Oh yes. This was what cinema was all about for my generation. A snack-pack on arrival, a pre-film entertainer (balloon animals were my thing) and the latest Disney creation; who needed the summer holidays? Saturday morning was what it was all about and it came but once a week.
As we discovered to our cost a few weeks ago, the only way to get through a screening of 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is to be so drunk that you can’t feel your extremities. After having our ‘cultural sensitivity’ nodes rotted by decades of dreadful stereotypes, we’re just going to assume that the same rule applies to everything from what we’re still calling the Far East. That’s not racist, right?
From horror flicks to romances, Hollywood owes some of its most original film ideas to the Asian film industry, and has done for the past 40 years. And why not? Remakes of Asian films offer a cheap and market-tested method of reaching audiences and earning big bucks. But simply buying the rights does not always a smash hit make.
The subject of our antepenultimate visit to the BFI London Film Festival, Dear Doctor is a film made with all the grace one would expect of Japanese cinema. However, although its pace may be too slow for hyperactive Western audiences, its message is as relevant here as it is anywhere in the developed world. This is a beautiful film.
Really? OK – Battle of the Pacific is a dreary WWII yarn sold to me by Best For Film as a ‘Martin Sheen war drama’, which is true if you take ‘Martin Sheen’ to mean ‘Daniel Baldwin’ and ‘war drama’ to mean ‘fiasco’. Running at a good two hours that feel like a bad three, I only made it to the end by turning the sound down and practicing my ukulele as I waited eagerly for the bad news from Hiroshima – and before you mount your moral high horse, just try sitting through Battle of the Pacific yourself and then tell me you don’t want to see people die.
Fancy spending an hour as a real-life action hero? Foreign film float your boat? Maybe a good old fashioned sing-song’s more your thing? Whatever your bag, we’ve tracked down the top film related fun stuff happening around the capital.
Hyper Japan, a three day “pop culture” event made its way to The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane last weekend. Imagine all things Japanese under a London roof; food, art, gaming, fashion and technology (I saw my first 3D telly!) and you’ve got something a bit like it. But I had no time for Japanese tomfoolery, I was there with a purpose. So I tore myself away from the manga illustrators and Japanese fashion show, slapped on my film hat and went to be wowed (and a bit weirded out) by the joy and absudity of anime.
At the invitation of the Swedenborg Society, Best For Film is publishing a special series of reviews to follow its ‘Images of the Afterlife in Cinema’ film season, which will be exploring life, death and everything in between. This week we’re looking at the Japanese classic; Afterlife.