This year’s Cannes Film Festival has an interesting asian selection, with several attracting genre films, and as usual, the Cannes-regular directors presenting their unexpected films. Many surprises here, but no real unknown asian directors promoted (just few cult names *finally* considered).
# IN COMPETITION
Naomi Kawase’s Hanezu no Tsuki (1h31)
Depicts the evolution through time of the ancient capital of Japan, Nara (also Kawase’s hometown). The city has been once the political, economical & cultural center of the country (unesco). According to Thierry Frémaux (Cannes festival director), the film is said to deal with ecological and philosophical questions, that should be more relevant than ever in the post-3.11 Japan.
// Stills gallery
Takashi Miike’s Ichimei (Hara-kiri: Death of a samurai) (2h06)
It was presented as the 3D remake of Masaki Kobayashi classic Harakiri, this was awarded at Cannes 1963. If it means anything, Miike’s version is using the novel as the source. Nevertheless, Harakiri is mainly an intense & talkative tragedy resulting on short but incredible fights (believe the original US poster on that point), nothing as bloody as in 13 Assassins. Starring Hikari Mitsushima (Love Exposure) & Koji Yakusho (13 Assassins), and score composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto!
While the project announcement provoked many reactions, it seems though, that seeing the remake of such a classic (watch this) being in competition for the Palme d’Or doesn’t surprise (yet?)… Miike is going to Cannes, that’s all that matters?
// Official website
# UN CERTAIN REGARD
Hong Sang-soo’s The day he arrives (1h19)
Not so much details on this one. Is it safe to assume that like most of Hong Sang-soo films, it could be about a director/professor/film critic connecting/drinking with some (old) friends, with some sort of film-within a film construction.
Eric Khoo’s Tatsumi (1h34)
An animated film inspired by “A Drifting Life”, an autobiographical work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi. A japanese artist, best known as the creator of the gekiga style. Which is a more mature and adult approach to manga. It must be said that before directing films, Eric Khoo draw comics for The Sunday Times. Still, it’s his first venture into animation.
// Khoo about the project
Kim Ki-duk’s Arirang (1h40)
Said to be a simple movie where the korean director explains what happened to him these past 3 years. To say precisely why suddenly he stopped making films. Knowing his sudden “disappearance” generated a number of rumors about his possible death, or illness. In other words, this should be a very personal film.
Na Hong-jin’s Yellow Sea (2h20)
The new thriller from young acclaimed director of The Chaser. You can directly watch the trailer with more details. For your information, the film will come out on english-subtitled DVD/BR sometimes during the festival. Also, the version to be screen at Cannes might very well be the director’s cut (140min), as the korean theatrical cut is 156min long.
# MIDNIGHT & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Peter Chan’s Wu Xia (2h)
Along with Miike’s film, that’s the other unexpected guest! Peter Chan’s attempt to reboot the chinese sword-fighing film, through the story of a detective hunting down a former-assassin. Starring Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro.
Rithy Panh’s Master of the Forges of Hell (1h45)
The new documentary from the director of “S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine”. In more or less the same vein, Panh went interviewing an ex-warden of a Khmer Rouge jail, who was only recently judged. The man talks freely about his experience and his beliefs.
// More details
# PARALLEL SECTION: CRITICS’ WEEK
Zou Peng’s Sauna on Moon (1h35)
A socially oriented docu-film coming from China, with a little touch of weirdness? About the boss of a sauna, trying to construct a “pornographic kindgom” in Guangdong, “the fore front of China’s reform and opening-up”. By the director of A North Chinese Girl, whose main influences are Imamura & Jia Zhangke!
# PARALLEL SECTION: DIRECTOR’S FORTNIGHT
Sion Sono’s Guilty of Romance (2h23)
And another cult japanese director finally coming to Cannes… Sion Sono is one of the most interesting director in Japan. Guilty of Romance is said to be “a dramatic account of three women and their lives, seen through the looking glass of sex, words, madness, death and family. Bombarding the audience with graphic images and assaulting the emotions with classical music, this is a movie that provokes all your senses”. The version to be screened is the director’s cut (143min vs 149min). Will it help Sion Sono to attract wider attention?
Expect more news from Sono during Cannes, 2 new projects will be unveiled: the samurai flick Blood of Wolves (co-directed with Tak Sakaguchi), and “a self-remake project of his internationally acclaimed work” (seems to be Suicide Club)
// More details & Press release
# FILM MARKET
As for the Cannes Film Market, several worthwhile project will be there; Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Jang Hun’s war film The Front Line, the first commercial project from “Anti Gas Skin’s directors… And more surprises to come!