This year marks the 63rd Anniversary of the End of WW2. This year, I shall be focusing on some movies which are coming up or have been released in the last few yrs with a focus on WW2 and Japan. Different from past yrs, I will not be mentioning Chinese films with a japanese world war 2 theme anymore but will shift my focus to non-Chinese films dealing with the period of the pacific war....
Films below, one from the Philippines (a country i've grown fond of and have a positive image of due to their wonderful entertainment and celebrities) and the other from Australia ( A place which i've grown to leave a special place in my heart, for the land and its ppl, having lived here for the past 7 or more years):
'Mahal Kita 1941' (2004):
This was one movie I DESPERATELY wanted to see, with my current year long love-affair with pinoy entertainment and not least being the break-out film for Dennis Trillo as a cross-dressing gay spy whom falls in love with a Japanese military officer stationed at the small town of St Nicholas, in the Philippines. Dennis plays the gay friend of Judy Ann-Santos and they with another guy have been best mates since childhood...the film opens with this elderly filipino woman whom wakes up from a nightmare and is taken by her granddaughter to meet the town planners whom are planning a celebration for the town and wanted to get her to tell them abit more about the town's history (or what i can make out cos the film was in tagalog with no eng subs!!) So basically the grandmother now starts telling her story. The film shows the friendship of the three children and then fast forwards to 1941 on the eve of WW2. Somehow, there's a town night gala and Dennis cross-dresses and sings amazingly as a woman...Judy falls for the other guy and the two get engaged whilst Dennis secretly also loves the childhood buddy of his but knows its impossible as his friend and other best friend Judy truly love each other (and besides, his friend is not gay) and so wishes the very best for the two of them. One day, the Japanese attack and as the troops march into St Nicholas, the Japanese officer sees Dennis singing on stage at a town gathering (as a woman of course) and falls in love with him...I won't go on anymore but do try to watch the film..i liked this gay subplot in a mainstream film about WW2, i mean where else can you get brokeback mountain set in a town with the backdrop of WW2 but Filipino films??!! Hahaha...dun i just love Pinoy films??
I have been HIGHLY ANTICIPATING this film's release since early this year and just can't wait for its release!!!;) At last, a big-budgeted Hollywood (Australia's biggest n largest film in history actually!) production which deals directly with the Japanese expansion during WW2, since 'Pearl Harbor' in 2001. It is an epic love story set in 1940s Darwin, Australia up north, and the only part of Australia that was directly attacked by the Japanese during WW2. ( In fact, like America, Australia has only ever been attacked by the Japanese with no outside countries having attacked American or Australian home soil besides the Japanese during Ww2.)
Nicole Kidman is in it which is one big reason for my anticipation for the film as she's simply beautiful and stunning and also in the film, there's a slight Chinese theme with the main night evening outdoor party they're at having asian style lanterns lighting up the nightsky and even more amazing (for a cheongsam fan like me) is the fact that Nicole is wearing an unmistakably red chinese-inspired dress in one of the scenes in the trailer watch out for that people!! It premieres in Australia this year on 13th November 2008 (one of the few films to get an Australian premiere but with the title and the theme, no surprise i guess?) and worldwide starting in late December in time for the christmas blockbuster period...i'll definitely be one of the first to watch it and heck its even ignited my interest in the Bombing of Darwin and i've done some research on wikipedia since then as well as set up my mind that i'd visit Uluru, the Outback, and most definitely Darwin just before I leave Australia in the future;)
Australia" is Baz Luhrmann's first feature film since the 2001 musical success Moulin Rouge! The highly anticipated film centres on an English aristocrat in the 1930s, played by Nicole Kidman, who comes to northern Australia to sell a cattle property the size of Belgium. After an epic journey across the country with a rough-hewn drover, Hugh Jackman, they are caught in the bombing of Darwin during World War II.
Australia (homepage and trailer) http://microsites2.foxinternational.com/tw/australia_teaser/
As a sidenote, being watching the Olympics in Beijing and its been good...loved the Opening Ceremony however, a few pretty major faults! For instance, the usage of special effects to compliment the natural fireworks was totally inappropriate and a big let-down...no wonder i thought it looked pretty fake when i was watching it! Further, one of the worst things that they did was to pre-record and have the girl lip-sync the song during one of the sequences ...and you know why they did that?? Cos they were of the opinion that the girl who ACTUALLY sang the song (yep, u got that right, the 'voice' behind the song sang was NOT of the girl we all saw at the opening ceremony) was not 'cute' or 'pretty' enough and thus she could only record her voice for the opening ceremony whereas the 'pretty enough' girl was deemed to be 'presentable' enough but not to have a good enough voice was allowed to take all the credit for it...geez...talk about sexism...we are starting young aren't we?? (there was already abit of controversy earlier on when it was disclosed only tall,slender, and fair young ladies would be chosen to be medal presenters..)
I mean when i first heard about the pre-recorded voice and not-pretty-enough incident, what came instantly to my mind, besides being real angry about it, was the Korean surprise box-office hit '200 pound beauty'...(trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj4ZGKanyJ4; full movie:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoEouoavHWE)
In the film, the main protagonist was considered too fat to be the lead singer and so she had to 'hide' behind the sexy lead singer singing all the songs for her (the lead singer didn't have a good enough voice)...and that film's underlying message (at least to me) was about the sexism which occurs in our society even now (even though it was set in Korea, i think it still applies to us all....) and of how, women are still judged on their looks first and foremost...guess the organisers behind the Beijing Olympics didn't see that film? Or never understood the message behind that film?
But bad points aside, i think the plus side of the Opening Ceremony was that i felt the massive scene of all the men beating the drums was breathtaking and also i loved the fact they allowed all the guys at the end to wear a cap worn backwards on their head..i thought that made them look real cool and casual...and my favourite scene was of the little girl drawing her kite along over the world renowned pianist Lang Lang playing the piano with a group of performers with lighting around their bodies forming the image of the Olympic Stadium..i thought that looked real amazing....as for the Olympics Tally, my am I amazed at China's record with it currently far ahead of the USA and on top of the medal score tally...its makes me feel real proud to be Chinese actually..i never thought the Chinese were a race capable of such athletic performance, academically yes, in the field of science or maths, but it just never occured to me that even in the field of sports the Chinese could outperform physically compared to other nations...it has certainly made an impression on me and am sure changed the perception of others towards the Chinese. Talk about ethnic pride!!
But of cos i am incredibly proud of Malaysia's single silver medal won by Lee Chong Wei, whom is from where-else than my beloved hometown of Penang!! hehehe, this is Malaysia's first Olympic medal of any colour in 12 yrs;) He apologised for not being able to beat China's athlete who won gold but i believe he has nothing to apologise for, he has done ALL Malaysians proud, and certainly made me proud of his achievement, not least being another shining example of the quality and amazing people whom come from Penang.
Go-go-go China and Go-go-go Malaysia!!!! And one phrase which has become commonplace and heard at sporting venues since the Olympics started: Jia You, Jia You, Jia You!!