December 10, 2010

Boys on the Run (Daisuke Muira, 2010)

I missed Daisuke Miura’s Boys on the Run at its last showing so I could attend one of my best friend’s birthday party, fully planning to do both but ultimately unable to. On the last day of the festival, while sifting through the Fantasia website for the final showings, I come across an additional projection of Boys on the Run […]
December 5, 2010

The Housemaid (Ki-young Kim, 1960; Sang-soo Im, 2010)

The Housemaid (Ki-young Kim, 1960) is one of the oldest films known to have survived South Korea’s evolution from Third-World country to G20 powerhouse. The print shown at Fantasia this year was restored by Martin Scorsese’s World film Restoration Foundation in tandem with the South Korean government and follows The Housemaid (Sang-soo Im, 2010) remake’s stellar performance this year at […]
November 28, 2010

Symbol (Hitoshi Matsumoto, 2009)

Symbol never lives up to its potential, choosing rather to limit itself to slapstick gags, immature, dull and predictable.
November 28, 2010

Bodyguards and Assassins (Teddy Chan, 2009)

It’s a fine line between social change filmmaking and propaganda. Ousmane Sembene films, for example like Ceddo (1977) about the colonial spread of Islam and Christianity through Africa, Guelwaar (1992) on foreign aid to third-World countries and the impact of imperialism, and Moolade (2004) about the traditional excision of young women, are ideological in form and content, owing much to […]
November 28, 2010

Woochi (Dong-hoon Choi, 2009)

What starts out as a magic-driven wuxia-like, visually close to Blades of Blood, set in the Joseon era in Korea, segues into an unsophisticated popular blockbuster film. Woochi, an undisciplined, mischievous Taoist wizard, banished inside a scroll by three wise men, is unleashed in modern times to help against an invasion of goblins in a world that has forgotten all […]
November 28, 2010

Written By (Wai Ka-fai, 2009)

My next film, Wai Ka-fai’s Written By, is an esoteric look at grief and loss, adrift in levels of reality. Wai Kai Fai is known among Hong Kong directors, having authored several notable films like Running on Karma (2003) and Love on a Diet (2001). He’s also Johnny To’s partner in the Milky Way production company, creating some of the […]
November 28, 2010

Overheard (Felix Chong and Alan Mak, 2009)

Thanks to Love in a Puff, I’m looking forward to Overheard. Since it is a Hong Kong film from Alan Mak, one of the directors of Infernal Affairs, I don’t bother to read the synopsis online before buying my ticket. By the pictures in the Fantasia program, I surmise that it’s a star-studded cat-and-mouse psychological thriller, in the vein of […]
November 28, 2010

Love in a Puff (Ho-cheung Pang, 2010)

I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. Most of the time, they’re insipid little creatures. Yet, from time to time, you come across a little gem, like Secretary (Steven Shainberg, 2002) or In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000), which willfully strays from the beaten path. Love in a Puff (Pang Ho-cheung, 2010), from one of Hong Kong most idiosyncratic […]
November 28, 2010

The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

The Devils is one of Fantasia 2010’s most awaited screening. Like Kuroneko, it’s one of those film history screenings that sharply appeal to my film studies background. The first show having been sold out, an encore was added to the schedule to meet demand. Mitch Davis, Fantasia’s co-programmer, claims it’s one of the most beautiful films he’s ever seen. The legend […]
November 28, 2010

Accident (Pou-soi Cheang, 2009)

I almost missed my showing of Accident, hanging out on Saint-Laurent with a group of friends. Concordia’s Hall Theater is full to capacity, no surprise seeing the popularity of Hong Kong films in Montreal for the last 15 years. Although, mirroring the recent production drop in Hong Kong, their distribution in North American movie theatres has dwindled, the energy is […]
November 28, 2010

Blades of Blood (Lee Joon-ik, 2010)

Blades of Blood is a terrible title for its film. It evokes some sort of blood-filled horror scene, but it’s far removed from that. I like its original title better, Like the Moon Escaping from the Clouds. It’s a Korean wuxia, a sword-fighting martial arts film set in the 16th century, during the Japanese invasion. As the Japanese army advances, […]
November 26, 2010

Brass Knuckle Boys (Kankuro Kudo, 2008)

Brass Knuckle Boys is a Japanese film about the punk-rock music scene in Japan in the ’70s and ’80s. When an old video of young punk rock group Brass Knuckle Boys goes viral on the Internet, a young music manager is tasked with recruiting the group for the label she works for. But she discovers that it’s a 25-year-old recording […]