Sunday, March 9, 2008

New Nakashima Tetsuya! Pako and the Magic Picture Book - Home Page On-Line

Hi Blog,

Some time last year, there was a bit of news about director Nakashima Tetsuya's (KAMIKAZE GIRLS & MEMORIES OF MATSUKO) new flick: PAKO AND THE MAGIC PICTURE BOOK (aka. Pako to Mahou no Ehon パコと魔法の絵本) when the cast was announced (see link here for details). After that the info trail went dry and that was that.

Well, after finally getting around to watching one of the last Nakashima films that I had missed, BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY (aka. ビューティフルサンデー) (capsule review forthcoming perhaps?) I went on-line to check up on PAKO. And guess what? Toho now has a homepage up for it.

Set to come out this fall (2008), there isn't a trailer up on the site yet, but there is a brief story description which makes the film sound alternately wacky and kind of depressing. It goes something like this**:
There's this hospital where lots of strange folks hang around. A young girl named Pako (Ayaka Wilson) becomes a patient there after she and her parents are in a traffic accident and they're killed. Hospitalized with some kind of brain damage (ala Memento?) she's only able to remember things for a day.

As a result (or is it because of this?) she becomes obsessed with a picture book that she likes to look at while sitting on a bench... and some sort of insanity ensues. (I think involving some of the wacky patients at the hospital.)

Because I'm a big fan of Nakashima, I'm looking forward to seeing this. But I'm starting to wonder what is up with all of these cute girls getting beaten up in his movies.
  • HAPPY GO LUCKY - (1997) - A junior high school girl gets bullied.
  • BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY - (1998) - A little girl gets bullied.
  • KAMIKAZE GIRLS - (2004) - Girls getting beat up.
  • MEMORIES OF MATSUKO - (2006) - Largely about a woman who gets beat up.
I'm half-joking here, because I do think that there is more going on under the hood of these films-- dealing with issues of isolation, emotional scars and the ramifications of sticking with certain decisions-- but there's no denying that there's a trend. (But is it a fetish for him? Inquiring minds want to know!)

Link to the Japanese website.

(**This is a distillation from the Japanese not a direct translation or press release. Any screw ups are mine only. Duh.)

6 comments:

logboy said...

hmmmm.... yeah, seen this site around over the last few weeks or more.

the thing is, i can go through sites and find a certain amount of consistency in being able to access a trailer when it appears, but all too often it's damn hard to easy sense who's behind the film - the text can be locked, preventing translation, pictures missing, titles and other info no laid out easily... all kinds of things. so, yeh, knew this site was there, but didn't know whose film it was!

Nicholas Rucka said...

Hi Logboy,

Well, being able to read the Japanese certainly helps. :)

But what I always wonder about is given the flattening of the international market with the domestic (Japanese) market, it would make sense to just have English incorporated into the Japanese sites to begin with. It's easier to do it up front rather than at the back end, I would think. (Is this a colonial way of thinking?)

logboy said...

there's a certain amount of english to be found on sites - again, though, it's very inconsistent. some sites have full information (well, for a brief overview, synopsis, cast) but many manage to stick to the bare basics of sections being also labelled in english or at least katakana (which i can read well enough)... biggest gripe is experiencing text that's locked, so i can't translate it using neat little tools. other than that, early place-holder sites (ishii's new film is a good example) remain very plain indeed, giving nothing awa y that could allow for a sense of what the site's for, who's behind it, what kind of film it might be.

as for (specifically) 'paco', i'd seen the site a few times but it looked like some kind of generic kids adventure thing... well, even though i loved 'kamikaze girls' a lot, i even managed to not quite click with the site for 'memories of matsuko' for a long time either. for me, given there's a certain amount of international accessing of official sites by those programming festivals and checking out the information that often appears way in advance of an actual release, it would be nice to see a more regular use of site designs which are a little more actively considering this. on the other hand, japanese film for the japanese, primarily - so, someone pay for me to have japanese lessons, and i can do a lot more... :)

Nicholas Rucka said...

> so, someone pay for me to have japanese lessons, and i can do a lot more...

Heh! I would take that job too. Maybe we should start that business? ;-) Too bad I know it will never take off...

Jason Gray said...

But what I always wonder about is given the flattening of the international market with the domestic (Japanese) market, it would make sense to just have English incorporated into the Japanese sites to begin with. It's easier to do it up front rather than at the back end, I would think. (Is this a colonial way of thinking?)

Sites like www.shochikufilms.com and http://www.tbs.co.jp/eng/ try to offer English materials but can get a bit behind sometimes. As far as bilingual official film sites -- few and far between. Usually the print materials and web site are long done before they call in a translator like myself or Don etc. All the efforts are to sell to the domestic market and then later the int'l dept starts work on selling at markets etc.

logboy -- Japanese people looking to become licensed teachers often do stints overseas, offering lessons for free (or very cheap) to get their requisite hours. Might even be someone in your area. In the meantime pick up Len Walsh's 1969 book on basic kanji -- it's a classic that started me on my way.

logboy said...

jasper sharp recommended me 'guide to learning japanese characters' (henshall?) but i need a guide to learning the guide on how to use the 'guide to learning japanese characters'...

i had some lessons a few years back, locally, but i found the teaching style incredibly patronising (didn't help that the teacher declared her teachingly was mostly primary school teachers in private schools!) , and the balance between how much the teacher wanted to do in the lesson and how much they set for you to do outside confused me at the time... as though, if it were possible to simply "go away and learn this... that" (for example) then why did i pay for classes to guide me in what i needed to know in order to build on it myself... yes, i know learnings about the self, personal motivation, but there has to be some teaching surely?!, and there didn't feel as though there was. oh well.