Review: 「ぐるりのこと。」(Gururi no Koto/All Around Us)

Year: 2008
Director: Hashiguchi Ryosuke (橋口亮輔)
Screenplay: Hashiguchi Ryosuke (橋口亮輔)
Cinematography: Ueno Shogo
Cast: Kimura Tae (木村多江), Franky Lily (リリー・フランキー)
Runtime: 140 min

Seen at the ICA as part of The Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme Whose Film Is It Anyway? Contemporary Japanese Auteurs”.
With a plot centring on a couple that loses their unborn child, I expected Gururi no Koto to be a heart-wrenching film. I went in thinking it would depict the emotional unravelling of its characters to the lowest point, that it would show us their grief, their anger and their sadness over the tragic death, but, alas, there was little of this. Instead, Gururi no Koto surprised me. Continue reading “Review: 「ぐるりのこと。」(Gururi no Koto/All Around Us)”

K-Directors: Park Kwang-su (박광수) Month at the KCCUK in March

We are entering the third month of KCCUK’s Year of 12 Directors. March showcases four films of Park Kwang-su (박광수), none of which I am familiar with. Indeed, I have not watched anything by Park, so I am hoping to make it to all the screenings. He certainly sounds like an interesting filmmaker.
Continue reading “K-Directors: Park Kwang-su (박광수) Month at the KCCUK in March”

Review: 風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト (Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape)

Year: 1989
Director: Toshiya Itoh
Screenplay: Tsutui Tomomi, Toshiya Itoh
Cinematography: N/A
Cast: Hayase Misato, Kobayashi Yu, Shiga Junichi, Amasaga Toshiyuki, Uchida Asao, Dan Fumi, Kusakari Masao
Runtime: 107 min
Trailer: no trailer available, but 4 min clip of the opening is on YouTube
Seen at a screening as part of the Films at the Embassy of Japan programme.
It’s another film that is simply magicalKaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto (literally Matasaburō of the Wind: Cape of Glass) depicts a story of childhood in the rural Japan of the 1920s. At the heart of the tale is Takada (Kobayashi Yu), a young boy, whose father is transferred to a remote village in the Tōhoku region. Takada arrives there on the very windy 210th day of the year, which immediately raises suspicion in the village children: he must, they whisper amongst themselves, be Matasaburō, the son of the wind god, who appears on this day and stays until the 220th – a suspicion that seems confirmed when it turns out that Takada’s first name is Saburō. Continue reading “Review: 風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト (Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape)”

Review: L'artiste (The Artist)

Country: France
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius
Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Uggie
Runtime: 100 min
Trailer: on YouTube
Film’s official website: Weinstein Co.
Currently screening in UK cinemas (and elsewhere).
L’artiste is that film: the one that has been winning big at all the award ceremonies this season, scooping Best Film at the Golden Globes in January as well as at the BAFTAs last Sunday (plus multiple other awards at both ceremonies). Continue reading “Review: L'artiste (The Artist)”

Review: 다세포 소녀 (Dasepo Sonyeo/Dasepo Naughty Girls aka Dasepo Girl)

Entering the whacky manga territory: just so you know what you are in for…

Year: 2006
Director: E J-yong (이재용)
Screenplay: Choi Jin-seong (최진성), E J-yong (이재용)
Cinematography: Jeong Jeong-hoon
Cast: Kim Ok-bin (김옥빈), Lee Kyeon (이켠), Park Jin-woo (박진우), Eu-seong (은성), Kim Byeol (김별), Nam Oh-jeong (남호정), Park Hye-won (박혜원), Lee Won-jong (이원종), among others
Runtime: 111 min
Trailer: on YouTube

Seen at the Korean Cultural Centre (KCCUK) during the E J-yong (이재용) month of KCCUK’s Korean Film Night programme “2012: Year of the 12 Directors”.
Dasepo Sonyeo is the kind of film that I never have many expectations for because it falls into that whacky, exaggerated comedy format that rarely works for me. Based on a web manga (or rather, with the source material being Korean, a manhwa), which frequently operate in the realm of an alternate reality, the ‘way out there’ feel is reinforced. That, in fact, isn’t bad news: it’s much easier to submit yourself to Dasepo Sonyeo‘s outlandishness, its weird sense of humour and blindingly bright colour palette (pink girls! orange school skirts! purple school trousers!) if you know that this is where the film stems from. Continue reading “Review: 다세포 소녀 (Dasepo Sonyeo/Dasepo Naughty Girls aka Dasepo Girl)”