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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 12 “GOD’S EYE VIEW”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“God’s Eye View”(2013 / Korea & Cambodia)
Directed by LEE Jang-Ho

Korean films in the 1980s can be characterized by the crude, totally extreme filmmaking of Lee Jang-Ho. It’s been a long time since we last heard from him, but not to worry. He’s made a new feature film, after a whopping 19 years of silence! This film you just have to see.

A group of 9 Catholic missionaries spread the faith of god in Southeast Asia. One problem. They’ve step into territory held by radical Islamic rebels who easily capture them. It’s major decision time for these missionaries…Do they beg for their lives or stick with their religion?

Lee Jang-Ho, the master of Korean realism cinema, presents a delicate but daring psychological depiction of what anguish missionaries go through. It’s a human drama that really heats up. It made me think about the novel “Silence” by Shusaku Endo, which I read a long time ago…

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 11 “I’M NOT HIM”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“I’m not him” (2013/Turkey & Greece & France)
Directed by Tayfun Pirselimoğlu

A film presented with the unique rhythm of inner human desire…

The Japanese writer Koubou Abe wrote a novel called “Tanin no Kao” (literally translated as “The Face of Another”). The story told of how a medical operation could make a face look like the face of another. This film is about someone looking exactly like another. The settings are different but both have a similar taste of addressing the issue of identity. In the film, a single, middle-age man goes to the home of a female co-worker for dinner. When he looks at the picture in her living room, he sees himself. In fact, the picture is her husband, presently in jail, who looks exactly like him. In the course of moving in with her, he starts using what belongs to her husband. The woman then meets a sudden death in an accident. The man, however, still continues to act as if he’s her husband. This goes on until the real husband escapes from jail. Now the man is being hunted by the police together with her jail breaking husband.

Turning into someone else becomes an agreeable sensation and being chased, an ecstasy. The utter fear and agitation when identity flickers…A development, which reminds us of Kafka but an attractive film, nevertheless. After you see the film, you will be left in doubt as to what your true identity is.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 10 “THE BOAR KING”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“The Boar King” (2014/Taiwan)
Directed by Kuo Chen-Ti

A heartwarming human drama that offers a shower of support to victims of natural disaster…

The film starts with a scene of a powerful typhoon threatening a deeply mountainous area. This is presented rather realistically which made me think the footage was a documentary. A ground avalanche falls upon the village, almost destroying it. Then you get a feel of the plot. There’s a couple who manage a hot springs facility. The husband has such a keen interest in shooting video that he goes out to take footage of the raging typhoon. Yet he never returns leaving the wife in despair. Eventually, the hot spring water stops running making it extremely difficult to keep the hot springs facility open. The wife is left with a dilemma of what to do with the land she owns. Can the community including the hot springs facility rise on their feet again overcoming the damage from the typhoon? Or, should she sell her land to a developer who is willing to buy the property? The residents, feeling lost and bewildered, try to piece their lives back together…This sounds almost normal, but it isn’t.

Scenes with a depressed atmosphere in the film are presented in black and white. Yet I find the footage of the husband’s color home video casually inserted into the film, a wonderful aspect of the motion picture. This plain and ordinary home video appears almost mournfully a sign of happiness.

The present where one can’t see a glimpse of hope and a lost happy past…How are these people going to rise back to their feet again ? A modest, quiet and reserved film, but a good film, nevertheless.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 9 “GYEONGJU”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“Gyeongju” (2014/Korea)
Directed by Zhang Lu

Zhang Lu takes you on a mysterious trip to the old capital of Gyeongju…

It’s been awhile but film director Zhang Lu presents us with his 4th film in Fukuoka. His relaxed pace hasn’t changed and his sharp, surrealistic, and unsophisticated humor is still present. Yet in addition to all this, I feel Zhang Lu looking over life in this film with an unworldly drifting poetic sentiment.

Zhang Lu is Chinese with Korean roots and as a result, we see the story of the film go back and forth from China and Korea. The film is an adult oriented motion picture, which also transcends the borders of life and death.

In the film, Choi Hyeon, a professor, returns to Korea to attend the funeral of his friend. While talking about the past with a friend after the funeral, he recalls an obscene painting that he and his late friend saw at a teahouse in Gyeongju. Choi Hyeon then impulsively leaves for Gyeongju…

Gyeongju, with an ancient past, is like Nara in Japan. In the film, Gyeongju plays an important role in blending the present with the past and life with death. The depth and beauty of the scene set behind the night landscape of ancient tombs definitely deserves a mention. The popular actor Park Hae-il plays the role of the protagonist.



 

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 8 “BROTHER”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“Brother” (2014/Georgia & France)
Directed by Teona Mghvdeladze & Thierry Grenade

A vivid depiction of the Georgian civil war from the viewpoint of a young boy…

In the era of the former Soviet Union some 40 years ago, there were good films coming out of the then state of Georgia. These films such as “Pirosmani” and “Falling Leaves” were artistically tranquil and peaceful.

This is a beautiful film, which we haven’t seen from Georgia in a long time. It is set in the early 1990s, just about the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. A young man is in a position where he should have received a higher level of education. However getting involved in the civil war, he is left to spend his days wastefully. Feeling lost, he gradually enters a world of crime. In contrast, his younger brother, rich in talent, strives to become a pianist. Yet his dreams start to fade as the civil war intensifies. The hope in art, the shining light of Georgia, is about to be extinguished…

The film is an elegy, vividly portraying the changing face of Georgia from the viewpoint of the country’s “lost generation”. Film director Teona Mghvdeladze, who spent her youth during this turbulent era, put her film together from her own experiences and other true events. The role of the younger brother is played by a boy who in real life strives to become a pianist, himself.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 7 “THE PAINTING POOL”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“The Painting Pool” (2013/Iran)
Directed by Maziar Miri

A story about a small family with a great amount of love…

I, myself, was amazed that I could be moved this much with such a minimal story. Soheil is raised with much care by his father and mother, who suffer from light mental retardation. Although poor, this is a warm family living a happy life. However, Soheil starts to sense in a high grade of primary school that his family is different from others, and this embarrasses him. He starts to feel life would be much better if he could live like his friends.

The father and mother act so loving and charming in the motion picture that this alone would seem sufficient to enjoy the film. Their sincerity can be directly felt by the audience. So it would be better to get the whole family together to see this film.

Rather than a great ending, Iranian films have an art of depicting how difficulties are overcome and what process the protagonist chooses to deal with his or her problem. In this sense, the film is very Iranian. I really like the colors used for casual, nonchalant scenes. I would definitely recommend this film.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 6 “APOLITICAL ROMANCE”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you, or why not rent out the video if it’s available.

“APOLITICAL ROMANCE” (2013) from Taiwan
Directed by HSIEH Chun-Yi

A sweet but stimulating love comedy depicting the delicate relationship between Taiwan and Mainland China.

We, Japanese, realize in a general sense, that the relationship between Taiwan and Mainland China is not an easy one. Unfortunately, we can’t really put our finger on how difficult it is. “Apolitical Romance” skillfully depicts this sense of distance (between Taiwan and Mainland China) through a young couple. We have A-Zhang, a refined, handsome young man with a good attitude who isn’t interested in pursuing women aggressively. So typical of a Taiwanese youngster. One day he meets Chin-Lang, a beautiful but overconfident woman who comes from Beijing to find the first love of her grandmother. Although bewildered by her pushiness and self-assertion, he decides to offer his cooperation to help her out. The two constantly have arguments about the way they feel and think. They look as if they can become an intimate couple, but they just can’t… It’s a non-stop love comedy.

While presenting an intimate atmosphere so typical of Taiwanese films, “Apolitical Romance” maintains an up-beat tempo, which is refreshing. The film will entertain you as it makes its case on the sense of distance between Taiwan and Mainland China.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 5 “BLIND MASSAGE”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

 

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you. You may also want to rent out the video if it’s available.

BLIND MASSAGE (China/France)

Intertwining of Human Patterns;
The Latest from a Film Director Challenging Taboo

A film with overpowering direction and full of human aroma that it could almost choke you…The film is set at a massage center in Nanking and depicts the love, hate, desire and jealousy among the men and women who work there. The unfolding of human drama is presented in a condensed fashion from the point that the characters in the film are blind. The peaceful environment of the work place is changed dramatically when one couple joins the staff. The audio picks up even the most detailed sound and the imagery is obscure, making the audience imagine what it would be like to be without eye sight. You can sense the overpowering strength behind of the characters breath as they swell on to the screen, as if to test you on how much of this you can take. Just seeing the film fills up your stomach.

The film is directed by LOU Ye, a major force within the group of 6th Generation Chinese film directors, who has addressed such taboo issues up front as the Tiananmen Square Incident and biscxuality. The film travels through some dangerous ground to present an intense portrayal of human nature. The gut boniness of the film is in sharp contrast to the works of the 5th Generation of Chinese film directors who have chosen to pursue commercial films. You may want to see the film director’s earlier works, such as “Suzhou River” and “Summer Palace”.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 4 “LITTLE BROTHER”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

 

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you. You may also want to rent out the video if it’s available.

LITTLE BROTHER (Kazakhstan)

The solitude and pride of our small boy will come to move you…

A boy lives in terrible circumstances. His mother is dead and his father has moved out of the home bringing this elementary school boy to live all alone in a mountainous village. His father only returns from time to time. Far from being kind to him, the adults around the boy bully him just because he’s a child. No teacher or classmate is kind to him. He does his best to cope but deep inside, his spirit is on the verge of collapse. One day his elder brother, who goes to school in the city, returns. The little boy then thinks that now, no one’s going to bully him.

However, his brother, who the little boy relies on, is the type that only thinks about himself. A real letdown. From the screen, you can just feel what the boy is going through in his silent solitude. Just be forewarned, though, that this isn’t a children’s movie. Things are not presented so rosy in the film. The film teaches you that humans have no choice but to stand alone in life. And this is what makes you want to keep on going.

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THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS 3 “TIMELINE”

FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR YASUHIRO HARIKI PRESENTS
THE FILM HIGHLIGHTS

If you missed this film during our festival, I highly recommend that you try and see it in a theater or film festival nearest you. You may also want to rent out the video if it’s available.

“TIMELINE” (2014) from Thailand
Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr

A Sweet and Heartrending Thai Style Love Story

The film has a unique Thai touch to a love story. Even if life or death should separate the two, their flame of love will continue to glow…Just like “Peemak” last year, we see this type of film from Thailand this year as well. A mother who has lost her husband brings up her son, Tan, all by herself by managing a strawberry farm. Tan, in choosing his future, decides not to enroll in the agricultural university his mother has in mind but instead chooses to go to a university in Bangkok. At an event at the university in Bangkok welcoming new students, Tan meets charming June and love starts to sprout. Yet the affair turns into a triangle relationship and before June can confess her love for Tan, she leaves to study in Japan. Then in the end, we find out how deep her love is in a message she posts in the Timeline of her Facebook page…

A gigantic hit in Thailand with a super handsome youth breaking into stardom this year, playing the role of Tan. The leading actress playing June is charming as well. It’s worth watching the film just to see these two. Also worthy to notice are the scenes taken at Karatsu City in Saga Prefecture (Japan).

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