japanese box office is worth taking a look at too:「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」 (Ōkami No Kodomo Ame To Yuki/The Wolf Children Rain and Snow, Japan, 2012) had a good start, coming in 2nd place with takings of US$4,592,490, while 「グスコーブドリの伝記」 (Gusukōbudori no denki/The Life of Guskou Budori, Japan, 2012) has fallen out of the top 10 in its third week (total takings are US$2,509,257). I’m not  too sure how to exactly interpret these numbers, but my hunch is that we stand a better chance of finding Ōkami No Kodomo Ame To Yuki on the programme for the BFI festival than for Gusukōbudori no denki. Well, I still hope to see both films.

P.S. Anyone else instantly think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory whenever the word “Pondicherry” pops up?