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11 March 2013
To (Chapman To Man-chak), a long-time film producer, has yet to produce anything resembling a hit. Beset by financial troubles, he has become desperate for money - so much so that he is unable to pay the alimony to his ex-wife (Kristal Tin). Despite his former spouse's bitterness, their daughter still clings onto her faith in him - and wishes to see him on TV once his new movie premieres. To is soon introduced to a potential Mainland Chinese investor, Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng), by his buddy Lui Wing-shing (Simon Loui Yu-yeung), but Tyrannosaurus is not only the head of a Guangxi triad gang, he turns out to have very particular tastes in food and sex. Regardless, To is determined to woo this investor, even if it means giving into his every demands. Tyrannosaurus eventually tells them to cast his childhood idol Yum Yum Shaw (Susan Shaw) in a remake of a classic pornographic film. He even gives the film the title Confessions of Two Concubines...
DVD and Blu-ray Special Features
- Anamorphic Widescreen transfer with 5.1 Surround Sound
- Making Of, Theatrical Trailer
Vulgaria stars Chapman To(Internal Affairs), Ronald Cheng, Dada Chan, Suet Lam, Kristal Tin and the film will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 15th April 2013.
Pre-Order / Buy Vulgaria:DVD / Blu-ray
26 December 2012
Love Asian film? Love Zombie Horror? Comedy? Well your going to love Shichi Okita's eccentric The Woodsman And The Rain which is coming to the UK&Ireland thanks to the fantastic Third Window Films this January. The film stars Koji Yakusho (Shall We Dance, 13 Assassins, The Admiral), Shun Oguri (Crows Zero, Azumi, Space Brothers)and Kengo Kora (Norwegian Wood, Fish Story) a story about a lumberjack who lives in the quaint mountain side whose life is turned upside when a low budget film crew arrive to create a zombie movie!
Synopsis:Katsu (Internationally acclaimed actor Koji Yakusho from Shall We Dance and 13 Assassins) plays a 60 year-old lumberjack who lives in a small, tranquil village in the mountains. When a film crew suddenly arrives to shoot a zombie movie, Katsu finds himself unwittingly roped into assisting the production and becomes increasingly frustrated with the pushy crew, especially the young, seemingly spineless director Koichi (Shun Oguri, star of Crows 0, Sukiyaki Western Django and Space Brothers).
However, an improbable friendship soon develops between Katsu and Koichi, as Katsu comes to see joy in the filmmaking process, and gradually helps Koichi to recover his sense of self. Soon, their bond inspires an unusual collaboration between the villagers and the film crew.
- Interviews with Cast and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
Pre-Order: The Woodsman and the Rain [DVD] / [Blu-ray]
Adam Brodie caught the film at Terracotta Film Festival earlier this year , read his review here and The Woodsman And The Rain will be released in UK&Ireland on DVD and Blu-Ray from January 28th 2013.
7 October 2012
Mental Illness is no laughing matter nor should it be something we should ignore either and it comes in all shapes and sizes but most of all it can effect us all. We sometimes think we understand the illness or selfishly think we have all the answers to curing the illness, in Shinya Tsukamoto's Kotoko it never tries to answer but instead shows the illness from the person we sometimes forget about from the perspective of the sufferer.
Kotoko (folk singer Cocco) is a young single mother who lives alone with her young infant son.Suffering from an unknown illness that makes her see things double especially people making things difficult for Kotoko impossible to know which person is real leading her to violently lash out. With things getting harder for her in the daily grind her day to day chores become harder making her a liability not just for herself but also her young son. Her son is taken into care (looked after by her sister) Kotoko is now on her own her frame of mind and broken is fragile her thoughts are dangerously scattered which makes it scary for all who share her life.
From the minute Kotoko starts we're thrown right into the chaos, the anguish of the films protagonist which sets the tone for the rest of the film. At no point of the film does it attempt to figure out why Kotoko's mental state is what it is but taking us right into her mind giving us a voyeuristic look at the horror from the eyes of the sufferer herself. What really annoyed me with this film was the use of 'horror' not from the film itself but from some of the reviews I read some calling Kotoko a horror or J-Horror which this is film is not. This is not a film of mythical creatures or found footage malarkey, this one does have demons but the inner demons of a psychological proportions.
Kotoko will hit you in the spot that will hurt you the most. It's a visceral, raw intense nightmarish journey which will leave uncomfortable, disorientating but will leave you with a everlasting reminder that people with this illness are human beings and their pain is their cry for help.
Cocco her self suffered from mental illness/self harm when she was younger though we never really know if it was intentional to use her in the role but thanks to that dreadful part of her life it does give Kotoko a real genuine touch. As I said earlier the film never really delves into what triggered her suffering however when you watch the film you do get small glimpses what they might be with a lack of a father figure in her life (her own parents divorced when she was younger) which could be also the reason why there's no father figure in her own son's life either. Could the male population be the main reason, was she raped? Whatever you think the men who have entered her life including those good Samaritans don't get a good ride here. What's really touching about this film as well as been an inaugural part is Cocco's singing within the film which gives Kotoko moments of escapism from her inner demons. As well as providing the film's score (like she did for the directors 2004 film Vital) the music really adapts into film naturally reminding me of Bjork in Lars Von Trier's Dancer Of The Dark giving the film a sense of tranquillity among the madness.
Kotoko is a beautifully well crafted film which will pull at your heartstrings as well as make it uncomfortable to watch but to appreciate the pain a sufferer has to go through we sometimes have to go to places we dont want to go to. There's a great David Bowie song called Fantastic Voyage which really sums this film up listen to it read the lyrics as it reminds us this illness affects us all, there's no stereotypical profile of a sufferer just a stark reminder when the mind body and soul are fragile the world around us us can be the most terrifying place to be in.
UK DVD/BD Release Date: 8th October 2012
Directed By: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Cast: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Cocco
22 August 2012
If your like been a fan of Japanese pop culture it's been a journey of many great times but also a journey of many stressful when those who don't understand the finer details attack unselfishly. If we where to choose a sole representative to let the world know the reasons why we love this culture, Sion Sono could be an ideal spokesman with his film Love Exposure may do the trick to convince the non believers.
In a style of a cooking Tv programme get a big bowl throw in plenty of kick ass martial arts action, tablespoon of Humour, scratching of religious cults, slice of sexual perversions, boy meets girl, litre of porn barons, family relationships. Give it a good mix before adding Sono's tender mix of voyuerism and don't forget to add upskirt pantyshots, give it 4 hours in your DVD or Blu-Rayer result a film that has a lot to offer.
Yu (Takahiro Nishijima) has always been a well behaved kid probably due to his devout Christian upbringing but when his mother dies torment prevails. Because of Yu's upbringing it forces him to confess his sins on a daily basis however he is a normal kid and has no legitimate sins to confess. Determined to become a true sinner and appease his demanding priest father whose just been seduced by a woman whose broken his heart. Yu finds the ultimate sin , Porn trains to become a sneak upskirt photographer which gets the attention from his father he's been seeking. After loosing a bet with his sinner pals Yu is forced to dress as a girl (Sasori) and its this time he meets a beautiful girl Yoko (Hikari Mitsushima). Their first time together was glorious ending the night with a kiss, all out street brawl but thats not the end of it Yoko thinks Yu is a woman and both maybe been manipulated by a devious cult leader named Aya (Sakura Ando).
Going back to that famous saying from Alfred Hitchcock by judging a film by the strength of your bladder, Love Exposure maybe touching 4 hours running time which may not agree with some bladders. However we have an advantage the great film maestro didn't have, DVD/Blu-Ray players. That epic running time maybe a putt off for many people however with your remote control you can play this film in parts, pause but with Love Exposure it provides an entertainment value that you will only pause to refill your glass (or empty your bladder) as it'll keep your gripped to your tv screen.
When I chat to fellow cinephiles and when Sono's name is introduced to the mix if its not Suicide Club for many fans the stepping stone into his world is Love Exposure. Ironically myself it was Coldfish then Suicide Club been my route into the deranged mind of our cordial Japanese host .
Love Exposure is that satirical homage to those non-believers who call Asian/Japanese as perverted and satanic (2 things I was labelled by a friend of our family when I was 15!). It mocks those who ridicule the culture but also mocks how sexually repressed the Japanese are too.It's ridiculous to think this is the same nation who privately liberated sexually, have machines on streets that provide everything from your favourite soft drink to worn School uniforms. Sono really taps into the dark under linings of his nations obsession with eroticism, but he approaches the topics in a astute but humorous kind of way.
What we mustn't forget here Love Exposure is a teen romance/coming of age story also, which really highlights when it comes to falling in love, love does work in mysterious ways or in Son's film absurd ways. Life isn't simple but with love comes hurt too. This is no Mills & Boon story there is no saints but those we label sinners really are saints who have lost direction to be the saints, we need direction and religion is one way to find the right direction. Living in a country where religion has brought chaos and order (Scotland), I've seen the good and ugly side which gets a little upsetting when a person cant practice a faith without prejudice. Someone can be a devout follower of a faith but following a religion where God is treated more like a rockstar is quite funny but also unsettling reminds me of Dogma and the Jesus statue in shades pointing at you.. When your soul and mind are damaged you can fall prey to who use religion for other means making you opened to easy persuasion.
Those stories you here about Sono been the master Nihilist, king of voyeurs Love Exposure is a perfect example of why he's worthy of those titles. Sono presents Love Exposure like one of those old naughty peepshows , undefined, seductively addictive, engaging, absurdly humorous but passionately gratifying. How many films these days can tick all the boxes for film satisfaction? Not many but Love Exposure can and it's why it's worthy of been called an essential piece of contemporary Japanese Cinema.
UK Re-release date: 6th August 2012
Directed by: Shion Sono
Cast: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima , Sakura Andô
5 August 2012
★★★★☆A sole purpose of a film is to entertain, tell a story maybe deliver a specific message which may get people talking, debating possibly trigger some form of action. Most film makers will deliver that entertaining story but as soon as you leave that cinema or if it's a dvd switch off your player that 2 hours of pure escapism has been forgotten and you tread back into the real world.There is a few film makers out there who possess an natural talent of implanting the fabric of the film into your memory encouraging to share, debate maybe even take action and one of those is Japanese director Sion Sono. From the 2001 cult classic Suicide Club to the more recent Coldfish (2010) and now Himizu a tale of surviving but not just in the physical sense but at a natural level too.
What really makes Himizu a really unsettling film, the 2 most important people in a child's life the parents are hateful, negligent instead of protecting their child from the horrors of everyday life. Sumida's father is a penniless alcoholic who takes out the angst of life out on his son treating him like a punchbag wishing he was dead. His mother is no better as she spends most time sleeping around, drinking leaving Sumida to fend for himself before leaving him for good by leaving him with her latest boyfriend. It asks the question was Sumida's father just another one of his mothers boyfriends or where they the perfect couple whose life changed when their son was born? What ever one it is he's that little accident they regretted.
The vagabond life they lead does in a way reflect the struggles many families live around the world face every day thanks the world's economic crisis.The young can't get work thanks to the mistakes made by those they trusted to give them a good start in life so though the refugees may show there happy they feel dishonoured at those mistakes and will do anything to appease those mistakes .One of the older characters hooks up with a local pickpocket resulting in killing a nuke loving nazi . He did it to help Sumida get the money for Yakuza for the gambling debts his father made and when he finds out the refugee is so ashamed. The streets do also seem to be fill of knife yielding angry young men terrorising all who walk the streets, the anger, the disillusionment the disconnection from society is a feeling that's felt with the young worldwide.
Sion Sono is the master Nihilist and Himizu is probably his least nihilistic to date. The film is violent but violence with a purpose with a big slice of black comedy but not in a way it spoils the films.Himizu might not be the total package, I had to watch the film twice to really appreciate the ingenious work Sono has created, well crafted work proves he is the master at the destruction of the human soul to the brink of insanity. What we musn't forget is for life to get better some times it has to scrape the bottom of the barrel before it must get better and never give hope.
DVD/Blu-Ray Release: 6th August 2012 (UK)
Directed by: Shion Sono
CastShôta Sometani, Fumi Nikaidô , Tetsu Watanabe, Mitsuru Fukikoshi