Film Jukebox: Lali Puna

Lali Puna

Lali Puna have been offering an irresistibly lovely, off-kilter take on electronic pop music for well over a decade. Combining glitchy electronica with guitar pop the band create gorgeous pop songs, held together by Valerie Trebeljahr’s airy vocals and The Notwist’s Markus Acher’s rhythmic guitar. Hailing from Weilheim in Germany, the band have been a staple of Berlin’s Morr Music roster, with intelligence and invention being at the forefront of their musical output. Their new album ‘Our Inventions’ is out now. For more information, go to the Lali Puna webiste. Below, they tell us about their favourite films. LUCY HURST

Valerie

1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
A girl’s film, I know: love story, Audrey Hepburn, happy ending. I know. But it is my favourite film. It’s heartbreaking when Hepburn sings ‘Moon River’ on the stairs and when it rains in the end. The 60s were such a great decade!

2. Princess Mononoke & Spirited Away (1997 + 2001)
I love Studio Ghibli, it began with a Totoro figure that I bought in a museum without knowing anything about it. When I found out where it came from I tried to get as much information as I could about director Hayao Miyazaki. I can’t decide which is my favourite out of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. They are both very impressive with gorgeous images and strange stories. They’re best seen in the cinema, I saw Mononoke in a tiny cinema and one part was missing – but even then it was good.

3. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Sequels and series are usually really bad but Lilo & Stitch: The Movie captured my heart from the beginning. The story sees a little girl adopting a small blue alien monster (Experiment 626) from dog pound. Monster Stitch was programmed to destroy but in Hawaii there’s not much to destroy. I usually hate all the newer Walt Disney films from the start after seeing the posters, but Lilo & Stitch is really different.

4. Full Metal Village (2007)
This documentary examines a small town in northern Germany, Wacken, home of one of the biggest heavy metal festivals – the Wacken Open Air. It is about the locals (a farmer, a young girl, some old women and one former festival organiser) dealing with the festival and its fans. It shows how the locals and the metal fans get along and even harmonise. The film gets a special note because it’s directed by a Korean woman, who has created a sort of Heimatfilm.

5. Fargo (1996)
I don’t just watch romantic and animated films all the time… There is a place for science fiction and heavy dramas too as well as dark comedy such as Fargo. It is great to see Frances McDormand as a pregnant sheriff and William H Macy as a salesman who thinks he’s in control but everything just gets worse and worse and worse. Great dry sense of humour.

Markus:

6. Badlands (1973)
Hypnotic and minimal, Badlands is a very quiet and very violent movie with intense colours, American landscapes and Carl Orff. A nightmare but very beautiful…

7. Stroszek (1977)
Bruno S is a very impressive character. One will never forget him after seeing this movie.

8. The Apartment (1960)
I don’t like romantic comedies at all. Maybe that’s why I like this movie so much.

9. Yi Yi (2000)
Yi Yi tells the story of a family. It’s very long, so at first, it might seem to be very boring, but actually it’s one of the most absorbing and haunting movies I know. I just wish it would be possible to see more films by Edward Yang.

10. Jan Švankmajer – Every movie
Švankmajer is a surrealist animator from Prague. He made all sorts of films, long and short, and in a way these are all parts of one story. Aside from the incredible artistry and fantastic visual experience, they also have great original music.

Terracotta Festival 2010: Preview

Vengeance

Terracotta Far East Film Festival

6-9 May 2010

Prince Charles Cinema, London

Terracotta website

Following the first Terracotta last year, festival director Joey Leung has once again been scouring the Far East for his second mixtape of Asian blockbusters and mysterious oddities. As before, his MO is to provide a short, yet eclectic program that demonstrates the wonders of Eastern cinema, one accessible to both film geeks and casual viewers.

Terracotta will open with Asia’s biggest name – Jackie Chan. Little Big Soldier (2010) is his latest action movie, and although it’s another buddy movie of sorts, this time set in ancient China, it’s an assured return to form for the veteran martial artist. The festival will close with another spectacular period piece, Bodyguards and Assassins (2009), a lavish crowd-pleaser that follows an assassination attempt in 1905 Hong Kong. For those tired of headache-inducing 3-D cartoons, the Far East proves there’s nothing wrong with the old-fashioned way of delivering thrills.

While Chan is a household name, Leung is keen to highlight emerging talents such as Huang Bo, star of Cow (2009), a Chinese black comedy about a peasant tasked with saving a cow’s life during World War II. ‘This little-known film has won some major awards and is set to take off internationally – we were glad we got to it early!’ explains Leung. He also uncovered Japan’s Fish Story (2009), a sci-fi comedy set in several different time frames about punk rock and meteorites: ‘These two films are must-sees for people out to discover something different.’

Leung has also acted on feedback from last year’s festival and added late-night horror screenings and documentaries to the Terracotta programme. The Thai film Meat Grinder (2009) is an Asian take on Sweeney Todd, retelling the gruesome fable with a noodle-seller who starts harvesting human meat for her legendary soup stock, while Phobia (2008), also from Thailand, is a collection of four supernatural tales. But Terracotta is also set to educate, not just entertain, with a double bill of documentaries profiling In the Mood for Love cinematographer Christopher Doyle and exploring the impact of the yakuza on Asian cinema. Director Yves Montmayeur will be on hand to talk about these films as Leung is hoping to get behind the scenes of Asian cinema: ‘The awareness of who’s who helps those new to the genre navigate the vast offering of films. What’s important to us is that we bring in the next generation of film fans and students.’

Those who have fond memories of Johnnie To’s Sparrow from last year’s festival will be pleased to hear that the director returns with another French-inflected crime tale. In Vengeance (2009), a French chef (played by musician/actor Johnny Hallyday) jumps between Macau and Hong Kong in a tough, near-wordless quest for revenge. It’s To back to his hard-boiled best, revisiting the starkness of Exiled and Election while mixing in shades of Memento.

Manga fans will be able to catch the spectacular conclusion of the 20th-Century Boys trilogy based on the award-winning series by Naoki Urasawa as well as the entertaining family adventure K-20: Legend of the Mask (2008). There’s also anim√© in the form of Summer Wars (2009) and the usual strangeness from South Korea with the light-hearted musical Antique (2008), so somewhere within the 15 handpicked films is a movie guaranteed to pull you into the weird and wonderful world of the Far East.

Richard Badley