I’m surprised I never heard of Domics, a Filipino-Canadian creator. He makes some great animated videos on his youtube channel.
After the Rain / 恋は雨上がりのように / Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (2018)
Director: Akira Nagai
Writer: Jun Mayuzuki (manga), Riko Sakaguchi
Cast: Nana Komatsu, Yo Oizumi
On a flight back home, I was surprised to see Japanese films available and this one was at the top of the list since it was in alphabetical order. I had never heard of the movie but recognized the two main actors so decided to watch it.
The story centers around a 17 year old high school girl, Akira (Nana Komatsu), who has a crush on her 45 year old manager, Kondo (Yo Oizumi), of the restaurant where she works. But what initially looks like a cringey wish fulfillment setup is actually more about two individuals who have both lost their passions and how they end up helping each other rediscover them. The original source material is a manga and an anime adaptation already exists. I ended up watching the anime later which made for an interesting comparison.
Normally my reviews are spoiler free but this one will have some mild spoilers since I’ll be comparing it to the anime.
This year’s Festival du nouveau cinema screens many intriguing films from around the world from October 3-14, 2018 at Cineplex Quartier Latin, Cinema du Parc and Imperial cinema. There is as usual a great selection of East Asian films. I won’t list them all but I will mention some of the ones I look forward to seeing the most.
Films from China have often been lacking at festivals (perhaps in part due to censorship) but this edition features Jia ZhangKe’s latest film, Ash is the Purest White starring his wife and muse Zhao Tao and Liao Fan, an actor’s who’s been in many good films that I’ve enjoyed. Other actors in the film include Feng Xiaogang and Xu Zheng which make up an impressive cast. Long Day’s Journey into the Night directed by Bi Gan stars Huang Jue and the ever compelling and beautiful actress Tang Wei.
From Japan, the festval brings Hirokazu Koreeda’s latest work Shoplifters, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. It has an excellent cast including Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, and Kirin Kiki (her last film before she passed away in 2018). I’m biased since I’ve enjoyed many films by this director but I think this is a must-watch. Killing directed Shinya Tsukamoto stars Sosuke Ikematsu and Yu Aoi, both very good actors. Mamoru Hosoda’s latest animated film Mirai looks delightful for kids and adults. I’ve enjoyed past anime films by this director. There are also restored versions of older Japanese films from 60s, 70s & 80s which should intrigue those with a longer history of Japanese film viewing than myself.
The South Korea film I’m eager to see is Burning by Lee Chang Dong, whose previous film I saw was very engaging and thought provoking. This one stars Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, and Jeon Jong-seo.
From France, there’s the animated film Funan directed by Denis Do about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. It won the Crystal Prize for Best Feature Film at Annecy International Animated Festival.
There are also other films from South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
Trailers after the jump.
Penguin Highway / ペンギン・ハイウェイ (2018)
DIRECTOR: Hiroyasu Ishida
WRITER: Makoto Ueda
CAST: Kana Kita, Yû Aoi
Adpated from a book, a 4th grade boy has a crush on an older woman who works at the dentist’s office that he goes to but that’s not the only thing on his mind. When penguins start appearing in his town, he decides to investigate with his best friend.
This film exhibits one of the great things that make animation a special medium. There are simply things you can draw that you couldn’t possibly replicate in real life or even with the aid of photo-realistic computer graphics. That sort of imagination and creativity are on display in this film.
Da Hu Fa / 大护法 (2017)
DIRECTOR & WRITER: Busifan
CAST: Xiao Liansha, Tutehameng, Jin Shijie
Next screening: Tue July 24, 2018; 5:15 PM
A master fighter who looks like a red gourd goes to a strange village in search of a prince. The village is inhabited by odd looking humanoids who live in fear of their leader.
The background and foreground art is very nice in this movie. It’s vibrant and colorful. It definitely looks like it took inspiration from classical Chinese paintings. The character designs are the opposite in that they’re fairly simple. Animation seemed not bad although it wasn’t something I focused on as I was definitely intrigued by the setting of the movie.
Fantasia will present a 35mm print of the 1989 Hong Kong classic The Blonde Fury with star Cynthia Rothrock in attendance, who rose to stardom in the Hong Kong action scene of the 80s.
The world premiere of Satoshi Miki’s film Louder!: Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp will take place at Fantasia. This musical comedy marks the return of the director from a five year film making hiatus.
The Canadian premiere of Searching stars John Cho in a film that uses a unique storytelling approach of computer screens and social media.
Southeast Asia is represented by two action films, the Vietnamese superhero click Loi Bao by Victor Vu from Vietnam (North American premiere) and the Filipino cops & drugs actioner Buybust by Erik Matti
Two more anime films were announced, the world premiere of the horror film, Aragne: Sign of Vermillion by Saku Sakamoto and the international premiere of Penguin Highway by Hiroyasu Ishida
The rare entry from China called People’s Republic of Desire by Hao Wu will have it’s Quebec premiere.
Other East Asian films include The Vanished by Lee Chang-Hee (North American premiere), Being Natural by Tadashi Nagayama, Amiko by Yoko Yamanaka, and One Cut of the Dead by Shunichiro Ueda.
See the full press release for all the other films.
Trailers after the jump
Here are some of the East Asian films that Fantasia announced as part of their first wave of films that will screen at this year’s festival.
World premieres include Buffalo Boys, a western from Indonesia directed by Mike Wiluan, and Bleach, a live action manga adaptation directed by Shinsuke Sato and starring Sota Fukushi and Miyavi featuring supernatural battles.
Inuyashiki, another live action manga adaptation but in the Sci-fi genre directed by Shinsuke Sato will have it’s Canadian premiere and stars Noritake Kinashi and Takeru Satoh. Another manga adaptation from Sato called I am a Hero featuring zombies will also screen.
Animated features making their Canadian premieres include: Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms, which is the directorial debut of Mari Okada; Fireworks directed by Genki Kawamura, which is an adaption of a TV drama by Shunji Iwai; and the “gekimation” Violence Voyager by Ujicha.
From South Korea: Last Child, a first feature film from director Shin Dong-seok is a drama that will have its Canadian premiere and stars Choi Moo-seong, Kim Yeo-jin and Seong Yu-bin. The Outlaws is an action comedy directed by Kang Yun-sung and starring Don Lee and Yoon Kye-sang.
Horror entries include: Japan’s Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch by Yudai Yamaguchi and Indonesia’s Satan’s Slaves by Joko Anwar.
Other Japanese films include: Tremble All You Want by Akiko Ohku, Wilderness: Part 1 & 2 directed by Yoshiyuki Kishi and starring Masaki Suda and Yang Ik-june, and Hanagatami by Nobuhiko Obayashi.
For the full list of films, check out the press release.
Some trailers after the jump.
Mini reviews of Free and Easy, The House of the Disappeared, Shock Wave, The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, Napping Princess, Love and Other Cults, Rage, Extraordinary Mission, Night is Short Walk On Girl.