I hope you haven’t given up on me yet… given that there is still the missing Trailer Weekly #60, this one that’s a week late (though I had films picked out last Sunday already), also Trailer Weekly #63, which should theoretically be posted today as well and the fact that I haven’t managed to finish a review in more than a month (boohoo!). I always knew October and November were going to be busy, but somehow I thought work would wind down a little by December, which it hasn’t. Mostly the problem has been that I have had to write other things (a conference paper, two editorials, a book chapter, a proposal for another conference) and because I’m terribly slow at writing it has taken time away from blogging. Particularly reviews, since these tend to be the most time-consuming thing of all (the best ones probably take me 10-15 hours, the fastest 5). I’ve still got a bit more of that other writing to do (and some new things coming up possibly in the spring), but the biggest conclusion that I’m drawing from this lack-of-blogging is that by the time I get to the intense writing stage of my PhD, I’ll have to take a break from Otherwhere. That moment is (fortunately???) still a while away (maybe autumn next year?), but just so you know…

  • 8月のクリスマス」 (8-gatsu no Kurisumasu/ Christmas in August, Japan, 2005) – This month’s Asian Movies Meetup in London had the Korean 8월의 크리스마스 (8 weol-eui Keu-ri-seu-ma-seu/Christmas in August, 1998) on the programme, which was well a popular movie at the time of its original release and inspired this remake. Since I’m always interested in adaptations, I want to see both the K and J versions.
  • 조용한 가족 (Joyonghan Gajok/The Quiet Family, South Korea, 1998) – It’s a horror-comedy and despite that I’m considering it. Kim Ji-woon’s debut film sees a family open an inn in the mountains only to have their first guest die on them by committing suicide. But that’s not the only death in the film as terrible fates befall all the inn’s guests…
  • カタクリ家の幸福」 (Katakuri-ke no kōfuku/The Happiness of the Katakuris, Japan, 2001) – dir. by Miike Takashi. Miike’s interpretation of Joyonghan Gajok – or at least they say that Katakuri-ke no kōfuku is ‘loosely based’ on the Korean film. The original premise sounds horribly funny (pun intended) and, knowing Miike, the J-version can only add to that hilarity.
  • 공정사회 (Gong-jeong-sa-hwi/Azooma, South Korean, 2012) – I’m divided about this one. Gong-jeong-sa-hwi recently caught my attention when the lead actress won an award for her role at the Busan Film Festival, but I’ve seen mixed reviews of what is possibly yet another Korean revenge thriller. The fact that the narrator is female is different from most films in this genre and the plot-driving point that a mother is seeking truth and justice for the rape of her young daughter is interesting as well as a potentially great premise to explore all kinds of social and emotional issues, but I have a hunch that the focus will be elsewhere – namely on the ‘revenge’ part. And that, frankly, is the least compelling bit.
  • 藁の楯」 (Wara no Tate/Straw Shield, Japan, 2013) – It’s only a 39 second teaser, but this is Miike Takashi’s next film. Wara no Tate is a thriller and road movie apparently – not exactly my favoured genres, but let’s just say that Miike got me properly interested in his work thanks to his glorious「愛と誠」 (Ai to Makoto/For Love’s Sake, 2012 – one of the reviews that has been stuck in Otherwhere limbo for far too long).

Bonus Bits

Lots of them…

  • Article to peruse at your leisure: “OSCARS: Indies Stake A Claim On Animated-Feature Category“.
  • 「星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, Japan, 2011) is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US. Meanwhile, those of us that don’t own a multi-region DVD player are still waiting to hear anything about a UK release. That said a Region 2 (Europe) version is already available (e.g. amazon.co.uk), but it’s the Italian release entitled Il Viaggio Verso Agartha that comes with dubs in Italian, French and Japanese and subtitles in French, Italian, Dutch. You can read my REVIEW here.
  • Hosoda Mamoru’s「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」(Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/Wolf Children, Japan, 2012) wins Best Animated Film Award at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain, while 「ももへの手紙」 (Momo e no Tegami/A Letter to Momo, Japan, 2012) beat out, among others, Hosoda’s film, Miyazaki Goro’s「コクリコ坂から」(Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, Japan, 2012) and Uda Kōnosuke’s「虹色ほたる~永遠の夏休み~」 (Niji-iro Hotaru ~ Eien no Natsu Yasumi ~/Rainbow-Colored Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation~, Japan, 2011) for the trophy of Best Animated Feature category at the 6th Asian Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia. As much as I enjoyed Momo e no Tegami, I would have opted for Ookami Kodomo myself, followed by Kokuriko-zaka Kara (I haven’t seen Niji-iro Hotaru yet).