Program cover above
Starting on the 12th of April and ending on the 15th April this years Festival saw a total of Thirteen films over the four days, and that's without the Triple header Horror feature on Friday night. The event takes place at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square London.
K.I.T.G. was there to cover the show and enjoy some entertainment. There's not much in the way of Martial arts offerings this year so i will offer a overview on this page of the films i view ,which in the end was seven features.
So after some 17 hours of film watching ,here's the lowdown on the show.
Films marked in Blue are the ones K.I.T.G. attended
Thursday 12th April
8.45pm - My Way - Korean war drama from Kang Je-Kyu
Friday 13th April
13.00pm - One Mile Above - Chinese Drama from Du Jiayi
14.45pm -Return to Burma - Taiwan/Burma drama from Midi Z
16.25pm- UFO in her Eyes - Chinese Comedy directed by Guo Xiaolu
18.45pm -From up on Poppy Hill - The latest Anime from Japan
Friday Night 13th April
Terracotta Fright fest - A triple header of Horror
The Grudge - The classic Japanese horror.
Gyo - A Adaptation of popular Manga ,this anime should put you on the edge.
Zombie 108 - A Zombie film from Taiwan.
Saturday 14th April
12.00pm - Arirang - South Korean Documentary by KimKi-Duk
13.55pm - The Woodsman and the Rain - Japanese Indie Comedy .
16.20pm - Monsters Club -Japanese Thriller by director Toshiaki Toyoda
18.00pm - Seediq Bale- Taiwanese Action film by Wei Te-Sheng
Sunday 15th April
12.15pm - Couples - Korean Comedy by Jeong Yong-ki
14.15pm - Dancing Queen -Korean Comedy directed by Lee Suk-Hoon.
16.35pm - Inseparable -Black Comedy from China.
18.25pm - Himizu - Japanese drama set in a Dystopian Future.
The shows opening film from Taegukgi Director Kang Je-kyu is a epic War drama ,set around World War II ,it tells the story from a Korean's point of view, it stars Jang Dong-Gun,Joe Odagari and Fan Bing Bing.
When two young boys meet during the Japanese occupation of Korea ,there love of Marathon running will bring them together then Japan's Imperial rule over Korea will tear them apart and send them on a journey of War torn Korea,Russia and Europe.
Director and Stars (above)
Truly this was a fine start to the festival and a full review on our sister site right NOW! Click here to view.
Monster Club from Japanese director Toshiaki Toyoda is a thriller about a young man who has abandoned normal society following various tragic events within his family,he lives a life of a recluse on a snow covered mountain. Living a self sufficient life he spends his time making letter bombs and sending them to various CEO's of various corporations. The film has a short running time of some 72 minutes ,but this seemed about right for a budget film of this caliber. The idea of the film is to be thought provoking and make you see life from others views.
For me it was little to slow even at 72 minutes and i did find some moments funny (which i don't think where meant to be) , Toshiaki Toyoda did appear on stage after the film to answer questions and talk about the film for a short while .
But in the end it just did not do it for me.
Score out of Ten = 5
Shown on Saturday at the Festival ,Taiwan's entry for the show was the epic Seediq Bale (Warriors of the Rainbow), Directed by Wei-Te Sheng who has had the idea for the story since around 2003. But due to funding could not make the film, It was only after his success with another film (Cape No'7) that he was able to go ahead with his story of the Taiwanese aboriginal Seediq Tribes who where conquered by the Japanese in 1895 .
Forced to give up there beliefs and the way they lived to conform to Japanese way of life. The film follows one Mouna Rudo a Seediq Warrior who leads a rebellion some 25 years after the Japanese invaded. Leading some 300 warriors against a army of 3000 Japanese troops to try and regain there land and way of life.
This was a epic film ,and on hand to introduce the film was the Taiwanese Ambassador and Supporting Actor in the film Da Ching .
The film shown was the international version running at around two and half hours ,originally the film in Taiwan was released in two parts which combined ran at around four and half hours, and because of this reviews have been varied .
Another note is the fact the film was produced by John Woo and Terrance Chang and if you recall a similar thing happened to John Woo's Red Cliff . A film totaling some 5 hours or more was stripped down for international release into one film.
Now Seediq Bale was a sell out at the event and was truly a epic film. A full review will appear on site shortly .plus i have also managed to order a English subtitle version of the original four and half hour version. So it looks like a head to head is on the cards.
Sunday Morning and a early start ,the first film of the day was at 12.15 and was a Korean Comedy from Jeong Yong-Ki. This was a film i just new i would like, being from the man behind ''Marrying the Mafia'' . It was a clever film following the romantic events of a range of couples and how there lives inter-crossed and with Hilarious results much of the time.
View the Review on site here!
Another Korean comedy played on the Sunday .Dancing Queen follows the life of a couple who met when young, they both had their dreams and ideals , Jung -hwa is a happy go lucky sort of girl who lived for dancing and became famous for her antics ,Jung-min also became famous ,but for all the wrong reasons, he mistakenly got ear marked as the man behind a set student riots.
Years later the two are married and living happily ,they have a child and though they struggle at times to make ends meet they seem happy. Jung-min is a legal aid lawyer and so spends his time helping others ,but rarely helping himself or his family.
Jung-Hwa runs a hairdresser with her friend and teaches aerobics to keep in touch with her dancing. She longs for the day when she would be famous ,but getting on in years she feels it will never come.
But all that is about to change when her husband becomes a local hero after saving a man who fell on to the train tracks,and then again when he tries to stop a group of thugs beating up on a young boy (only to be saved by the arrival of the Police) ,
With his picture in the paper and people exaggerating the many things he has done ,he gets noticed by local politicians who think he will make a great Candidate for the City Mayor elections, the other candidates think his input could help there raise to fame ,but when his popularity spirals and it looks like he might win other things come to light which may hinder his campaign .
Unknown to him his wife persuaded by her friend have entered in a talent contest on TV ,though they did not get through ,Jung-hwa gets noticed by a record producer she previously turned down years ago, he needs a new member for his new group the Dancing Queens ,and Jung-Hwa seems perfect.
Now how will Jung-Hwa split her time being the wife of mayoral Candidate Jung-Min and then being the latest member of new Hot Girl Group ''Dancing Queens.
It even gets more out of hand when the Dancing Queens are booked for one of the Mayoral banquets where Jung-hwa must attend with her husband and with her Group.
Dancing Queen will have you on the edge of your seat, with great laughs ,and clever scenes ,add to this a Great soundtrack and you have one of the best feel good movies to come out of Korea.
And all of this must go down to not just great direction but some very solid performances by the cast. So if you want to Laugh,Cry or just be uplifted then Dancing Queen may be the right step for you.
Score out of Ten = 8
Now this has got to be one of the most eagerly awaited Chinese films of the past few years. Why you ask,well when a Major Hollywood star gets a lead role in a Chinese film ,then something special must be on the cards.
Now the star in question ,Kevin Spacey plays a mysterious character ( Chuck) who comes to the aid of A young helpless man called Li (Daniel Wu) ,when the two strike up a friendship after Chuck has successfully stopped Li from Committing Suicide the two become heroes against crime , but first Li must go through a series of tests to establish his bravery. With Chuck egging him on it all becomes to apparent that maybe Chuck is not who he says he is and Li may have more problems then he ever imagined.
Full Review on Site NOW ! CLICK HERE
The closing film of the festival was ''HIMIZU'' by Sion Sono (Coldfish). It follows the life of two teenagers in a Dystopian Japan ,Set after a Devastating Earthquake it shows how people who had everything to live for ,strive to survive after having everything swept away in one fell swoop.
The film is a cold hard drama that not shows the love between to young teenagers (though for most part the Love is pretty one sided) it also shows the stark truth of Domestic violence , both our two main stars ,the young boy Yuichi who lives with his Mother in a Riverside shack where they rent boats , frequently gets visited by his father who wishes him dead and beats him ,his mother who goes around with other men just wants to do her own thing.
The young girl at first seems to have it even worse ,for young Keiko has parents who also hate her and wish her dead, they have even made her a gallows and are decorating it, they keep trying to convince her that she should hang herself when it's ready and that way they can be happy.
Keiko becomes obsessed with Yuichi and frequently visits the shack where he lives. But truth be told ,things take a turn for the worse when Yuichi's mother leaves with another man and thugs come around for his father who owes them money for a loan.
Taking even more beatings (and some of these are Brutal to say the least),Yuichi comes to a point when he can not take any more and any one in his way is going to pay the price.
Himizu was in truth quite a depressing film and with a two hour plus running time it can take it's toll. Though i thought the acting was brilliant on part of the cast and especially the two young stars, you wonder where the film is going at times. When you think it might go one way ,it stops and keeps it self in limbo. Choosing to maintain this look at life from a very insignificant viewpoint. For me it was only the scenes of mass brutality that kept me awake for most part .
After the film Actor DenDen came on stage to answer some questions and talk about the film. He had a small role in the film but one which was entertaining none the less.
Score out of Ten = 6
This years festival was pretty good ,though we did not view every film on show ( don't think i could have managed that) there where still a couple i missed that i would have liked to have seen. But if i had to pick my top three films of the event i would have to say they are as follows.
K.I.T.G. Best in Show
1) Seediq Bale by Wei Te-Sheng ,Taiwan -2011
2) My Way by Kang JE-KYU ,South Korea- 2011
3) Couples by Jeong Yong-Ki , Korea - 2011
If you like to experience different cultures then film is a easy way to start , and i urge anybody wanting to see films from the east to experience the Terracotta Film Festival ,with a varied catalog of films there's bound to be something on show that will appeal and you never know you may find yourself finding new avenues in film.
See you all next year.