Special Report: 11th Far East Film Festival, Udine Italy, Part 1

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The 11th edition of the Far East Film Festival running this week from April 24 to May 2 shows every sign of being one of the best editions of recent times.Producer Mase Yusuhiro of TBS productions in Japan guested the festival and who is behind this year's Academy Award winning film Departures directed by Takita Yojiro. The film about a young apprentice for a unique and respectful burial ritual for the deceased is a magical film about preparing loved ones for the final passage. The film will be released in San Francisco May 29th and excerpts from an interview with Mase Yusuhiro will be presented in a future Movie Magazine report. Yusuhiro is also behind Nakamura Yoshihiro’s film The Triumphant General Rouge . The film released this year is about an ER in a Japanese hospital where a mysterious letter appears accusing the head surgeon and nurse of conspiracy with a medical supplier.
Japanese director Sato Shimako was on hand for her action film, K-20 The Legend of the Mask, a story set in 1949 where a peace treaty is signed with Japan and the USA that prevents WW11. The story is based on the writing of 18th century Japanese writer Edagawa Rampo, who was inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe. An interview with Shimako is also scheduled for a future Movie Magazine report. K-20 Legend of the Mask is about a circus artists falsely accused of being the master of disguise and thief, K-20 who has stolen important masterpieces and artifacts.
Tanada Yuki’s One Million Yen Girl is so far one of the best new narrative features, an intimate portrait of a young Japanese girl who has criminal charges leveled against her for throwing out her roommates belongings after he puts a stray cat she has rescued out in the rain. She decides to leave Tokyo and live in new towns until she saves up 1 million yen and moves on again.
This year the festival retrospective is dedicated to Ann Hui from Hong Kong a veteran television director who had made strong and commanding portraits during the 70s for the government run ICAC Independent Commission Against Corruption and RTHK Radio Television Hong Kong. Her subjects are varied such as a film about Vietnamese Chinese who takes refuge in Hong Kong after unsuccessfully trying to immigrate to the USA, made in 1979. Dragon Tiger and Panther made in 1976 is a Hitchcock inspired story about death and adulturey. Ms Hui’s latest film The Way We Are is a contemplative story of missed connections in a Hong Kong with impersonal high rises. Though the traditional family rituals remain there is emptiness in the lives of two women who working a supermarket. A single mother with a teenage son and an elderly woman who longs to connect with her faraway family.
Wednesdays at the festival are dedicated to horror films, and the latest frights features from Thailand and Indonesia are on hand. Another feature this year is Muay Thai martial art films such as the work of Praecha Pinkaew, the director of Chocolate about a young female martial artist. The excellent choreographer Panna Rittikrai who worked on Born to Fight from 2004 and Ong Bak 2 was also in the house.
Next week more from the Far East film Festival. For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Udine Italy.

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11th Far East Film Festival, Udine Italy, Part 1