Toronto Reel Asian movie reviews3 min read

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During November 9-18, 2017 the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival took place. Ricepaper magazine had the opportunity to review a number of international Asian movies and an awesome Canadian one too! It is a rare bird to view an indie Asian Canadian film that has a great script!

Below is a summary of selected movie reviews from programming and events from this festival for easy navigation. (more reviews will be added until the festival ends)

Dear Etranger 幼な子われらに生まれ (Yukiko Mishima, Japan 2017)

The festival opened with Yukiko Mishima’s moving family drama Dear Etranger 幼な子われらに生まれ which is based on Kiyoshi Shigematsu’s 1996 novel of the same Japanese title. The film is a quiet family drama which focuses on Makoto Tanaka (Tadanobu Asano) and his role as a father/stepfather in a two family setting.

Stand Up Man (Aram Siu Wai Collier, Canada 2017)

The closing film for the festival, Stand Up Man, is a film about a Korean Canadian who wants to follow their dream of becoming a comedian, but is derailed by family obligations.

The Posterist 海報師:阮大勇的插畫藝術

“The Posterist” is Yuen Tai-Yung who between 1975-2993 captured the golden era of hk cinema through over 200 of his movie poster illustrations. Many box office hits featured his posters which captured the essence of an entire film in one frame. The joy in watching The Posterist comes from the fact that it doesn’t feel like a documentary but instead, it is first time director Hui See-wai’s home video. And indeed it is, according to Hui’s statements during The Posterist’s press conference with Toronto media (Ricepaper link here).

Bad Genius ฉลาดเกมส์โกง (Nattawut Poonpiriya, Thailand 2017)

Bad Genius placed first at the Thai box office for two weeks and broke records in several Asian countries, including China, where it earned over $30 million, making it the most internationally successful Thai film ever. Who knew that a film about student cheating would do so well?

A Whale of a Tale おクジラさま〜ふたつの正義の物語 (Megumi Sasaki, Japan 2017)

Megumi Sasaki’s A Whale Of A Tale documentary was created as a response to the Academy Award winning The Cove (2009). While The Cove mainly tells the story of animal activists, A Whale Of A Tale shows the stories of both sides, namely the animal activists and the Taiji residents.

An additional review was also written for Looseleaf magazine (a Project40 Collective publication based in Toronto) by JF, link is below:

Jesus is dead/Patay na si Hesus (Victor Villanueva, Philippines 2016)

Jesus is dead is a film about a family’s journey to bury an ex-husband and father. The family encounters many misadventures on their way there from Cebu while stuffed in their extra mini-minivan together. A comedy that should not be shown to children!

Events that happened at Reel Asian:

Wee Asian Diary Entry

During the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, there was one weekend devoted to “Wee Asians” directed at children with family friendly activities. This is a diary entry recorded on Sunday, November 12/17 as to what happened when JF showed up with her mother and toddler son.

The Posterist Press Conference

In the age of media overload, few think about the amount of time it takes to create a painting from either digital or hand drawn techniques. The Posterist (海報師:阮大勇的插畫藝術) is a documentary film by first time director Hui See-wai (son of Michael Hui Koon-Man, nephew of Samuel Hui Kwun-kit) who aims to capture the glory and nostalgia of posters hand drawn and illustrated by artist Yuen Tai-Yung.

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