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Nippon Saturday

Mostly news from Japan today, some outdated, some new.

- First, on the heels of Paris Je T’aime, another French producer is now putting together an omnibus film about another international city, this time being Tokyo (one of my few favorite cities in the world). “Tokyo Tales” will feature short films by Michel Gondry, Bong Joon Ho, and French director/actor Leo Carax, whose films I have never seen. Twitch has a link to a Hollywood Reporter….report here (now you see why I never use Hollywood reporter? The links will just be plain awkward). I can understand why there is no Japanese director involved, seeing so many Japanese mainstream films take place in Tokyo and its suburbs, a Japanese director’s take on Tokyo won’t really bring anything new to the table.

I did read an anthology named Tokyo Fragments, and I didn’t enjoy it that much. I hope this will be better.

I actually watched Gondry’s latest, The Science of Sleep, last night. It’s a great study into the reality of dreams, but it also feels anti-climatic. I liked its visuals and general inventiveness (plus an admirably downbeat, kind of abstract ending), but I’m not going crazy over it.

- Speaking of omnibus films, Ryuganji is reporting that Altamira Pictures is putting together an anthology of twelve films. The special part is that each film will be inspired by a pop song from the Showa era (which I’m sure my mother will love). At the bottom of the same report is a link to the sequel to “Pacchigi!”

- In Ryuganji’s latest entry, he also reports that the world’s most popular xenophobic politician, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, is criticizing Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima to step up the praise for his own film, “Ore Wa Kimi No Tame Ni Koso Shi Ni Iku,” which he wrote and executive produced. At a party celebrating the completion of the film, Governor Ishihara says that Eastwood’s film did not “have a sense of the American soldier’s frustration,” and that his film is “much better.”

Obviously, Ishihara, who actually granted Eastwood special permission to film on the island of Iwo Jima, did not see Flags of Our Fathers, because I thought seeing an American soldier’s intestines on the ground after getting shot is a pretty good showing of their frustration. Plus, never trust a producer that praises his own film, look at what happened to the Matrix sequels.

As for what Kamikaze pilots are, see here.

- Yay, Twitch has the full trailer for the Thai film The Sperm, and it looks like some crazy fun.

- Variety has a prediction of this summer’s film market. It’s another summer of the sequels (Spiderman, Die Hard, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name a few), and sadly, I’ll probably be in theaters for all of them.

- And then David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s blog talks about the possibility that the world may have come to reject Hollywood films (in case you don’t want to read it all, Kristin doesn’t agree). It’s an interesting read, and she gives a good perspective of the world film market right now.

- Sometimes looking on Wikipedia can be quite useful. For instance, I managed to find actor/radio talk host/director Matt Chow’s blog. Personally, I watch some of his stuff (I’ve listened to bits and pieces of his radio show), and despite never getting lots of acclaim for his work, he’s done some good stuff (He was actually brought in to work on the script for Dog Bite Dog, and his script work actually helped got the film going). It’s all in Chinese, though, which means many of you won’t be able to read it. Just look at the pretty pictures then.

Lastly, FG, a blog about all things Japan, has an entry about my favorite ramen joint Ichiran.

A picture I took of the place on my recent trip. Doesn’t that just make your mouth water?

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