Osaka lines up diverse competition
By Stephen Cremin
Tue, 07 February 2012, 18:45 PM (HKT)
Twelve films will compete at next month's Osaka Asian Film Festival 大阪アジアン映画祭 (9-18 Mar 2012) in Japan. This year's lineup consists of 36 feature films and 10 shorts.
Highlights among the competition titles are Johnnie TO 杜琪峰's Romancing in Thin Air 高海拔之戀Ⅱ, Dayyan ENG 伍仕賢's Inseparable 形影不離 (2011), Songyos SUGMAKANAN ทรงยศ สุขมากอนันต์'s The Billionaire วัยรุ่นพันล้าน (2011) and CHENG Fen-fen 鄭芬芬's Bear It 熊熊愛上你 (2011) (pictured). To and Cheng have previously attended the festival.
As in previous years, the event has a strong lineup of films from Southeast Asia. Two Indonesian films screen in the competition section, Lasja Fauzia SUSATYO's Blue Sky Langit biru (2011) and Teddy SOERIAATMADJA's Lovely Man (2011). Also competing are Nasi Lemak 2.0 辣死你媽 (2011) from Malaysia and P-047 แต่เพียงผู้เดียว (2011) from Thailand.
Among 16 features receiving special screenings are Japan's About the Pink Sky ももいろそらを (2011), South Korea's Sunny 써니 (2011) and China-Taiwan co-production Love 愛. The festival is also showing a new version of Red Vacance Black Wedding 붉은 바캉스 검은 웨딩 (2011) with a third section directed by KANCHIKU Yuri 寒竹ゆり.
Several of the films reflect on issues surrounding last year's Tohoku earthquake: Simon CHANG 張世儫's Father's Lullaby 手機裡的眼淚, KOBAYASHI Masahiro 小林政広's Women on the Edge ギリギリの女たち (2011) and Friends, a four-minute short directed by Hong Kong's Adam WONG 黃修平 and Saville CHAN 陳心遙.
Friends is part of a special focus on contemporary Hong Kong cinema that includes screenings of Carol LAI 黎妙雪's upcoming The Second Woman 情謎, Jessey TSANG 曾翠珊's Big Blue Lake 大藍湖 (2011) and Lover's Discourse 戀人絮語 (2010), directed by Derek TSANG 曾國祥 and Jimmy WAN 尹志文.
Rounding out the Hong Kong programme, the festival close with the local premiere of Wu Xia 武俠 (2011) attended by director Peter CHAN 陳可辛. As previously announced, the festival will open with the world premiere of TAKAHASHI Banmei 高橋伴明's Takumi: The Man Beyond Borders 道〜白磁の人〜.
Additional guests — and the festival jury — will be announced later this month.
About the Pink Sky
Shapeless low-key comedy with self-centred teens quickly alienates its audience.
Big Blue Lake
Plot-light but involving study of a woman returning to her home village outside Hong Kong.
Chemistry between Kevin Spacey and Daniel Wu helps sustain a rather uneven Mephistophelian comedy.
Good-looking, multi-character Valentine's Day movie, stronger in parts than as a whole.
Well-cast but thinly scripted portmanteau drama with overlapping characters in separate stories.
Initially intriguing idea about two housebreakers wilfully loses its audience midway.
Red Vacance Black Wedding
| 붉은 바캉스 검은 웨딩
An okay, cynical-romantic look at sex and infidelity by two South Korean mavericks.
Romancing in Thin Air
Ambitious riff on Asian melodrama is diverting but lacks real emotional oxygen.
The Second Woman
Poorly written psychodrama about twins in love with the same man generates no tension.
A joyous comedy-drama of female friendship, with excellent ensemble work and lots of retro nostalgia.
Sumptuously shot spin on the costume action genre has good performances but a slightly bumpy script.
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