It has been a long day, yes.
Jonathan Ross, who’s going to be hosting a new BBC series called "Asian Invasion," pops up at the Guardian to tell the sad, sad tale about how, as a teenager, he started watching Kurosawa films (gateway drug), which lead to anime, which lead to Bruce Lee, which somehow lead to him recently buying a ticket to Seoul in order to wander the streets, attempting to divine the nature Korea’s cinematic soul:
I’d like to say that I was able to discover the source of Korea’s sudden fecundity – and that I bathed in it, slathering the creative juices all over my ungainly western body. But I don’t think it’s something you can see on the streets of Seoul. I think it’s a combination of Korea’s tragic 20th-century history and the relaxing of state censorship in the 1990s – a sudden opportunity for these insanely hard-working, creative people to express a lot of pent-up anger and longing.
We definitely don’t find the article sad because we’re practically bleeding out from the stab of self-recognition (and the urge to actually stab ourselves because of it). Certainly not.
We just wish he didn’t have to look exactly the way we imagined he’d look on top of it all.
That all being said, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, which takes place in March and is basically a market in which financiers are brought into contact with indie Asian film projects in the hopes that they’ll breed, has announced its slate of 25 projects. The list is drool-worthy look at potential awesomeness for anyone who’s ever, say, used Babelfish to attempt to read Korean film boards. Pen-ek Ratanaruang‘s "Invisible Waves," which will premiere at Berlin this year, was one of last year’s projects. Via KFCC.
In the latest issue of Midnight Eye, Jasper Sharp gives a rave review to "Ranpo Jigoku," an anthology film composed of four short films based on the short stories of Edogawa Ranpo (who took his pen name from a garbling of "Edgar Allan Poe" â€” the two tackled similarly dark subject matter). Each segment has a different director, and each also features the inescapable Tadanobu Asano. Over at Firecracker, Bertha Chin is also fond of Peter Chan‘s neo-musical "Perhaps Love," Hong Kong’s best foreign film Oscar submission and one of the films we’re most dying to see. Chan’s best-known film is 1996’s great "Comrades: Almost a Love Story," and we still can’t think of a better summation of expat life than Christopher Doyle‘s cameo as an English teacher who constantly steals sips from his hip flask and who leads his uncomprehending class through practice sentences of "I go to hell. You go to hell. We all go to hell."
And over at Digital Chosunilbo, a report that Korean pop star Rain, who’s earned the unfortunate moniker of "the Korean Michael Jackson" for his dancing skills, has been cast in Park Chan-wook‘s latest project, which has apparently been given the unfortunate title of "I’m a Cyborg, But It’s OK."
+ Confessions of a Nipponophile (Guardian)
+ Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) Announces the 25 Film Projects Selected for 2006 (Official site)
+ Rampo Noir (Midnight Eye)
+ If Music be the Food of Love: Perhaps Love (Firecracker)
+ Rain to Star in Park Chan-wook’s Much-Awaited ‘Cyborg’ (Digital Chosunilbo)