1428 (DU Haibin) North American Premiere
Tue, Oct 6th 6:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Wed, Oct 7th 12:40pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
The Great Sichuan Earthquake of 2008 and its aftermath traumatized and inspired China in equal measure. Du Haibin’s documentary captures everyday heroism as victims rebuild their lives among the rubble. An astonishingly insightful film, whose palpable humanity comes seasoned with compassionate skepticism.
THE COW (Guan HU) North American Premiere
Fri, Oct 2nd 1:50pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
Thu, Oct 8th 6:45pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
Wed, Oct 14th 4:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
The sole survivor of a Japanese attack in WWII, shock-haired Chinese farmer Nie Er becomes an unlikely resistance hero, along with his companion, an indomitably loyal milk cow. Guan Hu’s picaresque black comedy packs a delightfully absurd punch, with stunning images illustrating a touching magic-realist fable.
KUN 1: ACTION (WU Haohao) World Premiere
Mon, Oct 5th 7:00pm Vancity Theatre
Tue, Oct 6th 12:45pm Vancity Theatre
Young and endearingly headstrong, Wu Haohao could be China’s answer to Vincent Gallo. His film is a Godardian assault on the political and social apathy of his generation, attacking false values and promoting renewed commitment–and free love. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee. With shorts.
OXHIDE II (Liu JIAYIN) North American Premiere
Wed, Oct 7th 9:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Thu, Oct 8th 3:30pm Pacific Cinémathéque
One of Chinese cinema’s boldest experiments in narrative fiction is also the funniest Chinese film of the year. Liu Jiayin’s story of making dumplings with her parents structures this formally daring, wryly amusing look at family dynamics, economic burdens and the ethics and aesthetics of cooking from scratch.
PETITION (Zhao LIANG) North American Premiere
Fri, Oct 2nd 2:45pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Fri, Oct 9th 12:20pm Empire Granville 7 Th 1
Mon, Oct 12th 9:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 1
Zhao Liang’s staggering epic account captures 12 years in the lives of a community of petitioners in Beijing who struggle to survive in the capital while attempting to lodge official complaints with contemptuous officials. This documentary combines compassionate intimacy with an absolutely courageous, sweeping vision of resistance to injustice.
QUEER CHINA, ‘COMRADE CHINA (Cui ZI’EN) International Premiere
Wed, Oct 7th 4:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Fri, Oct 9th 9:15pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Chinese gay activist and radical filmmaker Cui Zi’en has made an authoritative documentary – both history and celebration – on queer culture in China. Testimony from theorists, activists and artists outlines the modern origins of Chinese homosexuality through its attempted suppression to its breakthroughs in the last decade.
ROUGH POETRY (Zhao DAYONG) World Premiere
Mon, Oct 5th 3:20pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Thu, Oct 8th 6:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
This stunning medium length film brings together political theatre and faces in closeup. Chinese documentary-maker Zhao Dayong puts eight characters in a cage, playing themselves, including a cop, a prostitute, a poet. Afterwards, facing the camera, there is only silence, faces, confrontation, tears.
THE SEARCH (Pema TSEDEN)
Mon, Oct 5th 2:50pm Empire Granville 7 Th 1
Tue, Oct 6th 9:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
An extraordinary Tibetan road movie, Pema Tseden’s film is only the second feature made by Tibetans inside China. As a director seeks to cast his film of a traditional musical drama, he unearths an ex-monk’s broken heart, and a veiled singer’s quest for her own lost love.
SUN SPOTS (Yang HENG) World Premiere
Thu, Oct 1st 1:30pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Sun, Oct 4th 6:45pm Pacific Cinémathéque
A tale of love, betrayal and revenge, shot with maximum restraint in a verdant mountain paradise in central China. Yang Heng captures the anguish and passion of a youthful lost generation with a camera whose eloquence turns each of his exquisitely long takes into a veritable poem.
McDULL KUNG FU KINDERGARTEN (Brian TSE) International Premiere
Fri, Oct 9th 6:40pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Sun, Oct 11th 1:00pm Ridge Theatre
Thu, Oct 15th 11:00am Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Little cartoon piglet McDull, a none-too-smart HK kindergarten student, has become supremely popular as the incarnation of HK’s indomitable, absurd and independent spirit. This animated adventure in mainland China by Brian Tse combines spectacular visuals with a madcap humour that’s both kid-silly and grown-up sophisticated.
NIGHT AND FOG (Ann HUI) North American Premiere
Sun, Oct 4th Noon Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Mon, Oct 5th 6:20pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Mon, Oct 12th 4:00pm Ridge Theatre
Based on a true incident, Ann Hui’s harrowing drama captures domestic violence in all its dramatic complexity. When a pregnant mainland woman marries a violently jealous unemployed Hong Konger, economic and cultural differences prove explosive.
WRITTEN BY (WAI Ka-fai) Canadian Premiere
Sat, Oct 3rd 7:00pm Ridge Theatre
Tue, Oct 6th 11:00am Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Mon, Oct 12th 2:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
In Wai Ka-fai’s brilliant puzzle, a dead father is haunted by his bereaved daughter. Characters write stories within stories, spawning alternative, criss-crossing levels of fiction and reality. Both a spoof of fantasy films and a meditation on mourning and rebirth, this meta-fictional fantasy provokes and delights.
FORBIDDEN DOOR (Joko ANWAR)
Sat, Oct 3rd 9:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Tue, Oct 6th 3:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Sat, Oct 10th 9:30pm Ridge Theatre
Joko Anwar confirms his growing rep as a world-class talent with this stunning psycho-thriller in which an impotent artist (Fachri Albar) tries to find and rescue an abused child while bloodily settling some bitter personal scores with his wife, mother and friends. The retro-hip visual style is dazzling and the plot keeps you guessing right up to the double-twist ending.
JERMAL (Ravi L. BHARWANI, Rayya MAKARIM) English-Canadian Premiere
Thu, Oct 1st 6:45pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Sat, Oct 10th 11:40am Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Émigré Dutch filmmaker Orlow Seunke (working under his Indonesian name Utawa Tresno) teamed up with his students Ravi Bharwani and Rayya Makarim to make this unusual father/son story. After the sudden death of his mother, 12-year-old Jaya is sent to the jermal (a fishing platform out at sea) run by Johar, the father who has never acknowledged his existence…
AIR DOLL (KORE-EDA Kazuhiro)
Sat, Oct 3rd 9:45pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Sun, Oct 4th 4:00pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Kore-eda Hirokazu’s very surprising new film gives a whole new meaning to “kiss of life.” An inflatable sex-doll (played by wonderful Korean star Bae Doo-Na) suddenly acquires a soul and ventures out into the real world of video stores, relationships, learning curves… and puncturing blades. With Odagiri Jo and Arata.
BARE ESSENCE OF LIFE (YOKOHAMA Satoko)
Sun, Oct 4th 8:45pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Tue, Oct 6th Noon Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Sun, Oct 11th 11:40am Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Yokohama Satoko (director of German + Rain) turns her hyper-charged attention to the male body. Differently wired Yojin (hot new star Matsuyama Kenichi) is a trainee farmer in Aoyama who falls for the new primary-school teacher – and starts dosing himself with insecticide to enhance his appeal. The year’s wildest, craziest love story.
EATRIP (NOMURA Yuri)
Fri, Oct 2nd 6:45pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Sat, Oct 3rd 1:30pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Tue, Oct 13th 4:00pm Ridge Theatre
Yuri Nomura’s studiedly gorgeous examination of the role food plays in human experience includes interviews with a number of different foodies including Japanese pop singer UA, actor Tadanobu Asano, as well as Sen Souoko, a master of the Japanese tea ceremony
ISLAND OF DREAMS (TSUTA Tetsuichiro) International Premiere
Sun, Oct 4th 12:40pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Mon, Oct 5th 9:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Working on an artificial garbage island, Alan becomes an eco-terrorist, planting bombs to attack a noxious chemical factory–but a cop named Terayama is closing in on him. Tsuta Tetsuichiro’s proudly home-made film would be impressive in any context, but the fact that it’s a brilliant pastiche of Nikkatsu thrillers of the 1960s makes it phenomenal.
KAMUI (SAI Yoichi)
Mon, Oct 5th 6:45pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Thu, Oct 8th 10:45am Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Sat, Oct 10th 2:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Probably the best ninja movie ever made, Sai Yoichi’s adaptation of a story from the epic manga is an exhilarating parable of the struggle for personal freedoms. Featuring shark hunters, a woman ninja in deep cover and terrifically snazzy action choreography–including the lethal Izuna Drop. Matsuyama Kenichi heads the all-star cast.
LEFT OUT (SASAKI Omoi) International Premiere
Wed, Oct 7th 9:30pm Vancity Theatre
Thu, Oct 8th 3:45pm Vancity Theatre
The main characters in Sasaki Omoi’s excellent indie feature work in a scrapyard: young Tanaka develops a crush on his woman colleague Yoshiko, but she seems trapped in a violent relationship with a small-time gangster. Filled with empathy for the marginalized and eccentric humour. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee. Plus shorts.
TOAD’S OIL (YAKUSHO Koji)
Thu, Oct 8th 6:30pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Fri, Oct 9th 3:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
Renowned for his roles in films by Imamura, Ichikawa and many others, Yakusho Koji now directs himself in a sprawling and magical fantasia about immature fathers, old-fashioned sons and truth/lies in relationships. “Toad’s oil” was a universal panacea sold by travelling salesmen in days gone by; here it greases the rusty wheels of a family that’s in danger of cracking. Featuring popular new star Eita. Dragons & Tigers Award Gala.
USB (Oku Shutaro) International Premiere
Fri, Oct 2nd 9:30pm Vancity Theatre
Mon, Oct 5th 10:45am Pacific Cinémathéque
Yuichiro (played by Visitor Q himself, Watanabe Kazushi) wants to be an artist but his widowed mother wants him to become a doctor. As radiation leaks permeate the city, he tries to clear his debts by signing up for a dangerous medical experiment… Oku Shutaro’s bracing sci-fi drama is all about loving the alien.
WHERE ARE YOU (KOBAYASHI Masahiro) North American Premiere
Tue, Oct 6th 6:40pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Tue, Oct 13th 2:10pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Dedicated to Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel, Kobayashi Masahiro’s wrenching movie centres on Ryo, a kid with no money and a mother dying in hospital who survives by stealing from convenience stores. Desperation finally forces him to run away to Tokyo to live rough while searching for his long-absent father.
YELLOW KID (MARIKO Tetsuya) International Premiere
Tue, Oct 6th 9:30pm Vancity Theatre
Wed, Oct 7th 4:00pm Vancity Theatre
Rookie boxer Tamura finds that reality starts to blur when he’s invited by a famous (but volatile) artist to become the model for a new manga hero. Mariko Tetsuya’s debut feature is a smart, sometimes violent reflection on life’s hopes, ambitions and U-turns. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee.
AT THE END OF DAYBREAK (HO Yuhang)
Sat, Oct 3rd 2:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 6
Wed, Oct 7th Noon Empire Granville 7 Th 3
An elegant, tough, unconventional film noir from Malaysia. Probing beneath unquiet surfaces, Ho Yuhang’s luminous images and stunning montages catch quiet passions erupting into unpredictable, shocking action: between two young lovers, between husband and wife and between mother and son.
KARAOKE (Chris Chong Chan FUI)
Sun, Oct 4th 7:00pm Vancity Theatre
Mon, Oct 5th 1:00pm Vancity Theatre
Returning to his home village in Sarawak to find it transformed (destroyed?) by massive new plantations of palm trees, Betik edges into a relationship and a new job working on slushy karaoke videos and imagines that he’s going to take over his mother’s bar. But Chris Chong’s energizingly original debut feature centres on Betik’s discovery that he’s wrong about everything.
MY DAUGHTER (Charlotte Lim) World Premiere
Fri, Oct 9th 6:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Mon, Oct 12th 1:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Melaka, Malaysia, is the setting for Charlotte Lim’s powerful drama about a teenage daughter who struggles to care for her abused mother. A brilliant debut film that uses striking images to render palpable emotionally charged memories of time and place.
BAKAL BOYS (Ralston G. Jover) International Premiere
Sun, Oct 4th 9:30pm Vancity Theatre
Mon, Oct 5th 3:45pm Vancity Theatre
So realistic that it’s a virtual docu-drama, Ralston Jover’s debut feature tells the stories of the young kids from the Baseco squatter area near Manila Bay who earn pin-money diving in the sea for scrap metal. Across Utoy’s search for his slightly older friend and protector Bungal, gone missing, the film explores the plight of kids forced to think and behave like adults before their time.
INDEPENDENCIA (Raya Martin)
Combined with DON’T STEP OUT OF THE HOUSE (JO Sung-Hee)
Wed, Oct 7th 6:15pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Thu, Oct 8th 1:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Exquisitely stylized, Raya Martin’s studio-shot film allegorizes Filipino history of the early 20th century. As the Americans “liberate” the islands from Spanish colonial oppression, a mother flees into the jungle with her son; he later meets a wounded woman and has a child with her. But more storm clouds are gathering… With Jo Seong-Hee’s Don’t Step Out of the House (South Korea, 43 min.), the most original KAFA graduation film this year.
BREATHLESS (YANG Ik-June) English-Canadian Premiere
Mon, Oct 5th 9:30pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Fri, Oct 9th 1:15pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
In the year’s most spectacular (and prize-laden) debut, actor Yang Ik-June writes and directs a movie in which he stars as one of the meanest and most foul-mouthed scumbags in film history: a strong-arm man for loan-sharks who finally meets his match in a high-school girl.
CASTAWAY ON THE MOON (LEE Hey-Jun)
Thu, Oct 1st 9:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Sat, Oct 3rd 4:15pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
In Lee Hey-Jun’s delightfully out-of-whack comedy-drama, a casualty of the recession fails in his suicide attempt and finds himself washed up on a deserted island in the middle of the Han River in Seoul. Part Robinson Crusoe, part JG Ballard hero, he eventually comes to realize that he has a distant admirer with a very good telescope…
CATS (KIM Ji-Hyun) Canadian Premiere
Wed, Oct 7th 7:00pm Vancity Theatre
Thu, Oct 8th 1:15pm Vancity Theatre
The most refreshingly frank and uncomplicated account of the complications of lesbian lives since Go Fish, Kim Ji-Hyun’s breezy movie is another left-field delight from the indie sector of Korean film culture. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee. With a full supporting program of shorts.
DON’T STEP OUT OF THE HOUSE (JO Sung-Hee)
Combined with INDEPENDENCIA (Philippines)
Wed, Oct 7th 6:15pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Thu, Oct 8th 1:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
The young boy Chul-Soo and his five-year-old sister Soon-Yee have not left their basement home since a call from their father told them to stay in and admit no one. Something extraordinary has happened in the world outside, perhaps now under the dominion of Beelzebub. Then they have three sinister and probably dangerous visitors… Jo Sung-Hee’s remarkable film was made as a KAFA graduation project last year.
EIGHTEEN (JANG Kun-Jae) World Premiere
Tue, Oct 6th 6:45pm Vancity Theatre
Wed, Oct 7th 1:15pm Vancity Theatre
When Tae-Hoon takes an illicit winter vacation with his high-school girlfriend Mi-Jeong, her father goes through the roof and forbids them to meet again. But Tae-Hoon is rebellious by nature … Jang Kun-Jae’s (autobiographical?) debut feature is fresh, emotionally true, superbly acted and startlingly beautiful. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee With short.
LIKE YOU KNOW IT ALL (HONG Sang-Soo)
Fri, Oct 2nd 9:15pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Sun, Oct 4th 1:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Hong Sang-Soo’s latest wry tragi-comedy about the gaps between men and women walks another garden of forking paths. The unmarried “hero” tangles with two married women, one a stranger, the other an old flame, but can he make sense of two polar-opposite experiences?
MOTHER (BONG Joon-Ho)
Fri, Oct 2nd 3:45pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Tue, Oct 6th 9:30pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Mon, Oct 12th 1:20pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
A whole new take on the (sometimes scary) intensity of maternal love in Bong Joon-Ho’s triumphant new film. A quack herbalist (Kim Hye-Ja) defies the lazy cops and a corrupt lawyer to solve a murder mystery–and thereby exonerate her imprisoned son (Won Bin). Darkly comic and strangely moving.
FACE (TSAI Ming-liang)
Fri, Oct 2nd 3:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Sun, Oct 4th 9:15pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Tsai Ming-liang’s hallucinatory, spectacular, intriguing, sexy, musical masterpiece is set almost entirely inside (and underneath) the Louvre Museum in Paris. A Taiwanese director comes to Paris to film a surreal version of Salome with supermodel Laetitia Casta, but becomes enmeshed in a web of spectacularly photographed fantasy.
TEARS (CHENG Wen-Tang)
Tue, Oct 13th 9:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Wed, Oct 14th 11:40am Empire Granville 7 Th 4
A powerful, gripping drama from Taiwan, about a policeman with a troubled past, where guilt and revenge coexist with the possibility of redemption. Cheng Wen-tang’s passionate commitment to unearthing Taiwan’s repressive history sears this tale with an unmistakable moral authority.
YANG YANG (CHENG Yu-chieh) North American Premiere
Fri, Oct 2nd 6:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
Tue, Oct 6th 1:30pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
This vibrantly alive coming-of-age story of a young Eurasian woman in Taipei follows glamorous Yang Yang from high-school athlete to aspiring actress. Director Cheng Yu-chieh’s intimate camera captures the precise articulation, via sex, scandal and heartbreak, between adolescence and adulthood.
AGRARIAN UTOPIA (Uruphong RAKSASAD) North American Premiere
Wed, Oct 7th 1:15pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Mon, Oct 12th 6:30pm Pacific Cinémathéque
The director of Stories from the North, Uruphong Raksasad, returns with a documentary-style drama about tenant farmers in a northern Thai village grappling with the stresses of changing times and mores. Fantastically beautiful visuals, clear-sighted politics and a deeply humane vision.
NYMPH (Pen-Ek RATANARUANG)
Fri, Oct 2nd 6:20pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Sat, Oct 3rd 2:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 3
A photographer and his adulterous wife head for the Thai jungle on a photo-shoot, but he falls under the spell of a mysterious, ancient tree and comes back a changed man–or is that a ghost? Pen-ek Ratanaruang follows Ploy with another deliciously offbeat account of the trials of married life.
ADRIFT (BUI Thac Chuyen)
Mon, Oct 5th 9:30pm Vancity Theatre
Tue, Oct 6th 3:30pm Vancity Theatre
Bui Thac Chuyen’s remarkable movie is like a Vietnamese take on Les liaisons dangereuses: baffled by her husband’s low libido, newlywed bride Duyen is pushed by a cruel woman friend into an affair with a macho heartbreaker. Elegantly poised between social realism and moral chaos. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee.
MOON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL (NGUYEN Vinh Son) North American Premiere
Fri, Oct 2nd 11:40am Empire Granville 7 Th 4
Sun, Oct 4th 7:15pm Empire Granville 7 Th 6
Sun, Oct 11th 9:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 4
A young high-school teacher, played by glorious Vietnamese actress Hong Anh, learns to rebel against the exquisitely refined prison of her traditional marriage. Magic, bigamy, ghostly mediums and madness intertwine in Nguyen Vinh Son’s elegant poem of female empowerment in present day Vietnam.
OTHER ASIAN INTEREST FILMS
BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO (ORECK, Jessica)
Sat, Oct 3rd 6:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 2
Sun, Oct 4th 4:00pm Pacific Cinémathéque
Sat, Oct 10th 10:45am Pacific Cinémathéque
Entomologist Jessica Oreck brings a scientist’s eye to the Japanese mania for insects in her documentary debut Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo. Rather than kill to dissect, Beetle Queen turns dreary documentary style on its head, and creates a phantasmagoric, occasionally hilarious, and obscenely gorgeous ode to the insect in us all.
JOHN RABE (Florian GALLENBERGER)
Wed, Oct 14th 6:45pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Thu, Oct 15th 3:30pm Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Courageous German businessman John Rabe, who was partly responsible for saving an estimated 200,000 people during the Japanese Rape of Nanjing, is given a worthy, stirring, old-style widescreen memorial.–Screen. Winner of four German Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Actor (Ulrich Tukur).
KIMJONGILIA (N. C. HEIKIN)
Sat, Oct 10th 12:30pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Tue, Oct 13th 6:00pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Created in honour of Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday, the kimjongilia flower has become a potent symbol of the Orwellian horror that is North Korea. The reality behind the State’s propaganda juggernaut is famine, torture and cannibalism. The stories of survivors reveal the unbelievable truth in N. C. Heikin’s documentary.