Issue: November 2012 - Asian Cinema

Media Impact: queer cinema in Asia

Taking on a subject as broad and multifaceted as queer Asian cinema is a tricky thing. The national cinemas of Asia are as diverse as the cultures themselves – what shocks in Japan might not raise an eyebrow in Thailand, and what’s considered controversial or appropriate for the screen also differs dramatically. Sexuality and identity are deeply individual but also inexorably tied to culture and context. The relationship a nation’s filmmakers have to queer themes and the way those films are received at home and abroad is also extremely varied. Hong Kong’s best known queer film is undoubtedly Wong...

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TFS Questions: Gina Rim, Volunteer Coordinator, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Any seasoned film festival-goer is accustomed to seeing whole troops of people in matching t-shirts working the theatres, answering questions, directing traffic and helping to make the public’s fest experience a happy one. Yes, these cinema devotees are as much a part of the festival landscape as lineups and popcorn, and hundreds upon hundreds of them volunteer their time each and every year at Toronto’s many film festivals. But did you ever stop to think about just who wrangles these volunteers? Who finds them, schedules them and makes sure they’re where they’re supposed to be? Well, at the Toronto...

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TFS Explains: Hong Kong co-productions or key to the east, key to the west

As we explore  Asian cinema this month at Toronto Film Scene, I was given the chance to take a glimpse into the Hong Kong film industry, particularly the growing trend of co-productions between Hong Kong-based companies and those from around the world. So what are these “co-pros” all about, and why are they becoming more and more common? Oh, and what does this even mean to us as Canadian movie-goers? It might be worth mentioning first that Hong Kong is home to one of the largest film industries in the world, (up there with Hollywood and Bollywood), and one...

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Extreme Asian: genre cinema from the world’s largest continent

It seems an almost impossible task to write about genre cinema from the largest continent on the planet. When first given this article, thoughts of the incredibly frightening Thai film Shutter , the creature effects of Korean film The Host , or many of the films from Japanese director Takashi Miike danced in my head. That’s when a second thought entered my mind. Asia is a lot bigger than my first impression suggests. What about India, Pakistan, Russia, or the Philippines? Even that is only scratching the surface. It’s just not possible to cover everything here, but hopefully this...

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TFS Essentials: Hong Kong Cinema – Part Two

(ed. note: Katarina Gligorijevic continues her thorough look at Hong Kong cinema and what’s considered essential viewing to start off your education in the genre. For Part One, wherein she looks at kung fu films and the masters of martial arts, look here.) Heroic Bloodshed and Gangster Style “Call this section John Woo and the action revolution,” Colin jokes. “No wait, John Woo and Heroic Bloodshed. Actually, Heroic Bloodshed and Gangster Style.” We’ve already discussed A Better Tomorrow , but Colin returns to the film to put John Woo into context within the larger HK gangster genre. “ A...

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TIFF’s latest retrospective asks, “Where are the films of Nicolas Pereda?”

All those who choose the unconventional over the blockbuster, gather round: TIFF Bell Lightbox’s  Nicolás Pereda retrospective begins tonight and runs until November 25. And to sweeten the deal, Mr. Pereda will be in attendance to introduce each of his six films. TIFF Bell Lightbox opens this latest retrospective with its titular question: Where are the films of  Nicolás Pereda? What this question really asks is: who is  Nicolás Pereda? The answer, for Torontonians, might be of interest.  Nicolás Pereda, 30-years-old, has made six feature films. He was born in Mexico, moved to Toronto at age 19 to attend...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Double Happiness

As we’re looking at Asian Cinema this month at TFS, it seemed appropriate to look at a Canadian film that wooed critics in the ’90s with its tale of Asia-to-Canada immigration and the adventures and woes of these immigrants’ Canadianized kids. Mina Shum‘s Double Happiness was released in 1994 and, at the time, seemed to charm the pants off everybody. Pam Fossen and I re-watched the film (it was the second viewing for both of us, and neither of us had seen the film in years ) and decided to dole out our musings. Why don’t we let Pam...

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