Japanese Films 日電影推介 日本の映画お勧め：
I attended the 10th Japanese Film Festival in Sydney about some weeks back and saw 3 films: The Face of Jiｚo, Forget me Not, and The Stars Converge....They were all pretty good...
The Face of Jizo (2005): 父と暮らせば （I actually really like the Japanese film title which translates as 'If I were living with my father' . Jizo referred to in the English version of the title is the buddha that consoles parents who have lost their children. In the film, its the exact opposite with the child having lost a parent.)
This film details the post-atomic bombing effect on survivors of the Hiroshima Atomic Bombing. The film starts in 1948, three years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the female character miraculously sees her father again. (He died in the atomic bombing three yrs back) The film chronicles the one week of conversations she has with him and her guilt with being the only one alive amongst her family and friends. Quite a haunting film about the Atomic Bombing.
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.pal-ep.com/father/
Note: I didn't realise the actress Miyazawa Rie was so pretty and elegant until i saw this film...wow she looked stunning....she's extremely famous in Japan..
The Stars Converge/Chilsok Summer (2003): チルソクの夏
A Japanese-Korean love story set in 1977 which chronicles the love relationship between a Korean highschool boy and a Japanese highschool girl during the friendship games held between Shimonoseki and Pusan every year. The story is relating to the Chinese/Japanese/Korean 'Valentine's Day' (七夕)called Qixi in Chinese, Tanabata in Japanese and Chilsok in Korean whereby the two lovers can meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month when the stars are said to converge. Very nice and romantic as well as dealing with the deep rooted prejudices between the two sides back then (and to an extent even now)
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.chirusoku.jp/
Note: The Japanese name is 'Chilsok Summer' and the use of the Korean pronunciation instead of the Japanese one is again an indication of the growing trend in Japan of goodwill feelings towards Korea and the use of korean words for japanese films (remember my earlier film recomm. called Pacchigi? That's a korean word too) I initially was attempting to work out what 'Chilsok' meant in Japanese and was glad that it wasn't my lack of understanding of Japanese..
Korean Films 韓電影推介 韓国映画お薦め：
If You Were Me 2 (2006) :
This is an omnibus film consisting of 5 short films all revolving around the theme of discrimination and the less priviledged in Korea. Its directed by famous korean directors, and produced by the National Korean Human Rights Commission. It is the second instalment of If You Were Me, which was a critical success and was screened at film festivals, like the current instalment, worldwide ( i actually saw the first instalment at the Melbourne International Film Festival). It is very unique and you get to see the various social issues faced by modern day South Korea.
In this instalment, there is one short each about a down syndrome girl, the life of contract workers, chinese-koreans and their plight in South Korea (note there are around 1.3 million koreans living in China, mainly in north-eastern China, whom have chinese citizenship and are chinese for all purposes except their ethnicity. They however retain their cultural traditions and language like the Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia), illegal North Korean defectors in South Korea and korean masculinity and its suffocating and negative impact on society and human relationships at large.
I personally liked the Chinese-Korean, contract workers, and korean masculinity sections better....especially the korean masculinity one as it dealt with a host of perceived problems inherent in some korean men, namely, sexism (this occurs at the very beginning when the main character bumps into a group of girls drinking at the table and curses them to his friends asking 'why the bitches are out so late at night?), racism (the main person bumps into a foreign worker and again curses them for taking away korean jobs), homophobia (i was very surprised at the inclusion of this cos they made quite a fair bit of emphasis on the issue of gay discrimination in korea cos one of the main character's best friend turns out to be gay, and the friend's also the most masculine one too...the guy then starts saying they've been friends for over 20 yrs...how he could have caught a disease from the other guy...blah..blah..blah...i laughed out when he said the disease part...at first i thought he was a closeted gay too and had sex with the other guy thats y he was worried about getting a disease, but then i realise it was just pure ignorance on his part....thinking that having a homosexual friend would give someone AIDS or something...)....watching this film will definitely provide audiences with an insight into the issues of discrimination affecting South Korea now....highly recommended.
My Crazy Girlfriend (2006) :
This is one of the best and most innovative film i've ever seen. It blends a commercial film with an independent art house film and produces something uniquely spectacular! It has a low budget and only so-so stars cast but managed to break into the top 10 grossing Korean films of the yr 2006 (last time i checked was in August) Recommended....GO WATCH IT.
The story is about a guy who has been hard on luck with love...he has a monotanous and boring life everyday repeating the same routine a zillion times all the time, is suffering from depression and watches porn and wanks when he feels horny...then he meets what seems to be the perfect girl...they start a passionate relationship and he throws out all his porn collection,etc...they seem like your average loving couple....but what he doesn't realise is that his average looking girlfriend is actually a killer! The film is really well worth your time...i highly recommend this!!
Over the Border (2006):
A film about a North Korean man and how he escapes to South Korea with his family. The film focuses on how they resettle and get accustomed to their new life in South Korea as well as his love relationship with a North Korean girl whom later escapes to South Korea as well. I especially liked the beginning where they show you what life is like in the closeted North Korea, in Pyongyang, at least from the eyes of S. Koreans. I also like the actor Cha Seong Won alot cos he is really cute and manly and i watch alot of his films...AND there is a scene where he is in a white brief so you get to see his 'package' also....hehe.....you get to see alot of male nudity in Korean films...i've seen Yu ji-tae and Cho Seung Woo's butt in films before....they seem to have no problems at all....overall a nice film:)