Twitch Film and Movies.com once again present the International Trailer Domination Tour, a selection of the best trailers from upcoming international films. This edition brings you balding, overweight men sliding rocks across sheets of ice, the reunion of Jet Li and Tsui Hark, South African crime noir, French cabaret dancers and an unclassifiable oddity from Japan. Five films, three continents. Not bad.
1. How To Steal 2 Million by Charlie Vundla, South Africa
Africa has long been a sort of dead zone when it comes to world cinema. Not because they don’t produce films there – Nigeria, in particular, has a thriving industry – but because nobody outside the continent ever saw any of them. District 9 woke many up to the fact that there was talent on the continent while last year’s Viva Riva showed that there were black voices interested in putting a stylish spin on their own stories as well. And here comes another to drive that point home.
Charlie Vundla’s How To Steal 2 Million is a slick, South African crime noir that hits South African screens in September. It’s Vundla’s first picture but you’d never know it from the feel of the trailer and how convincing the world he has created is. Throw in some great performances and this looks like a winner.
2. Monsters Club by Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan
The story of Japan’s Toshiaki Toyoda is one of an enormous talent almost destroyed by one bad decision. Following a string of stellar indie releases to launch his career Toyoda was building a case for himself as one of the world’s greats when he was arrested for drug possession – a big, big deal in Japan – shortly before the release of 2005’s Hanging Garden. He avoided jail time – barely – but dropped entirely out of the public eye for years afterwards.
Toyoda is working again now but still preferring to keep out of the media, which is why nobody really seemed to have any inkling of his Monsters Club at all until it was announced as a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Is it reading to much in to Toyoda’s own history to suggest that the story of a reclusive young man sending mail bombs to CEOs of major corporations may be somewhat personal? There’s a fantasy element to the picture as well, which makes for an odd but compelling mix.
3. Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate by Tsui Hark, Hong Kong
It wasn’t that long ago that Jet Li was talking about quitting the wuxia genre where he made his name, a promise that he stuck to for several years while pursuing widespread charitable work following the tsunami that hit Thailand and nearly swept away his daughter in 2004. But he’s back now and back with the director who elevated him to superstar status in the first place.
Tsui Hark directs Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate, a 3D spectacle which re-envisions one of Hark’s early works while giving Li a chance to ply his trade in an extra dimension. A brief teaser turned up for this one a while back but the second effort – the one embedded above – is significantly longer and higher quality than that initial offering.
4. The King Of Curling by Ole Endresen, Norway
Curling. It’s one of the world’s most inherently silly sports, perhaps second only to lawn bowling in that regard. It is the domain of balding, middle aged men, men who slide rocks across ice as an excuse to drink beer when they are done. And, as such, it is a prime subject for a sports comedy.
Director Old Endresen pulls out all of the clichés of the genre here to create what looks like a hilarious send up of the whole underdog story. We’ve got the former champion who cracked under the pressure, the sick friend, the essential but unaffordable surgery, all of it leading up to the triumphant return. Heck, we’ve even got the goofy radio announcers. And I say when the clichés look this good then lay ‘em on thick because this just looks like bags of fun.
5. Crazy Horse by Frederick Wiseman, France
The Tour ends this week with a stop at notorious French cabaret club Crazy Horse. In his TIFF-selected documentary of the same name director Frederick Wiseman takes us behind the scenes of the club, opening up a normally closed world as he offers up a portrait of the club itself, the women who work there, and the rigorous training that goes in to mounting a new show. The surface appeal is obvious here but Wiseman offers up a fair bit more than simple t&a.
The International Trailer Domination Tour is compiled from the pages of Twitch where international films are a specialty. Keep up with everything around the globe by visiting Twitch on the web, finding Twitch on Facebook or following Twitch on Twitter.