Fantasia International Film Festival Confirms Complete 2019 Programme

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Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival is back for its 23rd edition with an another unbelievably packed programme of recent genre hits. Once again Fantasia proves itself as a place to go for East Asian cinema with a wide ranging collection of indie and mainstream efforts from across the region.

Cambodia

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  • The Prey –  Jimmy Henderson’s Jailbreak followup follows an undercover cop arrested during an operation who subsequently gets drawn into a corrupt prison warden’s sideline of sending prisoners out as targets for hunters.

China

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  • Shadow – Zhang Yimou returns to the world of period epics with a tale of proxy war as a great general (Deng Chao) makes use of a double to combat palace intrigue. Review.
  • SHe – experimental stop motion animation in which an oppressed shoe disguises herself as a male in an attempt to escape the hellish factory world.
  • White Snake – beautifully animated prequel to the classic legend in which a snake spirit loses her memory during an attempt to assassinate a tyrant and falls in love with the kindly snake catcher who rescues her.

Hong Kong

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  • Boxer’s Omen – classic Kuei Chih-Hung kung fu in which a bewitched gangster must reinvent himself as a monk to defeat supernatural evil.
  • Full Contact – Ringo Lam classic starring Chow Yun Fat as a bouncer trying to help out a friend in trouble with gangsters.
  • G Affairs – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people.
  • Master Z: Ip Man Legacy – sequel to the Ip Man series in which Cheung Tin Chi (Max Zhang) tries to make a martial arts free life for himself and his son in ’60s HK.
  • Missbehavior – warmhhearted New Year comedy from Pang Ho-Cheung in which bickering friends unite in a quest for emergency breast milk. Review.

Indonesia

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  • Dreadout – video game adaptation in which a gang of YouTubers investigate an abandoned building last used by a cult.

Japan

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  • 21st Century Girl – omnibus film featuring shorts from some of Japan’s most interesting young female directors including A Crimson Star’s Aya Igashi and Amiko’s Yoko Yamanaka.
  • Almost a Miracle – manga adaptation from Yuya Ishii in which an infinitely good young man’s world is turned upside-down by an unexpected act of kindness.
  • And Your Bird Can Sing – three melancholy slackers struggle to accept love in Sho Miyake’s adaptation of the Yasushi Sato novel. Review.
  • Brave Father Online – Our story of Final Fantasy XIV – big screen reboot of the hit TV drama in which a young man bonds with his emotionally distant retiree father through the medium of Final Fantasy XIV.
  • Cencoroll Connect – anime in which high school students telepathically control shapeshifting monsters.
  • Chiwawa – latest from Ken Ninomiya in which a young woman (Mugi Kadowaki) tries to solve the murder of her friend.
  • Dance With Me – Shinobu Yaguchi returns with another feel good comedy in which an ambitious office worker is hypnotised to sing and dance like an old Hollywood musical whenever she hears music.
  • Dare to Stop Us – drama set in the heyday of Wakamatsu Production. Review.
  • Day and Night – a young man returns to the hometown where his whistleblower father was hounded into suicide.
  • The Fable – an eccentric hitman’s mission to lay low for a year is undermined by yakuza politics in this surreal yet heartwarming manga adaptation starring Junichi Okada. Review.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Garo – Under the Moonbow – latest in the long running Garo saga.
  • Gintama 2: Rules are Made to Be Broken – sequel to Yuichi Fukuda’s enormously successful adaptation of the popular gag manga in which Edo has been taken over by aliens.
  • Hard Core – slacker sci-fi drama in which a frustrated idealist befriends a rusty robot. Review.
  • His Bad Blood – winner of the audience award at Yubari International Film Festival in which a father and son unwittingly seek refuge with the same priest.
  • Human Lost – extremely loose, animated sci-fi take on Dazai’s classic novel scripted by Mardock Scramble’s Tow Ubukata and directed Fuminori Kizaki.
  • The Island of Cats – The peaceful days of an old man and his cat are disrupted by the arrival of a pretty young woman from Tokyo (Kou Shibasaki) and her newly opened cafe in an adaptation of the manga by Nekomaki.
  • It Comes – familial horror from Tetsuya Nakashima in which a father reaches out to an occult expert in fear that he is being threatened by a malevolent entity.
  • Kingdom – Wuxia-esque manga adaptation from the big budget master Shinsuke Sato set in feudal China.
  • The Legend of the Stardust Brothers – Long forgotten, Macoto Tezka’s anarchic cult comedy debut has been lovingly rediscovered and restored by Third Window Films. A tale of fame, corruption, and destiny, Stardust Brothers is a whimsical piece of absurdist Showa-era nostalgia. Review.
  • Promare – first feature from anime studio Trigger (Kill la Kill) in which futuristic firefighters try to keep the peace.
  • The Relative Worlds – parallel world anime romance.
  • Ride Your Wave – latest from Masaaki Yuasa in which a firefighter and florist enjoy a fairytale romance until…
  • Sadako – Hideo Nakata returns to the world of Ring with a brand new incarnation of the legendary vengeful spirit.
  • Stare – J-horror thrills as a pair of students team up with a journalist to unravel the mystery of a terrible curse.
  • Tokyo Ghoul ‘S’ – sequel to the popular live action adaptation of Sui Ishida’s manga in which a young man gets an organ transplant from a “ghoul” and finds himself craving human flesh.
  • Twilight – Fukushima-set indie anime in which a young girl bonds with an artistic boy on a bus.
  • We Are Little Zombies – madcap post-modern comedy in which four recently bereaved teens bond in their shared sense of alienation and eventually start a punk band! Review.
  • The Wonderland – latest from Keiichi Hara (Colorful, Miss Hokusai) inspired by Sachiko Kashiwaba’s Strange Journey From the Basement in which a young girl discovers another world under her aunt’s shop.

Philippines

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  • Mystery of the Night – festival favourite Adolfo Alix Jr presents an adaptation of Rody Vera’s play “Ang Unang Aswang” featuring the legendary vampiric monsters.
  • Ode to Nothing – a lonely spinster struggles to keep her funeral business afloat until she ends up making friends with a corpse.

South Korea

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  • Another Child – two very different teenage girls form an unlikely friendship when they discover their parents are having an affair.
  • Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home. Review.
  • The Dude in Me – A mean spirited businessman swaps bodies with a bullied overweight teenager.
  • Extreme Job – bumbling police officers go undercover running a chicken restaurant to catch drug dealers but the restaurant ends up taking off. Review.
  • The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil – Ma Dong-seok stars as a gangster who teams up with a violent cop to catch a serial killer.
  • Hit-and-Run Squad – dogged cops defy demotion to take down an elitist chaebol who thinks he doesn’t have to pay for his crimes because he’s rich.
  • House of Hummingbird – a young girl struggles to assert herself in the confusing world of the newly democratised South Korea but begins to find her voice thanks to an inspirational teacher in Kim Bora’s festival favourite.
  • IdolHan Gong-ju’s Lee Su-jin returns with a conspiracy thriller in which a politician’s son commits a hit and run.
  • Maggie – a nurse intends to resign after coming to the conclusion she and her boyfriend have been captured in a compromising position in an x-ray but discovers everyone has called in sick. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is busy trying to fill in the mysterious sink holes appearing all over the country.
  • Miss and Mrs Cops – a former top cop turned desk jockey, her bumbling rookie sister-in-law, and a female colleague team up to stop a gang of porn blackmailers!
  • Money – Ryu Jun-yeol stars as a rookie stockbroker frustrated by Yoo Ji-tae’s sociopathic rival.
  • The Moon in the Hidden Woods – animation in which Princess Navillera flees the castle into the wasteland with the musician Janggu and his band of outlaws.
  • No Mercy – a woman recently released from prison tries desperately to save her little sister who has learning difficulties and has been dreadfully misused by those around her.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – hilariously zany comedy in which a weird family adopts a zombie and then tries to exploit it when it turns out that its bite has unexpectedly positive qualities (for a time at least). Review.
  • The Wrath – joseon horror remake of the 1986 classic Woman’s Wail in which a wealthy family’s sons are killed on their wedding day.

The Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal, Canada from 11th July to 1st August. You can find full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information on the official website, and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s official Facebook pageTwitter account, Instagram, and Vimeo channels.

New York Asian Film Festival Confirms 2019 Lineup!

NYAFF poster higher resThe New York Asian Film Festival returns for its 18th edition with a packed programme of recent hits from East Asia. This year’s festival will open with Bernard Rose’s unconventional jidaigeki Samurai Marathon starring Nana Komatsu who will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award alongside Ryu Jun-yeol who will receive his award at the screening of Park Noo-ri’s Money on July 6. Meanwhile, the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Yuen Woo-Ping whose latest film Master Z: Ip Man Legacy will screen alongside classics Iron Monkey and The Miracle Fighters, and Furie’s Veronica Ngo will be receiving the Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema.

The programme in full (bolded titles eligible for official competition):

China

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  • The Crossing (Bai Xue, 2018) – a young woman finds herself crossing borders of more than one sort when she embarks on a life of phone smuggling. Review.
  • A First Farewell (Wang Lina, 2018) – touching story about a young Uighur boy who finds himself having to learn to say several goodbyes at once.
  • If You Are Happy (Chen Xiaoming, 2019) – a devoted father goes to great lengths to acquire a flat in the catchment area of a prestigious school. Actress Fu Miao in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
  • Jinpa (Pema Tseden, 2018) – philosophical Tibetan western in which a truck driver picks up a vengeful drifter.
  • Push and Shove (Wu Nan, 2019) – neighbours go to war when one of their dogs attacks the other. Q&A with director Wu Nan.
  • The Rib (Wei Zhang, 2018) – a transgender woman struggles to gain the acceptance of her religious father. Review.
  • Savage (Cui Siwei, 2018) – a policeman waiting for a transfer comes up against a gang of thieves on top of snowy Mount Baekdu in the directorial debut from The Island screenwriter Cui Siwei.
  • Uncle and House (Luo Hanxing, 2019) – comedy following a 100 Yuan note around a small town. Director Luo Hanxing and actors Gao Zhen, He Kaidi, Zhang Ximing, Yang Yanhui, Yang Xiao in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
  • Winter After Winter (Xing Jian, 2019) – an ageing father desperately attempts to preserve his family line during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
  • White Snake (Amp Wong, Ji Zhao, 2019) – an amnesiac woman develops feelings for the snake catcher who helps her in this animated prequel to the classic legend.
  • Wushu Orphan (Huang Huang, 2018) – a teacher takes a job at a remote martial arts academy where only one of his students is interested in academics and it just happens to be the one rubbish at fighting. Q&A with Huang Huang and actor Liu Zhihan

Hong Kong Panorama

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  • The Attorney (Wong Kwok Fai, 2019) – a hotshot lawyer (Alex Fong) takes a legal aid case to defend a young man accused of murdering the daughter of a prominent tycoon.
  • The Fatal Raid (Jacky Lee, 2019) – 20 years after a bloody confrontation, a surviving policewoman Madam Fong leads a new squad across borders to Macao to take on a gang of anarchists.
  • G Affairs (Lee Cheuk Pan, 2018) – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people. Q&A with Lee Cheuk Pan and actress Hanna Chan.
  • Iron Monkey (Yuen Woo-ping, 1993) – 1993 classic starring Donnie Yen as Wong Kei-ying. Tribute to Yuen Woo-ping
  • Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (Yuen Woo-ping, 2018) – sequel to the Ip Man series in which Cheung Tin Chi (Max Zhang) tries to make a martial arts free life for himself and his son in ’60s HK. Master Yuen Woo-ping will receive the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award and will participate in an Introduction and Q&A
  • The Miracle Fighters (Yuen Woo-ping, 1982) – zany 1982 classic martial arts. Tribute to Yuen Woo-ping who will also be present for an introduction.
  • Missbehavior (Pang Ho-cheung, 2019) – warmhhearted New Year comedy from Pang Ho-Cheung in which bickering friends unite in a quest for emergency breast milk. Review.
  • See You Tomorrow (Zhang Jiajia, 2016) – romantic comedy in which a bartender helps people overcome their emotional woes.
  • Still Human (Oliver Siu Kuen Chan, 2018) – Anthony Wong stars as a wheelchair user who eventually bonds with his Filipina helper. Review. Actress Crisel Consunji in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
  • …and the secret screening!

Indonesia

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  • 212 Warrior (Angga Dwimas Sasongko, 2018) – comedic martial arts adventure movie.

Japan

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  • 5 Million Dollar Life (Moon Sungho, 2019) – a young man saved from serious illness by community donations struggles under the pressure of living up to their kindness. Director Moon Sung-ho in attendance (Intro and Q&A)
  • Complicity (Kei Chikaura, 2018) – an undocumented man from China embraces his cover identity and takes a job in a soba restaurant but struggles to maintain his sense of self in Chikaura’s sensitive drama. Review.
  • Dare to Stop Us (Kazuya Shiraishi, 2018) – drama set in the heyday of Wakamatsu Production. Review.
  • The Fable (Kan Eguchi, 2019) – comedy starring Junichi Okada as an assassin ordered to lay low living an “ordinary” life. Director Eguchi Kan in attendance (Introduction & Q&A).
  • Fly Me to the Saitama (Hideki Takeuchi, 2019) – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • The Gun (Take Masaharu, 2018) – Take Masaharu adapts Fuminori Nakamura’s nihilistic novel in which a young man’s life changes when he picks up the gun of a fallen yakuza.
  • Hard-Core (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2018) – slacker sci-fi drama in which a frustrated idealist befriends a rusty robot. Review.
  • Jam (SABU, 2018) – Sabu returns to his roots with an anarchic tale of three men on the run. Review. Q&A with SABU
  • Lying to Mom (Katsumi Nojiri, 2018) – when the hikikomori son of the Suzuki family takes his own life, his mother falls into a coma. No one has the heart to tell her what happened when she wakes up so they pretend he is alive and well and living in Argentina. Review. Q&A with Katsumi Nojiri
  • Mr. Long (SABU, 2017) – a Taiwanese hitman is adopted by a Tokyo community who fall in love with his noodles. Review. Q&A with SABU
  • Samurai Marathon (Bernard Rose, 2019) – British director Bernard Rose tackles the jidaigeki as a lord forces his retainers to compete in a marathon to prepare for bakumatsu chaos. Q&A with Bernard Rose and Nana Komatsu; Nana Komatsu will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award

Malaysia

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  • Walk with Me (Ryon Lee, 2019) – a bullied woman asks a weird doll for help and is then concerned when people start dying.

Philippines

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  • Ma (Kenneth Lim Dagatan, 2018) – horror film in which a son enters a strange cave to ask for his mother’s resurrection. Director Kenneth Lim Dagatan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
  • Signal Rock (Chito S. Roño, 2018) – drama in which an island boy tries to help his sister escape an abusive overseas marriage.

Singapore

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  • Zombiepura (Jacen Tan, 2018) – a lazy reservist and his uptight CO are the last line of defence during the zombie apocalypse. Director Jacen Tan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).

South Korea

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  • Another Child (Kim Yoon-seok, 2019) – two teenage girls who didn’t like each other very much bond when they decide to put a stop to an affair their parents are having in the directorial debut from actor Kim Yoon-seok. Q&A with Kim Yoon-seok
  • Dark Figure of Crime (Kim Tae-gyoon, 2018) – a sociopathic assassin toys with a world weary detective in Kim Tae-gyoon’s twisty thriller. Review.
  • Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels (Kim Tae-yong, 2018) – immersive co-production blending film and live performance. Composer Bang Jun-seok in attendance (Introduction and Q&A).
  • Maggie (Yi Ok-seop, 2018) – a nurse intends to resign after coming to the conclusion she and her boyfriend have been captured in a compromising position in an x-ray but discovers everyone has called in sick. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is busy trying to fill in the mysterious sink holes appearing all over the country. Director Yi Ok-seop and actor Koo Kyo-hwan in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
  • Money (Park Noo-ri, 2018) – Ryu Jun-yeol stars as a rookie stockbroker frustrated by Yoo Ji-tae’s sociopathic rival. Director Park Noo-ri and actor Ryu Jun-yeol in attendance (Introduction and Q&A) Actor Ryu Jun-yeol will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award
  • Move the Grave (Jeong Seung-o, 2018) – a dysfunctional family is forced to work together when their father’s grave has to be moved due to construction work.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (Lee Min-jae, 2019) – a weird family find a zombie and then exploit him when it turns out his bite has healing properties in Lee Min-jae’s delightfully zany comedy. Review.
  • A Resistance (Joe Min-ho, 2019) – Ko Ah-sung stars as the hero of the 1919 March 1 Independence Movement who maintains her stoical determination even while imprisoned and facing inhuman treatment.
  • Sub-Zero Wind (Kim Yu-ri, 2018) – debut from Kim Yu-ri in which two young girls support each other while dealing with disappointing parents.

Taiwan

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  • Han Dan (Huang Chao-liang, 2019) – a young man tries to atone for a reckless act through submitting himself to firecracker attacks representing the deity Han Dan. Director Huang Chao-liang in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)
  • It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Show (Hsieh Nien Tsu, 2019) – farce in which an unscrupulous TV station owner sets out to lower ratings so he can sell to a gangster only to see the subpar team he’s put together become an accidental hit.
  • The Scoundrels (Tzu-Hsuan Hung, 2018) – JC Lin stars as a disgraced former basketball player living a life of petty crime who finds himself framed as the notorious Raincoat Robber (Chris Wu). Review.
  • Someone in the Clouds (Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng, 2018) – whimsical rom-com about a fortune teller and a cocky student. Directors Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)

Thailand

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  • The Pool (Ping Lumpraploeng, 2018) – darkly humorous thriller in which a young couple become trapped in a swimming pool

Vietnam

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  • Furie (Le Van Kiet, 2019) – a former street tough will stop at nothing when her daughter is abducted by human traffickers. Actress Veronica Ngo in attendance; Veronica Ngo will receive the Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema
  • Song Lang (Leon Le, 2018) – ’80s set musical drama in which a gangster tries to collect a debt from a Cai-luong opera company. Director Leon Le in attendance (Introduction and Q&A)

The 18th New York Asian Film Festival runs from 28th June to 14th July. Full details for all the films are available via the official website where you can also find screening times and ticketing information. You can also keep up with all the latest festival news via the official Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Japan Cuts Announces Complete 2019 Lineup!

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New York’s Japan Cuts returns for its 13th edition in 2019, bringing with it another premium selection of the best in recent Japanese cinema. This year’s Japan Cuts Cut Above Award goes to veteran director Shinya Tsukamoto whose latest film, anti-jidaigeki Killing, is screening as the festival’s Centrepiece Gala.

The programme in full:

Dance With Me

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An ambitious office worker faces career crisis when she is hypnotised to break into song and dance every time she hears music in the latest from comedy maestro Shinobu Yaguchi (Waterboys, Swing Girls, Survival Family). Q&A with director Shinobu Yaguchi and star Ayaka Miyoshi. 

The Island of Cats

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The peaceful days of an old man and his cat are disrupted by the arrival of a pretty young woman from Tokyo (Kou Shibasaki) and her newly opened cafe in an adaptation of the manga by Nekomaki.

I Go Gaga, My Dear

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TV doc director Naoko Nobutomo follows her ageing parents as her mother’s Alzheimer’s-related dementia intensifies.

Being Natural

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An aimless middle-aged man’s peaceful existence is threatened when hipster Tokyoites rock up in his tiny rural village looking for the “natural life” only to insist on reforming it to their city bound images of idyllic country living in Tadashi Nagayama’s anarchic satire. Review. Q&A with director Tadashi Nagayama and stars Yota Kawase and Natsuki Mieda. 

Ten Years Japan

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Anthology film featuring five dystopian visions of near future Japan. Review.

Samurai Shifters

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Isshin Inudo takes a trip back to the samurai era as a nerdy librarian (Gen Hoshino) is unexpectedly named relocation officer when his clan is ordered to move to another domain.

A Step Forward

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Atsushi Kasezawa’s documentary follows a pastor who commits himself to saving the lives of suicidal individuals who find themselves drawn to a particular cliff in Wakayama. Q&A with director Atsushi Kasezawa. 

The Chaplain

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The late Ren Osugi stars as a prison chaplain ministering to those languishing on death row. (No. 10 on Kinema Junpo’s best of 2018 list)

The Kamagasaki Cauldron War

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When a yakuza clan’s precious cauldron is stolen a war breaks out in the Osakan working class district of Kamagasaki. Q&A with star Yota Kawase. 

Demolition Girl

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High school girl Cocoa has given up on her dreams because she has to support her gambling addict father and no good failed manzai comedian brother, but her fortunes change when she finds out her mother left her money and if she can just top it up a little she could escape her humble life by getting into a top university in Tokyo. Q&A with director Genta Matsugami and star Aya Kitai. 

And Your Bird Can Sing

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Three slackers struggle to accept love in present day Hakodate in Sho Miyake’s adaptation of the Yasushi Sato novel in which an apathetic bookstore employee (Tasuku Emoto) starts a halfhearted romance with a free spirited colleague (Shizuka Ishibashi) only to introduce her to his infatuated best friend (Shota Sometani). Review.

His Lost Name

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A small-town carpenter (Kaoru Kobayashi) takes in a drifter (Yuya Yagira) he finds unconscious on the side of the road but their growing paternal bond begins to place a strain on his relationships with his fiancée (Keiko Horiuchi) and employees in Nanako Hirose’s sensitive debut. Q&A with director Nanako Hirose.

Red Snow

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Mystery thriller starring Arata and Masatoshi Nagase in which a dogged journalist’s unearthing of a decades old child disappearance in a small rural town opens up old wounds.

Killing

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A samurai prefers not to raise his sword but finds himself tested by his times in Shinya Tsukamoto’s impassioned anti-violence jidaigeki. Review. Q&A with director Shinya Tsukamoto, with CUT ABOVE Award ceremony. 

Bullet Ballet

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An ad director becomes obsessed with the idea of finding a gun after his fiancée shoots herself in Tsukamoto’s 1998 classic. Q&A with director Shinya Tsukamoto. 

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Miyoko Asada stars as Satoko – a con artist whose gradual path to wealth through pyramid schemes and increasingly elaborate scams eventually leads her to reinvent herself in Thailand as a 38-year-old woman named Erica.

Jesus

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A young boy relocates from Tokyo to a sleepy mountain village where he has to bunk with grandma and attend catholic school. His days are eventually brightened through meeting a tiny Jesus who grants all his wishes until an inescapable tragedy colours his view of religion in Hiroshi Okuyama’s whimsical debut. ReviewQ&A with director Hiroshi Okuyama. 

Melancholic

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Kazuhiko graduated from Todai, but he’s now unemployed and living with mum and dad. A chance encounter with a pretty friend from school leads him to a job in a bathhouse but his fortunes change again when he realises the baths double as a yakuza killing ground after hours… Review.

The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan

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A shogi-loving child prodigy (Ryuhei Matsuda) is devastated when he hits the age limit for becoming a professional player but eventually finds amateur success and then the courage to challenge the system in Toshiaki Toyoda’s surprisingly inspirational drama. Review. Q&A with director Toshiaki Toyoda. 

Jeux de plage

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Rohmerian drama in which college friends Sayaka and Yui take a trip to the beach where they meet up with Yui’s old pal Momoko but find their dynamic disrupted by sleazy passersby and mutual awkwardness.

The Journalist

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Korean actress Shim Eun-kyung makes the first of two Japanese language performances included in the programme as an earnest Tokyo journalist haunted by her father’s suicide, playing opposite Tori Matsuzaka as a cynical bureaucrat who discovers evidence of coverup and conspiracy.

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers

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Long forgotten, Macoto Tezka’s anarchic cult comedy debut has been lovingly rediscovered and restored by Third Window Films. A tale of fame, corruption, and destiny, Stardust Brothers is a whimsical piece of absurdist Showa-era nostalgia . Review. Q&A with director Macoto Tezka. 

Randen: The Comings and Goings on a Kyoto Tram

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Three stories of love occur along the the iconic Kyoto tram line as a writer from Kamakura searches for a ghost train while recalling memories of his wife, a local girl helps a Tokyo actor master the Kyoto accent, and a girl from Aomori falls for a trainspotter!

NIGHT CRUISING

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Makoto Sasaki’s documentary follows blind musician Hideyuki Kato as he works on a sci-fi short in which a non-sighted fighter and a telepath search for a mysterious ghost in the far future. Q&A with director Makoto Sasaki, producer Miyuki Tanaka and subject Hideyuki Kato. 

Orphan’s Blues

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A young woman suffering unexplained loss of memory goes in search of a childhood friend after rediscovering a drawing of an elephant in Riho Kudo’s award winning debut.

Blue Hour

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30-ish Sunada (Kaho) is becoming rapidly disillusioned with city life. She’s worked her way up to directing commercials but finds herself mostly dealing with workplace sexism and difficult stars while she is also carrying on an affair with a married colleague. Taking off on a road trip with her lively best friend mangaka (Korean actress Shim Eun-kyung in her second Japanese language role included in the programme), she is finally forced to reconnect with her rural childhood and rediscovers her sense of self in the process. Review.

Japan Cuts runs from 19th to 28th July 2019 at Japan Society New York. Full details for all the films along with ticketing links are available via the official website and you can also keep up with all the latest details by following the festival’s official Facebook page and Twitter account.

Nippon Connection Confirms Full Lineup for 2019!

marriage hunting beauty still 1Nippon Connection, the largest showcase for Japanese cinema anywhere in the world, returns with another fantastic selection of new and classic films screening in Frankfurt from 28th May to 2nd June. Opening with the latest quirky rom-com from Tremble All You Want’s Akiko Ohku Marriage Hunting Beauty, the festival will also welcome Guest of Honour Shinya Tsukamoto with a screening of his latest film Killing plus classics Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tokyo Fist. Meanwhile, this year’s classics strand is dedicated to Golden Era actress Ayako Wakao. The programme in full:

Nippon Cinema

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  • And Your Bird Can Sing – Adapted from the novel by Yasushi Sato, And Your Bird Can Sing follows a trio of lost youngsters as they drift into an almost certainly destructive ménage à trois.
  • Another World – a middle-aged man keeps his family at a distance but the reappearance of a childhood friend begins to shake his world in the latest from Junji Sakamoto.
  • Asako I & II – A young woman finds herself torn between old love and new in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s whimsical drama. Review.
  • The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine – Taisho era tale of sumo and revolution in which a band of anarchists find themselves fascinated by an itinerant troupe of female sumo wrestlers shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 in the latest from Takahisa Zeze.
  • Dare to Stop Us – Kazuya Shiraishi’s nostalgic look back at the heyday of Wakamatsu Production through the eyes a young female AD. Review.
  • Dawn Wind in my Poncho – a trio of college kids takes a last roadtrip before graduation.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – zany comedy from Hideki Takeuchi in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Hard-Core – a purehearted guy with a violent streak laments the cruelty of the modern world but finds friendship with a lonely homeless man and a robot they find in an abandoned factory.
  • Inuyashiki – an angry young man and mild-mannered dad get superpowers on the same day in Shinsuke Sato’s blockbuster manga adaptation. Review.
  • It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up – ensemble drama from Ryuichi Hiroki following 10 years in the lives of a collection of lost souls from small town Japan.
  • Jam – Returning to the realms of Dangan Runner, Sabu brings three dreaming guys together through the power of cosmic coincidence. Review.
  • Killing – a samurai prefers not to pick up his sword in Shinya Tsukamoto’s first foray into the jidaigeki.
  • Love at Least – a young woman with bipolar tries to get her life together but is frustrated by the reappearance of her supportive boyfriend’s manipulative ex. Review.
  • Lying to Mom – When her son tries to hang himself, the mother of the Suzuki family knocks herself out in an effort to save him and winds up in a coma. When she wakes up, she can’t remember anything of the incident. Lacking the heart to tell her the truth, the family pretend he is alive and well and living in Argentina.
  • Marriage Hunting Beauty – manga adaptation from Akiko Ohku in which a beautiful woman with terrible taste in men decides to get married.
  • The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan – shogi drama from Toshiaki Toyoda.
  • Ramen Shop – a bereaved ramen chef travels to Singapore after finding the diary of his late mother.
  • Room Laundering – a young woman puts her ability to see ghosts to a productive use. Review.
  • Special Screening: Tetsuo: The Iron Man – classic 1989 cyberpunk from Shinya Tsukamoto.
  • Special Screening: The Legend of the Stardust Brothers – rediscovered ’80s cult classic from Macoto Tezka.
  • Special Screening: Tokyo Fist – classic boxing drama from Shinya Tsukamoto.
  • Thicker Than Water – ironic warring siblings comedy. Review.
  • We are Little Zombies – anarchic pop comedy in which four orphaned kids decide to start a band!

NIPPON VISIONS

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  • Ahum – atmospheric black and white horror film in which a nuclear plant employee begins to lose his grasp on reality.
  • Blue Hour – a young woman takes her best friend on a roadtrip to her home town but finds old wounds reopening on reuniting with her family.
  • The Call of Zon – experimental science fiction film in which a small town has been walled off by a mysterious force known as Zon for the past 20 years.
  • The Chaplin – Ren Osugi stars as a prison chaplain ministering to death row prisoners.
  • Complicity – an undocumented man from China starts working at a soba restaurant but lives in constant fear of discovery.
  • Jesus – a 10-year-old boy moves to his grandmother’s out in the country and has to attend a Christian school.
  • Life Finds a Way – the latest from Hirobumi Watanabe is a meta take on the filmmaking process.
  • Melancholic – a graduate of a top university takes a job in a bathhouse and is shocked to discover it doubles as a yakuza killing ground in Seiji Tanaka’s ironic debut.
  • Sea – a man who witnessed a rape as a teenager but did nothing to help muses on his failings when he meets the perpetrators again years later.
  • Tourism – two women take a trip to Singapore but things take a turn for the strange when one gets lost.

Nippon Docs

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  • Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa – documentary exploring the child soldiers who fought under the Japanese during the battle of Okinawa.
  • From All Corners – a young man gives up his job to become a cardboard picker.
  • I Go Gaga, My Dear – director Naoko Nobutomo follows her elderly parents and charts the development of her mother’s Alzheimer’s.
  • Japanese Documentaries Presented by NHK World-Japan – two NHK docs including the first episode of 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, and another about a Syrian musician’s discovery of a piano which survived the 1945 nuclear attack.
  • Kagura Troupe on the Beat – traditional shinto music and dance.
  • Portraits of the Rainbow – Ayumi Nakagawa follows photographer Leslie Kee as he photographs members of the LGBT community in order to combat their invisibility within Japanese society.
  • Sending Off – Nippon Connection regular Ian Thomas Ash returns with a documentary following a doctor and her team of nurses as they offer hospice care to patients in their homes.
  • Shinjuku Tiger – Yoshinori Sato follows the man in the tiger mask often seen around Shinjuku.
  • Tower of the Sun Love at Least director Kosai Sekine uses Taro Okamoto’s Tower of the Sun as a jumping off point to explore the evolution of Japanese culture

Nippon Animation

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Nippon Retro: Ayako Wakao – Magnificent Icon of Japanese Cinema

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  • An Actor’s Revenge – Kon Ichikawa classic in which an onnagata attempts to avenge the death of his parents.
  • The Blue Sky Maiden – cheerful melodrama in which a young woman travels to live with her birth father’s family but is fiercely resented by her step-mother and half siblings. Marks the first collaboration between Yasuzo Masumura and his later muse. Review.
  • Elegant Beast – satirical comedy from Yuzo Kawashima in which a criminal family meets their match in a wily entertainment accountant.
  • Floating Weeds – Ozu classic in which the leader of an itinerant theatre troupe reunites with his former lover in a seaside town.
  • The Goddess of Mercy – Yasuzo Masumura’s adaptation of the Junichiro Tanizaki novel in which a bored housewife enters a relationship with a woman she meets at art class who reminds her of the goddess of mercy. Review.
  • The Red Angel – Ayako Wakao stars as a frontline nurse in Masumura’s powerful anti-war drama. Review.
  • Seisaku’s Wife – a young woman marries an old man and continues to live alone after he dies suddenly becoming a social pariah until she falls in love with a model soldier.
  • Women are Born Twice – Wakao stars as a melancholy geisha in another comic drama from Yuzo Kawashima.

Nippon Connection takes place in Frankfurt, Germany from 28th May to 2nd June. Tickets are available from 11th May via the official website where you can also find full details on all the films as well as timetabling information. Unless otherwise stated, films screen in Japanese with English subtitles. In addition to the films the festival will also host a series of events including director talks and workshops in a rich cultural programme. You can keep up with all the latest information by following the festival on FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickr, and Instagram.

Chinese Visual Festival 2019 Announces Full Lineup

Tracey still 3The Chinese Visual Festival returns for its 9th edition in May 2019 with a weeklong celebration of Chinese language cinema including a special focus on the legendary Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan who will be in attendance for a series of conversations and Q&As.

Thursday 02 May:

6.10pm: First Night Nerves + Stanley Kwan Q&A 

BFI Southbank, NFT1

first night nerves still 1Stanley Kwan returns to the stage with a backstage melodrama of backstabbing actresses as a veteran star makes her comeback alongside the talented youngster who threatens to eclipse her…

The legendary director will be present in person for a Q&A following the UK premiere of the film.

Friday 03 May:

4pm: Crack of Dawn: Roundtable Discussion with Director Ying Liang

King’s College London, Anatomy Museum
Ying Lang
Director Ying Liang whose When Night Falls, Sunny Day, and Family Tour are all screening in the festival will be in conversation with East Asian cinema specialist Tony Rayns, and film scholars Jessica Yeung and Victor Fan.

7pm: When Night Falls + Ying Liang Q&A

Joint ticket with A Sunny Day
King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

When Night Falls still 1The mother of a man sentenced to death for killing six policemen continues to fight for justice in Ying Liang’s probing drama. 

7pm: A Sunny Day + Ying Liang Q&A

Joint ticket with When Night Falls
King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Sunny day still 1A young woman visits her father for lunch in Ying Liang’s Occupy-themed short.

Saturday 04 May:

2pm: A Family Tour + Ying Liang Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Family Tour still 1An exiled film director takes a “holiday” to Taiwan in order to tag along after her mother’s old persons’ tour bus knowing they will likely never meet again in Ying Liang’s poignant semi-autobiographical drama. Review.

6.15pm: Rouge + Stanley Kwan Q&A

BFI Southbank, NFT3

Rouge still 1Stanley Kwan’s sumptuous supernatural romance stars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung as a pair of lovers who determine on double suicide, only she is the only one who dies. 50 years later, her spirit returns to a much changed ’80s Hong Kong in search of answers.

The director will be present for a Q&A following the film.

Sunday 05 May:

1pm: Stammering Ballad

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Stammering ballad still 1A Chinese folksinger leaves his hometown to wander and eventually ends up on China’s Got Talent only to return home and find his beloved landscape much changed in this visually stunning documentary.

3.30pm: Women + Stanley Kwan Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Kwan women still 1A woman leaves her husband after discovering he has been unfaithful and joins the “Spinsters’ Club” but is conflicted when he wants to patch things up. Stanley Kwan will also be present for a Q&A following a screening of his 1985 debut feature.

5.30pm: Stanley Kwan in Conversation

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Register Free

stanley kwan
The legendary director joins EasternKicks’ Andrew Heskins and Professor Victor Fan from King’s College London to disuss his life and career in the Hong Kong film industry.

7.15pm: The Land of Peach Blossoms

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre
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Documentarian Zhou Mingying explores a “utopian” restaurant run along collectivist lines in which personal thought is forbidden and becoming like the leader an ideal.

Monday 06 May

1pm: The Drum Tower + Fan Popo Q&A

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

drum tower still 1An introverted high schooler and transgender vintage shop owner are the protagonists of the latest short from Fan Popo.

1pm: Meili

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

Meili still 1A young girl abandoned by her parents and abused by her brother-in-law hopes to escape with her girlfriend in a powerful debut from director Zhou Zhou.

4pm: Thin Dream Bay + Imagining Evan Yang

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre
Imagining Evan Yang
Independent filmmaker Shu Kei explores the literary life of director and songwriter Evan Yang  .

7.15pm: The Rib

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

47483187072_1c2af9ba0c_oFactory Boss‘ Zhang Wei follows a religious father’s struggle to accept his transgender daughter.

Tuesday 07 May

7pm: Four Springs

King’s College London, Lucas Theatre

four springgs still 1Director Lu Qingyi’s beautiful documentary follows his own family through four celebrations of New Year bringing with them both joy and sorrow. Review.

Wednesday 08 May

8.45pm: In Character

BFI Southbank, NFT3

In Character still 1A director making a semi-autobiographical film takes 13 actors back to the Cultural Revolution by bringing them to a disused firearms factory in Sichuan where they must wear the clothes and listen to the music of the era.

Thursday 09 May

3pm: Tracey Cast and Crew in Conversation

King’s College London, Nash Theatre

Tracey still 1The cast and crew of Tracey are in conversation with EasternKicks’ Andrew Heskins and Dr. Victor Fan from King’s College London.

6pm: Tracey + Cast & Crew Q&A

BFI Southbank, NFT2
Tracey still 2A 51-year-old married father of two grownup children begins to come to an acceptance of a transgender identity after hearing the news of the death of a close friend in the beautifully observed debut from Li Jun.

The Chinese Visual Festival runs at BFI Southbank and King’s College London from 2nd to 9th May 2019. Full details for all the films are available via the official website and you can keep up with all the festival’s latest details via the official Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Instagram.

Udine Far East Film Festival Confirms Lineup for 21st Edition

47541986391_dbe90761ea_oThe Udine Far East Film Festival returns for its 21st edition on April 26! As usual, the festival has brought together some of the most highly anticipated East Asian cinema releases with 77 films included in this year’s programme including a retrospective strand dedicated to classic Korean cinema and sidebar on Korean indie comedy. This year’s guests of honour are veteran Hong Kong star Anthony Wong who will be receiving the festival’s Golden Mulberry Award, and Chinese superstar Yao Chen.

China

A Cool Fish Banner

  • A Cool Fish – comedy crime caper in which two losers, a woman in a wheelchair, and a dejected security guard get mixed up in a strange series of coincidences. Review.
  • Crossing the Border – heartwarming drama in which a grandpa goes on a tractor roadtrip with his 6-year-old grandson.
  • The Crossing – a teenage girl becomes a mobile phone mule in Bai’s sensitive coming of age drama. Review.
  • Dying to Survive – dark comedy drama in which an aphrodisiac seller becomes rich smuggling generic cancer medication.
  • Lost, Found – remake of the Korean film Missing in which a lawyer in the middle of a custody dispute discovers her nanny has disappeared with her daughter.
  • Pegasus – New Year comedy drama in which a disgraced middle-aged racing driver tries to make a comeback. Review.
  • The Rib – a trans woman tries to get the approval of her devoutly religious father.
  • When Love Blossoms – a Beijing delivery boy is inspired to pursue his secret crush on a real estate agent who is also his roommate.

Hong Kong

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  • Bodies at Rest – a pathologist and his assistant are suddenly accosted by crooks wanting access to a body in Renny Harlin’s action drama.
  • A Home with a View – Mr. Lo sinks all his savings and his father’s pension into buying a flat which has a view of the ocean that calms the rowdy family down, but one day their lovely view is suddenly blocked by an illegal billboard in a dark family comedy from Herman Yau.
  • Hotel Soul Good – comedy in which a hardbitten exec starts seeing ghosts and then forces them to open a hotel with her.
  • Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy – spin-off / sequel to Ip Man 3 starring Max Zhang and directed by Yuen Woo-ping.
  • Missbehavior – New Year rom-com from Pang Ho-cheung in which a secretary tries to replace a bottle of breast milk belonging to her boss after accidentally using it to make coffee for a client.
  • Project Gutenberg – twisty action drama from Felix Chong starring Aaron Kwok and Chow Yun Fat. Review.
  • Still Human – Intouchables-esque drama starring Anthony Wong as a man in a wheelchair who doesn’t immediately take to his Filipina carer.
  • Three Husbands – Fruit Chan satirises modern Hong Kong through the story of a sex worker with a high libido who lives on a boat with her three husbands.

Indonesia

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  • 212 Warrior – historical martial arts action comedy.

Japan

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  • Dare to Stop Us – drama directed by Kazuya Shiraishi set at Wakamatsu Productions in the early 1970s.
  • Every Day a Good Day – tea ceremony drama featuring one of the last screen performances by the late Kirin Kiki.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – local humour comedy in which residents of Saitama have been relegated to second class citizens. Review.
  • HARD-CORE – robot comedy from Nobuhiro Yamashita.
  • Jam – absurdist comedy from SABU in which a singer is kidnapped by a crazed fan.
  • JK Rock – comedy in which a washed up rocker mentors a girl group.
  • Lying to Mom – black comedy in which a family keep up the pretence that their oldest son who committed suicide is alive and well in Argentina.
  • Melancholic – a dejected university graduate takes a job in a bathhouse but discovers it is used as a location for killing after hours.
  • Only the Cat Knows – a disappeared cat places a wedge between husband and wife.

Malaysia

fly by night still 1

  • Fly by Night – taxi drivers running an extortion scam become embroiled in crime conspiracy
  • Motif – a policewoman investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl in a small town finds herself digging deep into family secrets.
  • Two Sisters – horror in which a woman is released from a psychiatric hospital and returns to live with her sister only to encounter dark family secrets.

The Philippines

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  • Eerie – a clairvoyant guidance counsellor investigates the deaths of a series of girls at a convent school in Mikhail Red’s supernatural drama.
  • Heaven’s Waiting – two old souls trapped in purgatory find each other in Dan Villegas’ supernatural romance.
  • Miss Granny – Filipino remake of the classic Korean musical comedy in which an old woman becomes young and gets to relive her youth.
  • Signal Rock – indie drama set in an island community where a brother determines to help bring his sister and her daughter home to the Philippines on learning that she is in an abusive relationship abroad.

South Korea

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  • Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug war. Review.
  • Birthday – melancholy family drama exploring the aftermath of the Sewol ferry tragedy.
  • Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home.
  • Default – drama exploring the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
  • Extreme Job – bumbling police officers go undercover running a chicken restaurant to catch drug dealers but the restaurant ends up taking off.
  • The Great Battle – historical drama centring on the siege of Ansi Fortress.
  • Innocent Witness – Jung Woo-Sung stars as a lawyer defending a housekeeper accused of murdering her boss who discovers the only witness to the crime is an autistic teenage girl.
  • Intimate Strangers – Korean remake of the Italian film Perfect Strangers in which dinner party guests unwisely agree to share all their incoming mobile messages.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – comedy in which a family’s life is disrupted when dad gets bitten by a zombie.
  • Rampant – historical zombie action starring Hyun Bin.
  • Romang – romantic melodrama in which an elderly couple fall in love all over again while suffering with dementia.
  • Unstoppable – Ma Dong-seok stars as a former gangster hot on the trail of human traffickers who’ve made the mistake of kidnapping his wife.

Singapore

konpaku

  • Konpaku – A young man upset after his girlfriend leaves him ends up in a relationship with the sensuous Midori but is disturbed when strange things start happening to those close to him.

Taiwan

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  • The Devil Fish – spin-off/sequel to the Tagalong franchise this time revolving around an urban legend about a fish with a human face.
  • More than Blue – remake of the Korean romantic melodrama in which two young people try too hard to please each other. Review.
  • The Scoundrels – action drama in which a former basketball player gets mixed up in crime.

Thailand 

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  • Krasue: Inhuman Kiss – an innocent village girl discovers she is a victim of a strange curse in which her head detaches from her body to hunt for blood!
  • Reside – haunted house horror starring Ananda Everingham.

Vietnam

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  • Furie – some thugs make a very bad decision when they kidnap a former gangster’s daughter.

Documentaries

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  • BNK48: Girls Don’t Cry – Thamrongrattanarit Nawapol interviews members of the Thai idol group.
  • Kampai! Sake Sisters – documentary following three women in the historically male sake world.
  • People’s Republic of Desire – documentary exploring the growing Chinese online streaming industry. Review.
  • YI DAI YI LU – One Belt One Road – Italian documentary exploring the One Belt One Road initiative.

The Odd Couples

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  • The World of Suzie Wong – classic 1960 British/American HK drama in which an American artist falls for a sex worker.
  • My Name Ain’t Suzie – 1985 HK drama following a 1950s bar girl.
  • City on Fire – 1987 Ringo Lam classic starring Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee in which an undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves only for the operation to go very wrong.
  • Reservoir Dogs – Tarantino’s 1992 crime drama.

100 Years of Korean Cinema:
I Choose Evil – Lawbreakers Under the Military Dictatorship 

black hair still 1

  • Black Hair – Lee Man-hee classic from 1964 in which a betrayed gangster’s moll mulls going straight thanks to the attentions of a cheerful cabbie. Review.
  • The Body Confession – Jo Keung-ha’s 1964 melodrama in which a woman turns to sex work to raise her three children.
  • A Day Off – Lee Man-hee’s bleak 1968 melodrama following an impoverished couple as they face an impossible situation. Review.
  • Promise of the Flesh – 1975 melodrama from Kim Ki-young in which a young woman on temporary release from prison meets man and promises to meet him two years later.
  • Jagko – Im Kwon-taek pioneers the division film in exploring the parallel fates of a partisan and the man who failed to catch him in the very different world of 1980. Review.
  • The Last Witness  – a detective’s investigation of a brewery owner’s murder takes him right into the dark heart of the recent past in Lee Doo-yong’s powerful drama. Review.
  • Ticket – 1985 Im Kwon-taek drama exploring the lives of five “coffee girls”.
  • Lovers in Woomukbaemi – Jang Sun-woo’s 1990 romantic melodrama stars Park Joong-hoon as a henpecked husband who begins an affair with a battered wife. Review.

Info Screenings 

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  • A First Farewell – A muslim boy in Xinjiang prepares to say goodbye to his deaf/mute mother when his father decides to put her into a nursing home.
  • Ten Years Japan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Japan. Review.
  • Ten Years Taiwan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Taiwan.
  • Ten Years Thailand – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Thailand.

Korean Independent Comedies

Coffee Noir

  • Coffee Noir: Black Brown – prohibition-themed comedy as a barista turns her coffee shop into a speakeasy following the outlawing of the beverage.
  • Passing Summer – A couple running a Jeju hotel are stunned when a pair of faces from the past turn up as guests.
  • Saem – a man goes to Seoul to look for his first love but has a rare condition in which he is unable to recognise faces.

Restored Classics 

wheel of Life

  • A Speck in the Water – 1976 Philippine fishing village drama from Ishmael Bernal
  • The Wheel of Life – Omnibus film featuring three tales directed by King Hu, Li Hsing, and Pai Ching-jui in which the same two actors play lovers across different ages.

The 21st Udine Far East Film Festival runs from 26th April to 4th May 2019. Full details for each of the films will be available shortly via the official website where you will also be able to find the daily screening schedule. Screenings take place both at the Teatro Nuovo and Cinema Centrale. You can keep up with all the latest festival news via the festival’s Facebook PageInstagram and YouTube channels, Twitter account, and Tumblr.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season Eight

High Flash still 2Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns for its eighth season from March 12 to April 24 with 16 films screening at AMC River East 21 and various venues around the city.

March 12, 7pm: Fly Me To The Saitama

Introduction and Q&A with director Hideki Takeuchi

Fly Me to Saitama bannerFumi Nikaido stars as the cosseted son of a corrupt Tokyo Governor alongside pop star Gackt as a “mysterious transfer student” in Hideki Takeuchi’s adaptation of the popular ’80s manga.

March 13, 7pm: Ten Years Japan

Introduction and Q&A with segment director Akiyo Fujimura

10 Years Japan still 1Five young directors provide their visions of a near future Japan in an omnibus movie inspired by the Hong Kong original and produced by Hirokazu Koreeda. Review.

March 16, 2pm: The Ito Sisters

Introduction and Q&A with director Antonia Grace Glenn and lead scholar Evelyn Nakano Glenn 

ito sistersDocumentary exploring the experiences of early Japanese migrants along with their American-born children.

March 19, 7pm: Out Of Paradise

Introduction and Q&A with director Batbayar Chogsom

Out of Paradise still 1A man and his heavily pregnant wife make a perilous journey to the Mongolian capital in order to get a caesarian section but once there discover they are unable to cover the medical fees.

March 20, 7pm: A Land Imagined

Introduction and Q&A with director Yeo Siew-hua.

land imagined still 1Singaporean police officer Lok investigates the disappearance of migrant worker Wang in Yeo Siew-hua’s Locarno prize winning crime drama.

March 21, 6.30pm: Funan

Funan still 1French/Cambodian animated co-production set during the Khmer Rouge revolution of 1975 in which a young mother searches for her four-year-old son who was taken away by the regime.

March 26, 7pm: Show Me Your Love

Introduction and Q&A with actress Nina Paw Hee-ching

Show me Your Love still 1A young man making a rare visit home to Malaysia on the death of an aunt is forced to reconnect with his estranged mother whom he left behind when he went to university in Hong Kong. Actress Nina Paw Hee-Ching will be present at the screening for an introduction and Q&A as well as to collect the Career Achievement Award.

March 27, 7pm: Sen Sen

Introduction and Q&A with director An Bon & actress Nina Paw Hee-ching

Sen Sen still 1A young man whose brother has recently passed away makes a surprising discovery on the cell phone he left behind – the live streams of an elderly cab driver known as Granny.

March 28, 7pm: High Flash

Introduction and Q&A with director Chuang Ching-shen & Actor Chen Chia-kuei

High Flash still 1A medical examiner investigating the death of a fisherman who self immolated to protest corporate giant TL Petrochemical uncovers a major conspiracy in Chuang Ching-shen’s crime thriller.

April 6, 2pm: Up the Mountain

up the mountain still 1Documentary by Zhang Yang focussing on the studio of artist Shen Jian-hua in a remote village in Yunnan Province.

April 7, 2pm: Four Springs

Introduction and Q&A with director Lu Qingyi moderated by Shelly Kraicer

four springgs still 1Director Lu Qingyi follows the everyday lives of his parents over four years in the remote town of Dushan in southwest China.

April 12, 6.30pm: Circle of Steel

Introduction and Q&A with director/producer Gillian McKercher and main cast Chantelle Han.

Circle of SteelCanadian chemical engineer Wendy Fong ponders her future in the face of industry layoffs in this special presentation in collaboration with the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago.

April 16, 7pm: The Pension

Introduction and Q&A with segment director Junghuh Deok-jae 

The Pension still 1Omnibus film set in a small hotel which becomes home to parents attempting to come to terms with the loss of their child, a couple trying to rekindle their marriage, a woman who insists on staying in her preferred room, and the substitute manager who invites his girlfriend over for the evening.

April 17, 7pm: Memories of a Dead End

Introduction and Q&A with director Choi Hyun-young

memories of a dead end still 1A young woman in a long distance relationship with a man from Nagoya decides to visit him when he drops out of contact only to discover he is engaged to someone else.

April 23, 7pm: Memories of My Body

Memories of my body still 1A Lengger dancer looks back on his life as a tale of growing acceptance of sensuality lived against a turbulent political backdrop.

April 24, 7pm – Tracey

Tracey still 1A 51-year-old married father begins to reconsider his life choices after the death of a friend, eventually coming to an acceptance of a transgender identity.

Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 8 runs March 12 to April 24. Full details for all the films are available via the festival’s official website. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.