Heart of Glass Dir: Werner Herzog (1977)

Heart of Glass    Heart of Glass Film Poster

Release Date: December 17th, 1976

Duration: 94 mins.

Director: Werner Herzog

Writer: Herbert Achternbusch (Script/Scenario),

Starring: Josef Bierbichler (Hias), Stefan Guttler (Huttenbesitzer), Clemens Scheitz (Adalbert), Volker Prechtel (Wudy), Sonja Skiba (Ludmilla), Brunhilde Kickner (Paulin)

IMDB

“A prophet is rarely welcome in their homeland” is a line from the Bible that can be applied here as a lonely cowherd predicts an apocalypse for his hometown.

Werner Herzog’s period drama Heart of Glass was one of two films he made that called back into the rich realm of German history (the other being The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser in 1974) at a time when he was busy making documentaries.

Set in the 18th Century, it tells the story of a town nestled somewhere in the rocky escarpments of Bavaria. The town, though rural, has a glassblowing factory and that provides income because this is a time when wealthy families across Europe collected the most lavishly decorated ceramics and glassware available, be it the high-quality but expensive pieces from China and Japan or the many factories in Europe that sprang up to imitate superior Asian works.

The unique selling point of this particular glassworks is its ruby red pieces that shine with a rich colour that mesmerises all who behold it. However, when we enter the town, it is at a time of crisis as the master glassblower has died and taken the secret of making ruby glass with him to his grave. The glasswork’s owner, an aristocrat named Huttenbesitzer (Stefan Guttler), a predatory fop who looks like he could hang out with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire (1994), becomes obsessed with finding the formula and his obsession turns into madness that infects other townspeople.

Enter our prophet, Hias, a cowherd who inhabits the forested hills with his cows.

Heart of Glass Film Image 2

Hias (Josef Bierbichler) is an observer, a loner. He is a man of nature and is first seen staring into the distant landscape as he offers ominous pronouncements of the future dressed in poetic language. The despair he rakes up is something which seems to have driven him to isolation. The aristocrat asks him for help finding the secret of the ruby glass but all Hias predicts is that the glass factory will be destroyed in a fire. Despite this danger of destruction, Hias descends from the mountains to the town and is on the ground as madness sweeps over the citizens and they descend into abasement and violence as they seek the secret of how to make ruby glass to save their town.

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While the Women are Sleeping 女が眠る時 (2016) Director: Wayne Wang

While the Women are Sleeping     

While the Women are Sleeping Film Poster
While the Women are Sleeping Film Poster

女が眠る時 「Onna ga Nemuru Toki」 

Release Date: February 27th, 2016

Duration: 103 mins.

Director: Wayne Wang

Writer: Michael Ray, Lee Shin-ho, Mami Sunada (Screenplay) Javier Marias (Original Story)

Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Sayuri Oyamada, Lily Franky, Shioli Kutsuna, Makiko Watanabe, Hirofumi Arai,

Website IMDB

An undercooked psycho-sexual thriller, While the Women are Sleeping wastes a stellar cast – Hidetoshi Nishijima (License to Live), Takeshi Kitano (Hana-bi), Lily Franky (Like Father, Like Son), Makiko Watanabe (Love Exposure) – on a poor story.

We are at a posh holiday resort on the Izu Peninsula with unhappily married couple Kenji (Hidetoshi Nishijima), an author, and Aya (Sayuri Oyamada), a book editor.

While the Women are Sleeping Hidetoshi Nishijima and Sayuri Oyamada,

They are spending a week at the hotel over the summer. It is a bit of work and play, as she disappears during the day to coach an author while Kenji is left to his own devices and flip-flops between procrastination and wading through writer’s block. Although picture perfect together, marital strain is apparent as they snipe at each other over him skimping on sex and whether he should write or start life over as a salaryman. Things go really off the rails when they encounter a strange couple amongst the other guests.

Continue reading “While the Women are Sleeping 女が眠る時 (2016) Director: Wayne Wang”

Bagmati River, Muito Prazer, Welcome to the Occult Forest: The Movie, Distant Thunder, Naretara Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend

I hope you are well

Yesterday’s trailer post had a nice selection of features while this one has mostly shorts.

This week I worked my way through the early-2000s American B-cinema-esque TV show Special Unit 2 and I also started playing Dragon’s Crown again. I posted about the Japanese films playing at the Venice International Film Festival and I also posted a review for the Keisuke Yoshida film The Workhorse and the Bigmouth. The only film I watched was Lee Chang-Dong’s 2018 film Burning which I will be talking about on the Heroic Purgatory podcast.

Speaking of Heroic Purgatory, the latest episode dropped and it covers the 2008 Japanese film Departures. Our next topic will be Lee Chang-dong’s 2018 film Burning.

What else is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Bagmati River, Muito Prazer, Welcome to the Occult Forest: The Movie, Distant Thunder, Naretara Japanese Film Trailers”

Offbeat Cops, Akira and Akira, Green Bullet, Gekido, Sky of Non-Self, Hito, Welcome to the Occult Forest: The Movie, Distant Thunder, Naretara, Japanese Film Trailer

Happy Weekend!

The Workhorse and Big Mouth Shota Yasuda

I hope you are well!

This is the first of a two-part trailer post so come back tomorrow for more. This first instalment has a nice variety of feature films while tomorrow’s has more shorts.

What are the first bunch of films released this weekend?

Continue reading “Offbeat Cops, Akira and Akira, Green Bullet, Gekido, Sky of Non-Self, Hito, Welcome to the Occult Forest: The Movie, Distant Thunder, Naretara, Japanese Film Trailer”

The Workhorse and the Bigmouth ばしゃ馬さんとビッグマウス (2013) Director: Keisuke Yoshida

The Workhorse and the Bigmouth     The Workhorse and the Big Mouth Film Poster

ばしゃ馬さんとビッグマウス  「Basaumasan to Biggumausu」

Release Date: November 02nd, 2013

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Keisuke Yoshida

Writer: Keisuke Yoshida, Ryo Nishihara

Starring: Kumiko Aso, Shota Yasuda, Yoshinori Okada, Maho Yamada, Yutaka Shimizu, Yoko Akino, Jun Inoue, Yoneko Matsukane

Website     IMDB

Contrary to the optimistic messages that films often sell audiences, dreams don’t always come true no matter how hard you work. The lesson learned by the two protagonists in The Workhorse and the Bigmouth, a dramedy about wannabe writers trying to make it in the movies, is that one has to be realistic.

The titular workhorse is Michiyo Mabuchi (Kumiko Aso), a 34-year-old woman who is single and works in a kinken shop (金券ショップ ticket reseller). She has dedicated herself to the art of writing and has written screenplays consistently since graduating from university and has consistently failed to break into the film world despite attending workshops and classes, entering competitions, networking, and knowing all of the technical aspects of screenwriting.

The bigmouth is Yoshimi Tendo (Shota Yasuda), a 20-something loafer with dyed-blonde hair who works as a chef in a fast-food joint. He spends more time daydreaming about movie-writing fame than trying to achieve it. He loves the attention he gets when he says he is a writer and bragging about his ambitions but putting in the work is another matter.

The two are a chalk-and-cheese pair who meet in a screenwriting class in downtown Osaka and both are desperate to make it and so they enter a competition launched by a Tokyo-based TV channel. While audiences might expect a romance of the “opposites attract” variety to happen, the story resists going the obvious route.

The Workhorse and Big Mouth Kumiko Aso and Shota Yasuda

Continue reading “The Workhorse and the Bigmouth ばしゃ馬さんとビッグマウス (2013) Director: Keisuke Yoshida”

Long Time Passing, Kaettekita Miyata Busters, Kumotabi, The Man with the Winged Tiger, Ossan’s Blues, Art nankairanai! Session1 Dasei no Oukoku, Art nankairanai! Session2 46Okunen no kodoku, Watashitachi wa Ningenda!, Momoiro Clover Z Future of the Idol Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

AbsolutelyCuteMaybe

I hope you are well.

This is the second of a two-part trailer post – the first part can be found here. This week, I posted a review of the Netflix show Earthquake Bird (2019) and a preview of the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2022.

This week, I watched the French films The Horseman on the Roof (1995) and A Heart in Winter (1992), and I also watched the Hong Kong film Red Wolf (1995) and Shinya Tsukamoto’s 1991 film Hiruko the Goblin. I also spoke about the 2008 Japanese drama Departures for Heroic Purgatory.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Long Time Passing, Kaettekita Miyata Busters, Kumotabi, The Man with the Winged Tiger, Ossan’s Blues, Art nankairanai! Session1 Dasei no Oukoku, Art nankairanai! Session2 46Okunen no kodoku, Watashitachi wa Ningenda!, Momoiro Clover Z Future of the Idol Japanese Film Trailers”

Haw, Violence Action, SABAKAN, Ikiru FROM NAGASAKI, Wolf Hunter Go! – American Civil War, Okagesama de Hawaii ~ Nikkei Women’s Trajectory ~, Gekijouban Tsurune: Hajimari no Issha, Super Legend God Hikoza, Tokyo Drift Ice COOL IT DOWN, Nagi’s Island, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend

Summer Night Long

I hope you are well

There are a LOT of Japanese films released this weekend and they come amidst a Wong Kar-Wai retrospective and some other foreign films. So, this is a two-part trailer post.

Here are the first batch. Tomorrow is stacked with lots of documentaries.

Continue reading “Haw, Violence Action, SABAKAN, Ikiru FROM NAGASAKI, Wolf Hunter Go! – American Civil War, Okagesama de Hawaii ~ Nikkei Women’s Trajectory ~, Gekijouban Tsurune: Hajimari no Issha, Super Legend God Hikoza, Tokyo Drift Ice COOL IT DOWN, Nagi’s Island, Japanese Film Trailers”

A Glimpse at the Films at the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2022

The 33rd Tokyo Student Film Festival runs from August 20th to August 21st in Shibuya Eurospace and it has 12 films on offer. These films are split into three programmes, features, animation, and shorts.

Here are details on the films with information pulled from the festival site. Click on the links to find out more about the films and filmmakers who have given comments on the background of their films (highly recommended!).

Continue reading “A Glimpse at the Films at the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2022”

Earthquake Bird Director: Wash Westmoreland (2019) Netflix

Earthquake Bird    Earthquake Bird Film Poster

Release Date: July 10th, 2022

Duration: 93 mins.

Director: Wash Westmoreland

Writer: Wash Westmoreland (Script), Susanna Jones (Original Novel),

Starring: Alicia Vikander (Lucy Fly), Naoki Kobayashi (Teiji Matsuda), Riley Keough (Lily Bridges), Jack Huston (Bob Johnson), Kiki Sukezane (Natsuk),

Website IMDB

“I think that’s what I like about Japan, it gives you a second chance.”

Japan is a country that attracts a lot of a certain type of person. People unhappy with their lot in life or looking for adventure. Sensitive, misguided, naïve, whatever you want to call them, they are people looking to immerse themselves in something different and possibly change their reality. This is what I found to be most interesting in Earthquake Bird, the Netflix adaptation of Susanna Jones’ same-named novel. 

The need to become someone else is definitely the case with Lucy Fly (Alicia Vikander), a translator living in Tokyo circa 1989. When we first meet her, she is working on a Japanese translation of the dialogue of the Michael Douglas film Black Rain (1989). She’s soon arrested by police investigating the disappearance of an American nurse named Lily Bridges (Riley Keough). When body parts wash up in Tokyo Bay and Lucy confesses to having killed the woman, it seems like an open and shut case. Except it isn’t.

Continue reading “Earthquake Bird Director: Wash Westmoreland (2019) Netflix”