Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Shutter at Hawaii fest

Shutter is showing at the Hawaii International Film Festival. It's the only full-length Thai feature at the festival, but it's part of an impressive lineup of Asian films.

In addition, there's Don't Fence Me In: Major Mary and the Karen Refugees of Burma, a short-film documentary about Burma's Karen people, which is a politically sensitive subject in Thailand. Also, there's Iceblock Cometh, which follows the short life of a block of ice in Cambodia.

The Star-Bulletin offers a top 10 Asian films at the festival, by LoveHKFilm's Sanjuro.
  1. Welcome to Dongmakol -- Director Park Kwang-hyeon makes a stunning debut.
  2. Initial D -- Pop singer Jay Chou is Takumi Fujiwara, a tofu-delivery-boy-turned-accidental-god-of-illegal-street-racing.
  3. A Bittersweet Life -- Lee Byung-hun plays a hard-boiled gangster who glimpses a better life.
  4. Kamikaze Girls -- Cross the American road movie aesthetic of Thelma and Louise with the Japanese bubblegum pop of Cutie Honey and you'll have some idea of what this movie is all about.
  5. Crying Fist -- The traditional underdog boxing flick gets a Korean facelift in this genre-busting box-office hit about two men searching for a little redemption.
  6. Shutter -- With the glut of Asian horror movies ripping off Ringu and Ju-on, it's nice to see some fresh blood in the genre.
  7. Sad Movie -- Another highly-anticipated Korean film, the one makes its world premiere at the festival.
  8. Dumplings -- Miriam Yeung plays a washed-up actress on the prowl for some pricey dumplings that are said to possess the power to restore a woman's youth. But vanity has its price.
  9. Princess Raccoon -- Ziyi Zhang plays a raccoon spirit who falls in love with an exiled prince (Joe Odagiri). True to Suzuki's previous work, Princess Raccoon is a love-it-or-hate-it affair but, at the very least, this deliriously silly Technicolor musical should prove memorable.
  10. Kekexili: Mountain Patrol -- Based on a true story, the film focuses on a Beijing journalist traveling with a mountain patrol as they try to nab some poachers amidst the countryside's unforgiving terrain.
Other festival highlights include:
  • An Evening with Zhang Yimou.
  • A screening of State of Mind, a documentary on North Korean gymnasts.
  • Godzilla: Final Wars.
  • Special Focus on Toei Film Studios, a retrospective that includes The White Snake Enchantress, Galaxy Express 999, Red Peony Gambler: Flower Cards Match, The Mad Fox and Kinji Fukasaku's Street Mobster and his Shogun's Samurai, which will feature an appearance by festival guest Sonny Chiba.
I'm most impressed by the number of Japanese films scheduled, including the latest from Yoji Yamada, The Hidden Blade.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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