August 18, 2006


Paprika_1 This year's New York Film Festival (Sept. 29 - Oct. 14) looks to be one of the best in years. There's new Almodovar (VOLVER), new del Toro (PAN'S LABYRINTH), new Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), and old Warren Beatty (REDS). But you want to know what they're showing from Asia, and here it is, with the biggest news held for the end.

THE GO MASTER - I'm not a fan, but Tian Zhuangzhuang is one of China's most respected arthouse directors and this biopic of a Go master torn between Japan and China sounds more eventful than some of his earlier movies.

THE HOST - what kind of film festival would they be if they didn't have Bong Joon-Ho's monster movie?

INSIANG - Lino Brocka has been called the Fassbinder of the Filipines and he's generally considered that country's greatest director, with his films making their way to Cannes on a regular basis in the 70's. Now, the New York Film Festival screens his 1976 classic as a reintroduction to one of those great directors whom the West has forgotten about.

PAPRIKA - Satoshi Kon (PERFECT BLUE, PARANOIA AGENT) is one of the best animation directors working in the world right now, and it's easy to forget that. His latest movie is described as a mix between Hello Kitty and Philip K. Dick - about a machine that lets therapists enter their patients' dreams. You can watch a trailer here.

SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY - Apichatpong Weerasethakul's entry in the series of films commemorating the birth of Mozart.

WOMAN ON THE BEACH - Hong Sang-Soo can't seem to break through in the West, but that doesn't mean he doesn't keep trying and his latest movie looks like one of his most relaxed yet. You can watch a trailer for it here.

TRIAD ELECTION - huh? What's this movie? This is the new title for Johnnie To's ELECTION 2. Tartan is definitely planning to release ELECTION 2 in theaters this year, and they'll most likely release ELECTION on DVD at roughly the same time. But rather than go the Magnolia route and release both movie and sequel simultaneously, they're sticking with the stronger ELECTION 2 and giving it a new name so that people don't stay away assuming it's a sequel to a movie they haven't seen, which it will be. To me, ELECTION 2 was so tied to ELECTION that taking one without the other robs it of a lot of meaning and resonance, but I can't blame them for going in this direction. Selling Asian movies theatrically is a fool's game so trying anything that works is as good a strategy as anything else. Here's their synopsis from the NYFF press release:

"Jimmy (Louis Koo, one of the superstars of Hong Kong cinema) is in the running for the coveted post of Triad president. He faces resistance from his “godfather” Lok (Simon Yam), who has served his two-year term and makes an increasingly desperate effort to throw tradition to the wind and maintain his position. As the power plays escalate, so does the violence ... not to mention the virtuosity of director Johnnie To, who creates one spectacular cinematic set piece after another. To is working deep within the gangster genre, whose traditions he observes with the greatest respect even as he’s busy revitalizing and re-contextualizing them. But he’s also given Triad Election a genuinely political edge: in To’s dog-eat-dog vision, the body of free-market expansion beats with a savage heart."

(Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, Steve, Raymond and Twitch for the info)

August 18, 2006 at 12:37 PM in News | Permalink


"To me, ELECTION 2 was so tied to ELECTION that taking one without the other robs it of a lot of meaning and resonance, but I can't blame them for going in this direction."

I can.

Election and then...Triad Election?

Ummm...but a Triad Election was in one so it's just an election even though it's a triad election???

Not too much thought into that renaming. I think Tartan should have just released part one, and the follow it up in a month or two with part 2.

I believe it was France if I am not mistaken that had the best idea which was going the "Vol." route. Makes perfect sense since, like you said yourself, they are both so tight to each other it is like one half of a film.

Posted by: the running man | Aug 18, 2006 4:40:00 PM

Go see Paprika. Go, go, go. It's REALLY good.

Posted by: Todd | Aug 18, 2006 6:37:52 PM

Hong Sang-soo's films are probably better received in the west than in South Korea, he's not as popular as Kim Ki-duk unfortunately.
I want to see Syndromes and a Century (which is in competition at the Venice film fest. too), I sort of recall also that he had another project, called Utopia.
And also the latest Tian's film too. His remake of Springtime in Small Town was great, better than his documentary, Delamu, that he directed afterwards. I liked his "older" films.

As for Election 2, I liked it as much as Election 1. Although they're linked to each other, I think Election 2 can be watched by itself but perhaps it won't be seen the same way.

Posted by: Ouyang Feng | Aug 19, 2006 6:33:04 AM

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