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This is actually last week’s Trailer Weekly, with a second one to follow later. At least I hope so, because I’m having a bit of hard time getting myself to do anything today. It’s the after-effect of having pulled an almost all-nighter – a friend from Costa Rica was passing through London so we chatted till about 3 a.m. at which point we were so tired that we slept for a couple of hours before my friend had to head off to Heathrow to catch his morning flight back to lovely Ticolandia ♥ (i.e. the country of Ticos, as Costa Ricans are affectionately known). I’m absolutely chuffed about all the Costa Rican goodies I’ve now got in the house now, from coffee from Heredia to Café Britt chocolates to dried piña-banano, but also very nostalgic, wishing I could myself hop on a plane to Central America this instant – I haven’t been back since I left in 2009 and that’s just too long. 😦

  • 春の雪」 (Haru no yuki/Snowy Love Fall in Spring, Japan, 2005) – Dir. by Yukisada Isao. In the Dorama Actresses Special Trailer Weekly a fortnight ago I featured Takeuchi Yuko with「天国の本屋~恋火」 (Tengoku no Honya – Koihi/Heaven’s Bookstore, Japan, 2004). However, there was another production on her filmography that grasped by interest, Haru no yuki, in which Takeuchi starred alongside Tsumabuki Satoshi! I have no idea why I never noticed that film before, but of course now it’s an automatic must-watch. Set in the early first half of twentieth century Japan, it is the story of Kiyoaki (Tsumabuki) and Satoko (Takeuchi), both from the Japanese upper class, who have known each other since childhood days. Satoko has always harboured deeper feelings for Kiyoaki, much against the wishes of her father who is keenly aware of the womanising ways of the young man’s own father and is convinced that Kiyoaki can only break his daughter’s heart. Kiyoaki however understands that any relationship between them will be problematic and tries to avoid Satoko and his feelings for her. I think this tale could easily go the way of Romeo and Juliet – especially Kiyoaki’s cough is deeply ominous. The title (literally Snow of Spring) doesn’t bode all that well either, given that spring symbolises life (re-) awakening, while snow is associated with winter and death.
  • おのぼり物語」 (Onobori Monogatari, Japan, 2010) – Dir. by Mori Yasutaka. There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot in this film and it could well be that it will fall flat: all we have got for a synopsis so far is that a young man from the countryside moves to Tokyo to pursue his dream of becoming a mangaka. Depending on what director Mori does with this, it could be interesting or not. It’s difficult to tell from the trailer, which does have a gentle opening vibe that I like but provides little sense of the film’s narrative arch.
  • その後のふたり」 (Sono Ato no Futari/Paris Tokyo Paysage, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Tsuji Jinsei. Weird but somehow intriguing is this kind of mock-meta film about Junya and Nanami, who have been in a relationship for fifteen years and make documentaries. When they break up, Junya moves to Paris while Nanami stays in Tokyo. They then decide to collaborate on a new film project to document their separation. I like the feel of trailer – anyone else think Junya in particular has a strangely instant-mesmerising presence? – although the parts in French are not well acted.
  •  연애의 온도 (Yeonaeui Wondo/Very Ordinary Couple aka Romance’s Temperature, South Korea, 2013) – Dir. by Roh Deok. More about couples and their separation woes, but I think this one is going to be more of a side-splittingly funny ride. Meet …. and … (actually, I don’t know the characters’ names), played by Lee Min-ki and Kim Min-hee respectively. Man and woman work at the same bank. They are a couple, but secretly so. Indeed, it’s been three years. They are in love. Then they break up. Only to miss each other insanely, get back together and fall out again – a hilarious but rocky relationship cycle on endless repeat. I really wish I had more than a teaser to share, but even these mere seconds should already crack you up. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Lee Min-kee, who absolutely rocked his two-episode cameo as a mad-as-a-hatter bad boy kkotminam in the K-drama 닥치고 꽃미남밴드 (Dagchigo Kkochminambaendeu/Shut Up Flower Boy Band, South Korea, 2012) until suffering a death so shocking and tragic that it broke everyone’s heart into a gazillion pieces within a nanosecond. Having watched  화차 (Hwacha/Helpless, South Korea, 2012, review to come), I’m not unfamiliar with Kim Min-hee either, but couldn’t quite get on board with that film – however, that had less to do with the actress than the way her character and the overall storyline were written.
  • ケンタとジュンとカヨちゃんの国」 (Kenta to Jun to Kayo-chan no Kuni/A Crowd of Three,  Japan, 2009) – Dir. by Omori Tatsushi. If we are talking about actors with a mesmerising presence, Matsuda Shota is another one that makes the cut (just watch 「ラブシャッフル」/Love Shuffle, Japan, 2009in which he has “chemistry with anyone, everyone, even a few trees, a lamppost, his camera” – quote). In Kenta to Jun to Kayo-chan him, Kora Kengo and Ando Sakura (two more mesmerisers) are a crowd of three: Kenta (Matsuda) and Jun (Kora) grew up in an orphanage together and are as close as brothers. Bullied and exploited by their boss, they take off to Hokkaido, where Kenta’s real brother is serving a prison sentence. On their way out they meet Kayo (Ando), a needy girl. “The relationships are raw, violent and without compassion. Mistreated creatures pass the humiliations and abuses they have suffered on to others. Kayo, who is used, bad-mouthed, robbed and finally abandoned by Kenta und Jun, is the only one to say what everyone elseʼs aimless rage prevents them from expressing: ‘I want to be loved.'” (quote). Not going to claim that this will be an easy watch, but I do think they have got the right actors to deliver the message, however brutal and disillusioning it may be.
  •  「王様とボク」 (Osama to Boku/The Boy Inside, Japan, 2012) – Dir. by Maeda Tetsu. After being involved in an accident, Mikihiro’s friend Morio has been in a coma since he was six years old. The night that Mikihiro is about to turn eighteen, Morio regains consciousness but in his mind is still that child from twelve years ago. In Hollywood this sort of story would probably be pure comedy, but Maeda’s take seems to be a more reflective, possibly even heartrenching one. Sweet poster playfulness though.

Bonus Bits

  • The BFI’s Sight & Sound Magazine’s Film of the Week is Koreeda’s Kiseki/I Wish (Feb 8, 2013). Quote: “a magnificent fable of a broken family dreaming of reunion”.
  • There is also an article on Kim So-yong’s For Ellen (Feb 15, 2013), which recently previewed at the BFI and will again screen at the institute throughout the month of April.