Mamoru Oshii's AVALON and Ghibli gibberings
jasper_sharp at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 28 15:14:12 EST 2001
Hi fellow KineJapanners,
I was lucky enough to catch a screening of Avalon the other day, and was
fairly impressed. The film looks (and sounds!) absolutely beautiful, and the
use of Polish actors and locations a positively inspired aesthetic to my
mind. I did feel there was a slight weakness at the heart of the narrative,
similar to Ghost in the Shell. The film charged through some stunning set
pieces and raised some fascinating issues, yet at the end of the day,
something felt like it was missing.
I understand the film was actually completed quite a while ago, and was
screened at this year's Cannes. Can anyone tell me how it was received at
Cannes and in any, if any, of the territories the film has been released in
yet. Personally I can't see it getting a UK release, but that's more down to
the rather insular distribution genre products recieve here than the
particular merits of the film in question.
On a related note, I've just come back from the Barbican here I made time
for two of the Ghibli films currently screening there, ONLY YESTERDAY and
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, both of which brought a tear to my jaded eye -
especially when the guy sitting next to me started sniffling at the end of
GRAVE. The turnout was pretty impressive, and I'm hoping that the seasons
enthusiastic reception proves to Miramax that there is a sizeable market for
this sort of thing in the UK, and that MONONOKEHIME is not the only film to
go on to garner a subsequent DVD/video release. Can I say a big thank you
and congratulations to fellow list member Andrew Osmond, not only for his
involvement in the programming, but also for managing to get a related
feature in Sight and Sound, which I was beginning to suspect was only
interested in films by Michael Haneke and the Coen brothers.
So that's our three major festivals showcasing Japanese film in London over
and done with for this year. Shame they all over seemed to overlap.
Raindance managed to remain fairly popular, with the screenings for TOKYO
TRASH BABY and VISITOR Q probably managing to attract a wider audience than
during the initial Tokyo screenings, though reaction to the latter was not
unsurprisingly mixed! In all the chaos, I didn't actually manage to make it
to the ICA for the short Sento season. Did anyone else? I'm wondering how
popular it was, and if it was overshadowed by the multitute of other Asian
related film events last week.
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