Burning, Shoplifters, Headline Cannes 2018

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photo_pcThe Cannes film festival has announced its first clutch of titles and while it’s not a bumper year for East Asian cinema, the few titles selected are among the most highly anticipated.

Japan

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  • Asako I & II – Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s followup to Happy Hour is another lengthy drama following a young woman whose boyfriend mysteriously disappears. Two years later, she meets a man who looks exactly like him but has a totally different personality.
  • Shoplifters – the latest from festival favourite Hirokazu Koreeda, Shoplifters boasts an A-list cast including Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Kengo Kora, Sosuke Ikematsu, Chizuru Ikewaki, Yuki Yamada, Yoko Moriguchi and Akira Emoto and centres on a family of petty criminals who take in an orphaned little girl.

China

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  • Ash Is Purest White – Jia Zhangke returns with another socially conscious crime drama as a woman shoots a gang member to protect her mobster boyfriend and winds up in prison for five years. When she gets out, she goes looking for her former love…
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Bi Gan’s followup to the critically acclaimed Kaili Blues stars Tang Wei, Sylvia Chang, and Huang Jue and follows a murderer who returns to his hometown haunted by memories of the woman he killed for.
  • Dead Souls – Wang Bing’s eight-hour documentary about dying expands on the themes of his previous doc, Mrs. Fang.

Korea

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  • Burning – the long awaited return by Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, Burning adapts a short story by Haruki Murakami and revolves around three people – a novelist, another man, and a fashion model, as they become embroiled in a strange incident.
  • The Spy Gone North – Yoon Jong-bin’s thriller follows a South Korean spy on an infiltration mission in the North.

Thailand

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  • 10 Years in Thailand – inspired by the Hong Kong original, four Thai directors – Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, consider what their nation will look like in 10 years time.

The Cannes film festival runs 8 – 19th May, 2018. Further titles may well be announced in the coming weeks. You can keep up to date with all the latest Cannes news via the festival’s official website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram and YouTube Channels.

Steel Rain, Night Bus Bookend 20th Udine Far East Film Festival

27352385278_5690a7d84e_oThe Udine Far East Film Festival returns for its 20th edition in just over a week’s time. As usual, the festival has brought together some of the most highly anticipated East Asian cinema releases in its 81 film programme which also includes a retrospective dedicated to veteran actress Brigitte Lin who will be receiving the festival’s coveted Golden Mulberry Award. The festival will open with Netflix Original Steel Rain making its Festival Premiere, while Emil Heradi’s Indonesian thriller Night Bus will close the festival on 28th April.

Full programme:

China

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  • A Better Tomorrow 2018 – Ding Sheng’s remake of the ’80s John Woo classic in which two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the law.
  • Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield – Lu Yang’s prequel to the 2014 original follows Shen Lian as he searches for clues to expose a conspiracy.
  • The Legend of the Demon Cat – Chen Kaige adapts a Japanese novel by Yoneyama Mineo in which a poet and a monk follow a cat to track down a murderer. Features Chinese/Japanese cast including Shota Sometani, Huang Xuan, Hiroshi Abe, Qin Hao, and Keiko Matsuzaka.
  • Never Say Die – hilarious Chinese body swap comedy! Review.
  • Love Education – Sylvia Chang’s latest explores the impact of China’s feudal legacy as two women fight for the remains of a polygamous man.
  • Transcendent – existential science fiction thriller.
  • Wolf Warrior II – Wu Jing’s gung-ho action sequel in which Leng Feng takes the fight to Africa.
  • Wrath of Silence – a mute father searches for clues regarding the disappearance of his son in Xin Yukun’s probing crime drama. Review.
  • Youth – Feng Xiaogang looks back at the Cultural Revolution through the story of the Revolutionary Ballet corps. Review.

Hong Kong/China

Operation Red Sea

  • Operation Red Sea – Dante Lam’s Operation Mekong sequel finds elite Chinese military forces evacuating diplomatic staff after war breaks out in the Middle East. Review.
  • Our Time Will Come – Ann Hui tells the story of the resistance movement in World War II HK. Review.

Hong Kong

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  • The Empty Hands – comedy from Chapman To in which a half-Japanese Hong Kong woman’s dreams of freedom from her father’s martial arts legacy are dashed when he leaves 51% of his dojo to another pupil who challenges her to a match for the right to win his controlling share.
  • No. 1 Chung Ying Street – drama contrasting 1967 pro-China demonstrations against the British Government, and the Umbrella democratisation movement in present day Hong Kong.
  • The Bride with White Hair – Ronny Yu’s classic wu xia. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
  • Chungking Express – Wong Kar-Wai’s HK classic. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
  • Dragon Inn – 1992 wuxia classic from Raymond Lee. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
  • Red Dust – 1990 melodrama in which a novelist falls in love with a Japanese collaborator during World War II. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
  • My Heart Is That Eternal Rose – Patrick Tam’s 1989 romantic crime drama.
  • Throw Down – premiere of the new restoration of Johnnie To’s 2004 martial arts drama starring Louis Koo and Aaron Kwok.

Indonesia

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  • My Generation – teen movie affectionately satirising Indonesian millennials.
  • Night Bus – civilians catch a bus to Sampar – a town rich in natural resources but heavily guarded by the army who are keen to defend against rebel militias. Closing night gala.
  • Satan’s Slaves – Joko Anwar remakes the 1980 classic horror movie in which a mother rises from the dead to collect her children.

Japan

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  • The 8-Year Engagement – romantic tearjerker starring Takeru Satoh and Tao Tsuchiya.
  • The Blood of Wolves – Koji Yakusho plays a possibly dodgy cop investigating a missing persons case in Kazuya Shirashi’s ’80s crime drama.
  • Yocho (Foreboding) – the theatrical cutdown of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s TV companion piece to Before we Vanish.
  • Inuyashiki – Shinsuke Sato adapts Hiroya Oku’s science-fiction manga in which an old man gets superpowers and decides to use them to do good, meanwhile a young man has the opposite reaction.
  • Mori, The Artist’s Habitat – the latest from Shuichi Okita stars Kirin Kiki and Tsutomu Yamazaki in the story of an elderly artist and his wife of 52 years.
  • The Name – bankrupt businessman Masao discovers a new side to himself after encountering mysterious high school girl Emiko.
  • One Cut of the Dead – experimental zombie fun from Shinichiro Ueda.
  • The Scythian Lamb – Ryuhei Matsuda stars in Daihachi Yoshida’s adaptation of Tatsuhiko Yamagami and Mikio Igarashi’s manga in which prisoners are released from jail on the condition that they help repopulate declining rural towns.
  • Tremble All You Want – an office lady experiences a number of romantic difficulties in this off-kilter love comedy.
  • Ramen Heads – documentary following “Ramen King” Osamu Tomita.
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA – documentary following the legendary composer.
  • SUKITA: The Shoot Must Go On – David Bowie x photographer Masayoshi Sukita documentary.
  • Blue Film Woman – premiere of a new restoration of the classic 1969 pink film by Ken Mukai.
  • Women Hell Song – premiere of a new restoration of the classic 1970 pink film by Mamoru Watanabe.
  • Tampopo – Juzo Itami’s classic “ramen western”. Review.

Malaysia

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  • Crossroads:One Two Jaga –  gritty migrant worker drama from Nam Ron.

South Korea

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  • 1987: When the Day Comes – democracy movement drama from Jang Joon-hwan.
  • The Battleship Island: Director’s Cut – extended cut of Ryoo Seung-wan’s wartime drama in which a musician and his daughter are conscripted for offshore forced labour. Review of the theatrical edition.
  • Be with You – remake of the 2004 jun-ai classic in which a bereaved husband and son discover a woman who looks like their lost wife and mother wandering in the forest.
  • The Chase – a retired policeman teams up with a landowner to solve a 30-year-old cold case.
  • Forgotten – a nervous young man begins to doubt his surroundings after his brother is kidnapped. Review.
  • Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum – a TV crew travel to an abandoned asylum with a notorious past and get a lot more than they bargained for.
  • Last Child – powerful drama in which a grieving couple warm to the child their son died saving.
  • Little Forest – remake of the Japanese foody drama starring Kim Tae-ri
  • Midnight Runners – two police trainees decide to pursue justice alone in this hugely enjoyable buddy cop action comedy. Review.
  • The Outlaws – Ma Dong-seok stars in an anarchic crime drama. Review.
  • The Running Actress – actress Moon So-ri writes, directs, and stars in this feature length compilation of three shorts.
  • A Special Lady – Kim Hye-soo stars as the second in command of a corporate gangster outfit in this noirish thriller.
  • Steel Rain – A North Korean operative brings the wounded leader to the South to escape a coup and then must cooperate with an intelligence officer to prevent a nuclear war. Opening night gala. Review.
  • Courtesy to the Nation – Kwon Gyeong-won’s documentary focuses on democracy activist Chang Ki-hoon who became the centre of the Fake Will Scandal.
  • Veteran – Ryoo Seung-wan’s 2015 action drama. Review.

Philippines 

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  • Chedeng and Apple – two old ladies set off on a quest to discover lost love with a severed head in a handbag along for the ride.
  • The Portrait – musical World War 2 drama.
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles – Raya Martin adapts the novel by F. H. Batacan in which two priests investigate murders of small boys in a Manila slum.
  • Himala– 1982 religious drama from Ishmael Bernal.
  • Moral – classic 1982 youth drama from Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

Singapore

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  • Diamond Dogs – a terminal cancer patient enters an underground social experiment.
  • Wonder Boy – ’70s musical biopic.

Taiwan

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  • All Because of Love – teen romance.
  • Dear Ex – family drama
  • Gatao 2: Rise of the King – sequel to the gangster drama.
  • On Happiness Road –  charming animation in which a woman returns to her childhood home.
  • Take Me to the Moon – timeslip comedy in which a young man attempts to save his friend from a life decision that will eventually lead to both their deaths.
  • Cloud of Romance – restored melodrama from 1977. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
  • Outside the Window – 1973 Taiwanese age-gap romantic melodrama. Brigitte Lin retrospective.

Thailand

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  • Bad Genius – a high school girl hatches a plan to cheat the exams system. Review.
  • The Promise – two women pledge to commit suicide together but when one backs out the other returns 20 years later to haunt her!
  • Sad Beauty – two female friends get mixed up in a murder.

Vietnam

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  • The Tailor – a tale of dressmaking and family in ’60s Vietnam.

Full details for each of the films will be shortly available via the official website where you can also find the daily screening schedule. Screenings take place both at the Teatro Nuovo, and the Visionario cinema. You can keep up with all the latest festival news via the festival’s Facebook Page, Instagram and YouTube channels, Twitter account, and Tumblr.

Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival Launches 2018 UK Tour

in time to come still 2Following its announcement last October, Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival – a brand new UK festival dedicated to Asian cinemas, is set to launch its inaugural screening series with three events at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in late March.

In Time To Come 

25th March, 1pm

in time to come still 1Tan Pin Pin’s Singaporean documentary unearths a time capsule of national history through videographic recordings to probe the connections between time and memory.

The Island Funeral

29th March, 6pm

Island Funeral posterLaila, a Muslim in predominantly Buddhist Bangkok, travels south along with her brother Zugood and friend Toy just as political turmoil engulfs the city. Yet being from the city they are each mostly ignorant of the ongoing political strife which has plagued the southern regions for quite some time. Meeting a conflicted soldier who also feels like an outsider being from the North the four continue on their journey through a strange landscape.

People Power Bombshell: The Diary Of Vietnam Rose

31st March, 1pm

People Power Bombshell- The Diary of Vietnam RoseJohn Torres repurposes footage from an uncompleted film by Celso Advento Castillo to lay bare the various oppressions of the Marcos regime at the time of the People Power Revolution through the story of Liz Alindogan whose dreams of becoming an actress were frustrated by the world in which she lived.

All three screenings take place at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and tickets are already available via the links above. Further details are available on the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival will tour across the UK throughout the spring and summer of 2018.

Anarchist from Colony Opens Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

osaka poster largeThe Osaka Asian Film Festival returns for 2018 bringing the best in independent Japanese and East Asian cinema to Japan’s second city. As usual the festival has brought together some of the most anticipated recent features from veteran filmmakers and first timers from across the region opening with Lee Joon-ik’s tale of colonial rebellion and closing with Japanese indie THE NAME.

Japan

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  • THE NAME – bankrupt businessman Masao discovers a new side to himself after encountering mysterious high school girl Emiko. Closing Night Gala.
  • Bad Poetry Tokyo – 30-year-old Jun is an aspiring actress working as a hostess while waiting to fulfil the dreams she fears have already eluded her.
  • Passage of Life – A young Burmese family try to make a life for themselves in Japan whilst remaining undocumented.
  • Woozoo be Alright? – A Korean businessman gets sent to Osaka after his boss is lost in a shipwreck but ends up quitting his job to learn guitar from a Japanese girl.
  • The Garden Apartment – Hikari and Taro are a young unmarried couple expecting a baby but financially insecure. Taro has been relying on an eccentric aunt for financial support but when Hikari is introduced to her she finds herself entering a whole new world.
  • KUSHINA, what will you be – Kushina has lived in a woman only village deep in the forest all her life but her world is turned upside down when a wandering anthropologist discovers the village’s existence.
  • The Path Leading to Love – alcoholic Shosuke ruins professional and personal possibilities through fear and insecurity but is forced to confront himself on discovering his mother is seriously ill.
  • The Sower – Mitsuo returns to his family after being institutionalised for mental breakdown caused by the strain of helping those caught up in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami but a family tragedy soon provides another wave of emotional turbulence. Review.
  • Still Life of Memories – In the latest from Hitoshi Yazaki, a photographer gets an unusual request to photograph the intimate areas of a female subject placing a strain on his romantic relationship.
  • TOURISM – Daisuke Miyazaki’s Yamato (California) followup takes two Yamato girls to Singapore only to discover that even abroad they can’t leave Yamato behind.
  • My Country My Home – Nan was born and raised in Japan but her dad is from Myanmar. When she finds out he intends to return and take her with him she finds out a little about her father’s history and her Burmese heritage.

Korea

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  • Anarchist from Colony – Lee Jook-ik tells the story of Korean anarchist Park Yeol and his Japanese wife who find themselves caught up in the anti-Korean hysteria in the aftermath of the 1923 Kanto earthquake. ReviewOpening Night Gala.
  • Daddy You, Daughter Me – Father/daughter bodyswap comedy inspired by Japanese novel Papa to Musume no Nanokakan.
  • Bitch on the Beach – Hong Sang-soo-esque cineliterate comedy from actor/director Jeong Ga-yeong. Review.

China

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  • A Better Tomorrow 2018 – Ding Sheng’s remake of the ’80s John Woo classic in which two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the law.

Hong Kong

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  • In Your Dreams – 16-year-old Heng saves a woman from drowning in a swimming pool and becomes captivated by her loneliness.
  • No. 1 Chung Ying Street – drama contrasting 1967 pro-China demonstrations against the British Government, and the Umbrella democratisation movement in present day Hong Kong.
  • The Empty Hands – comedy from Chapman To in which a half-Japanese Hong Kong woman’s dreams of freedom from her father’s martial arts legacy are dashed when he leaves 51% of his dojo to another pupil who challenges her to a match for the right to win his controlling share.
  • Love Off the Cuff – Jimmy and Cherie return for the third in Pang’s charming series of romantic comedies. Review.
  • Made in Hong Kong – 4K restoration of Fruit Chan’s seminal tale of handover youth. Review.
  • Somewhere Beyond the Mist – first narrative feature from documentarian Cheung King Wai in which a pregnant cop caring for a father with Alzheimer’s is charged with investigating the deaths of an elderly couple.

Taiwan

The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful

  • The Bold, The Corrupt and the Beautiful – Madame Tang runs an antique shop in ’80s Taiwan which she uses as a front for her dodgy business dealings. Her daughter Ning reluctantly goes along with her scheming while granddaughter Chen watches in silence. When a neighbouring family is murdered, the trio begin to realise how precarious their situation really is.
  • Take Me To the Moon – timeslip comedy in which a young man attempts to save his friend from a life decision that will eventually lead to both their deaths.
  • A Dog’s Life – four stories of dogs!
  • The Island That All Flow By – Chia-Wen loses her tollbooth job to technology while her teenage son gets into trouble with the law. Truck driver Chih-Hao offers to help, but not for free.

Philippines

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  • Mr. and Mrs. Cruz – two tourists are mistaken for a married couple and keep up the pretence while enjoying a beautiful holiday romance.
  • NEOMANILA – The latest from Mikhail Red is a tough tale of life on the streets of Duterte’s Manila.
  • PAKI (Please, Care) – 70-year-old Alejandra decides to leave her husband of 50 years while her family struggle to accept her decision.
  • Love You To The Stars And Back – Socially awkward Mika sets off on a journey to get abducted by aliens but ends up meeting Caloy who has lived a life of hardship but remains positive and agrees to help her in her quest.

Indonesia

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  • Posesif – Lala’s first love is derailed by a possessive boyfriend in this Indonesian drama.
  • Pai Kau – Lucy’s dream wedding is threatened when her fiancé’s ex shows up unexpectedly.

Thailand

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  • Die Tomorrow – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit follows six residents of Bangkok on their last day on Earth.

Vietnam

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  • The Tailor – a tale of dressmaking and family in ’60s Vietnam.

Sri Lanka

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  • Underpants Thief – Sam seeks help for his compulsion to touch ladies’ undies and is advised to marry but his brother doesn’t want him to because he wants to inherit their family mansion and redevelop it into a hotel. Sam’s sister-in-law, however, has a different, more radical solution…

Cambodia

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  • The Forest Whispers – a village suffering a curse prays to the forest deity whereupon a mysterious woman arrives but when people start dying they wonder if she is a saviour or executioner.
  • Poppy Goes to Hollywood Redux – homophobic street punk Mony takes refuge with his transgender sibling, a dancer in a gay club.

Malaysia

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  • Think Big Big – a larger lady finds internet fame after entering a slimming competition but begins to lose sight of who she really is.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival takes place from 9th – 18th March, 2018. You can find full details and screening information for all the films on the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest festival news via the official Facebook Page, Twitter account, YouTube and Instagram channels.

Berlin International Film Festival to Screen River’s Edge, Grass, Yocho

River's edge still 1The Berlin International Film Festival returns with the 68th edition from 15 – 25th February. Long a champion of East Asian cinema, this year’s program arrives with a series of highly anticipated features including the latest from Isao Yukisada, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and Hong Sang-soo.

Japan

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  • Amiko – 16 year old Amiko has left Nagano behind to look for the boyfriend who skipped out on her to go to Tokyo with another girl.
  • Blue Wind Blows – A small boy on Sado chases ghosts with the help of a bookish friend.
  • Minatomachi – Kazuhiro Soda’s latest documentary focusses on a declining fishing village.
  • Our House – Two women inhabit the same space in Yui Kiyohara’s eerie drama.
  • Ramen Teh – A Japanese ramen chef travels to Singapore after the death of his father to find out more about his Singaporean mother who died when he was only 10.
  • River’s Edge – A young man bullied because of his sexuality finds a dead body and investigates with the help of his best friend and confidant in the latest from Isao Yukisada.
  • Yocho (Foreboding) – Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s companion piece to Before We Vanish, Yocho is the story of an alien doctor and his Earthling wife.
  • Tokyo Boshoku (Tokyo Twilight) – In this restored classic from Yasujiro Ozu, a young woman copes with an unwanted pregnancy with the help of her sister who has returned home in flight from an alcoholic husband.
  • Yama – Attack to Attack – Intended as a document of the workers’ struggle, this 1985 documentary eventually cost both of its directors their lives at the hands of the yakuza whose corruption they hoped to expose.

Tribute to Keiko Sato

abnormal family still“Pink film” – independently made softcore erotica, is generally thought of as being a very male affair but one of its driving forces, Keiko Sato, was actually a woman and the festival will pay tribute to her with three films from her surprisingly diverse career as a producer.

  • Abnormal Family – Masayuki Suo’s only pink film takes the form of an Ozu pastiche centring on one very unusual family.
  • Gushing Prayer – Masao Adachi takes the pink film in a political direction through the story of a young woman on the quest to beat sex.
  • Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands – From the screenwriter of Branded to Kill, Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands follows a hitman on a surreal and noirish journey.

Korea

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  • Inkan, gongkan, sikan grigo inkan (Human, Space, Time, and Human) – A senator and his son, a newly wed couple, a mysterious old man, a group of sex workers, and a violent gang all set off on a warship in Kim Ki-duk’s latest.
  • Grass – Kim Min-hee sits in a coffee shop and observes the world around her in another whimsical drama from Hong Sang-soo.
  • Last Child – After their son dies saving another child, the bereaved parents eventually bond with the boy he was trying to save though all is not as it seems.
  • Old Love – A woman returns to Korea from Canada and re-encounters an old flame.

China

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Taiwan

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  • 14 Apples – Midi Z’s documentary follows a businessman on a 14 day sojourn as a monk.
  • Xiao Mei – A ordinary shop girl disappears leaving only confusion and mystery behind her.

Thailand

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  • Die Tomorrow – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit follows a collection of people through their last day.

Philippines

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Indonesia

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  • Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen) The second film from Kamila Andini, The Seen and Unseen follows one half of a pair of twins as she deals with the deteriorating health of her brother…

The Berlin International Film Festival takes place from February 15 – 25 at venues across the city. Ticket sales begin 12th February via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest details via the festival’s Facebook Page, Twitter account, YouTube and Instagram Channels.

Glasgow Film Festival to Screen Third Murder, Mary and the Witch’s Flower

The Third Murder still 2The Glasgow Film Festival returns from 21st February to 4th March 2018 bringing the latest in world cinema to Scottish screens. East Asian offerings are not quite as plentiful as in previous years but the festival will see Scottish premieres of the latest from Hirokazu Koreeda, the hotly anticipated first movie from Studio Ponoc, and the new restoration of a Chinese classic.

Attack on Titan : The Roar of Awakening

Attack on Titan - The Roar of AwakeningManga and anime phenomenon Attack on Titan has been taking the world by storm over the last couple of years, even packing in a pair of disappointing live action movies. The Roar of Awakening is a “compilation movie” of the TV anime’s second season which is to say it re-edits the 11 half hour episodes into one two hour movie. If you don’t know anything about Attack on Titan, this probably isn’t the best place to start but in short the series takes place in a fictional European city where humanity has taken to living behind giant walls to protect themselves from man eating giants known as Titans. The screening of The Roar of Awakening will take place in an immersive secret location accompanied by various other events over approx. 6hrs.

Picked up for UK distribution by Anime Limited.

Junk Head

junk head still 1Takahide Hori’s beautifully designed stop-motion animation follows the adventures of a robot “God” as he (?) descends the various levels of underground existence looking for a cure for humanity’s ongoing decline… Review.

Legend of the Mountain

legend of the mountain still 1Recently restored by the Taiwan Film Institute, King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain follows a Sung Dynasty scholar tasked with translating a set of Buddhist scriptures which are said to have power over the spirits of the dead. To do so he travels to an isolated monastery in the mountains where he is assailed by the forces of evil who want to steal the scriptures for themselves…

Distributed in the UK by Eureka Entertainment.

Let’s Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Farewell Morning – Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia still 1Note: Glasgow Film Festival appears to be screening the film under a literal translation, according to the film’s UK distributor Anime Limited, the official English language title is Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms.

Animated by P.A. Works, Maquia is the directorial debut from screenwriter Mari Okada (Anthem of the Heart) and follows the titular heroine – a young girl from a mysterious village where people live for hundreds of years and maintain their teenage appearances for life. Forced to leave her village, the girl finds an abandoned baby boy and decides to raise him but while she remains forever young he grows older by the day…

Picked up for UK distribution by Anime Limited.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

marlina the murderer in four acts still oneA feisty widow takes to the road in search of vengeance after her ranch is raided and she is attacked by bandits in this festival favourite Eastern western from Indonesia.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower 
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When Marnie Was There director Hiromasa Yonebayashi adapts yet another classic English children’s book – Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, as the first venture for would be Ghibli successors, Studio Ponoc.

Distributed by Altitude Films, Mary and the Witch’s Flower will be screened both dubbed and subbed.

The Seen and Unseen

the seen and the unseen still 1The second film from Kamila Andini, The Seen and Unseen follows one half of a pair of twins as she deals with the deteriorating health of her brother…

The Third Murder

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Hirokazu Koreeda makes a rare detour from the family drama for a high stakes legal thriller in which a veteran lawyer takes on the seemingly impossible task of defending a murder suspect who has already served time for violent crime and freely confesses his guilt, but the more the lawyer looks into the case the less confident he feels that his client is telling the truth.

Picked up for UK Distribution by Arrow Films.

Vampire Clay

vampire clay still 1The debut feature from SFX makeup artist Soichi Umezawa, B-movie horror Vampire Clay takes place in an isolated art school in which the students start going mysteriously missing…could cursed clay really be to blame?

Glasgow Film Festival takes place from 21st February to 4th March at Glasgow Film Theatre. You can find the complete programme as well as full details for all the films, screening times, and ticketing information on the official website, and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Instagram Channel.

Youth, Hanagatami, Land at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018

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Always a staunch champion of East Asian cinema, the International Film Festival Rotterdam has revealed its full lineup for 2018. You can find full details for the complete program on the official website, but there are plenty of films from China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand to feast on in this year’s selection.

China 

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  • Dragonfly Eyes – Chinese artist Xu Bing assembles a modern story from China’s myriad CCTV cameras in which a young woman leaves a Buddhist monastery and meets a young man…
  • Impermanence – A monk with a shady past, a haunted innkeeper, and a lonely retiree are drawn to a remote Buddhist temple where their karmic debts are weighed in the debut from Zeng Zeng.
  • Mrs Fang – Winner of the Golden Leopard in Locarno, Wang Bing’s hardhitting documentary charts the last days of an ordinary woman in rural China.
  • Silent Mists – A small town is plagued by a series of violent rapes but no one seems very interested in catching the culprits in Zhang Miaoyan’s gritty drama.
  • Stammering Ballad – portrait of itinerant folk musician Ga Song.
  • The Widowed Witch – A widow is raped by her brother-in-law and takes to the road with her husband’s deaf brother.
  • Youth – Feng Xiaogang takes a nostalgic look back at turbulent ’70s China through the story of the revolutionary ballet division. Review.

Japan

Sweating the Small Stuff

  • Ambiguous Places – Akira Ikeda’s third feature follows the adventures of a woman who wakes up on a beach and finds an insect stuck to her head…
  • Funeral Parade of Roses – Toshio Matsumoto’s avant-garde classic in its new 4K restoration.
  • Hanagatami – a project 40 years in the making, Nobuhiko Obayashi tells the story of a generation about to be engulfed by the oncoming storm of war.
  • The Hungry Lion – Takaomi Ogata’s understated drama focusses on a teacher accused of sexual misconduct with a student and the school girl who is rumoured to be in the leaked sex tape.
  • Night is Short, Walk on Girl –  Masaaki Yuasa returns to the surreal world of Tatami Galaxy’s Tomihiko Morimi for another drunken night in Kyoto as a girl chases her future and a boy chases a girl. Review.
  • Outrage Coda – Takeshi Kitano returns for the third in his “Outrage” series of violent yakuza action movies.
  • Radiance – The latest from Naomi Kawase, Radiance stars Masatoshi Nagase as a photographer slowly losing his sight.
  • Sweating the Small Stuff – Ryutaro Ninomiya stars in a semi-autobiographical tale of a small town loner dealing with the long buried trauma of the death of his mother from illness when he was a child. Review.

Indonesia

marlina the murderer in four acts still one

  • Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts – A woman takes to the road seeking revenge after her ranch is raided in Mouly Surya’s Eastern western.
  • Satan’s Slaves – Joko Anwar remakes an ’80s Indonesian classic in which a young woman and her siblings are left alone in a creepy old house following the death of their mother and soon begin receiving mysterious visitations…

Korea

the day after still 1

  • The Day After – One of three films Hong Sang-soo released in 2017, The Day After focusses not on an egotistical film director but on an egotistical publisher who takes on new girl Kim Min-hee after having to fire his last assistant because his wife found out about their affair… Review.
  • The Fortress – Lee Byunhun stars in Hwang Donghyuk’s historical epic in which the King has retreated in order to protect himself from the encroaching Qing but is left only with a choice of graceful defeat.
  • Hit the Night – Jeong Gayoung’s Bitch on the Beach followup promises more Hong Sang-soo inspired sorrow and soju but infused with the actor/director’s characteristic bite and flair.
  • I Have a Date With Spring – Baek Seungbin’s hopeful drama follows three people as they each receive visitations from someone who returns something important to them and thereby holds off the end of the world.
  • A Lion in Winter – the latest from Lee Kwang-kuk (Romance Joe, A Matter of Interpretation), A Lion in Winter follows failed writer Gyeongyu when he’s kicked out by his girlfriend on the same day a tiger escapes from the zoo…
  • The Villainess – a young girl is raised as an assassin but starts to fall in love with her cover life just as the past returns to haunt her in Jung Byung-gil’s impressively choreographed action thriller. Review.

Philippines 

The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931

  • The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931 – Christopher Gozum looks back to a tragic episode of Philippine history in the failed revolt of 1931.
  • Neomanila – Mikhail Red tells a story of youth betrayed on the streets of Duterte’s Manila.
  • Nervous Translation – a shy girl in ’80s Manila hears tell of a magical pen that will make her life wonderful…
  • Respeto – underground rapper Hendrix tries to make it in Pandacan while the Duterte regime hovers all around the edges…
  • Those Longhaired Nights – transgender sex workers Tuesday, Amanda, and Barbie live their ordinary lives in Manila’s red light district.

Taiwan

The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful

  • The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful – ambitious widow Tang Yue-ying’s world threatens to come crashing down in Yang Ya-che’s Golden Horse winning drama.
  • Father to Son – a 60 year old man is diagnosed with a serious illness but decides to travel to Japan and look for the father who abandoned him rather than get treatment.

Thailand

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The International Film Festival Rotterdam runs from 24th January to 4th February at various venues in Rotterdam city centre. Tickets are available from 8pm (local time) on 19th January via the official website and you can also keep up to date with all the latest news via the official Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube channel.