This week’s Fukuoka International Film Festival has so many movies, it can be hard to choose what to see. Fukuoka Now Festival reporter Eryk Salvaggio has some recommendations to help you decide.
1. For Romantic Comedy Fans: You Are The Apple of My Eye
RIYL: John Hughes movies set in Asia
This feel-good high-school romantic comedy probably has the broadest mainstream appeal of any film in the festival, thanks in part to a comic sensibility that pushes the envelope of most Asian cinema but never strays too far from its emotional center. The film is sweet but rarely takes it to extremes, thanks to the film’s willingness to poke fun at its own genre conventions, which is part of the fun. I can easily see this film in mainstream Japanese release soon – see it now so you can brag later.
Two more screenings this week at T-JOY Theater, Hakata Station, 15:30 on Friday, Sept. 21 and 13:30 on Sunday, Sept. 23.
2. For Sci-Fi Fans: Lee’s Adventure
RIYL: The guy from “Memento” getting trapped in “The Matrix.”
The Chinese film Lee’s Adventure takes a novel premise – a character who has seizures that can stop, slow down, or speed up his perception of time – and drops it into a sci-fi scenario of time travel through video games, putting a new twist on “saving the princess.” While the film makes some plot connections that are difficult to follow (I wasn’t quite sure why the video game in question was a time machine) the film’s sense of humor helps guide you through any leap you might need to make. Pay careful attention to the animated film-within-a-film so you don’t miss a barrage of split-second jokes satirizing American action movies.
Two more screenings this week at T-JOY Theater, Hakata Station, 19:30 on Thursday, Sept. 20 and 12:45 on Saturday, Sept. 22.
3. For Art-House Fans: The September
RIYL: Film Festivals
The September is pure art-house cinema, a bleak existential portrait of a married couple’s isolation from each other and a tiny, unsatisfying attempt at redemption. So very little happens that discussing the plot in even a single sentence would spoil it, but the way emotions are captured – in distant gazes, in the rain-washed streets of Istanbul, in bare trees and cold seas – are densely packed into a rewarding, though sometimes difficult, experience.
Two more screenings this week at T-JOY Theater, Hakata Station, 13:15 on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and 16:30 on Thursday, Sept. 20 (location TBA).
For Eryk’s rundown of this year’s festival, click here ! For more information, such as movie titles and showtimes, see: http://www.focus-on-asia.com/english/lineup/#tokusyu01