Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival 2020

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September 20th(Sun.) to 24th(Thu.) 2020

NEWS

2020.09.12

The Highlights of our official lineup of invited films


Yasuhiro Hariki, our Film Festival Director, will introduce you to the highlights of our official lineup of invited films. All films carry English subtitles. We will start with 8 films under our “New and Much Talked About Films from Asia” section.

 


A Tale of Three Sisters” directed by Emin Alper
(2019/Turkey-Germany-Netherlands-Greece/ 107 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
What should be noted as the main highlight of this film is its overpowering visual beauty. The film depicts the landscape of the mountainous regions of Anatolia, deep inside of Turkey where life is not easy. I don’t think we get to see this kind of visual imagery that often. The landscape is also a mirror reflecting the spirit of the main characters. These characters, taking after the landscape, are extremely stubborn. Although they are depicted quite mercilessly in parts of the film, I feel the deep drama of the story through the harsh natural environment the film portrays, can be interpreted as a form of destiny placed upon mankind.

 


Mariam” directed by Sharipa Urazbayeva
(2019/Kazakhstan/75 min.)
A Kyushu Premiere
I feel the distinct quality of this film is that it’s “simple, yet somehow complex.” I think that’s the only way to describe the film. In its simple story, the film does an excellent job of portraying how incomprehensive human nature can be. So much so that you can’t help but get a complex aftertaste once the motion picture is over. The story matches the snow-bound, desolate landscape of Kazakhstan. Appearing like a maze with only a distant view, the landscape seems to express how the main characters feels. A further point of interest is the presence of Mariam, the protagonist, who beautifully portrays the absurdity women must shoulder in life.

 


Jallikattu” directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery
(2019/India/91 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
You will surely be overpowered by the pure force of this motion picture. To put it in perspective, the film only presents a battle between human beings and a bull. The human beings and even the story become irrelevant. I feel the film, which is very rhythmic, presents its scenes one shot at a time with impeccable control. “Jallikattu” is an ancient sport which still exists today as a “primitive festival” where a crowd of people try and control a raging, wild bull. Perhaps we might get this intensity and feverish mania if we were able to make a film out or something as primitive yet modern as Igor Stravinski’s “The Rite of Spring” (“Le Sacre du Printemps”.)

 


Saturday Afternoon” directed by Mostofa Sarwa Farooki
(2019/ Bangladesh-Germany/86 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
The film, based on the terrorist attack of July 1, 2016 where hostages were taken at a restaurant in Dhaka, recreates the fear and terror of the incident with realism. Before anything else, we should all applaud the film director for having the courage to cinematize the incident.  What should be noted is that the film depicts the tense atmosphere of the scene of the terrorist attack with astounding one-cut visual imagery. Also, the film does not try and judge the terrorist attack based on justice coming from outside the occupied restaurant. Rather, it tries to judge the incident from the point of view logic of the terrorists who initiated the attack. I find this to be quite an unprecedented approach. However, the unceasing massacre initiated by the terrorist group appears to conversely turn the notion of terrorist activity which only recognizes justice through Islamic religion, into a sponsor of hopeless massacres. We see something barren and fruitless at the end of fundamentalism but is there a way out of this? The film is excellent in that it isn’t just a recreation of a non-fictional incident but a motion picture of suspense which leaves us in mystery until the very end.

 


Last Night I Saw You Smiling” directed by Kavich Neang
(2019/ Cambodia-France/ 78 min.)
A Kyushu Premiere
This is a documentary on the “White Building” housing complex which used to be a proud, modern structure the film director spent his childhood in. The film is a documentary on the final moments of the building before it was torn down in 2017. By interviewing the film director’s family, relatives and those close to him who lived in the building, the film becomes a personal documentary which addresses topics of modern Cambodian history. Although the film is very personal, it is also artistic, making us feel we’re watching a motion picture of contemporary art.

 


The Tree House” directed by Troung Minh Quy
(2019/Vietnam-Singapore-Germany-France-China/ 84 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
This film is very hard to explain. It is made as a science-fiction film. However, its content is far from being science-fiction. On the contrary, I feel the film is like an ethnological documentary. In short, I feel the film director is borrowing the style and appearance of a science-fiction film to insinuate themes which can be very difficult to express inside of Vietnam. Vietnam is a communist country which insists that its people achieve progress equally. For this reason, the freedom minority groups once had, has been taken away from them. I feel this film to be a pretense on the part of the film director to express his discomfort and other sentiments he may have about individual lifestyles and traditional minority group societies vanishing due to national modernization.

 


From Tomorrow On, I Will” directed by Ivan Marković and Linfeng Wu
(2019/China-Germany-Serbia/60 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
From the title, the film is ironic. The film consistently depicts that the image of the big city a youth from rural China has, is always located somewhere else. At the beginning of the film, the protagonist looks at a drawing of a metropolis on a construction scaffold at a pedestrian overpass. This symbolizes the film’s theme. The film depicts the protagonist living at the bottom of society in a dark basement room without being able to enjoy big city life despite residing in a metropolis. It shows the indifferent lifestyle of the protagonist through continuous visual cuts of high information content. Every scene is so beautifully made that it can pass as art. This makes me want to evaluate the film as “proletariat art which is a bit too artful.”

 


A Witness Out of the Blue” directed by Fung Chih Chiang
(2019/Hong Kong/104 min.)
A Japanese Premiere
Hong Kong at night, shown at the end of the film, is also a beautiful part of this motion picture. This is what I would call “an elegy dedicated to Hong Kong.” The unfolding of a Hong Kong noir-like film with violent action blended into a dramatic story is true to the style of a motion picture from Hong Kong. This is a monumental piece of entertainment featuring a luxurious cast of Hong Kong film stars directed by Fung Chih Chiang who took the Fukuoka Audience Award in 2018 with “Concerto of the Bully.” I would like to ask people to watch Hong Kong films to support Hong Kong, especially since we find ourselves in this time and age.

 

★For our lineup of films we are showing, please click below.
⇒http://www.focus-on-asia.com/lineup_en/

★For our screening schedule, please click below
⇒http://www.focus-on-asia.com/schedule_en/

Assistance
  • ASIA center
  • 芸術文化振興基金
Special Support
  • 西日本シティ銀行
  • 福岡地所株式会社
  • 株式会社福岡リアルティ

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