Asian Cinema at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2014

MIFF!

It’s MIFF time, everyone! The venerable Melbourne Film Festival has released their program for this year’s event, and as always it’s crammed with cinema from Asia, from horror classics from Hong Kong (which have their own stream this year, A Perfect Midnight: Haunted Hong Kong) to gritty noir or modern arthouse.

Read on for our rundown of the features from Asia (don’t forget there are some great shorts and documentaries, too) screening this year, and you can find the … (read more)

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Blue Exorcist the Movie (2012)

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blue_ex_movie

There’s something fundamentally appealing about stories about siblings – particularly brothers and specifically twins. Socially, twins are still seen as something worth remark. Scientifically, the study of twins might even help science identify where genetics influences human development and growth and where it doesn’t. But mythologically, brothers have long held a strong and undeniable fascination. Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus, Castor and Pollux, Famamir and Boromir, Thor and Loki, Dean and Sam, Dante and Virgil. Brothers are either at … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Z Storm’ (Hong Kong)

Z Storm

Opening today in Australian cinemas is Hong Kong crime thriller ‘Z Storm’, from director David Lam (his first film in fifteen years, after 1999′s Street Angels). It stars the omnipresent Louis Koo, Dada Chan, Gordon Lam and Michael Wong, and if you’re like me it’ll bring to mind recent entries in the genre Cold War and the Overheard series.

Topical perhaps for audiences in New South Wales, the story focuses on Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Lunchbox’ (India)

The Lunchbox

This Thursday July 10 sees the Aussie cinema release of an Indian romantic drama, The Lunchbox, starring Irrfan Khan (the narrator in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi), Nimrat Kaur (Peddlers) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Gangs of Wasseypur). It is the debut feature from director Ritesh Batra, and it’s garnered some very positive attention internationally, including taking the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes.

The film takes as its subject the dabbawala lunchbox delivery system … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Breakup Guru’ (China)

The Breakup Guru

In Aussie cinemas this week (and opening well in China and some USA cinemas according to according to Variety, despite the money-hoovering colossus of Transformers 4) is Chinese rom-com The Breakup Guru.

Starring Yang Mi and Deng Chao (who also co-directs with Yu Baimei), the trailer suggests that this film is going for My Sassy Girl territory, but I’m guessing that it swaps the tugging at heartstrings for louder comedy fare.

The Breakup Guru opens in most … (read more)

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Killers (2014)

Killers (Poster)

Indonesian/Japanese co-production Killers screened at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival in the Freak Me Out program, which is exactly the right place for it. Programmer Richard Kuipers said in his intro for the screening that their intention for Freak Me Out is to show films that sit at the extreme ends of genre cinema, from horror spectaculars heaving with gristle and gore to the weirder side of arthouse. He suggested that Killers could be a worthy entry on both fronts, … (read more)

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Overheard 3 (2014)

Overheard 3

By way of full disclosure: When Overheard 3 arrived in Australian cinemas and distributor Magnum Films were kind enough to send me a ticket for review, I was worried. I hadn’t seen the first two films, and this is generally a recipe for incomprehensibility as far as the third is concerned. I saw the first installment on iTunes as prep, and then discovered that I needn’t have worried: writer/director duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong have crafted a series of … (read more)

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Dancing in the Room (2013)

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Dancing in the Room

This year’s Sydney Film Festival has a track devoted to new films from China across a wide swathe of budgets, genres and styles, and Chinese director Peng Lei’s oddball portrait of the educated urban twenty-something, Dancing in the Room, just might be the cutest of them. It certainly looks to be the only one to include anything quite this adorable:

Dancing in the Room

Huabian (played by Jiang Yuchen) is a young woman who moves to Beijing after completing … (read more)

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