Survive Style Sonata + Bright Futures: Cine Wave Baraba w/ subtítulos en ingles

Jean-Luc Godard, Master of Film and Escape
August 28, 2010, 12:26 am
Filed under: News

It seems as though the Academy is going to give an honorary Oscar to director Jean-Luc Godard, now if only they could get his phone number. After filling up Godard’s answering machine and even resorting to snail mail the Academy still wont give up.

Source: Guardian

This is very exciting stuff for fans of the French New Wave but maybe the Academy has forgotten something:

“Up to now–since shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution–most movie makers have been assuming that they know how to make movies. Just like a bad writer doesn’t ask himself if he’s really capable of writing a novel–he thinks he knows. If movie makers were building airplanes, there would be an accident every time one took off. But in the movies, these accidents are called Oscars.”
-Jean-Luc Godard

On a side note it was very tempting to title this “Got Godard?”


Master Filmmaker Kon Satoshi 1963 – 2010
August 25, 2010, 6:00 pm
Filed under: News, Tribute

It has been reported that anime filmmaker Kon Satoshi has passed away due to cancer at the age of 47. I won’t start retyping what can already be found about his history on other sites but instead write about memories I have of his films.

I saw Paprika when it first came out at a small two theater art house called The Mayan. I was just getting started to really get into foreign film and I took my then best friend Dan with me. Even though it was opening week for Paprika the theater it was placed in was the smaller of the two with cramped seating. This was the first anime film I had seen in a theater. Near the end when a shadow figure and a naked little girl, both the size of Godzilla, fight I looked over at my friend Dan and heard him muttering over and over, “What the fuck?”. He was having a small freakout to the oddities on screen but I fell in love with the animation and later on subsequent viewings the sentimental but honest look at trying to make your own independent film.

After that over the course of four years I was able to see his other three films; Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers.

Each of these were the types of movies that once their credits started rolling I felt I had to start loaning them out to anyone willing. All his works have the recurring element of dreams, in some cases the aspiration variety rather than the surreal.

While Perfect Blue touches upon darker elements of humans, Millennium Actress (which is unfortunately out of print) was the tear inducing in one man’s dedication to his favorite actress. I watched this in the start of a marathon to go through some animation DVDs I had yet to see. I decided to bring it over to my grandparents since we all had just finished Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle recently. Although Millennium Actress is rooted in reality more so than Howl’s the presentation with the mixing of the fact and fiction with past and present made it more fantastic than the Ghibli film; as well as more affecting in a dirt-in-the-eyes way. Animation was the only option to successfully mix the different ages of the titular actress without having to try their best to cast a series of actresses who looked similar. The effect in the film was that we are watching her grow up. Unfortunately there is a parallel in that the actress’ work was stopped abruptly for the documentary filmmaker/fan character just as for Kon’s and his fans.

Kon’s best testament to human worth was Tokyo Godfathers about an abandoned baby found by three homeless: a drunk, a transvestite, and a teenage runaway. The three then decide, some reluctantly, to find the baby’s parents to find out why they left the kid there. What follows is an adventure and a domino effect of chance where each characters’ pasts are brilliantly revealed. Most likely his most feel good film and possibly the best from his oeuvre.

The medium of animation was a perfect fit at creating a the surreal visual style needed to throw the viewer off. A great example is the opening credits to Paprika which I watched recently with another friend. I had always remembered this sequence as being awe inducing and after another viewing it was not just me making it better in my memory of the scene.

Although his follow up to Paprika, The Dream Machine, was scheduled to come out next year I do hope that they release what they have. This will be the final push to find the three volumes of his mini-series Paranoia Agent that I am missing which, along with Millennium Actress, is out of print.  It was exciting to go backwards into his library of creations which may be small but had heart and the imagination that some bodies of work will never have with twice the amount of time Kon was given.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird Is Coming to the States (2 Years Late)
April 6, 2010, 5:29 am
Filed under: Korea, News

In 2008 Kim Ji-woon followed his existential gangster film, A Bittersweet Life with the “kimchi western” The Good, The Bad, The Weird.

Here is an article from film site

The site has a sub-site called Movie Hotties so that might give you a hint that there is a chance something on the main site could possibly be better fit for at home reading so here is the article:

“by: James Thoo Jun. 12, 2009

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD was my favorite film last year. That’s right, over THE DARK KNIGHT. And because I have such phenomenal taste you should all be excited to check out this sweet little behind-the-scenes clip that Empire has snagged in preparation for the film’s release on Blu Ray next week:

[A trailer went right here]

In the film, the awesome Kang Sang-Ho (THE HOST), the awesome Lee Byung Hun (GI JOE) and Woo Jung-Sung star as three Korean outlaws who try to outwit each other to obtain a mysterious treasure map, that is also being pursued by Chinese bandits and the Japanese army.”

So there is a goof in the article, the actor Kang Sang-ho is actually Song Kang-ho. What happened here was the last name was switched with the first name and the ‘o’ was replaced with an ‘a’ making it a different pronunciation but overall a very different name.

These mistakes are common when westerners write about something involving Korean names, usually going back and forth between writing family name first then given name and vice versa, but this case is a little special. Not only does he claim that this film was his favorite in 2008, but that Song Kang-ho (or I guess Kang Sang-ho) is an awesome actor who stared in The Host. Is this a bad copy paste job where he feigned past history with the cast and film itself?At least he’s getting the word out to all the frequenters of, Korean film imports need all the help they can get (Thirst was only in a one theater in Colorado for just a weekend.)

At least the film is coming to limited theaters this month. This film shows that Korea can compete in the field of action blockbusters with some very neat set pieces and some very elaborate camera tracking shots. Plus a very funny performance from Song Kang-ho.

Best Foreign Film Oscar Nominations Revealed
February 3, 2010, 5:26 am
Filed under: News

The list goes as:
Ajami, Israel
The Milk of Sorrow, Chile
Un Prophete, France
El Secreto de sus Ojos, Argentina
The White Ribbon, Germany

Missing is Japan, which in a way is understandable. The Academy threw them a bone already last year with Departures. But even more surprising and at the same time not so, is the exclusion of Bong Joon-ho’s latest film Mother.

Even though Japan is in the top 5 for most awards won with four films there seems to be a stigma towards east Asia in general. Kurosawa Akira’s Rashomon did start a small Japanese cinema craze in the fifties but died out for the next fifty years until Departures came along. I loved Departures but countless other films released before it would have made great Oscar fare (Kikujiro anyone?). While Italy and France have repeatedly been acknowledged as the go to countries for foreign film. Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and other East Asian countries haven’t really been overshadowed by this but really seems as if they were ignored in the first place.

HERE is a list of all the nominees and winners since 1947. I’m sure there are a good deal of flags missing from the list but one that has had it coming for a long time to get acknowledged for progress in filmmaking is South Korea. A country that has dedicated so much effort into becoming a larger force on the international film scene was truly gipped this year. A country that has a Ministry of Culture and Tourism with a nine member film council, which includes directors of the film variety, has put in the work and some may argue surpassed what mainstream Hollywood can do in terms of storytelling.

If this film was made in another country would it have had a better chance?

Mother was the chance for South Korea to finally be put up on the map, or the wikipedia list really. A film that won out over a very tough decision for the Film Council (Park Chan-wook’s Thirst came out as well as Ddongpari) of which film to send over to the states. If there was a perfect representation on how Korea has surpassed us, it would be The Host but Mother is still a noteworthy example that might just have been too much for the very conservative tastes of the Academy.

As a final note I have not seen any of the films that were actually nominated for Best Foreign Film. And at the end of the day it’s just some self congratulatory garbage anyway. But to other countries this category is the chance to get an American audience, regardless if it’s big or of the niche sizing, to be exposed to their films. If there were an awards ceremony for films all across the globe where each country has an equal opportunity of being represented I doubt that the Avatars could compete with the Mothers, the Love Exposures, and the Broken Embraces.

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