Thursday March 7, 2013
Almost exactly a year since co-directors Will Lockhart and Cole Pruitt decided to shoot a documentary on the game of go — The Surrounding Game — the team is moving into the next phase of the project. “We have come a very long way and the filming itself is almost complete, but we still have a long way to go to get to a finished film” says Lockhart. The team filmed at the 2012 U.S. Go Congress and AGA Pro Tournament last summer, traveled to China and Korea in the fall, and spent the winter organizing their extensive footage. “We’re now launching a second fundraiser to raise money for post-production, including hiring a full-time editor, commissioning original music, and digital mastering of the film,” says Lockhart. A new fundraising goal of $30,000 has been set to reach a final cut of the film.
The new fundraiser begins this Saturday, March 9 and will operate via The Surrounding Game’s brand new website, which also features a recently-released trailer for the film. “We are adding Chinese- and Korean-language options for the site to make the project and fundraiser accessible to an international audience, and we’ll be offering a ton of new rewards which weren’t available the first time around,” says Pruitt. We want “The Surrounding Game” to be as well-produced as it can possibly be, and we hope you’ll share the project with your friends and family and help us reach our goal.” He also noted that last year “we passed our initial goal quickly thanks to a lot of support from EJ readers.”
- screencaps from the latest Surrounding Game trailer
Monday February 18, 2013
“We’ve just put our new extended trailer on YouTube,” reports The Surrounding Game co-director Cole Pruitt. “Plus, thanks to help from several American go contacts, we’re working with the Nihon Ki-in to schedule a trip to Japan sometime later this summer, hopefully to coincide with a big amateur go festival in August. In March, at the Spring Go Expo, we’ll interview a Japanese 4p who will be coming to the US for a month for promotional purposes.”
Sunday February 17, 2013
A new Korean comic book provides a view of Korean corporate life through the eyes of a former go player. In Misaeng, artist/author Yoon Taeho “ describes the claustrophobic interpersonal relations between employees of Korean corporations, focusing on the banality of everyday life and the little struggles and tiny victories of survival in a corporate culture,” writes Emanuel Pastreich on his blog, Korea: Circles and Squares.
“The protagonist of Misaeng is Jang Gurae, a young man who starts out as an apprentice to the national baduk Association. After his father’s sudden death, Jang Gurae finds his family in serious financial straits. When he fails to qualify as a baduk player, he enters the corporate world. Quiet and introspective, baduk is the underlying formula for his survival.” Pastreich calls Misaeng “a remarkable work of art that deserves to be widely read and analyzed.” Unfortunately, it’s currently only available in Korean.
Thanks to Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod for passing this along.
Tuesday February 5, 2013
Insight Into the Universe is a new film about Yasui Santetsu, a go player and famous Japanese astronomer, better known as Shibukawa Shunkai. The creator of the Japanese Jokyo calendar and the author of many books about astronomy, he also played with his friend and rival, Honinbo Dosaku, in the “castle games.” The famous game between Dosaku and Santetsu, where Santetsu opened on tengen, is depicted in the 2012 film, which was directed by Yojiro Takita and stars Junichi Okada, a Japanese actor, singer, and member of the pop group V6. The heroine in the film, played by Miyazaki Aoi, works at a shrine which still exists today; click here to see Cho U 9p dedicating some of his famous go problems to that shrine. An English-subtitled version of the film does not appear to be available at this time.
- thanks to Go Game Guru
Monday February 4, 2013
Two German brothers are collaborating to create a free movie trailer to spread the game of go. Sven Walther is a go player and computer scientist, while his brother Lars is an actor and filmmaker. Sven says he’s driven to “inspire people with interesting stuff” while Lars is “wowed by the stories and the drama in a game that appears to be so simple.” The brothers have teamed up to crowd-source $8,000 “to make a short video clip, like a movie trailer, to promote the game of go.” Rather than explaining the rules of the game, the Walthers intend to work with real actors and real movie people to create a professional clip that will create a “fascinating atmosphere to represent the game. The novice will see it and say ‘Whoa, what’s that game? Wanna learn more!’” They’ll make the video available on YouTube, so anyone “can use it to promote the game wherever you want.” With 50 days to go, the duo has already raised just over $2,200 in pledges. With several other professionally-produced shorts – the romantic French go video The Album Leaf Within Dreams (Go Art: Romantic Go Video 12/3/2012 EJ) and the 2012 European Women’s Goe Championship promo (The Red Dress Tesuji 8/26/2012 EJ) – already available, and the feature-length documentary The Surrounding Game now in production, a critical mass of go videos seems to be building.
Sunday December 16, 2012
In 1982, a historic film appeared, the first ever co-produced between the Chinese and Japanese film industries. Mikan no Taikyoku, released in 1982 with English subtitles as The Go Masters, explores the impact of world events in the mid-20th century when a Chinese prodigy’s father sends him to Japan. This is NOT the 2006 Go Seigen biopic The Go Master. In fact the current release is entitled “An Unfinished Chess (sic) Game,” which is actually closer to the original title (except for the chess part.) Critics hailed the 1982 film at the time as “an Asian Gone With the Wind,” and it won first prize at The Montreal Film Festival. Then, oddly, it faded into obscurity, but at least one fan never forgot. Yellow Mountain Imports proprietor Pong Yen writes, “I saw this movie a long time ago and have always wanted to carry it . . . After some searching around I was able to find the Chinese distributor.” YMI seems to have an exclusive on the DVD, at least in English. Kudos to Pong Yen for tracking it down. It’s not HD, and the subtitles are a little dark, but if you are a go player who appreciates Asian films, you are in for a treat.
- Roy Laird
Monday December 3, 2012
While researching our recent story on go in Brazil (New Sao Paolo Go Club Opens with Style 11/25/2012 EJ), we came across a terrific romantic French go video, The Album Leaf Within Dreams, posted on Insei Brazil’s website. The wordless 6:36 minute video, made by Pierre Bellanger (DJPeter 3d KGS) for a class at the University of Montpellier Paul Valéry in France, beautifully shows the seductiveness of the game of go through the attraction of a soccer-playing boy to a studious female go player. Be sure to watch it all the way through to a perfect ending that could have been scripted by Nakayama Noriyuki.
Wednesday November 28, 2012
The Hedgehog (Le Hérisson), the French film based on Muriel Barbery’s’ novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog (GO SPOTTING: The Elegance of the Hedgehog 5/4/2010 and The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog 10/24/2010) is now available on Netflix for instant play. As in the novel, the main character is a precocious 12-year-old girl who comments acerbically about the adults around her and knows more about go than the father of a friend who is making a movie of The Girl Who Played Go. As Terry Benson noted in our previous report, “She uses go as a philosophic metaphor, saying that ‘One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose: it is a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or how poorly you have made your construction. This is what one of Taniguchi’s characters says: you live, you die, these are consequences . It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.’” This dialogue is retained almost verbatim in the film.
Saturday November 10, 2012
Girl vs. Monster: Go makes an appearance in the new Disney channel movie “Girl vs. Monster”, reports Tyler Keithley. If anyone’s got more details and/or stills, send ‘em to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Xbox LIVE’s Path of Go: Shawn Ray from Tennessee recently discovered Xbox LIVE’s go arcade game The Path of Go. Ray notes that “My mother, who is not even a go player, said ‘You know go is getting popular when it is on the X-Box.’” He says the game is “unique and fun,” adding that “the graphics are very well done and the board and stones are beautiful and portrayed in a way that you feel like you are playing with the go stones from ancient times.” In addition to useful beginner-level problems, Ray says there’s “a nice little story line with an interesting twist at the end.” He adds that “While most players who are well versed in the game might find the first few chapters boring and easy, it is worth it once you reach the later stages in order to find out what happens. Also the final boss is not so easy, as I am a 4d and it still took me a couple tries to beat him since we are playing on a 9×9 which forces me to come up with new strategies as I can’t us my normal joseki/fuseki ideas on a smaller board.” Ray has a few minor technical complaints but his main problem is that “since the game is not yet popular, I am finding it very difficult to find an opponent on X-Box Live. Hope we can spread the word and get more go players online!”
See Xbox’s Path of Go The New Hikaru No Go? for our original report in the January 10, 2011 EJ.
Tenjou Tenge: Taylor Litteral spotted a go board in Episode 26 of the anime Tenjou Tenge (at 7:40). The anime is based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Oh! great, which primarily focuses on the members of the Juken Club and their opposition, the Executive Council, which is the ruling student body of a high school that educates its students in the art of combat. As the story unfolds, both groups become increasingly involved with an ongoing battle that has been left unresolved for four hundred years.
Wednesday October 31, 2012
A go board is one of the treasures available for players to dig up in The Legend of the Golden Robot game on Kongregate. Thanks to EJ reader Corey McQuarters for passing this along!