Asia Month storms into Fukuoka

Oct 24, 2011 19:13 댓글 없음


ALERT! Asian Film Tsunami Approaching!

Now that Hollywood’s summer flock of blockbusters has come and gone, the cool breezes of autumn herald the arrival of a different artistic style–Asian film festivals. This year, Japan’s artistic attention turned to a new wind blowing from the East in the form of Korean culture. Though Fahrenheit 9/11 bagged the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, with Michael Moore receiving the director’s award, Asian films ran the table in the other categories. There is no shortage of must-see Asian movies, including the hugely successful Lovers by Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Come September, more than 50 Asian films will hit Fukuoka theaters, both in general release and at the annual Focus on Asia 2004 and The 49th Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

<> Hollywoodユs Most Active Asians
Hong Kongユs Numero Uno International Star
Jackie Chan / Hong Kong / Actor

Everyone knows this full-tilt action star, famous for his slapstick humor. Hong Kong’s biggest international star has fans all over the world. This year, he released Medallion, his 50th movie, to celebrate his 50th birthday. His latest film, Around the World in 80 Days, will be released on November 6th.


A talented cast of thousands breaking out from Asia
Text by: Duke Matsumoto / Film Critic

Today, many fiercely individual directors and actors from Asia are taking their place on the world’s stage. Here are the most prominent among them.

Tony Jaa / Thailand / Actor
Jaa is a new type of action hero using the traditional Muay Thai martial art. His spectacular debut came in the starring role in Ong-Bak, which was reminiscent of Jackie Chan in Drunken Master. He has also appeared frequently in American films as a stuntman. During a Fukuoka press conference, he noted, “First, I want to establish a base by appearing in many hit Thai movies. Then I’ll think about going to Hollywood.モ

Wong Ka Wai / Hong Kong / Director
Hong Kong’s maestro Wong Ka Wai cemented his position in the industry with In The Mood For Love, starring Tony Leung and Maggie Chan. He’s noted for dispensing with scripts and deciding the plot line on the spot. Asia’s leading actors are clamoring to work with him.

Kim Ki Dok / South Korea / Director
Known as the Beat Takeshi of South Korea, Kim has released a string of sensational films. Several in the audience present during the screening of The Isle at the Venice Film Festival passed out during a particularly shocking scene. His latest work, Spring, Summer, Autumn, WinterノAnd Spring, marks a change of direction, and is being hailed at film festivals throughout the world.

<> Hollywoodユs Most Active Asians
The Hottest Asian Actress
Zhang Zi Yi / China / Actress
Director Zhang Yi Mou cast her in The Road Home, and she starred in director Ang Lee’s 2000 mega-hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now, Hollywood is banging on Zhang Zi Yi’s door. Her beauty shines through in Zhang Yi Mou’s historical action drama Lovers, and in 2046.


Is India’s Bollywood, in trouble?

With hits like Muthu, Indian movies were the rage in Japan in the mid-90ユs, but last year, not a single Bollywood flick was released in Fukuoka. This runs counter to the worldwide trend, in which Indian movies are raking it in at the box office. The largest international market for the Bollywood product is the Indian diaspora (overseas workers) worldwide, but the films are also popular in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. They are free of ideological and confrontational content that could roil contemporary society, serving instead as escapist entertainment for the common folk. Worldwide audiences estimated at 3.6 billion people!

Bollywood Trends

Bollywood meets Hollywood! Miss World in 1994, Aishwarya Rai turned to acting and brought her stunning beauty to the silver screen. Sheユs currently in the final stages of filming Bride and Prejudice, a romantic musical co-starring Martin Henderson, who appeared in The Ring. Meanwhile, the hottest film in India now is Murder. The buzz is all about the sexy shots of star Mallika Sherawat. Indian films are straight-laced affairs, but her debut last year showed off her shapely figure and captivated many Indian men.


Asian Films in Fukuoka
Film fans are thick on the ground in Fukuoka, and the competition between theaters is intense, as the city has one of the highest ratio of theater seats to population in Japan. This presents a wealth of opportunities for Hakata folks to catch an Asian flick. Many are shown at local film festivals, including the annual Focus on Asia and the Fukuoka Asia Film Festival held every July with the help of volunteers. The Fukuoka Film Commission, established just last year, also actively works to screen Asian films in town. Here are some of the town’s best popcorn palaces featuring Asian movies.

The Fukuoka Mini-Theater
Considerably smaller than today’s modern Cineplex facilities, but it’s the best place to quietly view art films from Asia.

Fukuoka City Public Library
The library has 700 Asian films in its collection, including Japan. These are regularly shown in the Eizo Hall Cinera, for a fee, or the mini-theater, for free.

Fukuoka City Public Library
3-7-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
Fukuoka Now interviewed Miki Shiraishi–pretty enough to appear in an Asian movie herself–who is responsible for PR at Cine Libre Hakata-Eki 1-2, the best spot in the city for Asian films

Thai Film Surge Expected Korean Boom

Korean culture is all the rage now, but the next big thing in films will come from Thailand. Though industry sources have been saying this for the past few years, the only success has been Attack. This summer, however, Ong-Bak was released to instant acclaim. Action flicks account for the bulk of Thai cinema, and most films there are simple entertainment, with a predictable build-up and standard comedy or tear-jerking scenes. One film breaking the mold is My Lover. The director was heavily influenced by the Japanese cartoon Doraemon, and this is evident in the film. It tells the story of a first love in childhood that will appeal to children and adults alike. Look for its release in Japan next year, and don’t forget your hanky.

Miki Shiraishi
PR Director, Hakata-Eki Cine Libre 1-2

We can’t do a lot of publicity for Asian films, but we hope to screen excellent movies for the local audience.

<> Hollywoodユs Most Active Asians
Can’t You Feel the Asian Heartbeat?
M. Night Shyamalan / Director / India

Hailing from Pondicherry, India, Shyamalan stunned the world in 1999 with Muthu. He learned filmmaking in America and having only worked on American films heユs perhaps not an メAsianモ director. His new work, The Village, stars Joaquin Phoenix and premieres September 11.


September is Asian movie Month in Fukuoka

** Focus on Asia Fukuoka Film Festival 2004 **
From Friday, September 10 to Monday, September 2 (Holiday) *Screening starts on the 11th

Celebrating its 14th anniversary this year, Focus on Asia showcases some of the finest contemporary Asian films. Film critic Tadao Sato, the festival director, travels each year in search of new talent, and is often responsible for getting these films shown on general release. This year’s lineup features 27 films from 14 countries. Some of the directors and actors will appear at the screenings to introduce their works and answer questions.

The Lizard (Iran)
In this comedy, an escaped convict pretends to be an imam and becomes wildly popular for his absurd sermons. Not unexpectedly, the Iranian government suspended screening of the film ミ but you can see it here!

Big Dorian (Singapore)
The director traces the facts behind the random shootings by a soldier in Kuala Lumpur that occurred when he was 15. It uses direct testimony to depict a political cesspool in Malaysia.

** The 49th Asia Pacific Film Festival **
From September 21 to September 25

The festival returns to Fukuoka for the first time in 11 years. The films shown cover a broad geographical range that includes Thailand, South Korea, and Russia. This year’s festival will feature 13 films with three special showings. The festival is a competition, and Japanese winners have included Shohei Imamura, who received the director’s award for The Eel in 1997. This year’s festival will include the highly-anticipated Devilman.

Old Boy (South Korea)
Based on a Japanese comic book this shocking story of revenge and suspense won the Grand Prix at Cannes this year. The story revolves around a kidnapping, 15 years of confinement, release, and a vow of revenge.

The Samurai’s Hidden Sword (Japan)
The latest work from director Yoji Yamada, known in Japan for the Tora-san series, and his Oscar-nominated Twilight Samurai. His new work is the story of the turbulent life of a lower-ranking samurai who is given a secret sword, and his sad, tender love affair with a poor village girl.

<> Hollywoodユs Most Active Asians
The Master of Japanese Horror Flicks
Takashi Shimizu / Director / Japan
Shimizu rocked cult fans in 1999 with his second film, Ju-On: The Grudge. He also directed the Hollywood remake, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, which will be released this fall in the U.S.


Coming Asian Attractions

“2046” (Hong Kong) 10/23 (Sat)~
Solaria Cinema, AMC Canal City 13, United Cinema Fukuoka, others
This latest work by director Wong Ka Wai marks a continuation of his 2000 feature In The Mood For Love, in a story about people traveling in search of a lost love in an android world. The improvisational performances of the actors create a unique tension.

“Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…And Spring” (South Korea) Slated for December release
Cine Libre Hakata Eki
Directed by Kim Ki Dok, a prodigy known as the Beat Takeshi of South Korea, this film quietly depicts a life’s journey, the growth of a young man, and his struggles with his parents. It was nominated or the best foreign language film award at this year’s Golden Globe awards. Kim is noted for his use of irony, and this film is no exception.

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