The Saito Kinen Orchestra Celebrates Genius Teacher,
Saito Kinen Orchestra with conductor Seiji Ozawa.
Courtesy of Saito-kinen.com
annual Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto will be held Aug.
22 - Sept. 14 under the leadership of Vienna State Opera
music director, Seiji Ozawa and is not one to miss for
classical enthusiasts. The festival was established
in 1992 in the Nagano Prefecture city of Matsumoto and
was inspired by a 1984 orchestral concert commemorating
the 10th anniversary of the death of Hideo Saito, a
teacher, conductor and co-founder of the Toho Gakuen
School of Music, one of the nation's leading music schools.
Ozawa initiated the formation of the Saito Kinen Orchestra
with fellow conductor Kazuyoshi Akiyama and a hundred
or so more of Saito's former students to play in honor
of his memory. The orchestra toured overseas since 1987
and since then, they have recorded extensively with
a classical repertoire of works by Beethoven, Brahms
festival is not only an annual homage to classical master
Saito but a musical gathering of players whose goal
is to send a message from Japan to the West, the home
of classical music. The festival includes rarely performed
operatic works, which the audiences enjoy immensely
and also the 1,000 Voices Chorus concert, which began
since 2000. The key to the success of the Saito Kinen
Festival is the support from hundreds of volunteers.
Saito Kinen Orchestra, led by Seiji Ozawa, performs
Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 (ed. Nowak) and more on Sept.
10 (7 p.m.), Sept. 12 (7 p.m.), Sept. 13 (7 p.m.) and
Sept. 14 (4 p.m.) at Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan. 9,000 yen-21,000
Lyric Opera of Chicago, directed by Olivier Tambosi,
and the Saito Kinen Orchestra, led by Seiji Ozawa, perform
Verdi's ``Falstaff'' on Sept. 1 (6:30 p.m.), Sept. 3
(6:30 p.m.), Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.) and Sept. 7 (6:30 p.m.)
at Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan. 9,000 yen-24,000 yen.
The Saito Kinen Orchestra and the 1,000 Voices Chorus,
led by Seiji Ozawa and Jonathan Webb, perform selections
from Bizet's ``Carmen'' and more on Sept. 6 (5 p.m.)
at Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan. 3,000 yen.
variety of chamber music concerts will be held at Harmony
Hall, including Bartok's 44 Duos, featuring violinists
Robert Mann and Miwako Watanabe, on Aug. 22 (7 p.m.)
6,000 yen; Mozart's Symphony No. 40 and more on Aug.
24 (3 p.m.) 8,000 yen; Vivaldi's Concerto Gross No.
8 and more on Aug. 30 (7 p.m.) and Aug. 31 (3 p.m.)
8,000 yen; and Beethoven's Septet and more on Sept.
9 (7 p.m.). 6,000 yen.
festival's Toru Takemitsu Memorial Concert VIII at Harmony
Hall on Sept. 4 (7 p.m.) will feature works by the late
composer. 4,000 yen.
Ticket reservations can be made by telephone on June
21 and 22 through Ticket Pia, CN Play Guide, Lawson
Ticket and e+, which will also accept online reservations.
For more info, visit www.saito-kinen.com or call the
Saito Kinen Festival Operating Board at 0263-39-0001.
For information in English about accommodations, call
JTB's Matsumoto office at 0263-35-3311.(IHT/Asahi: June
to Host Second International Film Festival
Golden Kinnaree Award for excellence in international
filmmaking to be awarded at 2004 the Bangkok International
Film Festival. Courtesy of Bangkokfilm.org
2004 Bangkok International Film Festival will be held
next year from Jan. 22 - Feb. 2 and plans to screen
about 150 movies, 50 more than it featured this year.
The event will include special seminars, panel discussions,
a competition in nine categories of films including
the second annual Golden Kinnaree Award for excellence
in international filmmaking, and a special segment on
South-east Asian Cinema. The Bangkok Film Festival began
as an attempt by the Thai government in cooperation
with the Thai Film Federation to promote the local film
industry and support the use of Thailand's beaches and
islands as shooting locations for foreign films. Juthamaas
Siriwan, the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and
the event organizer, believes that the 2004 festival
will attract even more attendees since last year's event
was such a success.
have been newly appointed U.S. programmers, including
former Palm Springs International Film Festival executive
Craig Pater, to help stage the program and introduce
an international film market in addition to the Thai
festival. Prater stated that it will attract many entries
from around the world, "which takes advantage of
Bangkok's potential to be a central marketplace in Asia."
The festival, though still in its planning stages, aims
to have an emphasis on international titles, Thai shorts,
documentaries and features from all 10 members' countries
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
more info, visit www.bangkokfilm.org
"The Good Lawyer's Wife" Goes to Venice
of "The Good Lawyer's Wife." Courtesy
Good Lawyer's Wife" (Paramnan Kajok), directed
by Lim Sang-soo and starring Moon So-ri, has taken the
box office by storm this past weekend (August 23-24)
in Seoul. According to Film 2.0 magazine, the film attracted
74,000 watchers, beating out last week's top movie,
Sean Connery's "A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,"
which harvested 64,000 moviegoers into theaters. Sang-soo's
film reached the one-million mark on Monday, Aug. 25th,
only 12 days after its release. The film, which looks
into the infidelities committed by members of a Korean
upper middle class dysfunctional family, has been invited
to take part in the competition sector of the 60th Venice
Film Festival held Aug. 27 - Sept. 6. The movie will
compete with 19 others for the coveted Golden Lion Prize.
will be the second trip to the Venice 60 for Korean
actress Moon, who won the festival's Marcello Mastroianni
Award for Best Young Actor or Actress last year for
her role of a woman with cerebral palsy in "Oasis"
whose director, Lee Chang-dong, also took home the best
director prize. The director of the Venice Film Festival,
Mortiz de Hadeln, chose the Korean domestic feature
for its lighthearted approach of the "absurd and
harsh reality of a family's destruction." The invitation
serves as hopeful news since Korea failed to break into
this year's Cannes and Berlin film festivals. The festival
will open with the world premiere of Woody Allen's "Anything
Else," starring Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs and
Allen himself. As a homage to Katherine Hepburn, who
died in late June, the festival will screen a restored
version of "Summertime" (1955) which stars
the late actress as a lonely American woman in Venice.
Returns Home to Sings 'Songs From Home'
singer/actress Lea Salonga. Courtesy of Malaya.com
Filipino singer and actress Lea Salonga holds a concert
scheduled for Sept. 12-13, 8 p.m. at the PICC Plenary
Hall titled "Bayo Presents Lea Salonga: Songs From
Home" which will run consistent with Bayo's "Filipino
and Proud" campaign. The two-night event presented
by Bayo, Salonga's own clothing company, is deemed a
homecoming performance for Lea who has been away from
the country for quite sometime, last seen performing
in Manila during the repeat of "The Broadway Concert"
in the summer of 2001. The director of the show, Bobby
Garcia, said that the musicians involved have selected
"some of the most outstanding songs ever written
in our country." He also noted that 'Songs From
Home' will consist entirely of OPM (Original Philipino
Music) songs by "the finest singer this country
has," that is, of course, Lea Salonga. Guests include
Filipino-American singer and actor Paolo Montalban and
singer/songwriter Ogie Alcasid. Musical director, Gerard
Salonga, will conduct the 50-piece Manila Philharmonic
Chi Minh's Hong Kong Days are Documented on a Huge Budget
big budget feature-film on Vietnamese Communist leader,
Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary activities in Hong Kong
is hitting theatres across the country on Sept. 1, the
day before Vietnam's national day. The 90-minute documentary
is set in the 1930s during which Ho Chi Minh was jailed
in Hong Kong after the British were coerced by French
authorities in Vietnam to arrest him for his pro-independence
activities as the founder of the Vietnamese Communist
Party. The title, "Nguyen Ai Quoc in Hong Kong,"
refers to one of the series of pseudonyms adopted by
Ho Chi Minh and means 'Nguyen The Patriot.' The cost
of the film was approximately 15 billion dong (US $975,000),
an astounding figure for a Vietnamese film, and was
produced by the state-run Film Studio Company and China's
Zhoujiang studio, which contributed a third of the budget.
It was shot on location in Vietnam, China and Hong Kong
over a period of two months and stars Vietnamese movie
star Tran Luc as Ho Chi Minh.
producer of the film, Ha Pham Phu, who is also Director
of the Vietnamese Writer's Association Film Company,
set a heavy focus on the trial of Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho
Chi Minh) by British colonialists, one of the most important
trials among the international communist movement between
1930 and 1940. Phu emphasizes that this is a "historical
documentary" based on extensive research and moderate
Film Purists Defend Shaolin Soccer
Chow's "Shaolin Soccer." Courtesy
seems that the Cantonese sports comedy "Shaolin
Soccer" has had trouble finding its way to theaters
overseas. Though Miramax Films prides itself in acquiring
and distributing foreign films, many Asian film buffs
don't think the New York-based studio has much to take
pride in because of their disregard for "Shaolin
Soccer." Miramax acquired Stephen Chow's film after
it became Hong Kong's highest-grossing picture of all
time in 2001, originally slating its release in the
U.S. for April of this year, then moved it to Aug. 15
and now has pushed the picture even further to an as-yet-to-be-determined
fall release (tentatively scheduled for Sept. 5). The
problem according to Chris Hyde, a digital-imaging administrator
at Harvard's Peabody Museum who is an Asian cinema writer,
is that Miramax buys the rights to foreign films but
tosses it when they can't find a way to market it properly.
Many on the other side find this a tad bit insulting.
preparation for its American debut, the picture was
cut by 20 minutes and dubbed into English with Chow's
own recorded English dialogue with the hope that this
Americanized version would draw in masses of youngsters,
repeating a similar success Miramax experienced with
the dubbed Jackie Chan movies "Operation Candor"
(1997) and "Supercop" (1996). However, Asian
film purists are not crazy about these alterations because
it takes away too much from the original. On the flipside,
Americanization can mean exposure to a wider audience.
But Miramax seems to be undecided on who they want to
target "Shaolin Soccer" to. After test screenings
of the dubbed version in Calgary, Canada and Columbus,
Ohio, sources from Miramax concluded that the results
were "not as strong as we had hoped." The
company decided in July that a subtitled print and restoration
of the cut scenes will be released in three major markets:
New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
spokesman Matthew Hiltzik has said that they have been
working closely with Chow to try to fine-tune the film
for a young American audience who have rarely warmed
to subtitles. He added that the release of the movie
was delayed because of Chow's unavailability for the
publicity campaign, in which they hope to have him highly
involved with. Also, some of the challenge in getting
"Shaolin Soccer" into America comes from the
fact that the U.S. is not a soccer country.
has released many films from Asia including China's
"Farewell My Concubine" (1993), Hong Kong's
"Iron Monkey" (2001) and 1999's "Princess
Mononoke," Hayao Miyazaki's Japanese animated epic,
which was dubbed by American and British actors (including
Claire Danes, Minnie Driver and Gillian Anderson, in
1999), but may find a difficult time not only releasing
but marketing "Shaolin Soccer" the way Asian
film buffs demand.
Shakedown 2 Breaks the Record
of "Bayside Shakedown 2." Courtesy
Daisosasen The Movie 2" ("Bayside Shakedown
2") becomes the fastest to reach over 500 million
people in the box office of Japan and has broken the
20-year-old box-office record for non-animated films.
The police drama directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro, amassed
revenues of 11.1 billion yen in just 30 days after its
July 19 nationwide release, surpassing the previous
box office record of 11 billion for 1983's action film
"Nankyoku Monogatari" ("Antarctica").
Shakedown 2" is the third most successful Japanese
movie to date in terms of box-office revenues, following
the 30.4 billion yen brought in by the Oscar-winning
2001 animated film "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi"
("Spirited Away") and the 19.3 billion yen
earned by 1997's animation film, "Mononokehime"
("Princess Mononoke"). Japan's box office
hit will be screening in most Asian countries later
this year including South Korea and Hong Kong.
Stars Take the Plunge to Raise Funds
President Star Charity televised. Courtesy
of Singapore is gathering its celebrities once again
for the President's Star Charity next month. This will
be the 10th year artists, deejays, sports stars and
media celebrities will come together to help more than
40 beneficiaries selected by President SR Nathan, including
the Asian Women's Welfare Association, Hospice Care
Association and Spastic Children Association School.
year, Fann Wong and Huang Biren duked it out with their
respective teams to raise a whooping $2.3 million, double
the amount raised in 2001. This year, Tay Ping Hui and
Sharon Au will lead the Blue and Red teams respectively
to compete in a myriad of games, stunts and entertaining
challenges to win as much donation dollars as possible.
Other Mediacorp celebrities that will take part in this
charity event are Choo Mimi, Terence Cao, Daniel Ong,
Alan Tern, Jeff Wang and Aaron Aziz. Over the next three
weeks, artists and media figures will undertake rigorous
training to prepare for the "fight."
host Gurmit Singh will be the mediator before the final
showdown on Sunday, Sept. 14. Producers of the show
are hoping the artists' determination and spirit will
charm homeviewers into donating to support either team
through telepoll lines.
President's Star Charity will be shown live on MediaCorp
TV Channel 5 on Sunday, September 14 from 7.30pm to
9.30pm, with an encore telecast on Saturday, 20 September
2003 at 5.30pm.
Goes Under the Knife
top stars are being forced to have plastic surgery done
on their bodies and faces to keep their glamorous, to-die-for
looks. Star surgeon Dr. Narendra Pandya says that she
has seen almost a 30% jump in the last year. Most actors
and models who once traveled to other countries to perform
surgery now use Indian doctors, despite the high cost
of 'tuck' and 'lift,' which ranges from Rs 30,000 for
reconstructive surgery to over Rs 1 lakh for breast
Kong's So Close to Having Their Own Angels
to right): Actresses Zhao Wei, Karen Mok and Shu
Qi of "So Close." Courtesy of Subwaycinema.com
Cameron and Lucy aren't the only ones having a blast
as females that fight. Director Corey Yuen ("The
Enforcer," "The Legend," "No Retreat,"
"No Surrender," "The Defender,"
"The Legend 2") and martial arts choreographer
("Lethal Weapon 4," "Kiss of the Dragon,"
"Romeo Must Die," "Zu: Warriors of the
Magic Mountain") has set an action film that centers
around a female band of assassins. The sister-assassin
duo of Lynn (Shu Qi of "The Transporter")
and Sue (Zhao Wei) are on a mission to carry out the
orders of Chow Nun, an ambitious businessman driven
to kill his brother Chow Liu to take over his wealthy
computer company. Investigators in Chow Liu's company,
Kong Yat Hong (Karen Mok) who is the third hard-hittin'
female, and her partner Mark are assigned to the case.
Though "So Close" has been influenced by "Charlie's
Angels"' concept of three heroine crime fighters,
this movie differs in that these three women are not
all on the same side and eventually come face-to-face
in combat with each other. Nevertheless, the film is
fast, furious, full of technological mastery and riveting
special effects that create acrobatic superhuman fight
Shu Qi was originally offered Zhang Ziyi's role in "Crouching
Tiger Hidden Dragon" but turned it down to film
"So Close." Last summer, singer Coco Lee was
in talks to costar but dropped out due to scheduling
conflicts. Actress/singer Cecilia Chung apparently dropped
out as well.
Already a success in Hong Kong, "So Close"
will be released in New York on Sept. 12 this fall and
will expand to other cities at later dates. Although
this movie was produced by Columbia Pictures Film Production
Asia, Columbia Pictures will not be handling its U.S.
release and Strand Releasing will instead. However,
the eventual video release will most likely be done
more info, visit: www.So-Close.com