Thursday, June 28, 2007

French and Japanese Film Festivals

French and Japanese Film Festivals


From "Frenched:"

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.


Dan Sallitt said...

Did you think the teacher in Harmful Insect molested the protagonist? I had the sense that teacher and student were in love.

I like the film a lot, but it took me two viewings to get even a rudimentary sense of what was happening on the plot level, and I'm sure I'm still missing some of it.

Noel Vera said...

On an emotional level, I'd like to think they were in love, but when I'm in a more coldhearted mode, I think it's more provocative if he molested her. Also think it's possible both interpretations are right--he seduced her, but there's real affecton, possibly after the fact, possibly on both sides.