Competing in the 2015 Stockholm International Film Festival’s Documentary section, Behemoth is a visually striking documentary about the negative effects that coal mining in rural Mongolia have on the environment, and the lives and health of the coal miners. Although the film strives to connect the dots between the causation of air pollution in big cities in China like Beijing that is in part due to unchecked industrial development, such as coal mining and the running of steelworks, it is … (read more)
Mari Asato spins a new take on the well-worn theme of of doppelgängers in this creepy thriller. Bilocation is about an aspiring painter named Shinobu (Asami Mizukawa) and the harrowing discovery that she has an identical self who is traipsing around the city with a completely different will and in a parallel existence, totally unaware that she is just an apparition of the real copy.
Shinobu is a loner, preferring to spend her time in her studio painting, hoping to … (read more)
As the European title of the film suggests, the story is about rebirth or to come alive again. Interestingly, Revivre’s Korean title Hwajang (화장) means “cremation” and “make-up”, and as the film progresses all of these meanings come into play in the narrative of the story, culminating in an end that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and kept me guessing at the outcome until the credits rolled.
What’s seemingly a bland story about a senior executive’s ordeal in … (read more)
Dukhtar is the debut feature length film for writer-director Afia Nathaniel, an independent Pakistani filmmaker. Unfolding in the heart of Pakistani tribal lands, the film revolves around the harrowing and brave escape of a mother and her child as they flee the clutches of local warlords, in the face of the impending marriage of her 10-year-old daughter to a local chieftain. The mother, Allah Rakhi (Samiya Mumtaz), was once a child bride herself. Married off to Daulat Khan (Asif Khan), … (read more)
Given the recent public demonstrations in Hong Kong, the film Bends, which I actually saw almost a year ago at the 2013 Stockholm Film Festival, feels especially pertinent. But for those following the socio-political debates and news of Hong Kong, the issues being dealt with in this film go back for longer than that.
Sort of a Chinese version of Driving Miss Daisy, though not quite as chatty nor spanning decades, Bends is a quiet and unassuming film … (read more)
If you enjoyed the award-winning debut feature of writer/director Arvin Chen’s Au Revoir Taipei from a couple of years back, then chances are you will like his second feature length venture from last year, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? The same quirky, rom-com qualities are reused here somewhat, but his growth as a director is noticeable as he continues to experiment with new elements in this latest film. Accompanied by a beautiful musical score by Wen Hsu (the same … (read more)
With its Australian premiere this week at the Gold Coast Film Festival, Canopy is an Australian-Singaporean co-production that was a passion project eight years in the making for director Aaron Wilson and producer Katrina Fleming.
Set during the days of the Battle of Singapore in 1942, the film opens with the plane of WWII RAAF pilot Jim (Khan Chittenden) being shot down over the island. He parachutes out to safety, only to find himself in the thick of a … (read more)
The Nordic premiere of Harlock: Space Pirate at the last Stockholm International Film Festival packed a full house. This futuristic, intergalactic pirate caper, set around the turn of the 3rd millennium, finds the infamous and (thought-to-be) immortal Captain Harlock (Shun Oguri) commandeering the mysterious spaceship Arcadia, the last of its kind and powered by dark matter — a self-generating energy based substance that comes in pretty handy in spaceship battle damage predicaments.
Earth has been declared a sanctuary in this … (read more)