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This is still last week’s Trailer Weekly – the actual one for today (#64) is in the works too, but probably won’t be finished quite in time for midnight. It’s been a busy week, I spent a lot of hours outdoors for work (freezing!) but I’m fortunately resistant enough not to get ill from that sort of thing (even when my socks end up wet, as they do quite often). With work keeping me busy and it also being the last week of term at uni, there wasn’t much filmwatching – I missed the KCCUK screening and I haven’t yet seen The Hobbit either (and won’t probably for another few weeks). The reviews for Peter Jackson’s latest Tolkien adaptation seem to be mixed (viewers feeling particularly ambivalent about the 48 fps format), but I wasn’t really expecting otherwise nor does it put it me off.

  • クワイエットルームにようこそ」 (Quiet Room ni yokoso/It’s Only Talk or Welcome to the Quiet Room?, Japan, 2007) – Shame on me: it totally skipped my mind last week to include a Tsumabuki Satoshi film! So I have to start with one today, indeed, I’ll include two of his films this week, to make up for that unfortunate mental lapsus. Tsumabuki actually isn’t the lead character of Quiet Room ni yokoso, but a fellow patient in a strange world of a psychiatric ward where freelance writer Sakura finds herself after problems with alcohol and drugs. She awakes there in an isolated white room and realises that doctors and nurses will not listen to her at all. Desperate, she wants to find a way to escape and return to the real world.
  • さぶ」 (Sabu/Sabu, Japan, 2002) – Somehow I didn’t realise that 「愛と誠」 (Ai to Makoto/For Love’s Sake, Japan, 2012) wasn’t Tsumabuki’s first collaboration with director Miike Takashi. A decade earlier they worked together on Sabu, a story about two childhood friends who maintain their closeness when one of them is accused of being a thief and sent to jail. Eiji however struggles with the isolation, and feels jealous of Sabu in the outside world. As time passes, he becomes accustomed to the situation, only to discover a cruel truth… The film is set in distant past by the way (just so you are warned about the weird hairdos in the trailer).
  • A Última vez que vi Macau (The Last Time I Saw Macao) – Fact and fiction merge in this film, which screened at a number of film festivals and won a Special Mention at the Locarno International Film Festival for “the extraordinary character Candy due to her powerful presence through absence which resonated for the Jury as representing the immense courage of Portuguese cinema in times when the failures of government and social systems threaten the cinematic arts worldwide” (quote). Apparently this film is a bizarre beast, a film noir, a cine-essay a la Chris Marker and generally a wild creation, in which João Rui meets the aforementioned Candy, an old friend, to talk about a mysterious murder. Rui wanders the streets, observing places that no longer remain the same or have gone entirely in that Macao that was once a Portuguese colony but that doesn’t let you go.
  • 四月の物語」 (Shigatsu monogatari/April Story, 1998) – Not that long ago I featured Iwai Shunji’s「ラブ・レター」(Rabu retā/Love Letter, Japan, 1995) on Trailer Weekly #59. One of the websites I scoured for information led me to another film by the same director: Shigatsu monogatari, which looked just as interesting. It’s a simple, again nostalgia-invoking story about Uzuki Nirno who moves to Tokyo from Hokkaido to attend university. It’s strange world for her – lonely and cold, much in contrast to her life back home – that she must adjust to.
  • ばかのハコ船」 (Baka no hakobune/No One’s Ark, 2002) – Dir. by Yamashita Nobuhiro. I can’t get quite a sense what kind of film this is: whether it’s a full-on bleakie, or a somewhat lighter affair with moments of comical relief. The setting itself is certainly rather hopeless, as we are in challenging economic times, with a young couple struggling to find success in Tokyo by selling a health drink. They finally decide to give up on their dreams of city life and return to their hometown, trying to strike lucky there.
  • De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone, France/Belgium, 2012) – I have no doubt you will have already heard about this one – the whale trainer that suffers a horrific accident at work and must have her legs amputated – , but I need to put it on my list of things-to-watch, hence on the Trailer Weekly.  Marion Cotillard’s acting is said to be stellar, as is that of the much lesser-known Matthias Schoenaerts’s. With all the buzz surrounding this film we can probably expect it to garner some nominations at the Golden Globes or Oscars. It’s actually not an absolute must-see for me, but one wouldn’t mind watching if I get the chance.

Bonus Bits

  • Kang Dong-won is out… out of the army. Looking forward to seeing him on the screen again – apparently there are four projects that he has got in the works for the next two years already, with a role in 군도 (Goon-do/Band of Thieves, South Korea, 2013) alongside Ha Jeong-woo having been confirmed. Oh yeah!

    Post-army photo shoot.

    First post-army photo shoot (for High Cut Korea).

  • Hosoda Mamoru’s「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」(Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/Wolf Children, Japan, 2012) will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan on February 20th, 2013.