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Posts Tagged ‘foreign’

 

Trailer Watch: Trailer for Kirikou: Men and Women

I missed this from a few days ago, but I’m all excited: French animator Michel Ocelot has made a third film starring the tiny-but-wise African folk hero Kirikou, Kirikou: Men and Women. The first two Kirikou films — Kirikou and the Sorceress and Kirikou and the Wild Beast are absolutely wonderful children’s movies — beautifully animated, with a wonderful 2D style.

With the new film, it looks like they’re using CG models, for an even cleaner line and smoother movement. (Do you call it cel shading if there’s no shading?) While I haven’t seen Ocelot’s previous effort, Azur et Asmar (a.k.a. The Princes’ Quest), the stiff CG I saw in the trailer was a bit of a turn-off. Here, the simpler colors on the figures makes this look much, much better. The film was made in 3D and should be out in France next February? I have no idea when it will make it here, of course, but a (very) limited release to a few art house theaters is likely.

The trailer is NSFW, I guess. It’s non-sexual nudity, albeit a lot of it — the African villagers, including Kirikou, don’t wear a lot of clothing. If you’ve seen the earlier films, you already know that. If you haven’t, I swear, it’s really a kid’s flick!

(By the way, if you know French, you can watch the entire first film on YouTube, though the video quality isn’t good.)

via Twitch

Trailer Watch: Marjane Satrapi’s Chicken with Plums

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s animated adaptation of Satrapi’s much-heralded Persepolis was, in many ways, better than the original two-volume (in America) graphic novels. The story de-emphasized the somewhat self-indulgent second volume — and, to be blunt, it was much better drawn. (For all her storytelling skills, I don’t much care for her drawing.)

The co-directors have teamed up again for an adaptation of Satrapi’s Chicken with Plums, the story her of great-uncle, a renowned musician in 1950′s Iran.

Here’s the synopsis of the graphic novel:

We are in Tehran in 1958, and Nasser Ali Khan, one of Iran’s most revered tar players, discovers that his beloved instrument is irreparably damaged. Though he tries, he cannot find one to replace it, one whose sound speaks to him with the same power and passion with which his music speaks to others. In despair, he takes to his bed, renouncing the world and all its pleasures, closing the door on the demands and love of his wife and his four children. Over the course of the week that follows, his family and close friends attempt to change his mind, but Nasser Ali slips further and further into his own reveries: flashbacks and flash-forwards (with unexpected appearances by the likes of the Angel of Death and Sophia Loren) from his own childhood through his children’s futures. And as the pieces of his story slowly fall into place, we begin to understand the profundity of his decision to give up life.

Nasser Ali Khan is played by Mathieu Almaric (Quantum of Solace, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and seems to have been turned into a violinist for the film for some reason, but otherwise, several of these “reveries” make appearances in the trailer. While this film is live action, there’s an artificiality to the whole production that is really beautifully done, heightening the story to almost the level of myth. It looks beautiful.

Alongside Almaric are Edouard Baer, Maria de Medeiros, Golshifteh Farahani, Eric Caravaca, and Chiara Mastroianni. The film came out last year in France, but finally makes it to the States on August 17th.

(via Comics Beat)

Review: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring and Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring

Directed by Kim Ki-duk.
Starring Young-soo Oh, Kim Ki-duk, Young-min Kim, Jae-kyeong Seo, Yeo-jin Ha, and John-ho Kim.

Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

Directed by Bae Yong-Kyun.
Starring Lee Pan-yong, Sin Won-sop, and Yi Pan-Yong.

Set entirely on and around a floating temple (a set built for the movie on an artificial lake built about 200 years ago, to be specific), Kim Ki-duk’s 2003 feature Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring is a beautifully crafted but frustratingly artificial tale of one man’s life told in five chapters. The most disappointing aspect of Spring is how amazingly beautiful it is — disappointing because the several gorgeously photographed, languorous shots of the valley around the temple on the lake, sublime music, and mostly solid, understated performances with minimal dialogue make for exactly the right tone for the kind of film this aspires to be — yet its story falls short.

The film begins innocently enough — in “Spring,” of course — with a charming but troubling story wherein Child Monk (Jong-ho Kim) ties stones to a fish, a frog and a snake. Old Monk (the enchanting Young-soo Oh) is disappointed in him, so he ties a large stone to the child as he sleeps that night and says that he’ll only remove it once the boy has found the three animals and released them, telling the boy that if any of the animals are dead, he will carry the stone with him in his heart for the rest of his life. As he finds them, he discovers that the fish and the snake have died and begins to cry. Even as I was moved by the boy’s tears, it troubled me that the Master placed more importance on the boy’s lesson than the lives of the animals, a choice that — although I am neither a Buddhist nor a scholar of Buddhism — struck me as rather inauthentic.

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Review: Godzilla (1954) and Stray Dog

Godzilla

Directed by Ishiro Honda.
Starring Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura and Fuyuki Murakami.

Stray Dog

Directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji and Eiko Miyoshi.

Although Godzilla creator and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka lifted monster-sized elements from King Kong (1933) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), an early film featuring effects by Ray Harryhausen (Clash of the Titans), the immediate inspiration for Godzilla was a 1954 incident in which a fishing boat called the Lucky Dragon was scorched by an American H-bomb test, seriously burning several of the crew and causing the eventual death of its radio operator from radiation poisoning — clearly the reference point for the opening scene of the original 1954 Japanese Godzilla in which Godzilla’s attack on a small boat appears only as a flash of light.

Science fiction writer Shigeru Kayama, along with screenwriters Ishiro Honda (who also directed) and Takeo Murata, extended the metaphor a bit by paralleling many scenes of death and destruction in Godzilla’s wake with the aftermath of the H-bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, using images of a flattened, burning town and hospitals overflowing with people. These images vividly recall what little documentary footage I’ve seen of the Hiroshima aftermath (to be specifc, the stock footage used in the first 20 minutes of Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour), but pretending that the film’s deeper meaning is much more complicated than “H-bomb testing is bad” is giving the filmmakers a little more credit than they deserve.

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