I know it’s Tuesday already. My apologies.
- 「夜が終わる場所」 (Yoru ga owaru basho/End of the Night, Japan, 2012) – The reviews seem to disagree about this Japanese film noir, in which an assassin kills a boy’s parents and, on an impulse, decides to bring the child home and raise him – to be a killer. On the surface Akira is indeed a cold-blooded hitman whose eyes do not even hint at the tiniest bit of emotion, but somewhere in him is not innate evil but a damaged soul.
- درباره الی (Darbareye Elly/About Elly, Iran/France, 2009) – Before جدایی نادر از سیمین (Jodái-e Náder az Simin/A Separation, Iran, 2011) – that incredibly superb film of Asghar Farhadi that won just about anything and everything at festivals around the world last year – came Darbareye Elly. Probably due to the immense success of Jodái-e Náder az Simin, Darbareye Elly is finally seeing a cinematic release. The synopsis from Curzon cinemas – one of the theatres screening the film – reads as follows: “Three families holiday together at a remote and run-down cabin, taking with them a young woman, Elly. When she disappears, concern soon turns to recrimination as the fabric of these families is torn apart. Like Farhadi’s subsequent Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner, About Elly is a complex moral tale whose Hitchcockian elements make for compelling drama.”
- Возвращение (Vozvrashcheniye/The Return, Russia, 2003) – Trailer with French subtitles (I am afraid I could not stomach linking the English-dubbed trailer, which uses a heavily accented Russian voice because someone apparently thought that was a good idea). I actually already watched this debut film of Andrey Zvyagintsev (a few years back, when I was living in Costa Rica), but wanted to include in a Trailer Weekly because I think it’s such a wonderful piece of cinema. (I did already mention it previously). It’s a bleakie totale of course, slow and reflective and dark dark dark, so probably not everyone’s cup of tea. I think it’s superb – the cinematography, the acting – two children are the stars of the film -, the mood and the story, which is as simple as it gets but very hard-hitting: having known their father only ever through a single photograph, two young boys find themselves face to face with him and their conflicting emotions when he suddenly shows up one day and takes them into the remote and wild nothingness of Russia for reasons not quite so clear. The film won multiple awards, including in Cannes and Venice. Sad tidbit: the older child actor, Vladimir Garin, drowned in an accident just after the film was completed.
- Изгнание (Izgnanie/The Banishment, Russia, 2007) After Vozvrashcheniye, Andrey Zvyagintsev made Izgnanie, the story of an increasingly estranged couple who discover that the woman is pregnant – but it’s not the husband who is the father of the child. Interestingly, this film widely divided the critics, many of whom found it painfully slow and simply much too pessimistic – a human error turning into an fatally unforgivable tragedy. Unlike Zvyagintsev’s debut film, which enjoys a 95% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Izgnanie has an average rating of only 56%.
- 「ザ・マジックアワ」 (Za Majikku Awa/The Magic Hour, Japan, 2008) – I’ll admit it. I was digging for Tsumabuki films and that’s how I came across this one. I don’t think I would be interested in it either if it were not for Tsumabuki, because gangster films set in old times aren’t really my thing at all, but this Mitani Koki film looks… kinda fun? Tsumabuki plays Bingo, who has stolen his crime syndicate boss’s girlfriend and now has been given an ultimatum: he must find Togashi Della – a legendary gangster – or die. Togashi of course isn’t to be found, so Bingo hires an actor (Sato Koichi) to play him – except that the actor doesn’t quite realise that he has stumbled into real-life gang wars where everyone’s lives are at stake. Note: Very stylish poster – and everyone is looking very slick in this film too!
- Le Fils de l’autre (The Other Son, France/Israel, 2012) – Literally that title translates as “the son of the other (one)”, which I think is quite different from and more poignant than The Other Son. But who asks me? Anyhow, I’m totally mesmerised by the synopsis of this film, in which Joseph, a young Israeli man, reports for his obligatory 3-year army service only to discover after a suspicious blood test that he is not who he always presumed to be: the son of his parents, a Jew and an Israeli citizen. The mystery is soon unravelled: years back, when Joseph was born prematurely and shared an incubator with another preemie, the babies were switched during the chaos of an air attack. The “other” boy is Bilal – the militantly anti-Israeli son of a Palestinian couple, who lives on the West Bank. That such an identity switch would shock any family to the core is obvious, but imagine finding your self thrust on the other side of a bloody conflict of long-festering wounds and scars in two peoples. Of course, it’s also the sort of film that could go terribly wrong, but the reviews I have read (Hollywood Reporter, Screen Daily) praise it highly.
- 「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」 (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/Wolf Children, Japan, 2012) has been picked up by the North American anime distributor Funimation. Theatrical and DVD releases are planned for 2013, but no further details on this just yet – or on releases elsewhere in the world.
- London anime fans, there will be another Anime Allnighter in November:
- 「劇場版 TIGER & BUNNY -The Beginning」 (Gekijō-ban Tiger & Bunny – The Beginning/Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning, 2012),
- 「星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below aka Journey to Agartha, Japan, 2011) – see my REVIEW,
- 「テイルズ オブ ヴェスペリア 〜The First Strike〜」 (Teiruzu obu vu~esuperia 〜The First Strike〜/Tales of Vesperia 〜The First Strike〜, Japan, 2009),
- 「ギョ」(Gyo/Gyo – Tokyo Fish Attack, Japan, 2012) and
- 「銀魂」 (Gintama/Gintama, Japan, 2010)
- are on the programme on the night of November 10th as part of Sci-Fi London.