Asian Film Buzz – Lily Chou-Chou, Marching Bands and a Cross-dressing Andy Lau

Welcome to the Asian Film Buzz at MCM Buzz. Kicking things off this week we have an excellent new interactive anime from Studio 4°C to show you. To begin ‘watching’ it head over to the official site. The anime is intended to be part of anti-smoking campaign and paints smoking as some kind of seductive nightmarish underground subculture. As an anti-smoking campaign it may not be entirely effective but it is absolutely beautiful.

Actress Rina Takeda was first seen in last year’s High Kick Girl! and is currently hard at work on the sequel High Kick Girl 2 aka Karate Girl. Evidence of this hard work can be seen in the below training video (via the official KG YouTube Channel) which really showcases Takeda’s impressive abilities.

A new poster has also been released via the official site this week. There was an early somewhat conceptual poster but this is the first poster to be released with a more polished official look.

Shunji Iwai’s 2001 film All About Lily Chou-Chou was something of an acquired taste and seemed to garner love it or hate it reactions from critics and general audiences. I fell head over heels into the former group and one of the aspects of All About Lily Chou-Chou that was so seductive was the use of music. The film featured a liberal use of Debussy but also songs by the fictional Lily Chou-Chou (inspired by Faye Wong) which were in fact the work of Takeshi Kobayashi and singer Salyu. Nine years after the film was released the pair have reunited to record new material under the Lily Chou-Chou moniker. A new official site has been launched and you can listen to a taster of the new material embedded below. Thanks to Tokyograph for the tip off.

It has also been announced this week that Shunji Iwai is working on a new film following his yet to be released English language debut, Vampires. Iwai is on board as executive producer though not director and the film is a documentary about Japanese musical phenomenon AKB48. If you are unaware of AKB48 it is probably best to remain in a state of blissful ignorance but if curiosity gets the better of you an early trailer for the documentary can be found here.

From, Makato Shinkai, the director of The Place Promised in Our Early Days comes a new anime with an equally lengthy title, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (aka Hoshi o Ou Kodomo). Media Factory have released a teaser for the film (link via ANN) and it is certainly very pleasing to the eye. Like Shinkai’s other work there looks to be a nostalgic flavour to the material.

Prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike has been garnering a reasonable amount of praise at festivals worldwide with his recent chanbara remake, 13 Assassins, and the film will hopefully see theatrical releases soon. 13 Assassin really is quite exceptional, one of Miike’s best and looks stunning projected. Thanks to Museum of Cinema we have a new poster for the film which is very stylish and something of an improvement on previous offerings.

Actress Chiaki Kuriyama is probably best known in the West for her roles in Battle Royale and Kill Bill but in addition to these and her other various acting roles she is also a successful model and singer. With her singer hat (well actually it was a marching band hat) firmly on she has recently been promoting her new single ‘Kanousei Girl’ and on November the 14th she performed the song at The 45th Marching Band Baton Twirling Kanto Tournament. Sanspo reported on the event and supplied photos including the one below.

What’s the marching band connection I hear you ask? Well check out the video for Kanousei Girl embedded below and all will be revealed.

Video link & translation of the Sanspo article via TokyoHive

Set for release in China on the 18th of December is Chen Kaige’s latest film Sacrifice. The film now has an official site which boasts a host of stills and a selection of new posters (one of which graces the top of this column).

3D certainly appears to be gaining popularity in Hong Kong so it was probably only a matter of time before the popular series Sex and Zen got the 3D treatment. You can check out the trailer for Sex and Zen 3D at Twitch in all its uncensored glory.

Park Chan-wook could be making his English language debut with Stoker. The LA Times bring the news that he may soon be coming on board as director. The film is currently set to star Carey Mulligan and Jodie Foster and The LA Times describe it as “a dramatic thriller about a young woman whose eccentric uncle comes back into her life after the death of her father.” No news as yet on who the uncle might be.

After a somewhat lukewarm reaction at festivals around the world, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is set for a 3rd of December release in the UK by Metrodome. Below is the UK trailer for the film which certainly makes it look pretty entertaining if perhaps a tad derivative.

Disney’s Tangled is set for release in Japan on March the 11th next year and (as reported by Tokyohive) they have chosen Shoko Nakagawa to be the Japanese voice of Rapunzel. Shoko Nakagawa is an actress, presenter, illustrator, model and most importantly the singer of the insanely catchy theme to one of the greatest anime series ever made, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. There’s a Gurren Lagann ‘Anti-spiral’ joke in this story that probably shouldn’t be made due to probably not being funny and having way too specific an audience.

Last and most probably least is the new trailer for a remake of What Women Want, this time starring Andy Lau in the role originally played by Mel Gibson. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that Andy Lau will subsequently get drunk and go off on a racist rant.

It’s probably best to warn you that this trailer could for ever ruin the image you have of Andy Lau.

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