FILM FESTIVALS

OAHU  NOV 2-12   BIG ISLAND & KAUAI  NOV 16-19

 

TALES OF CHIGASAKI

SYNOPSIS

Chigasaki is no ordinary seaside town in Japan. It has produced many cultural and musical figures including Japan’s most popular singer Keisuke Kuwata of the band Southern All-Stars. In this unique docudrama, the question is posed; why Chigasaki is so special? Especially in churning out such talented artists — aside from Kuwata, other major figures include famed director Yasujiro Ozu, Kabuki actor Danjuro Ichikawa and music pioneer Yuzo Kayama.Ostensibly, the documentary begins to explore Kuwata’s life via interviews of his childhood friend Junichi Miyaji, who is not only Japan’s top record collector, but a leading music promoter as well. But then the film takes a strange turn as it employs the help of an anthropologist named Shinichi Nakazawa exploring the history and many mysteries of Chigasaki, which are deeply entwined with many music and cultural talents such as Kuwata.

These two tracks converge with a dramatization of Kuwata’s origin story as a musician, the key moment in time where he became a full-fledged musician at a high school fair. This now becomes the bildungsroman of Kuwata, and the rest, as they say, is history.

TALES OF CHIGASAKI is not a documentary about Kuwata or Southern All-Stars. Instead, it is a spiritual examination of the residents connection to the land and sea, to childhood memories, and the rich history of Chigasaki itself, and how it all fits in in the grand scheme of things. Admittedly, it gets pretty cosmic, but in the end, the film’s many ideas culminate to a crescendo building up to the perfect harmony, capturing the mind and spirit of not only the town, but of the Japanese people.

— Anderson Le

Posted by Exhibe Flix - 26 OCT 2017

BIRDS WITHOUT NAMES

SYNOPSIS

An unstable young woman pines for the old boyfriend who nearly beat her to death, in director Kazuya Shiraishi’s gripping tale of eros, deprivation, and desire.
This cinematic adaptation of Mahokaru Numata's novel features a powerful performance by Japanese star Yu Aoi, in the role of an unstable and depressed young woman. Ultimately a film about the extremes unrequited love can push people to, BIRDS WITHOUT NAMES is a unique work that defies genre definitions. Oscillating from thriller to melodrama, the film echoes Brian De Palma and Park Chan-wook with its vivid depiction of immoral actions and emotional turbulence.

Towako (Yu Aoi) lives with Jinji (Sadawo Abe), a man 15 years her senior. She doesn't love him but lets him take care of her. Jinji is a simple man, a blue-collar worker who supports Towako financially, cooks her food, and even provides for her sexual pleasure. But Towako cannot forget her ex-boyfriend Kurosaki (Yutaka Takenouchi). The love, the excitement, the good times with Kurosaki keep replaying in her mind and nothing and no one seem capable of filling her emptiness — not even the steamy affair she has with Mizushima (Tori Matsuzaka). One day a policeman arrives at her door, an ominous harbinger of sinister news: Kurosaki has been missing for eight years, ever since the day he nearly beat her to death.
Gripping storytelling matches the beautiful, yet grim, mise en scène. A tale of eros, deprivation, and desire told with desperate intensity, Kazuya Shiraishi's latest film takes the audience inside a dark labyrinth of criminal passions.
-Toronto International Film Festival

Posted by Exhibe Flix - 26 OCT 2017

YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE

SYNOPSIS

Boy meets girl at high school. They grow up, drift apart and meet again. Such are the elementary and timeless ingredients with which Taiwan novelist-turned-director Giddens whips up the larky retro coming-of-age confection YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE, which took Chinese speaking territories (first in Taiwan, then Hong Kong and eventually China) by storm with massive box office success and making the then unknown young cast into superstars.

Based on Giddens' semi-autobiographical novel THE GIRL WE CHASED TOGETHER IN THOSE YEARS, which was hugely popular among Chinese netizens when it was released as an internet novel, the original text transfer to screen is one of those rarities where the film is just as good (if not better) than the original novel. The film's sparkle lies in the way it conveys the experience of youth and first love with untethered energy and in a wholly personal, idiosyncratic voice.

HIFF is honored to present this return engagement of YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE, as well as the new feature film MON MON MON MONSTERS! as part of our Taiwan spotlight on literary and film impresario Giddens Ko, who will be in attendance.

— Anderson Le

Posted by Exhibe Flix - 26 OCT 2017

DEALER/HEALER

SYNOPSIS

Set in the 1970s and early '80s, Lawrence Lau’s action-packed crime saga tells the true story of a reformed drug dealer who struggles for redemption from his perilous past. Chen Hua, among his friends known as “Cheater Hua,” starts stealing cars and selling drugs with his two best friends at the age of 16. Over the years, he continues to spiral into the deeper crime webs of the city, where he both sells and uses narcotics until he is ultimately caught and sent to prison. Once released, Hua swears to turn his life around, and becomes the leading counselor at a rehab facility. But his path to redemption comes with baggage from the past—a feud over territories in the city, the health of one of his dear friends, and an old love whom he abandoned years before.

Moving like a high-speed freight train, DEALER/HEALER is directed with period flair and zest—that hair, those clothes!—and lead actor Sean Lau (Lau Ching Wan) conveys the complex trajectory of Hua's life with style and nuance, ably supported by fellow cast members including Louis Koo and Gordon Lam.

-SF Film

Posted by Exhibe Flix - 26 OCT 2017