LFF Review:《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)

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Year: 2013
Country:
China
Language: Mandarin
Director: Vicki Zhao
Studio:
Multiple involved, including China Film Group
Adaptation from:
2007 novel of the same title by Xin Yiwu
Screenplay: Li Qiang
Cinematography: Li Ran
Soundscore: Dou Peng
Cast: Mark Chao, Han Geng, Yang Zishan, Jiang Shuying
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distribution: China Film Group
Film’s official website: N/a
Seen at the 2013 London Film Festival at a screening with a director’s Q&A. Previously featured in Trailer Weekly #75.
Trailer:

In the opening scene of《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) the heroine, Zheng Wei (Yang Zishan), finds herself in a lush fantasy world, populated by fairy tale creatures both good and bad, only to awaken and find it was all a terrible dream. No more than a few minutes long, this opening reveals much of what is wrong with Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchū, for as luxuriantly beautiful that dream world is – the scene must have cost a good chunk of the film’s 30 million yuan (US$5 million) budget – it is also completely irrelevant, for nothing that happens is of any importance for the story that follows. Continue reading “LFF Review:《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)”

Review: 화차 (Hwacha/Helpless)

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Year: 2011
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director:  Byeon Yeong-joo (변영주)
Adaptation from:
Miyube Miyaki’s novel「火車」 (Kasha, 1992, translated into English as All She Was Worth in 1999)
Screenplay:  Byeon Yeong-joo (변영주)
Cinematography: Kim Dong-Young
Soundscore: Kim Hong-jip
Cast: Lee Sun-gyun, Kim Min-hee, Kim Min-jae
Runtime: 117 min
Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYxLwXNcdkw
Seen at the film’s UK premiere at the 56th BFI London International Film Festival.
Hwacha is, in essence, a longer, prettier version of CSI Seoul: it is a feature-length film with striking cinematography from the opening shots on but with a story we have been told in some form before, most likely while watching a crime television series. Continue reading “Review: 화차 (Hwacha/Helpless)”

Leesong Hee-il Trilogy Review: 백야 (White Night), 지난여름, 갑자기 (Suddenly, Last Summer) & 남쪽으로 간다 (Going South)

leessong hee-il trilogy

Year: 2012
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Leesong Hee-il
Screenplay:  Leesong Hee-il
Cinematography: Yoon Ji-Yoon (Baekya)
Cast: Won Tae-hee, Li Yi-kyung (Baekya); Kim Young-jae, Han Joo-wan (Jinanyeoreum, Gapjagi); Kim Jae-heung, Chun Shin-hwan (Namjjokeuro Ganda)
Runtime: 75 min, 37 min, 45 min
Distribution: CinemaDal

Trailers: see below

Seen at the 27th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at two separate screenings.

Although there was not all that much on offer from South East Asia at this year’s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the BFI did do a mini-feature on Leesong Hee-il, whom they called “one of the most exciting contemporary gay Asian directors” in their festival programme. Leesong has, by now, quite a number of films to his name, all featuring a gay storyline in one way or another. His cinematic debut came in 2004 with a short featured in 동백꽃 (DongbaegkkochCamellia Project, 2004), but he is probably better known for his 2006 film 후회하지 않아 (Huhoehaji Anha/No Regret). In 2009 the director contributed to the 황금시대 (Hwang-geumsidae/Short! Short! Short!) omnibus project and also made the feature-length 탈주 (Talju/Break Away, 2009), finally following up in 2012 with the ‘One Night and Two Days’ trilogy of 백야 (Baekya/White Night), 지난여름, 갑자기 (Jinanyeoreum, Gapjagi/Suddenly, Last Summer) and 남쪽으로 간다 (Namjjokeuro Ganda/Going South), three unconnected stories which all began as shorts but the first of which was later extended into a 75-minute movie.

Continue reading “Leesong Hee-il Trilogy Review: 백야 (White Night), 지난여름, 갑자기 (Suddenly, Last Summer) & 남쪽으로 간다 (Going South)”

Review: 「夢売るふたり」 (Yume Uru Futari/Dreams for Sale)

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Year: 2012
Country:
Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Nishikawa Miwa
Screenplay: Nishikawa Miwa
Cinematography: Yanagishima Katsumi
Soundscore: more rhythm
Cast: Matsu Takako, Abe Sadao, Tanaka Rena, Kimura Tae, Suzuki Sawa, Ando Tamae, Ebara Yuka
Runtime: 137 min

Trailer:

Seen at the film’s UK premiere at the 56th BFI London International Film Festival.

Yume Uru Futari appeared on quite a number of Top 10 Films of 2012 lists. Tom Mes, Catherine Munroe Hotes and Eija Niskanen all counted it among their favourites in a Midnight Eye feature and Jason Grey (Loaded Films) included it as part of the “10% goodness” of cinema of the past year over at Wildgrounds, to name some examples. Continue reading “Review: 「夢売るふたり」 (Yume Uru Futari/Dreams for Sale)”

Review: 「ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ」 (Raiku Samuwan in Rabu/Like Someone in Love)

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Year: 2012
Country:
France/Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Screenplay: Abbas Kiarostami
Cinematography: Yanagijima Katsumi
Soundscore: Mohamadrez Delpak, Kikuchi Nobuyuki
Cast: Takanashi Rin, Okuno Tadashi, Kase Ryō, Denden
Runtime: 109 min

Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pldnaSGSyY

Seen at the film’s UK premiere at the 56th BFI London International Film Festival. Like Someone in Love will be released in select British cinemas via New Wave Films on June 21, 2013.

Like Someone in Love premiered in Cannes last year, where it sharply divided the critics, leaving some rather disenchanted, if not highly irritated, in particular with its rather abrupt ending. “[T]he curtain comes down with an arbitrary crash” noted Peter Bradshaw, resident film critic for The Guardian, while Mike D’Angelo (A.V. Club) gave it a “WTF” rating, declaring the final scene “a startling, truncated conclusion that seems completely out of proportion with the lazy, anti-urgent meandering that precedes it”, ending with the words “I know there’s something happening here, but I don’t know what it is”. Continue reading “Review: 「ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ」 (Raiku Samuwan in Rabu/Like Someone in Love)”