French and Japanese Film Festivals
The French Film Festival is underway! And I'd recommend every film at the festival save the two I've already seen--not only because they're quite old and have been screened in Manila before, but because I'm not too crazy about them.
Luc Besson's "Arthur et les Minimoys" (Arthur and the Invisibles, 2006) is a part CGI, part live-action adaptation of two children's books he had written back in '02 and '03. Given that he had been the source and directed the adaptation, and was working in a medium where literally anything was possible at the touch of a button, you'd think all that would free up his imagination to try something really wild.
From "Haikus on the Big Screen:"
Akihiko Shiota's "Gaichu" (Harmful Insect, 2001) had previously been shown in Cinemanila some years ago, but it's nice to see it back--it's received so little attention since, but what little there is has been quite strong (Mark Schilling of The Japan Times has written enthusiastically about it; Max Tessier of Cinemaya Magazine and Positif considers Shiota a "very underestimated filmmaker" (both Schilling and Tessier are western critics who specialize in Japanese cinema)).
The film follows Sachiko Kita (Aoi Miyazaki, the heroine of Shinji Aoyama's "Yureka" (Eureka, 2000)) through her rather grim life--her father leaves her and her mother behind before the film begins, her mother (at film's opening) attempts suicide after suffering rejection from her new boyfriend and (in a series of flashbacks) a youthful math teacher in love with Sachiko (who may or may not have sexually molested her) quits the school for a job in Northern Japan.