Not Out (낫아웃, Lee Jung-gon, 2021)

“I just wanted to keep playing baseball” the hero of Lee Jung-gon’s Not Out (낫아웃) eventually wails on finally being confronted with the consequences of his actions. Not so much a baseball movie as a gentle character study Lee’s unexpectedly dark drama sees its singleminded hero descending to depths of sociopathic manipulation in his determination to make his sporting dreams come true but less perhaps out of pure hearted yearning than a sense of embarrassment and fragile masculinity. 

“You won, then it’s over isn’t it?” someone asks Shin Gwang-ho (Jeong Jae-Kwang), the hero of his high school baseball team having just carried them to a miraculous victory. No, he corrects them, it’s only just beginning. Approaching graduation, all Gwang-ho’s ever wanted to do is play baseball, and everyone’s always telling him how good he is at it so much so that he’s internalised a puffed-up sense of himself as a sporting prodigy. That’s one reason why when his coach (Kim Hee-chang) tells him he’s been offered a trainee position with a professional team he arrogantly turns it down, sure that he’s going to be drafted. But his decision backfires, he’s not picked while another boy is leaving him confused, somewhat humiliated, and completely lost as to what to do now. Regretting having thrown away the trainee opportunity he makes the knee-jerk decision to apply to colleges to play in the uni leagues and get another shot at being drafted by the pros, but his decision negatively impacts the life plan of another player whose request not to apply to the same uni falls on deaf ears. Gwang-ho doesn’t really get why it’s a big deal, surely he has the right to try out and let the best player win but his friend, knowing he isn’t talented as Gwang-ho, doesn’t see it that way and intensely resents his insensitivity. 

There is a peculiarly childish component to Gwang-ho’s unthinking determination as he makes a series of increasingly bad decisions in order to pursue his goal little caring who might get hurt in the process. His problem is compounded by the fact that his family is poor, resenting his friend for being wealthy enough to make uni his main plan as if he thinks he can simply do without baseball while to Gwang-ho it’s the only thing that matters. “You think you can play baseball all on your own?” his exasperated coach asks him, fed up with his tendency to alienate his teammates but himself exploiting him in asking for money from his father to improve his chances of being able to continue playing. Gwang-ho, meanwhile, also resents his dad, going so far as to try to guilt him into selling his restaurant to get him the money to go to college.

Gwang-ho continues to do whatever he wants without really thinking about the consequences which is how he ends up trading stolen/illegal homemade petrol with old middle school friend Min-chul (Lee Kyu-Sung). Min-chul and the teenage girl working with him So-hyun (Song Yi-jae) seem to be more aware of the implications of their life of crime while Gwang-ho resolutely refuses to realise that this all very likely to blow up in his face, which it eventually does and quite literally. Pushed to breaking point he hatches a plan to rob the old man running the petrol racket even though despite his obvious criminality he’s actually been quite good to this gang of troubled teens. Min-chul used to play baseball himself but gave up because of an injury, telling Gwang-ho that he thought it would hurt more than it did finally realising “you can just give up if it’s shitty” but Gwang-ho can’t let go of his baseball dreams and is prepared to do pretty much anything to prove he’s “not out” of the game. 

Earlier, the other players had lamented that for them there are no second chances. They’ve invested all their hopes in baseball without studying for the college entrance exams, if they fail to get drafted there’s no obvious way forward. For Gwang-ho who cannot rely on family money, has no connections, other skills or talents, baseball really is all he has which might be why he can’t admit the thought that it’s just not meant to be while his initial failure proves such a huge humiliation that it shatters his sense of self. Only through finally accepting responsibility for his actions, realising the way he’s treated those around him, does he begin move forward apparently getting another shot, still in the game, but perhaps humbled. 


Not Out screened as part of this year’s London East Asia Film Festival.

International trailer (English subtitles)

Pistol (手枪, Lv Huizhou, 2020)

The contradictions of the modern China drive one young man clear out of his mind in Lv Huizhou’s elliptical street punk noir, Pistol (手枪, Shǒuqiāng). Shot in a washed out monochrome and seemingly set some time after the Beijing Olympics, Lv’s anarchic drama sees its hero develop unexpected superpowers as if to combat his sense of impotence and impossibility while constantly uncertain whether his newfound abilities are “real” or merely a figment of his declining mental state as he chases lost love through the rundown backstreets of a Beijing slum.  

Construction worker Mengzi (Zhang Yu) claims he likes Beijing, after all it’s an “international city” always busy with crowds. Many people long to come here, as perhaps he once did, though you can’t say the city has served him particularly well. He lives in a tiny room with a bunk bed and no functioning bathroom which is why he pees in a bottle into which he’s already discarded his cigarette and digs a hole in the woods every time he needs to do a number two. The only thing keeping him going is his doomed relationship with sex worker Yaoyao (Wang Zhener) who just wants to make as much money as she can while she’s young. Mengzi may have stolen the “international city” line from her, he often seems to repeat things said to him when he speaks at all, but Yaoyao also claims to like Beijing because of the opportunities it offers her, citing the story of a woman she knew who quit sex work after only three years with enough money to buy house in her home town, now walking around dripping with jewellery like the queen of all the land. When Yaoyao goes missing, Mengzi fetches up at the salon where she worked that’s really a front for a brothel run by a local gangster and raises hell, picking a fight with the gangster’s wife and in the first of many flashes of spontaneous violence smashing her mirror. 

The ill-advised rescue mission gets him nowhere, the gangster turning up at the restaurant where he’s once again adding to his tab to tell him she’s been sold on to a club before teaching him a lesson. This is where we came in, or it might as well be, with Mengzi chased through the narrow city alleyways until finally cornered and beaten. Mengzi is in many ways a man on the run from himself. His room is papered with posters for macho crime dramas such as Dirty Harry, The Man With No Name Trilogy, and A Better Tomorrow 2, Taxi Driver pinned incongruously between boy band Super Junior and a girl group in air hostess outfits. He is God’s lonely man, obsessing over misplacing his high school graduation certificate while failing to convince his boss to give him a better job. At his lowest point, he digs a hole and crouches down pointing his fingers at gaggle of chickens and pretending to shoot only to hear a gunshot and on closer inspection discover a very dead hen. 

In the days since losing Yaoyao, Mengzi hadn’t done much of anything save mope around, having a tourist day with streetwise kid Laizi (Hou Xiang) visiting Tiananmen Square and the Olympic stadium, both places Yaoyao lied to her mother about visiting trying to make her think her Beijing life was better than it was. His strange visions and violent meditations are often intercut with comforting memories of his time with Yaoyao alone in her bohemian flat, a poster of Chicken Run ironically hanging on her wall. Flashing into colour, the billboards around the stadium are filled with pretty pink flowers and play the Olympic song about being one big family, red solarised footage of the opening ceremony later filling Mengzi’s mind. Family seems to be something Mengzi doesn’t really have, a perpetual orphan wandering around unanchored and resentful of the society that won’t let him prosper. Losing Yaoyao he vows revenge with his new weapon, which for some reason only works with his rear end partially exposed, literally taking aim at social inequality in the midst of a trendy club from which he concludes he may never be able to retrieve his lost love. 

Shot in a washed out black and white reflecting Mengzi’s sense of despair, Lv’s frantic handheld photography mimics his paranoid psychology with its noirish canted angles and extreme sense of claustrophobia while introducing a note of psychedelic uncertainty as even Mengzi himself cannot be sure if his fingers really shoot bullets or he’s in the midst of a psychotic break possibility connected to the traumatic event that opened the film reflected in his own eventual solarisation. An elliptical, ethereal journey through the backstreets of Beijing as they exist in the mind of a crazed young man denied a future and the home he’s so desperate find, Pistol has few kind words for the modern China but perhaps sympathy for its frustrated hero. 


Pistol screened as part of this year’s London East Asia Film Festival.

Zokki (ゾッキ, Naoto Takenaka, Takayuki Yamada, & Takumi Saitoh, 2020)

“Thanks to secrets carefully kept by people the world keeps turning” according to one of the many heroes of Zokki (ゾッキ), a series of intersecting vignettes adapted from the cult manga by Yoshiharu Tsuge and directed by three of Japan’s most prominent actor-directors, Naoto Takenaka (whose Nowhere Man also adapted Tsuge), Takayuki Yamada and Takumi Saitoh. According to the philosophical grandpa who opens the series of elliptical tales everyone has their secrets and without them you may die though each of the protagonists will in fact share their secrets with us if by accident or design. 

Seamlessly blended, the various segments slide into and around each other each taking place in a small rural town and primarily it seems around 2001 though as we’ll discover the timelines seem curiously out of joint as motifs from one story, a broken school window, an awkward moment in a convenience store, the retirement of a popular gravure model/AV actress etc, randomly appear in another. This is however all part of the overarching thesis that life is an endless cycle of joy and despair in which the intervals between the two gradually shrink as you age before ceasing to exist entirely. 

Or so says our first protagonist, Fujimura (Ryuhei Matsuda), a socially awkward man heading off on a random bicycling road trip in which he has no particular destination other than “south” or maybe “west” as he later tells a potential friend he accidentally alienates. Fujimura’s unspoken secret seems to link back to a moment of high school trauma in which he betrayed one burgeoning friendship in order to forge another by joining in with bullying gossip and eventually got his comeuppance. Meanwhile the reverse is almost true for Makita (Yusaku Mori) who relates another high school tale in which he overcame his loneliness by befriending Ban (Joe Kujo), another odd young man rejected by teachers and the other pupils for his often strange behaviour such as his tendency to shout “I want to die”. Ban claims to have heard a rumour that Makita has a pretty sister and Makita goes along with it, eventually having to fake his sister’s death in order to seal the lie only for Ban to find happiness in his adult life largely thanks to Makita’s act of deception. 

The broken window which brought them together turns up in another tale, that of Masaru (Yunho) whose adulterous father Kouta (Takehara Pistol) took him on a midnight mission to steal a punching bag (and some adult DVDs) from the local high school only to encounter a sentient mannequin/ghost who is later likened to the young woman from Fujimura’s past. Bar some minor embarrassment there’s no real reason the ghost sighting would need to be kept secret, the deception in this case more to do with Kouta’s affair and his subsequent departure from his son’s life only to make an unexpected return a decade later. The affair also makes him a target for fisherman Tsunehiko, the betrayed husband and one of the fisherman celebrating the birthday of a colleague along with an existentially confused Fujimura. Meanwhile, Fujimura’s fed up neighbour secretly writes a rude word on a note to himself instead of the usual “good morning” only to realise it’s been moved when he opens the local video store the next morning. 

Eventually coming full circle, Zokki insists what goes around comes around, everything really is “an endless cycle”, and that in the grand scheme of things secrets aren’t always such a bad thing. They keep the world turning and perhaps give the individual a sense of control in the necessity of keeping them if running with a concurrent sense of anxiety. The criss-crossing of various stories sometimes defying temporal logic hints at the mutability of memory while allowing the creation of a zany Zokki universe set in this infinitely ordinary small town in rural northern Japan. As the various protagonists each look for an escape from their loneliness, unwittingly spilling their secrets to an unseen audience, the endless cycle continues bringing with it both joy and sorrow in equal measure but also a kind of warmth in resignation. Beautifully brought together by its three directors working in tandem towards a single unified aesthetic, Zokki defies definition but rejoices in the strange wonder of the everyday in this “obscure corner of the world”.


Zokki streamed as part of this year’s New York Asian Film Festival. It will also screen in London on 24th October as part of this year’s London East Asia Film Festival.

Original trailer (no subtitles)

NYAFF intro

London East Asia Film Festival Announces Full Programme for 2021

The London East Asia Film Festival returns to cinemas screens this October with another packed programme of recent cinema hits from across the region as well as a small retrospective strand including a rare screening of landmark 1990 underworld drama A Moment of Romance from late director Benny Chan whose final film Raging Fire will open the festival at Odeon Luxe Leicester Sq on Oct. 21.

Opening: Raging Fire (怒火)

A righteous cop (Donnie Yen) finds himself in a battle of wits with a former colleague gone rogue (Nicholas Tse) in a searing high octane action thriller from the late Benny Chan. Review.

Closing: Spiritwalker (유체이탈자)

Bodyswapping drama in which a man begins waking up in different bodies every 12 hours after a traumatic accident but continues to search for his own identity while pursued by a shady organisation.

Official Selection

  • My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節) – a lovelorn woman finds herself forced to reckon with the forgotten past when she somehow misplaces Valentine’s Day in Chen Yu-hsun’s charmingly quirky rom-com. Review.
  • The Singer (소리꾼) – period drama in which a street singer travels the land in search of his kidnapped daughter.
  • The Falls (瀑布) (2021) – Taiwanese pandemic drama from the director of A Sun in which a single mother begins losing her mind as the world crumbles around her.
  • The Con-Heartist (อ้าย..คนหล่อลวง) – a scorned woman teams up with a fraudster to scam her ex only to fall for the conman in Mez Tharatorn’s crime caper rom-com. Review.
  • Sasaki In My Mind (佐々木、イン、マイマイン) – a struggling actor finds himself thinking back on memories of a larger than life high school friend in Takuya Uchiyama’s melancholy youth drama. Review.
  • The Silent Forest (無聲) – an idealistic student is caught between justice and complicity when he uncovers a culture of bullying and abuse at a school for deaf children in Ko Chen-Nien’s hard-hitting drama. Review.
  • Zokki (ゾッキ) – omnibus movie inspired by Hiroyuki Ohashi’s manga directed by Naoto Takenaka, Takayaki Yamada, and Takumi Saitoh.
  • Introduction (인트로덕션) – latest from Hong Sang-soo in which a man travels to see his father in the hospital then goes abroad to see his girlfriend only to return and find his mother with another man.
  • The Prayer (간호중) – a caregiving robot is conflicted witnessing a daughter’s exhaustion attempting to care for her mother who has been bedridden for the past decade.

Hong Kong Focus

  • Elisa’s Day (滄海遺愛) – a policeman is forced to face a mistake he made 20 years previously while investigating a crime of passion.
  • Hand Rolled Cigarette (手捲煙) – a cynical former British soldier and a South Asian street thief find unexpected solidarity in Chan Kin-long’s gritty neo-noir. Review.
  • Limbo (智齒) – morally compromised cops chase a serial killer in the rubbish-strewn junkyards of contemporary Hong Kong in Soi Cheang’s stylish noir. Review.
  • Sugar Street Studio (糖街製片廠) – a gang of plucky filmmakers right a historical wrong while running an “authentic” haunted house in Sunny Lau’s charmingly retro horror comedy. Review.

Official Competition

  • A Balance (由宇子的天秤) – an idealistic documentarian’s journalistic ethics are strained when she uncovers scandal close to home in Yujiro Harumoto’s probing social drama. Review.
  • A Leg (腿) – a bereaved wife becomes obsessed with retrieving her husband’s severed leg in order to lay him to rest in Chang Yao-sheng’s darkly humorous romantic drama. Review.
  • Back to the Wharf (风平浪静) – a wounded young man’s attempts to start over in the shadow of his crime are doomed to failure in Li Xiaofeng’s moody, fatalistic neo-noir. Review.
  • Just 1 Day (給我天) – a sketch artist suffering with ALS asks an old classmate to fulfil his last wish by being his girlfriend for just one day. 
  • Midnight Swan (ミドナイトスワン) – drama from Eiji Uchida starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi as a transgender woman who takes in a little girl neglected by her family.
  • Not Out (낫아웃) – a young man with few professional prospects is determined to continue playing baseball.
  • Pistol (手枪) – a man gets into trouble with gangsters while looking for his missing girlfriend.
  • Rom (Ròm) – the residents of a rundown slum awaiting demolition stake everything on lucky numbers in Trần Thanh Huy’s gritty portrait of modern Saigon. Review.
  • Stars Await Us (蓝色列车) – a man recently released from prison searches his former love but is dragged into a gang war.
  • Time (殺出個黃昏) – an elderly hitman displaced by the modern society gets a second chance at life after taking up “euthenasia” in Ricky Ko’s darkly comic yet moving drama. Review.
  • Whether the Weather is Fine (Kun Maupay Man It Panahon) – Philippine drama in which a mother and son search for missing loved ones in the aftermath of disaster.
  • Zero to Hero (媽媽的神奇小子) – Sandra Ng stars as a devoted mother determined to support her son’s sporting dreams in Jimmy Wan’s inspirational biopic of Paralympian So Wa Wai. Review.

Retrospective

  • Taipei Story (青梅竹馬, 1985) – Edward Yang’s landmark 1985 drama in which an independent, financially secure woman is determined to move forward while her boyfriend (played by film director Hou Hsiao-Hsien) remains trapped in the past.
  • Woman of Fire (화녀, 1971) – Kim Ki-young’s second take on The Housemaid starring Youn Yuh-jung as the arrival of a young woman causes disarray for a composer and his wife living on a chicken farm.
  • A Moment of Romance (天若有情, 1990) – underworld romantic melodrama from Benny Chan starring Andy Lau as a street thug falling for a rich man’s daughter (Jacklyn Wu)

Documentary

  • Areum Married (박강아름 결혼하다) – a documentary filmmaker marries a chef and takes him with her when she leaves to study in France but unable to work or speak the language he soon becomes bored.
  • Jikji Route ; Terra Incognita (직지루트; 테라 인코그니타) – a documentary film team accidentally discovers the “Pope´s Letter to King of Goryeo” in the Vatican archives.
  • Keep Rolling (好好拍電影, 2020) – Long-time collaborator Man Lim-Chung makes his directorial debut with a warts and all exploration of the life and career of the legendary Ann Hui. Review.
  • Ushiku (牛久) – Filmed mainly with hidden camera, Thomas Ash’s harrowing documentary exposes a series of human rights abuses at the Ushiku immigration detention centre. Review.

This year’s festival takes place at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, Odeon Luxe West End, The Cinema at Selfridges, and the Chiswick Cinema from 21st to 31st October. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links are available via the official website and you can also keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.

London East Asia Film Festival Announces Full Programme for 2019

Exit still 1The London East Asia Film Festival returns for its fourth edition on 24th October with a screening of Korean action drama Exit. This year the festival will host a special actor focus dedicated to Hong Kong star Aaron Kwok, as well as showcasing two films from North Korea, and paying tribute to the classic samurai movie.

Opening 

Exit banner

  • Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Director Lee Sang-geun will be present for a Q&A.

China

The Crossing Banner

  • The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.
  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family.
  • Send me to the Clouds – a young woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer ends up writing a biography of an entrepreneur’s father and embarking on an existential journey.
  • Summer of Changsha – directorial debut from actor Zu Feng in which he also stars as a policeman investigating a possible murder after a severed arm is found in a river.
  • The Crossing – a teenage girl faces differing kinds of crossings as she finds herself embroiled in a world of crime smuggling phones across the Hong Kong/Shenzhen border. Review.

Hong Kong

Still human 1

  • Europe Raiders – third in the “Raiders” series in which two bounty hunters go on a search for the “Hand of God”.
  • G Affairs – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people. Q&A with Director Lee Cheuk Pan
  • Still Human – touching drama in which a grumpy old man eventually bonds with his Filipina carer. Review
  • Three Husbands – latest from Fruit Chan in which a young woman lives a life at sea with her three husbands.
  • After This Our Exile – Aaron Kwok stars in Patrick Tam’s drama as a dejected husband and father who finds himself alone with his young son after his wife finally manages to leave.
  • Cold War – Aaron Kwok stars as an earnest ICAC agent trying to secure the release of kidnapped policemen. Plus talk with Aaron Kwok
  • Port of Call – Aaron Kwok stars as an eccentric detective investigating the death of a young girl in Philip Yung’s melancholy thriller. Review.
  • I’m Livin’ It – Aaron Kwok stars as a former finance worker rendered homeless. Closing gala with Kwok in attendance. 
  • Butterfly – a closeted lesbian married with a child falls for a younger woman in Mak Yan Yan’s sensitive drama.
  • Green Snake – Tsui Hark’s take on the classic Lady White Snake legend starring Maggie Cheung and Joey Wong.

Indonesia 

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Japan

A girl missing still 1

  • A Girl MissingKoji Fukada reunites with Harmonium’s Mariko Tsutsui who stars as a carer implicated in a crime.
  • To the Ends of the Earth – Kiyoshi Kurosawa reunites with recent muse Atsuko Maeda as a lost TV presenter goes searching for herself while filming in Uzbekistan. Review.
  • Erica 38 – a middle-aged woman seeks chases illusionary success after getting involved with large scale fraud. Review.
  • The Woman Who Keeps a Murderer – Horror from Ring’s Hideo Nakata in which a traumatised woman’s world gradually collapses.
  • Under Your Bed – stalker drama from Mari Asato starring Kengo Kora as a lonely man obsessed with a former uni classmate now married with a child.

Korea

Gangster Devil Sop still 1

  • Long Live the King – comedy in which a mob boss aims to become president to win the heart of a woman who constantly rejects him and also save his friend who has been sentenced to death!
  • Another Child – teenage girls bond in unexpected friendship when they find out their parents are having an affair. Review.
  • Divine Fury – An MMA fighter battles his demons while teaming up with an exorcist priest! Review.
  • Money – a cynical stockbroker gets in over his head with an unscrupulous fixer. Review. Q&A with Director Park Noo-ri & Actor Ryu Jun Yeol.
  • Ms Purple – Drama set in LA’s Koreatown in which Korean-American siblings attempt to reconnect in their father’s final days.
  • The House of Us – Yoon Ga-eun’s The World of Us followup in which a young girl trying to get her parents to patch things up becomes a big sister figure to two other kids. Review.
  • The Battle: Roar to Victory – drama starring Yoo Hai-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol in which Resistance fighters in 1920 attempt to get funds to the Independence Movement in exile in Shanghai.
  • The House of Hummingbird – a young girl’s perspective widens when she connects with her enigmatic Chinese teacher. Review.
  • Tune in for Love – Romantic drama from Jung Ji-woo set in the ’90s following a baker who likes to call in to a radio requests show. Q&A with Actor Jung Hae-in
  • Inseparable Bros – two best friends, one who has a physical disability and the other learning difficulties, meet a woman who encourages them out into the world.
  • Juror 8 – comedy drama inspired by Korea’s first jury trial in which a strange young man refuses to abide by the majority opinion. Review.
  • The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Ma Dong-seok stars as a gangster attacked by serial stabber who teams up with a rogue cop to trap a serial killer. Review.
  • My Name is Kim Bok-dong – documentary exploring the life of “comfort woman” Kim Bok-dong who passed away last year after decades of trying to gain acknowledgement for women like herself forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during the Second World War.
  • Rivercide: The Secret Six – documentary focussing on the outcome of President Lee’s Grand Canal project.
  • The Culprit – a man’s wife is murdered and circumstantial evidence suggests his best friend did it. He teams up with his friend’s wife to search for the truth!

North Korea

The Story of Our Home

  • The Story of Our Home – propaganda drama about a teenage girl who adopts a series of orphans.
  • A Broad Bellflower – propaganda romance in which a man dreams of moving to the city while his wife wants to improve their town.

Philippines

Rainbow Sunset

  • Rainbow’s Sunset – drama in which an 84-year-old man tells his family he is gay because he wants to care for his longterm lover in his final days.

Singapore

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  • Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students. Review.

Taiwan

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  • Cities of Last Things – tripartite story which begins with the protagonist’s suicide and then moves back to examine the events which led to it.
  • Nina Wu – psychological drama from Midi Z in which an actress gets her big break but is forced into uncomfortable situations by a difficult director.
  • Deep Evil – a top plastic surgeon is a prime suspect when a headless corpse is discovered.
  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student.
  • Millennium Mambo – Hou Hsiao-Hsien drama starring Shu Qi as a young woman living in turn of the century Taipei.
  • The Tag-Along: The Devil Fish – spin-off to the Tag-Along series inspired by another urban legend in which fishermen notice a human face in their fish as they’re grilling it.

Thailand

The Pool still 1

  • The Pool – A man ends up having to clean a disused pool after a film shoot but falls asleep on an inflatable raft. When he wakes up, he finds that the water level has fallen so low he can no longer climb out. He screams for help, but the only creature to hear him is a crocodile…

Samurai Season

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  • 13 Assassins – Takashi Miike’s remake of the 1963 Eiichi Kudo classic in which 13 assassins go up against a corrupt lord.
  • Harakiri – Kobayashi classic from 1962 starring Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin taking a principled stand against samurai corruption.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance – first in the Lone Wolf and Cub series which sees a noble samurai fall from grace and take to the road with his small son in tow. Review.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx – The second film in the Lone Wolf and Cub cycle in which Ogami is hired to take down a corrupt manager. Review.
  • Sword of Doom – blistering drama from Kichachi Okamoto in which Tatsuya Nakadai stars as an amoral samurai.

The London East Asia Film Festival 2019 runs at various venues in Central London from 24th October to 3rd November. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links will shortly be available via the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.