Today, the Festival unveils this year’s Competition line up, of eight films from seven regions.
Our Competition – selected under artistic direction of Maggie Lee – focuses on both discovering unknown independent potential auteurs and gives recognition to the film craft of directors making quality mainstream films. We’re proud to present a selection that all manifest a strong cinematic vision and reflect the diversity of subjects and genres in Asian cinema, while mirroring the complex cultural, social and political characteristics of the region.
Competition Line Up:
- 1987: When the Day Comes by JANG Joon-hwan (South Korea)
- Bad Genius by Nattawut POONPIRIYA (Thailand)
- The Great Buddha+ by HUANG Hsin-Yao (Taiwan)
- In Your Dreams by TAM Wai-ching (Hong Kong)
- Passage of Life by Akio FUJIMOTO (Japan)
- Please/Care by Giancarlo ABRAHAN (The Philippines)
- Posesif by EDWIN (Indonesia)
- The Seen and Unseen by Kamila ANDINI (Indonesia)
The films will compete for Best Film, Best Director and Best Performer. The last two awards will be handed out for the first time this year to honor filmmakers with outstanding creativity and to raise European awareness of the huge pool of acting talents in Asia. Award winners will be announced during the Closing Ceremony on Sunday 11 March.
1987: When the Day Comes by JANG Joon-hwan (Korea)
On 14 January, 1987, a college student’s death by torture sparked a nationwide uproar against the dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan eventually pushing through the democratic election process. Tracing how people from all walks of life contributed to a pivotal historical movement, Jang (SAVE THE GREEN PLANET) exhibits masterful control over a multi-stranded narrative, forging a rousing epic of people power.
Bad Genius by Nattawut POONPIRIYA (Thailand)
A game-changer in youth drama, this hugely entertaining film about a high school exam-cheating syndicate offers more thrills than a Hollywood heist film. Last year’s top-grossing film in Thailand and an unprecedented hit in China, BAD GENIUS also won Best Feature at New York Asian Film Festival, Best Director at Fantasia International Film Festival (Canada) and Audience Award at Fukuoaka Asian Film Festival (Japan).
The Great Buddha+ by HUANG Hsin-Yao (Taiwan)
In a reinvention of Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW in a Taiwanese backwater setting, a security guard and his slacker friend discover dangerous secrets when they become addicted to watching dash cam videos of their boss’ car. Considered by many critics and film lovers as the best film from Taiwan this year, this side splitting, socially trenchant satire on corruption and poverty has been sweeping up awards, including10 award nominations and five wins at Golden Horse, the most prestigious Chinese language film award.
In Your Dreams by TAM Wai-ching (Hong Kong)
In the mood for Wong Kar-wai? Tam Wai-ching’s story of poetic self-torment and unrequited love between a 16-year-old and his homeroom teacher recalls the Hong Kong auteur lush, languorous style but sympathetically reflects a female perspective. It is produced by and stars Hong Kong screen icon Carina Lau, who appeared in three of Wong Kar-wai’s films.
Passage of Life by Akio FUJIMOTO (Japan)
An architect from Myanmar who’s repeatedly denied refugee status in his adopted country Japan, is forced to do menial jobs. His wife decides to move back to Yangon with their two sons. However, the boys, who are born in Japan and think they are Japanese, get a devastating culture shock in their ‘homeland.’
A heart-wrenching exploration of the migrant plight that couldn’t be more timely and universal. The film won Best Film at the Asian Future section of Tokyo Film Festival and Japan Foundation’s Spirit of Asia Award. Director Fujimoto Akio, who is married to a Burmese, has been compared with early Koreeda Hirokazu for his gentle humanism and documentary-like style.
Please/Care by Giancarlo ABRAHAN (The Philippines)
Seamlessly weaving timeless familial conflicts with wit and humour, Giancarlo Abrahan’s Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Cinema One Originals Film Festival, navigates an 80-something matriarch’s journey around and about her adult daughters’ lives as she mulls over separating from her philandering husband. One of The Philippines’ most stylish young writer-directors, Abrahan’s second feature boasts his signature visual beauty and graceful adagio rhythm.
Posesif by EDWIN (Indonesia)
A disciplined national diving athlete is swept off her feet by a well-to-do classmate. However, his passion is so all-consuming he ends up alienating her from everyone close to her. A teen romance with a dark twist that contemplates violence and control in relationships. Edwin, who received international festival attention for his prodigiously original features has taken a significant step in his first entry to the commercial domestic market. The film is awarded Best Director, Best Actress (Putri Marino) at the Indonesia Film Festival, and Best Film in the Indonesian Competition at Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2017.
The Seen and Unseen by Kamila ANDINI (Indonesia)
THE SEEN AND UNSEEN explores the mysterious symbiosis of twins as 10-year-old Tantri tries to deal with her brother Tantra’s hospitalization. One of the most beautiful and haunting Asian films of the year, it interprets the minds of children through dreams, Balinese music, dance and mythology. Kamila Andini is one of the most talented young female directors in Asia. At Tokyo Filmex, she shared the Grand Prize with Mouly Surya (“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts) — a clear sign of the powerful resurgence of Indonesian cinema.