PiFan opens with horror, ends with romance
By Stephen Cremin
Wed, 27 June 2012, 17:00 PM (HKT)
The 16th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) 부천국제판타스틱영화제 (19-29 July) will open with the world premiere of local omnibus Horror Stories 무서운 이야기 and close with the Asian premiere of MIIKE Takashi 三池崇史's high school musical-romance For Love's Sake 愛と誠.
The eleven-day festival will screen 50 contemporary Asian features this year, in a lineup of approximately 100 new feature films. There are also several retrospectives, including a focus on local comedies from the 1970s and a tribute to local production house Myung Films 명필름.
As in recent years, films from South Korea and Japan dominate PiFan's Asian lineup, each representing one quarter of its contemporary Asian selection. They include OH Young-du 오영두's co-production Young Gun in the Time 探偵ヨンゴン 義手の銃を持つ男, presented at the festival's project market last year.
Outside Japan and South Korea, the strongest selections are from Hong Kong and India, with five films each, and Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia, with three films each. Less well represented are the vibrant genre cinemas of Thailand and the Philippines with just one film from each territory.
China, currently undergoing a renaissance in genre cinema, is represented by only two films, Frant GWO 郭帆 and LI Yang 李陽's ambitious science fiction romance Lee's Adventure 李獻計歷險記 (2011) and ZHANG Li 張蠡's romantic drama Flying with You 一起飛 starring South Korean idol JANG Na-ra 장나라 | 張娜拉.
Of the twelve titles in the "Puchon Choice" feature film competition, four are Asian: Upi's Shackled Belenggu, Soi CHEANG 鄭保瑞's Motorway 車手, MORI Yoshitaka 森義隆's Space Brothers 宇宙兄弟 and SHIOTANI Naoyoshi 塩谷直義's animation Blood-C: The Last Dark 劇場版 ＢＬＯＯＤ−Ｃ Ｔｈｅ Ｌａｓｔ Ｄａｒｋ.
Unusually, there is no film from South Korea competing this year. Seven years after industry figures and academics called for a boycott of the event, the festival still struggles to secure upcoming local releases. Local film studios do co-operate with the festival but only supply films that have already had a theatrical release.
Local films opening in cinemas during the festival, including KIM Ik-ro 김익로's comedy A Millionaire on the Run ５백만불의 사나이 (CJ, 19 July), CHOI Dong-hoon 최동훈 | 崔東勳's starry heist movie The Thieves 도둑들 (Showbox, 25 July) and opening film Horror Stories (Lotte, 26 July).
Two local horrors will likely still be showing in cinemas: PARK Joung-woo 박정우 | 朴正祐's Deranged 연가시 (CJ, 5 July) about a mutant parasite that threatens to wipe out the entire population, and KIM Dong-bin 김동빈's Two Moon 두 개의 달 (Lotte, 12 July) about two strangers who wake up in a basement in a forest.
Good, basic thrill ride that could have had much more dramatic depth.
Flying with You
Fluffy Chinese vehicle for South Korean actress-singer Jang Na-ra is for addicts only.
For Love's Sake
The songs add little to Miike Takashi's well-mounted but routine delinquent drama.
Ambitious but failed attempt at a live-action version of a cult animated short.
Slick, engaging thriller blends cars, crime and characterisation in a fresh way.
Average psychohorror is too much psycho and not enough horror.
A characterful cast and multiple twists keep the criminal capers entertaining.
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