Latest news and information on arts, music, culture, dance,etc....plus stories & adventures of pinoy artists...

Labels

February 1, 2013

A Guide To The 2013 Spring Film Festival


Once again, Shang Cineplex, in cooperation with the Leong Center for Chinese Studies and the Ateneo Celadon, rings in the Lunar New Year with a small festival of Chinese films. Running from February 1 to February 10, the 2013 Spring Film Festival offers up another series of free screenings for the curious public. This year, six very diverse movies make up the selection. Here’s a look at what people are going to be lining up for:



Meng Zhang and Kwak Jae-young’s Piano in a Factory (2010, Gang de qin) has won plenty of acclaim in the last couple of years, and it’s not too difficult to see why. It follows a man’s quest to retain custody of his daughter. To do this, he figures that he must get her a real piano. After failing to acquire one through both legal and illegal means, he decides that the only thing to do is build one. Gathering all his metalworker friends, they scrounge around the scrapheaps and set out to build something quite extraordinary.

The film takes place far from the more familiar cities of China, deep in the industrial heart of the nation. It reveals a side of the country that isn’t at all aesthetically pleasing, but full of spirit all the same. This is a winner of a film that will leave many audiences smiling.
Hou Yong’s Jasmine Women (2004, Mo li hua kai) goes in the complete opposite direction from Piano in the Factory. It is features thoroughly grand aesthetics, and will likely elicit tears. Based on the novel by Su Tong, the movie follows three generations of women and their relationships with each other. The movie makes the interesting choice of casting Zhang Ziyi and Joan Chen in multiple roles, having them play the different dynamics between the old and the young through the different episodes of the story.


The movie barters in high drama, casting these stories of women in emotional turmoil against the backdrop of war and cultural upheaval. Anchoring all this high emotion are the stellar performances from Zhang Ziyi and Joan Chen, who both handle the multiple roles with stunning aplomb.
When one makes a movie about disease, it tends to lean towards melodrama. This is what makes Law Wing-cheong’s 2 Become 1 (2006, Tin sun yut dui) so interesting. The film was made during a time when Hong Kong was noted as having one of the highest incidences of breast cancer in Asia. One would expect either panic-stricken social commentary or outright tragedy. One certainly wouldn’t expect a somewhat sensitive comedy. The film tells the tale of an ad executive (Miriam Yeung) who has her life turned upside down when she discovers a lump. With the help of the handsome Doctor V (Richie Ren), she soon learns to deal with her fate. The film sometimes goes too far in chasing down a joke, but it’s a bit of a surprising, sometimes romantic treat.
Speaking of surprises, few people expected the Pang brothers to make a sequel to 1999’s Storm Riders a decade later. But that is exactly what they did with Storm Warriors (2009, Fung wan II). Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng reprise their roles as warriors Cloud and Wind, who must prepare for battle against an evil and seemingly invincible Japanese warlord (Simon Yam). The movie seems to take inspiration from Zack Snyder’s comic book adaptations, working extensively with variable speeds and all sorts of digital trickery. It’s certainly interesting to look at, but the overall result is more than a little staid and frustrating. Wuxia is a great tradition of cinema, and it doesn’t seem to benefit from all the digital bells and whistles.

China’s space program has been making the news cycles in the last few years, and it is exulted in Wang JIa and Shen Dong’s Space Dream (2011, Fei Tian). The movie follows a forty-something Chinese astronaut who has spent his career being passed over for space missions, leaving him on Earth as he watches his colleagues live out his dream. He works hard, and he finally gets an opportunity to pursue his ambitions. The film aims for little more than the outright worship of China’s space program, the film taking place in a version of China where the grass is green and the skies are blue and everyone is an inspiration. It is bright and cheery and more than a little cheesy. It can be tough to take, but it’s also so earnest that it might just win you over. No cynics allowed.

To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure what Golden Times is. I will simply refer to the press materials: Golden Times is “a touching story about teacher Fang and police officer Sun Dayang, who put up a ‘Home for the Left-Behind Children,’ to care for those whose parents have migrated to find work in the cities.” I can’t speak on the pedigree of the film, but it seems to document one of the most interesting phenomena in China’s economic development.


--
Here is the schedule for the festival:
February 1, 2013
2Become1: 12:30PM
Piano in a Factory - 3:00PM
Storm Warriors - 5:30PM
Jasmine Women - 8:00PM

February 2, 2013
Piano in a Factory - 12:30PM
Space Dream - 3:00PM
Golden Times - 5:30PM
Storm Warriors - 8:00PM

February 3, 2013
Space Dream - 12:30PM
2Become1 - 3:00PM
Jasmine Women - 5:30PM
Piano in a Factory - 8:00PM

February 4, 2013
Storm Warriors - 12:30PM
Golden Times - 3:00PM
2Become1 - 5:30PM
Space Dream - 8:00PM

February 5, 2013
Golden Times - 12:30PM
Jasmine Women - 8:00PM

February 6, 2013
Storm Warriors - 12:30PM
2Become1 - 3:00PM
Piano in a Factory - 5:30PM
Golden Times - 8:00PM

February 7, 2013
Jasmine Women - 12:30PM
Golden Times - 3:00PM
Space Dream - 5:30PM
2Become1 - 8:00PM

February 8, 2012
2Become1 - 12:30PM
Jasmine Women - 3:00PM
Piano in a Factory - 5:30PM
Space Dream - 8:00PM

February 9, 2013
Storm Warriors - 12:30PM
Space Dream - 3:00PM
2 Become 1 - 5:30PM
Golden Times - 8:00PM

February 10, 2013
Golden Times - 12:30PM
Storm Warriors - 3:00PM
Jasmine Women - 5:30PM
Piano in a Factory - 8:00PM

Note: Schedules are subject to change without prior notice. Seats are on a first come, first served basis.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Interesting Blogs