The Pan Asia Film Festival began this week and I skipped my Japanese class to attend the screening of《女朋友。男朋友》(Nyeobungu. Nambungu/GF*BF, Taiwan, 2013) and somehow – despite that backlog of reviews that reaches to the moon – reviewed it within two days (admittedly, staying up till four in the morning was part of this)*. I didn’t however go to see Lotte Reiniger’s Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed), the world’s first feature-length animation from 1926, as I had originally planned – purely for reasons of laziness and the fact that it didn’t seem possible to book concession tickets at the Southbank online (and the £15 full price was a little steep). I am kind of kicking myself for this lack of self-motivation, because that is definitely not a film that screens every day, plus it’s just lame of me as someone who loves animation to skip such an event *hangs head in shame*. Coming up next week is more of the Pan Asia Film Festival, the bimonthly KCCUK screening and lots of the London Lesbian Gay Film Festival, which I’m super-excited for.
Trailers…….this Trailer Weekly somehow ended up being full of images (alternative posters and things of the sort) but most of all I think it’s a really fabulous selection of films this week. Just because I wish I could watch half of them like right now.
*And then of course, no one comments on the review that I lost sleep over! Oh, you lovely lurkers. Either that or it’s badly written. 😛
- 「ストロベリーナイト」(Sutoroberi Naito/Strawberry Night, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Sato Yuichi (who also made the「ウォーターボーイズ」/Waterboys dorama I love). First today is a murder-mystery entry that didn’t quite fit onto Trailer Weekly #74. The film follows a novel, dorama and a TV special all of the same title and comes with the ominous subtitle of “The Last Case of Reiko Himekawa”. Reiko (played by the wonderful Takeuchi Yuko) is an investigator for the police and becomes involved in a case called “Strawberry Night” relating to the murder of a gang member. There is little conclusive evidence and a mysterious phone call. When the investigation is halted, Reiko becomes suspicious and tries to find out the truth on her own. She meets Makita Isao (Osawa Takao), a gang member in the top of the ranks. Also suspicious, he joins Reiko in her investigations and the two fall in love. Whether they survive this (“the last case”), we’ll have to watch to find out. Below is the super-creepy DVD cover. I’m finding it rather freakish – funny what a few misplaced strawberries can do to one’s imagination.
- 「パンドラの匣」 (Pandora no hako/Pandora’s Box) – Dir. by Tominaga Masanori. Another ominous title, but with a very different story. WWII is just over. Risuke (Sometani Shota, oh yeah) is ill with tuberculosis and goes to regain his health in a nursing home in the countryside. It is a unique sanatorium, where everyone adopts a nickname – so Risuke becomes Hibari and makes friends with other patients and the nurses. It all sounds quite innocent, but the opening music of the trailer and the title definitely hint at darker things. Intriguing.
- 남쪽으로 튀어 (Namjjeukeuro Twieo/South Bound, South Korea, 2012) – Dir. by Lim Soon-rye. I mentioned this film before when profiling the K-director Lim. No trailer was available at the time, but it was released recently when the film opened in Korean cinemas in February. Namjjeukeuro Twieo looks a bit different from Lim Soon-rye’s other works, but I’m still eagerly looking forward to it.
- 《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young, China, 2013) – Dir. by Zhao Wei. I heard about this production one via Asia Pacific Arts. It’s the directorial debut of Zhao, a well-known actress from China, which will be released on April 26 on the Mainland. Only a brief synopsis is available at this point: The only two men that Zheng Wei has ever loved – her two ex-boyfriends – return from college and she must decide between them. Admittedly, that doesn’t sound very exciting (or dare I say: it sounds plain boring) BUT ignore this synopsis and just watch the trailer. It’s fantastically-dramatically scored, hints at stylish cinematography and, most of all, a narrative chockfull of explosive emotions and a significantly more complex story than ‘girl must choose who to love’ suggests. This film is not a lightweight, sweet romance, but a film about the hardship moments that come with growing up and working through experiences that scarred you. Alternative film poster (small resolution only):
Update: Review added for So Young 12/12/2013.
- 「シーサイドモーテル」 (Shisaido Moteru/The Seaside Motel, Japan, 2010) – Dir. by Moriya Kentaro. This one would actually fall under lightweight romantic fare, but it’s Japanese and it’s quirky, which makes all the difference. The setting: the Seaside Motel, which, despite its name, is located in the middle of mountains with no sea in sight (love it already!). Kamedara (played by Ikuta Toma ♥) is a swindler who arrives at the motel one night. He meets a rather odd collection of people: Candy, a call girl, a business man with an erectile dysfunction, a bored wife, plus a gambler with debt, a girlfriend and a debt collector trailing him. It may only one night they all spend together, but it’s a helluva crazy one! I shall be watching for Ikuta, but with “[l]ikeable leads, charismatic villains and a bevy of gorgeous girls” (quote), I think there is eyecandy for everyone. 😀
- 「きょうのできごと」(Kyou no dekigoto/A Day on the Planet, Japan, 2004) – Dir. by Yukisada Isao. I stumbled across this one a couple of days ago while looking for something else (can’t remember what). I instantly spied Tsumabuki Satoshi ♥ in the poster, so I instantly had to watch the trailer. I really really really like the synopsis of this film: seven friends gather at the house of Masamichi, each with their own preoccupations and passions. They drink together. They sees various bits of news broadcast live on television – a whale stranded on the beach, a man stuck between two buildings. Quote “It is just another day in their lives, and yet so many things happen; short precious moments, fleeting thoughts, mundane events, unusual incidents, both trivial and significant, whether they’re experienced in their hearts or in the real world around them. / The night slowly progresses and when they cross that hazy line between today and tomorrow, they find themselves greeted by the new morning of a new day.” (source) Yukisada adapted the story from a novel by Shibazaki Tomoka, remarking the following: “I was writing the script for A Day on the Planet when 9/11 happened. As I witnessed the almost unimaginable reality being shown on television, I felt a renewed urge to make a film that touched upon the relationship between individuals and everyday events, those tiny scrapes and marks we leave as we continue on our paths called life. I hope you find A Day on the Planet to be an ode to the abundance of seemingly trivial and uneventful everyday lives.” (source) Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m totally sold. I have an alternative poster for this one too – very simple, but lovely.
- Twitter-news this week came in the form of this tweet from Hosoda Mamoru:
To put it into English: Hosoda’s「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」(Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki/Wolf Children, Japan, 2012) won Best Animation of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards, beating out a competition that included, among other films, Okiura Hiroyuki’s「ももへの手紙」(Momo e no Tegami/A Letter to Momo, Japan, 2011). Deservedly so in my opinion, as Ookami Kodomo is more daring in its approach and has greater emotional depth as well (though I very much enjoyed Momo e no Tegami too). Genki Jason has the full list of winners, in case you are interested.
- Totally off-topic but I’m sooo impatiently watching for ONE OK ROCK‘s Boku x Jinsei to be released via iTunes. Loving the visual concept of the album already (a sample below):