Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Matter of Size - Japanese culture in Israel!

Herzl has a problem. He's in a weight-loss program but he keeps gaining weight. He's also been told that he's a bad influence on the others. On top of that, his boss also told him that he's been demoted from the front of the restaurant to the kitchen.

After quitting his job, Herzl finds a job at a Japanese restaurant as a dishwasher. His Japanese co-workers watch Sumo and they comment that Herzl is like a Sumo wrestler. The boss Kitano is a former Sumo referee. Fed up with the diet club and inspired by Sumo, Herzl is inspired to take up Sumo Wrestling. He enrolls his friends to participate and they all have other issues in their lives in addition to being "big." Aharon has problems with his marriage. Gidi is an in-the-closet gay "bear."

I don't want to say too much more about the plot and spoil it for anyone interested in watching it except that it's funny, entertaining, heart-warming and thought-provoking. I thought it was unusual to mix Israeli and Japanese culture.This is also a multilingual film with dialogue spoken in English, Japanese and Hebrew.

This film definitely deserved to win some awards and it did! It's a very enjoyable film directed by Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor. Sharon also worked on the screenplay. Those watching this film might also enjoy the soundtrack.

Herzl (which by the way in German means "little heart!') is played by Itzik Cohen and his love interest Zehava is played by Irit Kaplan. Kitano is played by Togo Igawa who lives in England and was the first Japanese actor to become a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company!

Here are some quotes from this film:

"Don't forget... with your mouth...we only talk."---Geula, diet club consultant

"Got married. Got divorced. Then got married again, then divorced...gained 10 kilos each time."---Zehava

"You're just a cook at a salad bar. So don't feel so heavy at the heart."---boss to Herzl

"But even on a diet you've got to eat. Do you want to starve to death?"--Herzl's mother to Herzl

"Hey, he looks just like a sumo wrestler!"---Japanese restaurant co-workers about Herzl

"No hot water again! And you call yourself a plumber!"---Aharon's wife

"It's crucial when and how much we eat. Cuz hunger is our slave, not our king."---Geula

"What's the deal? Does everyone have to be thin? You decided that fat is sick and we ate it all up. They're selling us self-hate here!"---Herzl

"So, should we get a little dirty?"---Zehava to Herzl

"Just since you haven't been able to fit in store-bought clothes."---Herzl's mother about her sewing

"Hope you don't like having sex in the dark."---Zehava

"When I was here in the sumo ring, I felt healthy for the first time in my life."---Herzl

"You think I'd cry about such nonsense? I've been hurt so many times before, I've lost count. I've got skin as thick as an elephants's."---Zehava

"I'm not wearing that. I'm no faggot."---Aharon

"My wife didn't cheat on me because I'm fat but because I'm a bad husband."---Aharon

Here are some scenes from this film:

Here's the official trailer for this film:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector, played by Simon Pegg, is a London psychiatrist who decides to leave his work and girlfriend Clara (played by Rosamund Pike) to travel around to research happiness.

He heads first to China where he meets and hangs out with Edward, a wealthy banker played by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard and he also meets Ying Li, a beautiful young Chinese woman, played by Chinese actress Ming Zhao, (she's a soap opera actress in her first feature film role).

His travel leads him to a Buddhist monastery. From there, he travels to Africa where he assists his college friend Michael at a clinic. Then he goes to California where he sees his old girlfriend from college.

Throughout his journey he keeps notes in his journal.

Here are the main points related to happiness that he writes in his journal:

1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
2. A lot of people thinking happiness means being richer or more important.
3. Many people only see happiness in their future.
4. Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time.
5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
6. Avoiding unhappiness...is not the road to happiness.
7. Does this person predominantly bring you a) up or b) down?
8. Happiness is answering your calling.
9. Happiness is being loved for who you are.
10. Sweet potato stew!
11. Fear is an impediment to happiness.
12. Happiness is feeling completely alive.
13. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
14. Listening is loving.
15. Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

There are some interesting characters played by a variety of actors. French actor Jean Reno plays Diego.  German actress Veronica Ferres plays psychic Anjali who is one of Hector's clients. Toni Collette plays Agnes, Hector's ex-girlfriend from college. Canadian actor Christopher Plummer plays Professor Coreman.

This film is entertaining and thought-provoking.  You'll laugh and cry!

Some quotes from this film:

"But I want a penis."---French woman to Hector at a party

"If you're going to do it, Hector, do it totally."---Clara

"Let me show you happy."---Edward

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness. Fuck you!"---Edward

"We're addicted, divorced, dead. What the hell.---Edward

"It's how much you pay who you know."---Doorman at Chinese club

"Oh Hector. The difference between those three ladies and me is that there's no shame in how they make their money. They can show their faces back home. I can't."---Ying Li

"If you look at this plane, you'll notice it's quite old. That means it's never crashed before. Should be quite reassuring."---African female passenger

"Forgive me but if your happiness causes other people's' unhappiness, then how can that be happiness?"---Hector
"What's in it for you?"---Diego

"You're in it for yourself, like everyone else."---Diego

"I bet what I farm makes more people happy than the crap you dish out."---Diego

"If you want to be happy, take care of your own."---Diego

"Excuse me. Excuse me. Take off your IPod. There's a lion really close by."---Hector

"I sometimes feel like psychiatry comes with affluence. You know, the richer the city, the more psychiatrists there are per square mile. What does that tell you?"---Hector

"The mind can hurt as much as the body."---Marcel

"Keep-It-Handy Travel Candy. Nice."---Hector

"It says that the evil you do in this life could cost your happiness in the next."---Hector

"People who are afraid of death are afraid of life."---Jamilla

"Hector wants to know the secret to a happy marriage."--Agnes

"Putting away your socks. Before taking care of every other aspect of your life."---Clara

"You're emotionally squeamish."---Agnes to Hector

"Everything in this world is going up but happiness is going down.---Professor Coreman

"The more we focus on our own personal happiness, the more it eludes us....We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but the happiness of pursuit."---Professor Coreman

Some facts about this film:

The London parts were filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

It was filmed in Canada, China, South Africa, and America.

The story takes place on four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

Some of the funding came from Telefilm Canada.

The director was Peter Chelsom.

This film incorporates live action, simple props and animation.

Some scenes from this film:

Here's the official trailer for this film: