Special Report: 10th Udine Far East Film Festival, Report 1

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The 10th anniversary of the Far East Film Festival, the festival that doesn’t want to get big but is one of the best mainstream Asian film festivals in the world, kicked off on April 18th for a run through April 26th. The special highlight of the first day was screenings of Death Note and Death Note The Last Name by KANEKO Shusuke released in 2006 based on the manga by Obata Takeshi including the new spinoff by NAKATA Hideo - L Change the WorLd released this year. The lead character L (played by Matsuyama Kenichi) who has bad posture and eats a lot of junk food with sugar has been the inspiration to a lot of Halloween costumes – he is a cross between Daryl Hanna’s Pris in Bladerunner and Michael Myers in Halloween. YAMAZAKI Takashi’s popular Always - Sunset On Third Street the winner of two Japanese Academy Awards– is now a sequel with the second installment, a nostalgic look at downtown Tokyo in the late 50’s based on the manga by Saigan Ryohei.

The festival grew out of a focus on popular Hong films at the Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche (CEC) in Udine in the 1990’s.To understand the Udine festival concept you have to understand what mainstream really means. Imagine and just assuming you know nothing about American mainstream film, and you try to sell films like Dumb and Dumber or Wedding Party abroad to an audience that has no real acquaintanceship with this market. Well, that is what Udine does. Johnny To and Steven Chow were among the first directors that Udine show roomed to their audiences. To even paid homage to Udine in his fluffy romantic comedy Yesterday Once More made in 2004 that made some Udine shop owners really happy.
If you were hip to the antics of Cheech and Chong on screen, the films of Miki Satoshi will pull you as they evidently do in Udine. Satoshi presented his latest film Deathfix: Die And Let Live sporting a California baseball cap and told us that he takes a notebook wherever he goes to write down things he finds funny. Such as putting super glue on doorbells. And he believes in world peace. After all as he says, his films cost less than a missile.

There are 50 000 devotees to Udine festival who not only attend the screenings but several late night parties and pore over the Asian book and DVD counters. They also turn up in droves to see Horror Day, each year promising scarier and scarier films. This year that includes KONG Su-chang The Guardpost newly released from South Korea about the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea where the strongest soldiers are sent from the south only suddenly its very quiet at the garrison and the men are acting really strange.

As far as I can tell, the only film made by a woman, just happens to be my favorite so far, the newly released PK.COM.CN by XIAO Jiang, China. It’s hard to describe the film because it is a brilliant visual odyssey about three medical students who let off steam and have fun in between cutting up cadavers. The film includes playful animation, and pop music by Zhang Yang.

For Movie Magazine This is Moira Sullivan Udine Italy
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10th Udine Far East Film Festival, Report 1