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Highlights from Vancouver International Film Festival



Vancouver International Film Festival  September 30 - October 15, 2010


VIFF's Dragons & Tigers program continues to be a leader in introducing the most exciting new cinematic talents from East Asia to the world. The distinguished jury for the 2010 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema includes three of the best filmmakers working today: Bong Joon-ho, Denis Côté and Jia Zhangke.  

As of this update, 43 features and 21 shorts will be presented, many of them premieres. Special presentations and particularly high-profile films include: Aftershock, the highest-grossing film in China's history; VIFF regular Miike Takeshi's 13 Assassins, Alex Law's Echoes of the Rainbow, Sono Shion's Cold Fish, Anocha Suwichakompong's Mundane History, and, of course, the prize-winners from Cannes announced earlier.


Listed below are the titles of the confirmed films in the series and in competition. Full details on these films will be posted Sept 12.

Dragons & Tigers Gala Presentation
China, Director: Feng Xiaogang
View Trailer

The most popular Chinese blockbuster in history. After the giant 1976 Tangshan earthquake, a survivor struggles to heal the traumas that haunt her and her children. Master storyteller Feng Xiaogang creates an epic for the ages: an adventure-disaster movie and family-political melodrama in one extraordinary package.

(Jusan-nin No Shikaku), Japan, Director: Miike Takashi View Trailer

Miike Takashi plays it straight with a terrific action-adventure set in late feudal times. Righteous nobles decide to act against the shogun's sadistic and dissolute brother; Yakusho Koji assembles a crack team of assassins to ambush and kill him in a film that crosses Seven Samurai with A Touch of Zen.


(Tsumetai Nettaigyo), Japan, Director: Sono Shion Official Website

Set in the bizarre world of tropical-fish retailing, Sono Shion's outrageous thriller claims to be based on fact. A harried husband and father is coerced into merging his shop with a larger rival's but finds himself drawn into a web of gruesome murders and splattery corpse-disposals. Not for the faint-hearted!

Taiwan, Director: Chung Mong-hong
View Trailer

A mom selling sex, a disturbing stepfather, and several strangely childlike adult companions lead a young abandoned boy through a gripping series of adventures. A major film from Chung Mong-hong, this stunningly shot, mysteriously entrancing tale is the outstanding Taiwanese film of the year.

Thailand, Director: Anocha Suwichakompong View Trailer

Winner of a Tiger Award in Rotterdam, Anocha Suwichakompong's debut feature starts out as a study of the relationship between Ake, son of a wealthy but stern father and confined to a wheelchair by a road accident, and his working-class male nurse Pun. Then suddenly the perspective shifts to the cosmic...

(Okheui Ui Yeonghwa), South Korea, Director: Hong Sangsoo View Trailer

Fresh from the Venice Festival, Hong Sangsoo's second film of the year presents itself as four linked shorts, but actually tells one deliciously convoluted story of a romantic/sexual triangle between a college professor and two of his students, one female, one male. As ever in Hong's films, much soju is drunk, many home truths are uttered and male vanity is shot down in flames. With two bonus shorts.

Taiwan, Director: Ho Wi-ding View Trailer

Ho Wi-ding's prize-winning first feature is a tale of two Filipino workers who lug a giant red sofa across Taipei. A picaresque road movie, a thoughtful comedy about displacement and an offbeat Taipei city story.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
(Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat) Thailand, Director: Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul View Trailer

The most unexpected (and rapturously received) Palme d'Or winner ever, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's magical vision of love and loss centres on a man preparing for his own death. Uncle Boonmee is visited by his late wife and his long-lost son (the latter in non-human guise) and the presence of these loved ones triggers vivid memories of his past lives.


Winter Vacation
(Han jie) China, Director: Li Hongqi

Poet-novelist-cineaste Li Hongqi spins a comatose comedy of seriously slack kids and their oblivious parents in small town Inner Mongolia with a devilishly sharp wit buried under the saddest, dead-pan humour imaginable. Brilliant, unnerving, hilarious.



This year's jury will consider a line-up of eight films, listed below. The prize - which will include a $10,000 award to the director - will be announced before the 6:30 pm screening of Aftershock in the Visa Screening Room at the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas on Thursday October 7.

The nominees are:

Don't Be Afraid, Bi! (Vietnam), dir Phan Dang Di
End of Animal
(South Korea), dir Jo Sunghee
Good Morning to the World!
(Japan), dir Hirohara Satoru
Icarus Under the Sun
(Japan), dirs Abe Saori & Takahashi Nazuki
Insects in the Backyard
(Thailand), dir Thanwarin Sukaphisit
Kimu; The Strange Dance
(South Korea), dir Park Donghyun
(China), dir Xu Ruotao
(Singapore), dir Boo Junfeng




The jury is:

Bong Joon-ho

Bong Joon-ho was born in 1969, in Seoul, South Korea. As a member of the film club at university, his favourite artists were Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Imamura Shohei. He completed two years at the Korean Academy of Film Arts before going on to write and direct the VIFF Dragons & Tigers award runner-up Barking Dogs Never Bite (00), Memories of Murder (03) and the box-office record-breaking The Host (06), making him the most recognized and feted of South Korean filmmakers. He directed a section of the omnibus feature Tokyo! (08, the other two segments having been made by Leos Carax and Michel Gondry) before going on to write and direct Mother!, screened at VIFF in 2009.

Denis COtE

Denis Côté was born in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1973. Since 1997, he has produced and directed 15 short films that have been screened at many international film festivals. Côté directed his first feature film Les états nordique, in 2005, which won the Indie Vision Grand Prize at the Jeonju festival in South Korea. His third feature, Elle veut le chaos, won the Silver Leopard for Best Director at Locarno in 2008. Carcasses was premiered at Cannes in the Directors' Fortnight in 2009. In 2010, Côté presented his piece for the Jeonju Digital Project entitled The Enemy Lines. Curling (screening in VIFF this year) won the Best Director and Best Actor awards at Locarno this past summer.

Jia Zhangke

The leading director of China's "Sixth Generation" of filmmakers, Jia Zhangke (born 1970, Fenyang, Shanxi, China) has written and directed numerous shorts and features since winning the VIFF's Dragons & Tigers award in 1998 for Xiao Wu (97). Among his most well-known films are Platform (00), Unknown Pleasures (02), The World (04), Still Life (06), Useless (07) and 24 City (08). "His films reflect reality truthfully, while simultaneously using fantasy and a distinct aesthetic to pose existential questions about life." - MoMA. His latest film, I Wish I Knew (10), is screening at this year's VIFF.



Dragons & tigers full program feature films


China: Aftershock, Crossing the Mountain, Fortune Teller, The High Life, Karamay, I Wish I Knew, Rumination, Single Man, Thomas Mao, Winter Vacation

Hong Kong: The Drunkard, Echoes of the Rainbow, Merry-Go-Round

Indonesia: The Dreamer

Japan: 13 Assassins, Cold Fish, The Family Complete, Good Morning to the World!, Icarus Under the Sun, Peace, Sawako Decides

Malaysia: The Tiger Factory

Philippines: Chassis, Manila Skies, sampaguita, National Flower

Singapore: Red Dragonflies, Sandcastle

South Korea: End of Animal, Hahaha, Kimu; the strange dance, Metamorphosis, My Film and My Story, Oki's Movie, Poetry

Taiwan: The Fourth Portrait, Pinoy Sunday, Seven Days in Heaven

Thailand: Baby Arabia, Insects in the Backyard, Mundane History, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Vietnam: Don't Be Afraid, Bi!





China: 607, Condolences

Japan: Aramaki, Experiment for Animated Graphic Score, In a Pig's Eye, Patterns, Shikasha, Student Wrestler

Malaysia/Japan: Inhalation

Philippines/USA: Senorita

South Korea: Father's Challenge, The Home of Stars, Left Turn at Your Own Risk, A Silk Letter, SFO, Specters of the New World

Thailand: Anthem, Graceland, A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, Luminous People, Phuket


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