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A day late here. Sorry. Had to cover at work last minute yesterday and a friend from high school has been visiting from Ecuador too so in between there was no time left to finish off this post…

  • חיותה וברל (Hayuta And Berl/Epilogue, Israel, 2012) – I stumbled across this one when a classmate of mine (yet another one from high school) had photographs of herself at the Venice Film Festival for this drama’s screening – seems she was involved in the making of the film. It’s actually on the programme for the London Film Festival, meaning that’s yet another film I’m going to try to fit into my schedule. It’s the story of an elderly couple, part of the founding generation of Israel, that in its old age is not only struggling with physical ailments but experiencing disillusionment in the society around them as the values of old are no longer cherished. The only way they see out of their hardship is to end their lives.
  • 珈琲時光 (Kohi Jiko/Cafe Lumiere, Japan/Taiwan, 2004) – French subtitles for the trailer only (just so you can practice your high school French ;-)). The name of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, a director from Taiwan, popped up when I was browsing the programme for the BFI London Film Festival and somehow seemed like one to look into further. This is one of his films in which a Japanese woman is researching the life of Taiwanese composer from the 1930s. Yoko, alone and independent, has to contemplate single motherhood when she finds herself pregnant with the child of a boyfriend she does not want to marry – much against the wishes of her traditional parents.
  • 最好的时光 (Zui hao de shi guang/Three Times, Taiwan, 2005) – Originally a project that was to involve several directors, the plan fell through and Hou made all three parts himself: three tragic stories of love in different times – 1911, 1966 and 2005.
  • Le voyage du ballon rouge (Flight of the Red Balloon, France/Taiwan, 2007) – And because all good things make three, here’s one more of Hsiao-hien’s films. I think I saw the trailer for this one a long time ago, even before I lived in London. At the heart of the film is a red balloon, which follows a young boy and his babysitter.
  • …ing (South Korea, 2003) – One of those films that everyone seems to have watched already except me. So I’m firmly placing it on my to-watch list by putting it on this week’s Trailer Weekly. Im Soo-jeong, who starred in the film I reviewed a days back –  사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine, South Korea, 2011) – plays lead character Minah, but this is obviously one of Im’s earliest films. Minah is a high school student with a mother that sometimes acts like a child. Shy and with few friends, Minah hopes to fall in love when one day a new family with the college-aged Young-rae moves in on the floor below. Admittedly, all this sounds like the much rehashed plot of a terrible manga, but I’ve heard quite a few people say good things about this film, so I have got to see it for myself. Not sure though if I find the comments on the YouTube trailer encouraging (especially the comparisons to other films people love and compare to this one).
  • ツナグ」 (Tsunagu, Japan, 2012) – The verdict is still out on this film as well: Ayumi, a high school student, is being trained as a tsunagu – an intermediary to talk to the dead – by his grandmother and helps out a number of people. It’ll depend how the different strands of the narrative tie together (if there is something meaningful that connects them) because this sort of storyline can easily feel fragmented, which is never a good thing. I’m not familiar with any of the director’s other works, nor do their synopses immediately grab me.

Bonus Bits

  • Rouroni Kenshin continues at the top of the Japanese box office, but what’s more, apparently distribution licenses for 60 (!) countries were negotiated this week. Going for world domination, eh?
  • The BFI sent me a nice paper catalogue for the festival (bonus of being a member), which I have been perusing extensively. Expect more films from the festival in upcoming Trailer Weeklies (I might even finally get to that third make-up Trailer Weekly that is still due).