Love my Life 2006, Japanese Teen romance. Slight, but nice.
Liverleaf aka Misumisô 2018. Japanese teen revenge film, a kind of serious-seeming version of the Terrifying Girls' High School films, but slips really quickly into a kind of Grand Guignol. I would not have watched this had I seen a synopsis beforehand.
Sunny: Our Hearts Beat Together 2018.
A woman trying to organise a reunion of her 90s schoolfriends before one of them dies. There is a bit of a Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine reason for why they have not kept in touch, but for the most part this is a lot of fun. I am getting to recognise modern Japanese actors now: this one stars the mother from Bento Harassment. There is a good scene at the end where the girls and the women they grow up into get together for a big dance number.
Another Japanese teenage lesbian romance, this one so understated that it's hard to spot any romance at all, which comes almost as a subtext to a story about a very formal and quite judgemental school broadcasting club. Not a great deal happens (though there is the usual performance/competition at the end), and it sounds like it should be terrible, but really it's ok - kind of like Bela Tarr if he'd worked in the medium of Japanese schoolgirls.
One thing I've learnt from watching all these Japanese school films is that the bell they use to mark the beginning and end of lessons is a version of the Big Ben chimes.
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1982)
I have wanted to see this for more than 20 years. It turned out to be a lot of silent detective work in which you could tell what was going on and what she was doing without her needing to give a commentary. Odd that she slept with the father though: I’m pretty sure she doesn’t in the novel, and it also goes against James’s treatment of sex for her female characters (they have done it, so they’re not freaky, but they can’t see what the fuss is about). It turned out at the end that someone I know did the music, or some of it; I'd noticed during the film that the music was good.
(Mostly) live action version version of the Ghibli film, more or less (the plot is changed a good deal); young witch goes off on her apprenticeship, which turns out to mean learning life skills that are not to do with magic. Ok, a bit prosaic; the girl playing Kiki though is astonishingly pretty. The cat is animated.
The Death of Mario Ricci
Italian journalist trying to make a TV programme for French TV about a depressed hunger campaigner accidentally investigates the death of an Italian motor-cyclist (via over-heard conversations while waiting in the barber, etc). Low key, atmospheric. The only film I've seen in which the driver of a car turns to his passenger to say something and is told to look at the road before even getting a chance to open his mouth.
Refreshingly, the middle-aged hero doesn't get off with the astonishingly pretty young woman who is the campaigner's assistant (Mimsey Farmer) but instead spends the night with a woman who is nearer his own age.
La Boum 1980, Sophie Marceau's first film, playing a girl who is only interested in boys and parties (but only so far). Ok, a bit too long and the farce is a bit clunky in places (the punishment of the father's ex-lover is far too much as well), but ok, worth seeing. Sophie Marceau is astonishingly... well, you know.
Co-starring Sophie Marceau, this time (nearly 30 years on from La Boum) playing the annoying and diary-reading(!) but astonishingly beautiful mother.
This is a lot faster-paced than La Boum, and - apart from a bizarre interval set in England, where the natives all but boast about how well their lawns are going to look in a few years - a good deal less clunky.
A girl, seeing a boy she likes hit his head, tries to convince him that he had "confessed" (his love) to her, and that they are walking out together. For various reasons her friend has to tell him that they used to go out. Played as comedy, though the boy is confused and dismayed by his confusion so it doesn't seem that much of a comedy; in any case, it's not a patch on the animation using the same characters that came later. Very long as well, with a pointless half hour of auditions that one of the girls is doing for an advertising agency (a nod to the characters' origin, in a Kit Kat advert).
Deathline aka Raw Meat
Donald Pleasance investigating the deaths of several people who were last seen on Russell Square underground.
Still good, and getting more of that lovely 70s patina the further we get from it. A lot more gory than I remembered though.
Winslet is not delightful. She's good, but her character - a middle class hippy who has run away to Marakesh with her two young daughters - is scatty and selfish, a lot less mature than the children, and you want to give her a bloody good talking to. She spends the whole film poncing off various people and trying to get to join a Sufi community, though even the leader of the community hints that she'd be better off going home. Good film though.
George Hilton as an insurance investigator looking into the case of a man who died in a plane explosion after insuring himself for a Million Dollars! (£400,000!) His partly-estranged wife will get the money, though she has been threatened by her husband's lover - and then she is killed.
I love a Giallo set in London, even though the action moves to Greece after not very long. This one is pretty good, and it's always good to see George Hilton, who looks a lot like a British 70s sitcom actor.
The Little Forest - Summer/Autumn
A young woman trying to live off the land in a remote area of Japan prepares various meals and demonstrates various cultivation techniques. There is some plot, about where her mother is, and why she came back to the village after having lived in the city, but really it's just her wandering about doing stuff and commenting on it. I didn't realise until I got to the end that I was only half way through, and that another film covers Winter and Spring. There are a couple of Alex Garland-ish fantasy bits, where she imagines green shoots sprouting from her body, or swimming in the humid atmosphere. I am looking forward to seeing how she manages in winter. Unusually for a young woman in Japanese films (or at least those I've seen) she is not shy or timid, and she doesn't keep bowing to people.
Written by Nigel Kneale. A woman takes up a teaching job at a private village school, and then some weird things start to happen. I saw a lot of similarities with The Wicker Man - an outsider trying overcome obstructive hostility while investigating a crime - but this is much better. And Joan Fontaine is not afraid to let her hair get dirty and untidy. And it has Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies in it!! The witchcraft seems all over the place though.