August 09, 2006


K_hulawebArthouse sales agent extraordinaire, Fortissimo Films, has picked up the world rights to HULA GIRLS. This is the new film from, surprisingly, Lee Sang-Il (SCRAP HEAVEN). Shot in Japan, produced by Cine Qua Non, and starring Yasuko Matsuyuki and Etsushi Toyokawa (IT'S ONLY TALK) it's based on the true story of a rundown coal mining village in 1965 that decides to build a Hawaiian Village tourist attraction in order to save its stagnant economy. No one knows how to hula, however, and so a dance instructor from Tokyo is brought in to teach the girls how to hula.

K_hulaweb2Set at the height of the Hawaiian/Polynesian craze that swept the world in the 60's and gave us Trade Vic's and Don Ho, this is a feel-good film from Fortissimo, a company better known for its arthouse flicks like LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE and 2046. But they must be doing something right because the flick just got invited to Toronto to make its world premiere.

Also, if anyone was wondering what happened to Kore-eda's HANA - it's making its international premiere at Toronto, too.

(And check out those HULA GIRL stills. I can hear the ukelele.)

August 9, 2006 at 10:17 AM in News | Permalink


Inexplicably absent from the lineups of both the Venice and Cannes, despite HANA gets help from Celluloid Dreams (which has clout with Cannes officials).

So I personally don't have so much hope on HANA....

Posted by: no name | Aug 9, 2006 10:53:44 AM

Hana opened in Japan two months ago -- how was the reaction there? Anyone?

Posted by: Bob Violence | Aug 9, 2006 2:41:52 PM

Lukewarm box office (it slipped out of the top 10 within a few weeks) and reviews. I'm not exactly sure why - perhaps because it was an odd hybrid of Kore-eda's usual scripting and pacing and more commercial dramatic and comedic elements. I liked it a lot, especially for its fresh take on the jidaigeki (period film) genre, but I may be in the minority.

Posted by: Don | Aug 9, 2006 6:34:45 PM

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