Special Report: 10th Udine Far East Film Festival, Italy, Report 2

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The Udine Far East Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary from April 18 - 26 and the audience award and Black Dragon award went to a film about a lawyer that learns to be a show boxer. Gachi Boy, Wrestling With A Memory by KOIZUMI Norihiro from Japan. Second in place and also preferred by the Black dragon professionals of the festival was Adrift In Tokyo by MIKI Satoshi from Japan.
Neither of these films were my favorites this year and I have to say that this year's selection was not as good as in previous years, an opinion shared by other journalists. This can hardly be Udine's fault, I am sure they picked the best of the crop. Miike Takeshi's Crows Episode 0 based on a popular manga was probably one of the best-crafted films, a gang story of young guys in high school but with an excessive amount of poofs and splats. More than half of the films this year were mediocre, many of which seemed to be Asian made for TV movies: film school style sex comedies, thrillers or romantic comedies. This is not what I have learned to appreciate in contemporary Asian film, with pearls such as NAKASHIMA Tetsuya, Kamazaki Girls, PANG Ho-cheung's Beyond our Ken and the rousing Born to Fight by Panna RITTHIKRAI from Thailand. One of the many interesting panel discussions of the past discussed why Asian films are so visually stunning. I learned that the director of photography has a close relationship with the director rather than following compartmentalized assembly line production orders, yet many of the films this year seemed factory made following studio principles.
The side venue for the cineaste this year was the work of the South Korean director Shin Sang-ok. Though these films were interesting I preferred the Nikkatsu action films of the 2005 festival such as Black Tight Killers by HASEBE Yasuharu.
Running parallel to the festival was a seminar by European and Asian distributors about bringing films to Europe. The Venice/Udine festival region has been very important in this effort, and I agree with Miike Takeshi who took time to thank Udine for being a port for Asian films in his taped introduction to Crows Episode 0.
Some of the films that delivered this year were Funuke, Show Some Love You Losers! by YOSHIDA Daihachi, a film about a young girl who creates a successful manga based on the life of her sister and her efforts to become an actress. Body shown on Horror Day is an ambitious project by Paween PURIJITPANYA from Thailand, showing the true story of a doctor with multiple personality disorder that killed several people in a hospital. The real chill of the horror day was SHIN Terra's Black House about an insurance agent who investigates an accident prone family after the son has taken his life. Female heroes are featured in both Truc 'Charlie' Nguyen's The Rebel a story from Vietnam about the daughter of a resistance fighter who helps to save her village, and a woman who takes the thrown after her father dies, An Empress And The Warriors by Tony CHING Siu-tung from China. Best wishes for next year Udine.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Udine Italy
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10th Udine Far East Film Festival, Italy, Report 2