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September 22, 2012

Dragons & Tigers: The Cinemas of East Asia


Japan

Alternative Anime: The Next Generation

ALTERNATIVE ANIME: THE NEXT GENERATION

Japan/South Korea | Dir: Various

International Premiere

Sat. Sep 29, 9:15 pm, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 3, 2:00 pm, Granville 6
Sat. Oct 6, 10:30 pm, Granville 6

Graphic isn’t the word for this spectacular collection of new indie animation by hot young artists in Japan and South Korea. Expect every type of animation… and maybe at least one big name.

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Dreams for Sale

DREAMS FOR SALE

Japan | Dir: Nishikawa Miwa

Thu. Sep 27, 1:00 pm, Cinematheque
Sun. Sep 30, 6:00 pm, Granville 3
Mon. Oct 1, 2:30 pm, Granville 3

Nishikawa Miwa goes further than she did in Dear Doctor into the emotional space between pretense and sincerity: her latest centres on a ruthless young wife who pushes her husband into fake marriage proposals—to scam money from the vulnerable women.

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Key of Life

KEY OF LIFE

(Kagi-Dorobo No Method)

Japan | Dir: Uchida Kenji

Sat. Sep 29, 3:15 pm, Granville 2
Mon. Oct 1, 6:15 pm, Granville 2

Uchida Kenji’s long-awaited follow-up to After School is essentially a riff on Trading Places with an all-star cast: Sakai Masato, Kagawa Teruyuki and Hirosue Ryoko. A miserable, failed actor grabs the chance to switch identities with a man who turns out to be a ruthless underworld fixer. Touching, brilliantly plotted and timed… and very, very funny. Winner, Best Screenplay, Shanghai 2012.

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Like Someone in Love

LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE

France/Iran/Japan | Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

Related Links: Trailer

Thu. Oct 4, 6:30 pm, Vogue
Wed. Oct 10, 3:30 pm, Vogue
Fri. Oct 12, 11:00 am, Vancity

For his second cinematic foray outside of Iran, Abbas Kiarostami goes to Japan to fashion another elliptical, intriguing, open-ended drama that is at once engrossing and profoundly cinematic. A young student/prostitute visits a doddering old academic who doesn’t seem to have sex on his mind at all… Crafty, elegant and truly mysterious.

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Malaysia

If It’s Not Now, Then When?

IF IT’S NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?

(Ruguo hai you mingtian)

Malaysia | Dir: James Lee

Related Links: Trailer | Official Website

North American Premiere

Mon. Oct 8, 6:45 pm, Cinematheque
Thu. Oct 11, 1:30 pm, Cinematheque

This elegantly shot, deceptively quiet family drama by leading Malaysian indie director James Lee packs quite a punch under its gorgeously muted exterior. A mother, daughter and son share an apartment but barely cross paths, their respective love affairs echoing with unspoken loneliness and unacknowledged desires.

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Philippines

Apparition

APPARITION

(Aparisyon)

Philippines | Dir: Vincent Sandoval

Related Links: Trailer

North American Premiere

Tue. Oct 9, 5:00 pm, Vancity
Thu. Oct 11, 6:45 pm, Cinematheque

A startling left-turn after Senorita (VIFF 11), Vincent Sandoval’s new film is about nuns in a cloister convent that may—or may not—be a metaphor for the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship. Set in 1971, it has the newly arrived Sister Lourdes venturing into a dangerous Manila to investigate the disappearance of her activist brother…

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Oros

OROS

Philippines | Dir: Paul Sta. Ana

International Premiere

Fri. Sep 28, 4:10 pm, Granville 2
Sun. Sep 30, 6:00 pm, Granville 5

The debut feature of Paul Sta. Ana, writer of Trespassers (VIFF 11), is set in the slums of Manila—but it’s not the kind of Filipino movie satirized in Woman in a Septic Tank. The film is first and foremost an analysis of the way a certain “black economy” works for those at the lowest levels of society, although there’s nothing academic or dryly sociological about it.

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Shackled

SHACKLED

(Posas)

Philippines | Dir: Lawrence Fajardo

North American Premiere

Sat. Oct 6, 9:30 pm, Vancity
Wed. Oct 10, 4:00 pm, Vancity

Stealing a middle-class woman’s smartphone is the biggest mistake in the petty-criminal life of Jess (singer Nico Antonio in an impressive acting debut). It not only gets him locked up and waterboarded, but also gives him a crash-course in the workings of a deeply corrupted system. Lawrence Fajardo’s powerful film gives the term "police procedural" a very dark twist.

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South Korea

Helpless

HELPLESS

South Korea | Dir: Byun Youngjoo

Related Links: Trailer | Official Website

Fri. Sep 28, 10:30 am, Granville 2
Tue. Oct 2, 6:00 pm, Granville 2

Byun Youngjoo adapts Miyabe Miyuki’s famous novel Burning Train to Korea—with sensational results. A young woman disappears, apparently kidnapped. Her husband-to-be and his cousin investigate where the police can’t or won’t, and make some shocking discoveries.

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In Another Country

IN ANOTHER COUNTRY

(Da-Reun Na-ra-e-suh)

South Korea | Dir: Hong Sangsoo

Related Links: Trailer

North American Premiere

Thu. Sep 27, 12:00 pm, Granville 4
Mon. Oct 1, 9:15 pm, Granville 4

Hong Sangsoo plus Isabelle Huppert plus Yu Junsang equals three separate—but oddly overlapping—stories about a Frenchwoman visiting a dull Korean seaside resort, finding (or not finding) the lighthouse, getting (or not getting) laid. Hong’s lightest and drollest movie in some time.

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Jesus Hospital

JESUS HOSPITAL

South Korea | Dir: Shin A-ga, Lee Sangcheol

Related Links: Trailer

International Premiere

Wed. Oct 3, 9:30 pm, Granville 1
Fri. Oct 5, 3:30 pm, Cinematheque

Remember Whang Jungmin, the doting girlfriend in Save the Green Planet? She’s equally great in this heartbreaker (co-directed by Shin A-go and Lee Sangcheol) about a woman torn between her comatose mother, her alienated family and her eccentric religious beliefs.

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Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time

NAMELESS GANGSTER: RULES OF THE TIME

South Korea | Dir: Yoon Jongbin

Related Links: Trailer

Fri. Sep 28, 9:30 pm, Granville 7
Tue. Oct 2, 4:00 pm, Granville 7

Yoon Jongbin has obviously learnt from Scorsese and Coppola, but his tale of the rise of a Busan crimelord has a sardonic, satirical thrust all his own. The great Choi Minsik (Oldboy) stars as a corrupt customs officer who teams up with a thug to muscle in on protection racketeering and casino management. Number one at the Korean box office this year.

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Romance Joe

ROMANCE JOE

(Ro-Maen-Seu)

South Korea | Dir: Lee Kwangkuk

Related Links: Trailer

North American Premiere

Sun. Sep 30, 1:30 pm, Granville 2
Tue. Oct 2, 9:00 pm, Vancity

Already the most celebrated Korean indie of the year, Lee Kwangkuk’s debut feature spins half a dozen interlinked tales to teasing and very amusing effect. Romance Joe, the guy who almost died for love, figures large, both as an adult and as the lovelorn kid he once was. Lee was Hong Sangsoo’s four-time assistant, and the master’s fascination with storytelling tricks and traps has rubbed off.

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A Werewolf Boy

A WEREWOLF BOY

South Korea | Dir: Jo Sunghee

Related Links: Trailer

Fri. Sep 28, 3:30 pm, Granville 7
Sun. Sep 30, 9:30 pm, Granville 7

The first big-budget feature from Jo Sunghee (director of End of Animal) finds the unexpected middle ground between Truffaut’s L’Enfant sauvage and Wolverine. The story centres on the grooming and education of a mysterious feral boy, supervised by a 19-year-old girl who’s trying to end her engagement to an obnoxious upper-class benefactor. Powerhouse entertainment, featuring love, suspense, dark secrets, tenderness, fur… and some very jagged teeth.

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When Night Falls

WHEN NIGHT FALLS

(Wo hai you hua yao shuo)

South Korea/China | Dir: Ying Liang

Sat. Sep 29, 6:00 pm, Granville 4
Mon. Oct 1, 1:15 pm, Granville 6

Ying Liang’s harrowing drama is based on a real incident: a mother discovers that the state is about to execute her son for the murder of several policeman. Her tragic heroism in the face of relentless authority bears the weight of Greek tragedy, with all of its awful beauty.

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Thailand

In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire

IN APRIL THE FOLLOWING YEAR, THERE WAS A FIRE

Thailand | Dir: Wichanon Somumjarn

Related Links: Trailer

North American Premiere

Wed. Oct 3, 6:00 pm, Granville 5
Sat. Oct 6, 12:40 pm, Granville 5

Nuhm goes home from Bangkok to Khon Kaen for a wedding reception and meets friends, family and a lost love. But his story is mysteriously invaded by director Wichanon Somumjarn’s own family memories of a divorce, a fire, a jellyfish sting…

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Mekong Hotel

MEKONG HOTEL

Thailand | Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

North American Premiere

Sun. Sep 30, 9:15 pm, Vancity
Mon. Oct 1, 3:45 pm, Vancity

In Apichatpong’s latest reverie, set in a hotel on the Mekong River, young reincarnated lovers are beset by a pob ghost, which feeds on human and animal entrails.

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Vietnam

In the Name of Love

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

Vietnam | Dir: Luu Huynh

Related Links: Official Website

Sat. Sep 29, 9:15 pm, Vancity
Fri. Oct 5, 4:00 pm, Vancity

Fish farmer Khanh is overjoyed when his wife Lua gets pregnant and gives birth to a son; he’d been told his sperm-count was too low. But Lua has been unfaithful, and the child’s biological father suddenly turns nasty… Luu Huynh’s film, beautifully shot in ’Scope, moves from rural naturalism to powerhouse melodrama as murderous passions are unleashed.

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Vancouver International Film Festival | VIFF 2012

September 27 - October 12, 2012 | Film Info: 604.683.FILM (3456) | VIFF Office: 604.685.0260