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My sister was visiting this past week so I played tour guide and ate a lot. Japanese food, Taiwanese food and South Indian food and, twice, at the awesome Candy Café. Plus goodies like ตะโก้ from the various Asian supermarkets in Chinatown (one of my favourite places in London). The brilliant thing about having an equally Third Culture Kid sister is that we just walk into these places and go ahhh! in total and utter delight of things we both know from childhood days. Or take pictures of the Doraemon cake slices in the Asian bakeries (invoking memories of cakes that never tasted like anything much but had the most elaborate, sometimes even 3-D scenes realised in buttercream). We/I didn’t do much film-wise, though I did drag my more cinematically mainstream oneesan into Beasts of the Southern Wild.

  • 아리아리 한국영화 예고편 (Ari Ari hangug-yeonghwa yegopyeon/Ari Ari The Korean Cinema, South Korea, 2011) – Ari Ari, a documentary on Korean cinema, past and future, comes recommended by Darcy Paquet who tweeted earlier today that “Heo Chul’s documentary ARI ARI THE KOREAN CINEMA 영화판, which opens on Dec 6, is really a must-see for fans of Korean cinema.” That’s enough for it to make it on my list of gazillion things to watch.
  • 전우치 (Jeon Woochi/Woochi the Demon Slayer, South Korea, 2009) – Not a new film and one that I’ve mentioned on Otherwhere before as it was on the programme for the London Korean Film Festival earlier this month, but now that I literally just watched it (on DVD) I thought I would throw it onto the Trailer Weekly. Because Woochi, a young wizard who fools around with his craft seeking only fame rather than behaving in the much more humble manner that wizards are meant to, is super-cool and Kang Dong-won, who plays Woochi, is gorgeous (yeah, couldn’t help myself there). It’s not deepest of films of course, but it’s certainly good fun to see wizards, goblins and other supernatural creatures whizz through centuries as they fight each other. It’s also worth noting that KBS is currently airing 전우치 (Jeon Woochi/Jeon Woochi, South Korea, 2012), a new drama inspired by the same wizard character. The bad news: Cha Tae-hyun replaces Kang Dong-won as the wondrous wizard. No match of course (nor Uee as the female counterpart to the film’s Lim Soo-Jung). That said, given the notoriously atrocious live-production modus of Korean dramas, I’m fully supportive of Kang Dong-won’s decision to only work in film (his last K-drama appearance dates back to 2004). Given that he was released from his 2-year army service earlier this month let’s hope that he’ll grace the big screen for us soon. 😀
  • 涙そうそう」(Nada Sousou/Tears for You, Japan, 2006) – So there I was admiring Kang Dong-won, but that doesn’t mean we’ll give Tsumabuki a miss this week. Here’s a film he made a while ago, a story that seems to be a tearjerker through and through: it’s about two step-siblings who lose both their parents and go to live on Okinawa with their grandmother (hence the tropical flower on the tacky poster). As the children grow older, Yota (Tsumabuki), selflessly works to take care of his sister and ensure she is properly educated. Don’t expect a happy ending, this is all about brotherly self-sacrifice. I think we can bet on a certain level of cheesiness too but, hey, from the trailer it’s obvious that Tsumabuki is giving his thespian all (as always!).
  • アニメミライ」(Anime Mirai/Anime Mirai 2, Japan, 2013) – One of the screenings I was particularly disappointed to miss from Scotland Loves Anime was that of Anime Mirai, “a collective project from four Japanese production studios selected by the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) under the patronage of the Agency for Cultural Affairs for the purpose of training young animators on-the-job”. Now the second Anime Mirai compilation is in the making and a first, 30-second teaser has been released on the official website. A separate, 38-sec trailer is also available for 「龍 -RYO」(Ryo/Ryo, Japan, 2013), one of the anime shorts part of the compilation.
  • 天水圍的日與夜 (Tiānshuǐwéi de rì yǔ yè/The Way We Are, Hong Kong, 2008) – I loved Ann Hui’s 桃姐 (Táo Jiě/A Simple Life, Hong Kong, 2011) a while back, but was unfamiliar with the director’s work otherwise. So I thought why not see what else she has done? One of Hui’s critically acclaimed films is Tiānshuǐwéi de rì yǔ y, about a mother – employed at the local supermarket – and her son – soon finishing high school. By the sounds of it, the film is about human relationships, just the way A Simple Life was:”The Way We Are is a respectful, unglamorous, and serenely charming portrait of regular people and a Hong Kong town that normally gets a bad rap” (from lovehkfilm.com). The reviewer also writes, “[i]t may put you to sleep” – I’m sure it won’t – “but the visit and Ann Hui’s quiet touch are exceptionally worthwhile” – absolutely!
  • A torinói ló (The Turin Horse, Hungary, 2011) – This one just kind of popped up in my inbox through an email from the Deptford Film Club, which screened The Turin Horse last week. The club describes Béla Tarr’s film as an “extraordinary meditation on ‘the heaviness of existence'” which “was inspired by the tale of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who, on seeing an old horse being cruelly whipped, flung his arms around the animal and collapsed into madness. This film imagines what happened to the man who whipped the horse. The unnamed man lives with his adult daughter in an isolated cottage, ekeing [sic] out a biblically lonely existence. Amid the desolate windswept landscapes, they wordlessly fetch water from the well, eat potatoes and tend the ailing horse” (quote source). I guess if you are looking for action, it might not be your cup of tea, but I’m definitely checking this one out and more of Tarr’s earlier work too.