TW 98


Wee bit late. I was only missing the Trailer Weekly main image last night, but as I’m staying at my sister’s one-bedroom flat for a couple of days, I decided to go to bed, since she had to get up 5 this morning. Which was for me, so she can finish work early and go for Vietnamese-French fusion food (much recommended) and vegan ice-cream (a place I’ve been wanting to try for a year – definitely having matcha) in downtown Vienna with me. In other words, I would have felt guilty leaving the lights on and typing away noisily for another half hour.

We’re 50% Japanese, 50% Taiwanese with trailers today. Hope there’s something for you!

  • 《海巡尖兵》(Hai xun jian bing/The Pain of Others, Taiwan, 2005)

Dir. by Tom Lin (Tom Lin Shu-Yu)

This is only a 30 minute short, but I’m interested in it because I’m interested in the director Lin Shu-yu after reading a Taipei Times feature about him. In the interview, he talks about his split identity due to growing up both in US and then returning to Taiwan, where he didn’t quite fit, yet experiencing culture shock again when going back to the States – only feeling at home in the Chinese communities there (in other words, among people with the same kind of in-between experience). Having grown up ‘in between’ and now being expat for life myself, I always feel an immediate bond with individuals with a similar sort of background and want to see Lin’s films. I already watched and loved his《星空》(Xīngkōng/Starry Starry Night, 2011) in 2012 (though I knew nothing about the director at that time) and have had his《九降风》 (Jiǔ jiàng fēng/Winds of September, 2008) on my to-watch list for a while. Hai xun juan bing, meanwhile, was Lin’s very first film and it seems like the most grim one of them all: it is about several soldiers, including a rookie. The more experienced soldiers take to hazing the rookie as part of a rite of initiation that he has to go through. It’s horrendous cycle of pain that pushes the soldiers to the limits of their own conscience.

Note: Love the poster.

  • 「エンプティー・ブルー」(Enputī burū/Empty Blue, Japan, 2009)

Dir. by Honekawa Kou.

I think I came across this one by image-googling for another film, but finding a trailer (but just about nothing else) for this very indie featureThere was a short review over at jfilmpowwow, which describes the plot as follows:

“Empty Blue” tells the story of a 26-year-old named Takashi (Hideaki Hata) who’s having a real struggle finding his way in life. His quest for some kind of meaning in his day to day life is crystallized into a recurring dream in which he follows a young woman up a flight of stone stairs. Will he be able to reach her, and what effect does this dream have on his waking life?

  • 「ストロベリーショートケイクス」 (Sutoroberii Shooto Keikusu/Strawberry Shortcakes, Japan, 2006)

Dir. by Yazaki Hitoshi.

I had Yazaki’s 「3月のライオン」(Sangatsu no Raion/March Comes in Like a Lion, Japan, 1991) on Trailer Weekly #96Sutoroberii Shooto Keikusu is another, more recent film form the same director. It’s about four women (Satoko, Akiyo, Chihiro, Toku), who live in Tokyo and struggle to find happiness in their lives. I expect it to be less dark than Sangatsu no Raion, though still dealing with serious issues (prostitution and eating disorders all feature in the character descriptions).

「そして泥船はゆく」(Soshite Dorobune wa Yuku/And the Mud Ship Sails Away, Japan, 2013)

Dir. by Watanabe Hirobumi.

Midnight Eye recently published some Top Films of 2013 lists from its writers. I’ve only skimmed the lists so far, but Soshite Dorobune wa Yuku was one that stood out already. Eija Niskanen writes:

This indie features the year’s funniest main character, a kind of dropout wanna-be hipster in the nowhereland between city and country. A true indie, produced by a Tochigi filmmaking commune, shot in black and white. And in this age of overlong features, it sure is nice to see a Japanese film that runs only 88 minutes. (quote)

  • 《亂青春》 (Luàn Qīngchūn/Beautiful Crazy, Taiwan, 2009)

Dir. by Chi Y. Lee.

I mentioned that coming-of-age films are quite popular in Taiwan. Luàn Qīngchūn is another exemplar and is about three girls, Xiao-Bu, Angel and Ah-Mi, who fight, fall in love, get hurt, break up, forgive and forget – often with little reason behind what is happening – in the times of chaos that is youth.

  • 《千禧曼波》 (Qianxi manbo/Millennium Mambo, Taiwan, 2001)

Dir. by Hou Hsiao-hsien.

I have featured cine auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien in a Trailer Weekly before, with珈琲時光(Kohi Jiko/Cafe Lumiere, Japan/Taiwan, 2004) and最好的时光(Zui hao de shi guang/Three Times, Taiwan, 2005). Qianxi manbo is an even earlier film of his with revolves around the narcissistic Vicky and relationships – unsatifying and doomed – that she has two men, one younger, one older than her.

Bonus Bits

  • 「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises, Japan, 2013) has been announced as the opening film of the Anima Festival in Brussels, Belgium in late February. The rest of the feature films that will be playing at the event have yet to be announced.