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I’m still playing catch-up with the Trailer Weeklies. Aside from that missing #60, I’m a week behind… but I’ll keep trying, maybe I can get that #65 out before next Sunday. I should probably start scrutinising all those “Best films of 2012” lists that tend appear around this time of the year (which I like to read for inspiration, but hate to create myself).

  • さよなら、クロ」 (Sayonara, Kuro/Farewell, Kuro, Japan, 2003) – Starting with the Tsumabuki Satoshi film this week. Kuro (from the title) is a dog and wanders into a school one day. The dog is eventually taken in by Yukiko, a girl, whom best friends Ryosuke (Tsumabuki) and Koji both are in love with. When Koji dies in an accident, and Ryosuke is rejected by Yukiko, their ways part. Ryosuke and Yukiko only meet again 12 years later when Kuro, now old, faces death and old wounds can finally heal. I expect this to be a rather quiet film, but a gently moving one. A sweetly baby-faced Tsumabuki from nearly 10 years ago. 😀
  • Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once upon a Time in Anatolia, Turkey/Bosnia Herzegovina, 2011) – This one goes on the list of films I have heard a lot about (and even mentioned on this blog before), but just haven’t gotten around to watching. A friend of mine was bored stiff by it (it’s 157 minutes long), but I’m more keen on slow cinema than he is and I have also seen plenty of good reviews. A man has been murdered, a murderer has been identified. Though a confession has been made, the murderer is unable to locate the body of the victim in the Anatolian mountains. A search begins.
  • Dylan’s Room (UK, 2012) – I heard about this award-winning short (which recently made it onto BAFTA’s long-list) when a customer at the farmers’ markets told me he was involved in making it (he did the filming). I already knew this customer was a photographer (we converse regularly), but realised only just now we are both interested in films. Dylan’s Room actually screened at Raindance this year, where I volunteer during festival times, so you can be sure I’m going to borrow a screener from the office when I’m back in London to view & review. Set in the titular room for its entire 20 minutes of running time, a mother finds all kinds of things – physical mementos as well as incorporeal memories – in the room of her son Dylan, who has died. The film, by the way, is on the programme for the London Short Film Festival at the ICA in January, where it will be shown as part of New Shorts #4 (doublecheck with the ICA to confirm). Bonus: Official Facebook page of Dylan’s Room.
  • 나의 P.S 파트너 (Na-eui P.S Pa-teu-neo/P.S. Partner, South Korea, 2012) – I’m not certain about this one. The premise sounds a bit – okay, very – lame: a woman who intends to call her boyfriend (whom she is impatient to marry) accidentally calls a stranger and ends up having phone sex with him (yeah, that “P.S.” stand for exactly that). It doesn’t end there, but rather continues until they decide to meet in real life. Reviews have been quite alright – better than I would expect for a film like this. It’s not on the top of my list of films to watch, but if I do get a chance to see it, I will – and I’m sure I’ll walk away feeling pretty much the same way as Hanguk Yeonghwa.
  • Rebelle (War Witch, Canada, 2012) – This one is straight off the short list for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, which was released earlier this week and somehow ended up being nearly-completely dominated by European films (only Rebelle and the Chilean No are from other regions of the world, Kim Ki-duk’s 피에타/Pieta/Pieta is notably absent – but hey, I personally don’t much stock into the Oscars). Anyhow, Rebelle sounds like an interesting – if harrowing – screen tale: Komona, a teenage Congolese girl, has been abducted by the rebel army, who train her to fight for their cause. The lead is played by Rachel Mwanza, who, impressively enough, received a Silver Bear (Berlin) and a Best Actress Award (Tribeca) for her very first film role. Child soldiers can never be an easy topic to tackle, but the reviews I have read suggest a sensitively made film that is very much worth the watch – for the superb performances of its non-professional actors as well as for a story well told.

Bonus Bits

  • You can now preorder Shinkai Makoto’s「星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below aka Journey to Agartha, 2011) on DVD and Blu-Ray. Official UK release date is on January 28, 2013.
  • 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, 2011) is currently on  release in Australian cinemas for a limited time period according to animenewsnetwork.co.uk.