Mark Schilling at the Japan Times reviews "Yokai Daisenso (The Big Spook War)," (or see the official site here) the latest effort from Japanese cinema’s top prolific genius/madman, Takashi Miike. Some might find it odd that a director best known for pushing the limits of visual depravity and being particularly obsessed with bodily fluids would be commissioned to direct a relatively big-budget family film, or, as Schilling puts it:
But Miike’s never been an easy one to pin down, genre-wise. Schilling finds the film fine, if a somewhat tired retread, story- and theme-wise. He also faults Miike for not being able to take his material (kid gets caught up in a war among traditional Japanese demons/goblins (however you choose to translate yokai), learns about courage, friendship, believing in self, etc.) seriously.
Indrani Roy Mitra at Rediff reports that Nemai Ghosh, who worked with legendary director Satyajit Ray as his still photographer for 25 years, has 90,000 photographs, negatives and transparencies of Ray that he has thus far been unable to get help from the Indian government to preserve and archive. Ghosh is looking into passing the collection on to a foreign film institute.
Mark Russell in the New York Times writes about "Empress Chung," a feature film animated in North and South Korea that’s also the first film to be released simultaneous in both counties. Russell goes on to describe the faltering Korean animation industry from the mid 80s to the late 90s, South Korea was where a large chunk of American shows were animated, but as the cost of living has gone up, many of the companies have moved on to Vietnam, the Philippines and North Korea.
Korean animators did not learn how to tell their own stories, preferring to churn out others’ tales. "Koreans’ technique is O.K., but they don’t know anything about creation," ["Empress Chung" director Nelson] Shin said.
The Sydney Morning Herald checks in on director Vincent Ward, who has finally wrapped up "River Queen" a New Zealand film that ended up being a particularly troubled production (star Samantha Morton was hospitalized with the flu, Ward was canned halfway through, only to be brought back for post-production). The film will screen at Toronto, and is due out in the US in December.
+ Goblins are great, but not ‘Harry’ (Japan Times)
+ Govt ignores rare Satyajit Ray pictures (Rediff)
+ Uniting the Two Koreas, in Animated Films at Least (NY Times)
+ Pride of the river (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ Road film follows shoe empire (BBC)