2. Kokuhaku (Confessions) – Japan – 2010
Japan’s selection to represent them at the Academy Awards comes from the genius visual style of Testsuya Nakashima. Based on Kanae Minato’s Best Selling 2008 Novel of the same name, the film tells the story of Yoko Morigucki, a middle school teacher whose world comes crashing down when her 4-year-old daughter is murdered. Eventually, she begins suspecting one of her students did it.
Enough to say that Tetsuya Nakashima is a favorite among film viewers, and even Japanese culture fans. His first hit was with the popular Kamikaze Girls, then his second film Memories of Matsuko became a a sensation with most critics. Well, it seems Nakashima finally struck a middle point with Confessions. It was well received by critics and audiences alike, making it number one for 4 straight weeks, and taking down on Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in its 7-week reign.
Testuya Nakashima – Win! Box office and critics agree – Win-win! It has current idol Masaki Okada, so it gets the wanted fangirl demographic going – Win!? That’s 4 Wins for you.
1. Tangshan Dadizhen (Aftershocks/After Shock) – China – 2010
Directed by Feng Xiaogang – some say the Chinese Steven Spielberg – Aftershocks depicts the terrible 1976 earthquake that occurred in Tangzhan, China, and how it separated the Fang family. The film is also China’s first IMAX production, and the first IMAX production outside the USA.
And of course, the film was a huge box office success by breaking the one-day-release record held recently by Avatar. But do not fret, the film is more than a mere disaster flick. In fact, since we don’t have IMAX screens here, well… you can just get away with a normal release, and it will still be powerful stuff.
It’s got an award-worthy performance by actress Fan Xu, amazing special effects — in the short sequence that needed it, anyway — heart-wrenching story that will pull your heart for almost the whole duration of the film. Come on! It’s the Chinese Spielberg, right!? That’s 4 Wins for you too!
Not released yet, but with a certain buzz~
- The Grand Master — also about Yip Man — directed by Wong Kar Wai (possible Dec2010 release)
- Norwegian Wood — making its rounds in festivals — based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, it stars Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, and directed by Anh Hung Tran. (JP release Dec2010)