Split into two parts, shot in black and white, the opening chapter First Love, Yoshiko follows a Korean director (Lim Hyung-kook) who is scouting for locations for his next film in the Japanese rural town of Gojo, and is joined by his assistant director Mijung (Kim Sae-byuk) who interprets for him. There he meets the locals including an elderly lady and a civil servant (Ryo Iwase) who helps him tour the area. The second part, Well of Sakura, captured in colour, is inspired by a story told in the opening chapter of a romance between a Korean woman and a local man. Mijung is now an actress while the civil servant is a persimmon farmer as they walk around the town and learn about each other. Continue reading Kun-jae Jang – Han yeo-reum-ui pan-ta-ji-a AKA A Midsummer’s Fantasia (2014)
On the fringes of Dublin two children, Kylie and Dylan, live in a suburban housing estate devoid of life, colour and the prospect of escape. Kylie lives with five other siblings and her overworked mother. Next door, Dylan lives in the shadow of an alcoholic father and the memory of an elder brother who ran away from home two years earlier.
After a violent altercation with his father, Dylan runs away from home and Kylie decides to go with him. Together they make their way to the magical night time lights of inner city Dublin, to search for Dylan’s brother, and in the hope of starting a new life. Continue reading Lance Daly – Kisses (2008)
Powerful and poetic, Nostalgia for the Countryside explores the tensions and traumas of everyday life in a rural Vietnamese village. The arrival from abroad of Quyen, who fled the village as a small girl, coincides with the sexual awakening of 17-year-old Nham, through whose eyes the story unfolds. While picturesque on the surface, the countryside that Quyen dreamed about turns out to be a landscape of poverty, passion and tragedy – though not without pockets of warmth and humor. Continue reading Nhat Minh Dang – Thuong nho dong que aka Nostalgia for the Countryside (1995)
When Alejandro “Mono” dies, his brother and two closest friends, a tight-knit group since childhood, are left to figure out how to take care of his young daughter, Guadalupe. They want to give her all the love they felt for Mono and secure her future, but there isn’t a single peso left in the bank. Mono invested all of his money in a promising soccer player whose promise hasn’t panned out, and the three hundred thousand dollars Mono spent on his transfer is soon to be lost for good. How do you sell a forward who can’t score a goal? How do you maintain relationships when repeated failures create fissures in lifelong loyalties? Fernando, Mauricio, and “Ruso” pool the few resources in their arsenal to come up with strategies in their desperate attempt to recoup Mono’s investment for Guadalupe. Papers in the Wind is a tribute to friendship and proof that love and humor can triumph over sadness. Continue reading Juan Taratuto – Papeles en el viento AKA Papers in the Wind (2015)
On August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. This film, based on a story by Mitsuharu Inoue, describes the daily life of people in Nagasaki the day before that fateful event. It presents the human drama of people’s lives, and their feelings of joy and sadness. These include a newlywed couple, an expectant mother, an American prisoner of war, and star-struck lovers who must say farewell because the boy is called to serve in the army. Each of these people, like others in the city, hoped to live with their dreams for ‘tomorrow’. However, tomorrow never comes for them, as their lives are brought to an abrupt and unexpected end. But in this case, knowing how the story ends doesn’t detract from the experience at all; rather, it heightens the emotional impact, which is further enhanced by the poignant musical score from Teizo Matsumura. ‘Ashita’ is the first film in Kazuo Kuroki’s ‘War Requiem Trilogy,’ which also includes ‘Utsukushii Natsu Kirishima’ (2002) and ‘Chichi to Kuraseba’ (2004). Continue reading Kazuo Kuroki – Tomorrow – ashita (1988)
A widow and her father live alone and make a living by mending oil lamps and making charcoal. Continue reading Panahbarkhoda Rezaee – Cheraghi dar meh AKA A Light in the Fog (2008)
Adaptation of Zola’s novel about 18th-century French coal miners going on strike to fight for better conditions. Continue reading Yves Allégret – Germinal (1963)