I didn’t quite manage to finish this Trailer Weekly last night, staying out somewhat late to attend one final screening of the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (the Leesong Hee-il double bill). I rather enjoyed all films I watched as part of LLGFF this year (reviews to come), although I was struck by the fact that at most events viewers were predominantly male. Admittedly, except for آینه های روبرو (Aynehaye Rooberoo/Facing Mirrors, Iran/Germany, 2011), a drama on transgender identity, all films I saw focused on male-male relationships, but still… Does this mean that the audience of this festival is mostly made up of gay attendees? (If so, why?) And that those will often gravitate towards films reflecting their own sexuality/gender?
- 데이지 (Deiji/Daisy, South Korea, 2006) – Dir. by Lau Wai Keung. It always makes my day when someone wanders over to this blog, thinking it’s a good place to find a review for a particular film they have seen or want to see. Unfortunately, there are still lots of films I haven’t reviewed, so when Raine asked about Deiji I had to admit I hadn’t even heard of it before(but felt honoured she thought I was the one to ask). I had to check out the film of course, which, it turns out, is about an Amsterdam-set love triangle between Hye-young, Jeong-woo and Park Yi. Hye-young works as a painter on weekends. Jeong-wo is an interpol cop, while Park Yi is a criminal – a hit man to be exact. Both develop feelings for Hye-young, but keep their real identities a secret, wooing her only from afar (e.g. by leaving flowers on her doorstep).
- 「ただいま、ジャクリーン」(Tadaima, Jacqueline/Tadaima, Jacqueline, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Ohku Akiko. Every now and then I check if workaholic Sometani Shota – who keeps delivering with his performance in the increasingly awesome「xxxHOLIC」dorama these days – has anything new lined up. One of his forthcoming projects for 2013 is Tadaima, Jacqueline, which fits right into Sometani’s diverse and often unusual (bizarre?) filmography: he plays Satoru, an orphan, who lost his parents as a 5-year old in a bus accident. At the scene of the accident there was also Jacqueline, a ventriloquist doll, which reappears in his life thirteen years later when he is asked to perform with the puppet. Still carrying the trauma of the accident with him, Satoru is not keen on the idea. Where this story is going I wouldn’t know but a) Sometami’s film choices are always worth checking out and b) he’s a stellar actor. ’nuff said.
- 「東京無印女子物語」 (Tokyo Mujirushi Joshi Monogatari/Tokyo Nameless Girl’s Story, Japan, 2009) – Dir. by Ohku Akiko. Never having heard of the director of Tadaima, Jaqueline, I had to investigate her filmography further. It’s fairly short – Ohku has made five films to date – but includes other projects of interest, in particular Tokyo Mujirushi Joshi Monogatari, which takes two stories from a manga anthology and makes them into one narrative about two girls, now living in fast-paced Tokyo, that must adapt to the speed of life there and the changes that it brings, including to the relationship with each their boyfriends.
- 「千年の愉楽」 (Sennen no Yuraku/The Millennial Rapture, Japan, 2012) – Dir. by Wakamatsu Koji. Released in Japan a few weeks back, Sennen no Yuraku is another current project of Sometani’s, although in this case he plays one of several leads, each one a member of a cursed family. Specifically, it is the men of the Nakamoto clan that all seem doomed to infidelity and faithlessness, generation after generation. Reviews are rather mixed, most commenting that it is not the sort of tale that will travel well beyond the borders of Japan, but I’ll still give it a try: there’s Sometani after all, plus Kora Kengo as one of the other cursed guys.
- 「ボクたちの交換日記」 (Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki/My Diary of Our Exchange, Japan, 2013) – The credit for #5 of this Trailer Weekly goes to Genki Jason, who featured it as part of his Saturday round-up of films newly released in Japanese cinemas. Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki is about Yohei and Koji who make up a comedy duo but have found no success even after twelve years of working together. They decide to go their separate ways and also begin to wonder whether they should be in the entertainment industry at all. Ito Atsushi and Koide Keisuke star and while their faces look familiar, I have to say I don’t know either one too well – I have only seen them in small roles (though a number of Koide’s bigger projects have been on my to-watch list for a while).
- 「スイッチを押すとき」 (Switch wo osu toki/When I Kill Myself, Japan, 2011) – Dir. by Nakajima Ryo. Not horror, but a bleakie this one certainly promises to be: Switch wo osu toki takes a very timely Japanese topic – the high suicide rate among youth – and employs it for a plot set in the year 2026. In this future the national government is conducting experiments with children, placing them under constant surveillance. The children a given a device that allows them to request an instant death and are encouraged to do so, leading most to follow through. The handful that survive remain in the facility and are treated more like objects than human beings, and are even only referred to by their number rather than name. Then Yohei (played by Bokutachi no Kokan Nikki’s Koide), a new and much friendlier warden, arrives and things slowly begin to change. However, not everything is at it seems. Although Koide plays a real character within the story, I wonder if his function might not be more metaphorical, as part of a film that wishes to raise questions about youth suicide in Japan.