6 In Others / General

Film Talk

I’m not good with words and every time I try to talk about novels, dramas or films, I end up struggling with my words, thoughts and expressions. Try asking me to give you a drama review / sypnosis and I’ll either give you a convoluted explanation or something stupid like “oh this is a drama with two girls and two guys and cross love-lines”. lol

I shall try my best to give my two cents on Korean and Japanese cinema today. Firstly, I’ll like to say that I really don’t like Japanese films. Or whatever that I’ve seen so far (which is not many, I admit). But I really have some problems with Japanese films, namely:

1. Weird, vague endings

2. Anti-climax. Or totally no climax or buildup in the storyline

3. Right in your face moral lessons

Just the other day I watched “Strawberry night – invisible rain”. I thought it will be good. I LOVE the drama special and the full drama series. There’s nothing I dislike about any of the characters.. but I HATE THE MOVIE. Shall not give much spoilers, but I am totally disappointed with the rather boring case, the buildup of the love-line that leads to nothing and many many unanswered questions in the ending. I’m all for an ending that leaves the audience hanging – whether in hope or not, but this is just WEIRD. It’s like the movie decided to cut out several parts and just end it somewhere.

The right-in-your-face moral lessons are always an issue for me in Japanese dramas but I kinda let it slip because I think it’s a stylistic choice that can work in some dramas. But when it comes to movies, I prefer them to be more.. raw/gritty/real? It’s just a personal preference but it really annoys me when I’m watching a crime movie and the moral lessons are right in your face. One example is Platinum Data. I watched it not too long ago and it’s so forgettable that I can’t remember what really went on there…. The chase where the suspect was running away to clear his own name was pretty good and I was expecting a build up to lead to SOMETHING. But nothing. I can’t even remember what the ending was, just that I left the cinema feeling disappointed and annoyed ><

Not sure if I’m too used to Korean films or that I prefer their way of storytelling / cinematography, but it’ll take quite a bit of persuasion for me to watch another Japanese movie in the near future.

Any thoughts on this? (: Any good Japanese films to recommend?

p.s. this is purely my own opinion and I do know that there are people who loves Japanese films. Let this be a discussion (:

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  • Reply
    20 June, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    I haven’t seen a Japanese film in years, but one that I remember is 誰も知らない. It’s interesting, but also sad and unsettling. It’s slow-paced and #2 on the list of things you don’t like about Japanese films applies to it. #3 may apply as well.

    • Reply
      2 July, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      ><;; Probably will not check it out. #2 and #3 are the things I really hate in movies

  • Reply
    20 June, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    I sincerly havent’t seen a lot of japanese movies. From my little experience, I think they are somehow weird in the concept and the plot, it’s not that they are bad, it’s just they are extremly unique. The only one I enjoyed (and didn’t expect to love it) so far was Ace attorney. It’s a good anime adaptation. The trial was funny, full of suspenses.
    I have a request, and I hope I’m not bothering you 🙂 can you give me a list of your favourite crime movies. I always have a hard time picking a good one.

    • Reply
      2 July, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      ohh that’s the one with narimiya hiroki as the lead right? hehe I really like him in Bloody Monday and I think I saw a clip of the making of the movie. Looks really strange but I’ll give it a go!

      As for crime movies… it’s a little hard to think of them as I find it hard to classify the movies I watched as crime movies, they are just… dark themed lol. Midnight FM, Oldboy, Moss, Voice of a murderer ranks high on my list!

  • Reply
    22 June, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    I have not seen a lot of Japanese films but I have to admit some of them have strange pacing and concepts or were so boring I could not finish them at least to me. Part of it may be some cultural nuances that I can’t pick up on. However, I can recommend a few Japanese films that I found surprisingly interesting and quirky, I am beginning to think that’s a requisite for Japanese films.
    1. Adrift in Tokyo: About a debt collector Fukuhara is sent to shake down 800,000 yen from hapless college student Takemura. But Fukuhara says he’ll forgive the debt if the young man simply agrees to walk with him across Tokyo. Gives an interesting perspective of Tokyo on the street level. Part of it also is shot in the Kichijoji neighborhood that I lived in briefly. Very funny and poignant too.
    2. Sayonara Itsuka: Set in Bangkok in 1970s, the movie is absolutely gorgeous with good acting, exquisite costumes and original story. It is for all people who enjoy a good romance and explores the pressures of Japanese social obligations.
    3. Norwegian Wood: Based on the novel by Haruki Murakami. College freshman Toru Watanabe, whose relationship with childhood friend Naoko, drags into the present a terrible event both would rather bury. It also stars Kiko Mizuhara, friend of G Dragon. It’s a little different from most Japanese films maybe because the director is Vietnamese. Beautifully shot, colors, and costumes by the same director who director shot The Scent of Green Papaya, which is also a great Vietnamese movie to see as there is hardly any dialogue but still a engaging story.
    4. Departures: Young cellist Daigo realizes he’s been heading down the wrong career path and trains to be a nakanshi, one who prepares the dead for burial. Explores the cultural moires and social stigma of being a funeral director in Japan.
    I think these films avoid the 3 problems you list about Japanese films. I hope you can check them out.

    I agree that in general Korean films seemed to be shot on a more cinematic scale, colors are deeper, the emotions are more raw and out there. Old Boy, Man from Nowhere, Mother, Come Rain, Come Shine all come to mind. I think as with everything, there’s always a lot of stuff but only a few can rise to the top.

    • Reply
      2 July, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      wow thanks for the recommendations! 😀 Quite different from the normal mainstream fare but sounds interesting! Will definitely check them out 😀

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