The Criterion Collection recently published an article in which they ask the Japanese auteur director of Happy Hour and Asako I & II as well as early works Intimacies and Passion to name his Top 10 movies. The list he produces is a mix of western and Asian filmmakers, but clearly there is a connective thread to Hamaguchi’s own penchant for existential explorations in human relationships.
Check out the article on the Criterion Current here.
Director Nakanishi Mai just sent me word her newest short movie Swallow will be world premiering at Kaohsiung Film Festival next month. Like her previous short Hana, this one also displays Nakanishi’s hallmark eerie, atmospheric mood in a story that subtly peels back the dreadful nature of human beings.
Here’s the synopsis from Kaohsiung Film Festival:
A striving actress is invited to a private, mysterious gourmet club only to discover that her competition has prepared a horrifying banquet which devours her.
The cast includes Han Ning (Netflix Detention) and Taiwan’s “Scream Queen” and Golden Horse Winner, Vera Chen. Look for updates on Indievisual’s social media as more news becomes available.
In Lily Chou-Chou, the solace of the teens’ online community contrasts with the brutality of their face-to-face interactions. Online, as anonymous users, they reap all the rewards of companionship and sharing feelings without the risks of being seen—and seen as vulnerable.
Filmmaker magazine has a great write-up celebrating Iwai Shunji’s movie about people having greater connections online than they do in real life. Though it’s doubtful Iwai was intentionally divining what social media has become today, his story about teens finding solace in their online persona back in the the day of dial-up BBS communities now appears as nostalgic as period pieces harkening to a bygone day “when things were simpler,” perhaps even better. Now those brutal interactions mentioned in the quote above have become the bread & butter of social networks.
Read Joanne McNeil’s article on Filmmaker’s website here.
Maverick filmmaker Sono Sion has made a movie with Nicholas Cage. The result? Cage claims it’s “The wildest movie I’ve ever made.” Considering, Cage’s recent output, that’s quite the boast. But certainly what has come to be expected of Sono. Watch the trailer below.
Fascinating interview with one of my favorite screenwriters, Rod Serling. Everything I know about society and human beings was highly influenced by the Twilight Zone. There are topics raised which are very much salient today, particularly when it comes to censorship and pre-censorship as they concern the public’s relation with the sponsors of television stations and/or programming.
No one could have predicted how these issues would be exacerbated by social media in the modern era, and that there is still a tug-of-war happening between content providers and the “letter writer” now that the traditional advertising model of sponsorship has been replaced by the subscription model. Many streaming services are taking more chances and are deliberately tackling controversial topics because they are afforded some greater freedom than the broadcast network of the 50s thru to the turn of the millennium. However, that freedom is not absolute as venture capital and stock investors can play a similar role now as corporate sponsors did then.
Sadly, the politicization and polarization of issues on who decides what people see is overshadowing the vastly more important intent of such stories to draw attention to and help us examine our current circumstances.