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I’m kinda starving (it’s almost 4 p.m. and I haven’t had lunch yet), so I’ll give you this week’s trailers without any further ado and shall head to the kitchen to make myself some gyoza and bibimbap.

  • 「百万円と苦虫女」 (Hyakuman-en to Nigamushi Onna/One Million Yen and the Nigamushi Woman aka One Million Yen Girl, Japan, 2008)

Dir. by Tanada Yuki.

There are various reasons I’m interested in this film, which Tired Paul mentioned to me, starting with its director. The plot: Alienated by her life and people, Suzuko (Yu Aoi) decides that she longer wants to build relationships with anyone. She moves from town to town, staying in each place only so long until she has saved up one million yen. Alongside Yu, who is of course a wonderful actress to watch, we also have Moriyama Mirai, whom I’ve only seen in the dorama 「ウォーターボーイズ」 (Wōtābōizu/Waterboys, Fuji TV, 2003) but whose films I previously featured in a number of Trailer Weeklies (#12, #36, #57).

  • 《萬箭穿心》 (Wàn jiàn chuān xīn/Feng Shui, China, 2012)

Dir. by Wang Jing.

Seino, one of the Japan-based contributor’s over at Eastern Kicks (and @SeinoMovie7 on Twitter), alerted me to this film, which recently screened at the Far East Film Festival in Udine. Wàn jiàn chuān xīn is the story about a family, whose life slowly begins to fall apart when they move into a modern apartment. The husband Xuewu, tired of his constantly complaining wife Baoli, falls for another woman and asks for a divorce. The wife responds by reporting him to the police and also uses their 8-year-old son Wenzhao in a power play. After being demoted at work, Xuewu then commits suicide, forcing Baoli to take on a job as a yoke bearer so as to be able to support the child and the mother-in-law left behind. Ten years on, Wenzhao is soon to graduate and enter university, but bears a deep grudge against his mother, whom he blames for his father’s death. Judging from the trailer Wàn jiàn chuān xīn is complex drama that explores the psychology of a failed family.

  • 「陽だまりの彼女」 (Hidamari no Kanojo/The Girl in the Sun, Japan, 2013)

Dir. by Miki Takahiro. Based on a novel.

Domyouji meets Nodame – not literally of course, but it’s a film starring both Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri. I have to admit Hidamari no Kanojo came completely out of the left field for me, because I always keep my eye on Matsujun’s forthcoming projects [he’s the only Arashi member that, in my opinion, can act and some of his doramas –「きみはペット」(Kimi wa Petto),「スマイル」(Sumairu/Smile) – are among my absolute favourites]. I also loved Ueno-Nodame, enough to want to check out anything else she’s involved in and, finally, Miki Takahiro’s 「管制塔」(Kanseito/Control Tower, 2011) also makes me keep tabs on anything that he is directing. Despite all that, I never realised that this movie was in the making until this teaser was released yesterday.

Neither that teaser nor the film’s synopsis  – ‘A young salesman, Kosuke, meets a once-bullied friend, Mao, from middle school again and they fall in love. Mao however has a secret.’ – reveal particularly much at this point. Indeed, it sounds all rather generic and we’ve-sorta-seen-this-before. I’m still going to watch and make my verdict then.

hidamari poster

Alternative poster? That’s definitely Matsujun, but the girl doesn’t look like Ueno!

Note: In some alternate universe, I would love to see Domyouji meet Nodame – that’d be hilarious!

  • 「世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ」 (Sekai no chushin de, ai o sakebu/Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World, Japan, 2004)

Dir. by Yukisada Isao. Based on a novel.

Okay, I’m not really a fan of super-tragic love stories, which seem quite popular in Japan – you know the ones that tell the tale of the perfect couple torn apart by oh-so-cruel destiny (meaning usually death by illness of one of them), leaving them pining over that lost love forever. That is sort of the plot here too, as Saku reminisces about the girl he loved when he was seventeen, who succumbed to leukemia. There is a bit more though, for Saku is now 34 and has a fiancé, Ritsuko. Ritsuko one day goes away, leaving him only a note. Saku follows her – to Shikoku, both their hometown as well as that of the dead girl. I still think it’s going to be a melodramatic tearjerker, and it may be a too sappy one, but, well, Moriyama Mirai is in this one also (as the 17-year old Saku), so I’m just going to have the tissues ready.

Note: there is a dorama with the same title too and story, which came after the film and starred a different cast.

  • 「中学生円山」 (Chuugakusei Maruyama/Maruyama, the Middle-Schooler, Japan, 2013)

Dir. by Kudo Kankuro.

The synopsis for Chuugakusei Maruyama is as follows: Maruyama, a middle-schooler, wants “to touch his own weeny with his tongue” (quote). It’s not the sort of plot line that would make me even vaguely consider watching it, but the film recently premiered at Udine’s Far East Film Festival to compelling reviews. Although it sounds like it’s not completely perfect, it also seems that Chuugakusei Maruyama is significantly better than what you would expect from the bizarre main premise and is definitely worth seeing.

  • 「さよなら渓谷」 (Sayonara Keikoku/The Ravine of Goodbye, Japan, 2013)

Dir. by Omori Tatsushi.

This one I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while – thanks to some of the actors involved –, waiting for the trailer become available. I’m not sure I completely have the plotline down: A baby is killed. Its mother (Suzuki Anne) is the suspected killer. She is in a relationship with her neighbour, Osaki Shunsuke (Onishi Shima), who also has a lover, Kanako (Maki Yoko). Watanabe (Omori Nao), a newspaper reporter is following the case and learns that Osaki is connected a rape case from 15 years ago, in which, it turns out, Kanako was the victim. It’s a tangled web of connections, and could go very dark if you ask me.

Bonus Bits:

All anime related today.

  • Sentai Filmworks has obtained the North American distribution rights for Shinkai Makoto’s forthcoming film「言の葉の庭」(Kotonoha no Niwa, Japan, 2013), with a bilingual DVD and Blu-ray release apparently due this year. The film hasn’t even premiered yet! No word on UK rights (or screenings). (News via Anime News Network)
  • Speaking of Shinkai Makoto, his previous film,「星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, Japan, 2011), won the Gold Prize at Tehran International Animation Fest this week.
  • We finally have a UK cinema release date for 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, 2011): it’s August 2 you have to put on your calendars. It’s been a long time coming, given that it was first shown at the Terracotta Film Festival last April and had several other UK festival screenings as well. Plus, it’s been in US cinemas for a while now too.