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Sunday, Sunday. I have made it to New Delhi by now, where it is hot (to the point of melting, but I don’t mind) with occasional bouts of monsoon rain (nothing too heavy yet although I’m hoping for more, not because of the heat, but because I rather like the monsoon). I am not actually on holiday, but I came due to my ever-present need not to stay just in one place as I get too restless (after-effect of being a TCK). I’m rather lucky that I have places I can go to relatively easily – my Dad is based for work here.

Not being in London does mean missing out on just about all August events, but I packed a pile of DVDs and hope I’ll get through at least some of them and also catch up on some of my review backlog. I say “hope” because I also brought a whole lot of other work for my PhD project, other academic research and editorial work and assignments for one of my freelance jobs. Yeah, not really a holiday. Well, at least I get to eat mangoes every day. 🙂

On to trailers: it’s a mixed batch this week – some which I can’t wait to see, others that I’m not quite sure about.

  • 파닥파닥 (Padak Padak/Padak, South Korea, 2012) – Darcy Paquet got me really excited this week when he tweeted the following:

Padak Padak is a story about a mackerel in a fish tank in front of a sushi restaurant that tries to escape its fate of ending up on a plate. If the plot sounds like Chicken Run (UK, 2000), it is neither as kid-friendly nor as feel-good but, beyond “a simple legend of a handful of fish in captivity” it is “mischievously allegorical: working adults toil within a professional framework that is unmoving and beholden to a parasitic and opportunistic old guard” as Aaron H. Bynum writes in his compelling review. I am intrigued already and also agree with Darcy that it is great to see more animations coming out of South Korea:

Bonus: 6 min film clip (not subtitled).

  • 피에타 (Pieta/Pieta, South Korea, 2012) – Kim Ki-duk’s latest film was released in Korea this week. Looks like it will be a grim and controversial affair – not for the morally sensitive or faint of heart. It received a 19+ rating in Korea, the highest available. I will probably watch it. I think. Okay, so I’m still mulling over it.
  • 这里,那里 (Zheli nali/Here, There, China, 2011) – This film – of three places and three stories that intertwine – recently screened at the Osian’s Cinefan festival in New Delhi. It muses on how people are defined by places and home, even if distant and fractured, and is said to feature “stunningly beautiful photography” (quote source), with each place/story having been shot in a distinct style. I was feeling a bit lazy and did go to see it, so if it doesn’t show up at a London festival in the autumn, I might end up kicking myself.
  • Poulet aux prunes (Chicken with Plums, France/Germany/Belgium, 2011) – This was another film on the Osian’s Cine Fan’s programme. Based on a graphic novel by Iranian Marjane Satrapi (you may have heard of her graphic novel Persepolis, which was turned into a well-received animated feature), it is about a celebrated violinist – indeed, he is so good that he is the “best violin player of his time” (quote from trailer subtitles). However, one day he gets his beloved violin broken – I’m guessing from the trailer that it’s his wife who smashes it in anger and frustration, no longer willing to play the second fiddle -, and his life is shattered with it. I quite like the premise and I’m sure the film’s good fun, but it also looks a little too stylish as if purposefully andering to to critics and viewers. I will watch it if I get the chance, but if it ends up being a choice between this and some more underdog feature, I will opt for the latter. I do rather like the film poster however.
  • 「Another アナザー」 (Anazā/Another, Japan, 2012) – Yes, I am actually putting a film classified as ‘horror’ on my to-watch list. It’s just that it seems to fall more into the ‘psychological terror’ category (similar to「告白」/Kokuhaku/Confessions, Japan, 2010, which I did watch and like) and I’m also interested in the lead actors: Hashimoto Ai and Yamazaki Kento charmed me with their performances in 「管制塔」 (Kanseitou/Control Tower, Japan, 2011), plus Hashimoto (who also starred in Kokuhaku) is definitely a young actress to keep an eye on.
  • かぞくのくに」 (Kazoku no Kuni/Our Homeland, Japan, 2012) – I have to give genkinahito a shout out for this one, as he drew my attention to it on his weekly roundup post featuring Japanese box office charts and trailers for films newly released  in Japan. The story is fascinating: a Korean man living in Japan opts to live in North Korea, attracted by a policy from the North Korean government to recruit Koreans in Japan. His family, including his younger sister, stay behind. Twenty-five years on the two siblings meet again, culturally estranged from one another yet still connected by familial bonds. I very much hope the film will be an honest exploration of both sides. Reviews seem to vary from damning to much more promising to somewhere in between.

Bonus Bits

  • I am sure you will have heard by now that the two planned films for The Hobbit have turned into three, as was announced by Peter Jackson, the director, on his Facebook page this week. Reactions have been mixed – the book, after all, has only some 300 pages while Lord of the Rings, which was a film trilogy as well, had more than 1000. I understand why people are concerned, but at the same time I think Jackson also deserves some trust – Lord of the Rings did show that Tolkien’s book ended up in good hands. I guess to an extent it depends what form the extension to a trilogy will take and the motivations behind it, details that are currently not forthcoming. Ethan Gildorf’s reflections (skip down to “Which is a good point.” in the article linked) elaborate on the issue in an insightful manner.
  • Some updates for 「宇宙兄弟」 (Uchū Kyōdai/ Space Brothers aka Space Brothers: Let’s Go to Space, Brother, Japan, 2012), which featured in Trailer Weekly #32: The film is too screen at the Japanese Film Festival in Australia, at various locations including Sydney (where the festival runs Nov 14-25, 2012) and Melbourne (Nov 29 – Dec 9), with further stops in Perth, Hobart, Canberra, Darwin and Cairns. Exact details (screenings dates and times for Uchū Kyōdai) are not yet available, but you can bookmark the festival webpage meanwhile.
  • In further news, Uchū Kyōdai also won the Best of Puchon award and NH Nonghyup Citizen’s Choice award at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan2012).
  • Skimming the PiFan website, I also see that 「シーソー seesaw」 (Shīsō/Seesaw, Japan, 2011), from Trailer Weekly #31, won the PiFan Chairman’s Award. That’s a film I really can’t wait to see.

Bonus image: 

Alternative posters for Padak Padak (I like the dramatic feel of the first one better) and Pieta (making pretty clear what kind of controversies we will be in for). Plus the 「Another アナザー」poster again, so you can, umm, experience it in its full, horrific glory (don’t care too much for it I must say – not liking the look of that doll and overall, it just seems a little cliché). Note: you may have to open the poster in a separate webpage for it to work.