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15 films you shouldn’t miss at the 14th Five Flavours Asian Film Festival

These are fifteen films you shouldn’t miss at the 14th Five Flavours Asian Film Festival, which will take place online from November 25th until December 6th, 2020.

About the festival:
Five Flavours Asian Film Festival is a showcase of the cinema from South and Southeast Asia, happening every year in Warsaw, the most diverse place in Poland, with big cultural agenda and historical heritage.

About the online pass:
– The pass allows access to all the films.
– Price PLN 100 ($ 26 USD).
– Access to films will be possible ONLY in Poland.
– The pass can be paid only via Internet, via Dotpay.pl (transfer/card payment).
To but the online pass for the festival please go here: https://www.piecsmakow.pl/artykul.do?id=22&mid=42

Our recommendations:

A Bedsore by Shim Hye-jung – South Korea | 2020 – 99 minutes

Retired civil servant Gang Changsik lives with his wife Na Gilsoon, who suffered a cerebral haemorrhage a few years ago, and her caretaker Yu Soook, an illegal Korean-Chinese immigrant. One day, a bedsore develops on Na Gilsoon’s body which does not seem to heal properly. Even through Gilsoon’s health is in jeopardy, Soook insists on taking time off on weekends and Changsik realizes she has found a romantic interest. Some time later, Soook decides to quit her job in order to enter a sham marriage so that she can get a new visa. Upon hearing this, Chang-sik suggests that they get married instead. Changsik’s daughter Jisoo, son Moonsoo and his wife Jiyoung all raise objections. At the family meeting, they fail to reach an agreement and end up reopening old wounds. (SIWFF 2019)

Trailer:

Boluomi by Lau Kek Huat, Vera Chen – Taiwan, Malaysia | 2019 – 108 minutes

Over the decades, the Malayan Communist Party fought a guerrilla war in the jungle for independence. When a baby was born during the war, they sent it out of the jungle to ensure its survival. Boluomi is one of those babies. (Taipei Film Festival 2020)

Trailer:

Daughters by Hajime Tsuda – Japan | 2020 – 105 minutes

Ayano and Koharu, two 27-year-olds from Tokyo, with budding careers in fashion and event industries, are nonchalantly speeding through life, using it to its fullest. Ayano’s unexpected pregnancy and her decision to become a single parent will have a profound influence on every aspect of the protagonists’ existence. The friends will have to reevaluate their lives to cope with the new situation.

In this intimate portrait of a female friendship, bringing to mind Noah Baumach’s “Frances Ha,” the director Hajime Tsuda grasped the complex emotional states caused by sudden life changes, often accompanied by nostalgia for the lost carelessness. His debut dazzles with the finesse of film techniques and elaborate frames glimmering with the full palette of colors, making “Daughters” a real aesthetic treat. Even though the film shows a world mostly from the perspective of the big city, it does not break with the important traditional aspect of Japanese art, which has always been saturated with references to nature. The work emanates sensitivity to the fleeting beauty of the changing seasons, creating a modern variation on this classic motif of Japanese culture. (Nina Pięk)

Trailer:

Dust and Ashes by Park Hee-kwon – South Korea | 2019 – 79 minutes

Unfolding over a tumultuous three days, Dust And Ashes is a quiet thriller following a grieving Hae-su, forced to learn and navigate the system in order to collect insurance after the death of her mother. Overworked, underpaid, and facing eviction, Hae-su takes desperate measures in order to escape impoverishment. (Reel Asian 2020)

Trailer:

Hotel Salvation by Shubhashish Bhutiani – India | 2016 – 102 minutes

Daya Kumar (Lalit Behl) believes that his end is near, so he tells his family that he wishes to die in the holy city of Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges. The stubborn old man drags along his reluctant adult son Rajiv (Adil Hussain) and they check into the Hotel Salvation, where people come to die. But once there, Daya gets his lust for life back, making new friends with the other “dying” residents. Daya and Rajiv are forced to reconnect – both to each other and to the world around them. Described as an “arthouse take on the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, Hotel Salvation is a wonderfully accomplished film that captures the vibrancy and strangeness of Varanasi with gentle humour. It was awarded the UNESCO Prize at Venice for the film that best represents the values of peace and human rights.

Trailer:

Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 by Kim Do-young – South Korea | 2019 – 118 minutes

Kim Ji-young is your ordinary South Korean woman who goes about her life in an autonomous way. She cooks, takes out the trash, vacuums and takes care of her young daughter while her husband Dae-hyun goes to work to provide for the family. What we don’t know about the 34 year-old woman is that her goals are universal and far from unreasonable, she wants nothing more than to raise a family and pursue a career at the same time, and to do so in peace, free from societal judgement. The film details the period of less than a year in her life lending itself to explore her past portraying a lifetime of casual sexism that has crippled her dreams for as long as she can remember. (KFFA 2020)

Trailer:

Little Forest by Yim Soon-rye – South Korea | 2018 – 103 minutes

Hye-won did not find what she was looking for in the big city, so she leaves her temporary job in Seoul and returns to a small town where she grew up. In the city she always felt hungry – now, in the familiar surroundings, she discovers memories full of flavors and aromas, trying to recreate the food of her childhood, and to restore her life balance, step by step.

This adaptation of a Japanese manga is a love letter to real food, filled with the taste of sun-kissed fruit and the tenderness of the hard-working hands that prepared it. The director, a plant-based cuisine enthusiast herself, focuses on this aspect of Korean food, demonstrating the potential of local, seasonal produce. This light, unhurried story is a true feast for the senses and a refreshment for the city-worn spirit. (Five Flavours 2020)

Trailer:

Lucky Chan-sil by Kim Cho-hee – Korea | 2020 – 95 minutes

A female film producer in her 40s, Chan-sil suddenly finds herself homeless, friendless and penniless when the director she has worked with for as long as she can remember drops dead. Having devoted her life to her only dream, film, she finds herself lost without a clear sense of direction to navigate out of her predicament. Chan-sil moves to the top of the hill on the outskirts. The old lady, the owner of the rented house, is somewhat strange. What′s even stranger is the ghost that appears often in this haunted house. The ghost says he was a famous actor in Hong Kong during his lifetime. Chan-sil gets a job as a housekeeper at an actress friend’s house, and she develop feelings for her French teacher. Her anxieties begin to emerge… her long expired youth, failed romances and a broken career. But life goes on and Chan-sil soldiers on, embracing the hardships and taking each day step by step. (KOFFIA 2020)

Trailer:

Memories to Choke On, Drinks to Wash Them Down by Kate Reilly, Leung Ming-kai – Hong Kong | 2020 – 104 minutes

Hong Kong is more than just a place. It is a unique experience in which the local mixes with the global, tradition meets modernity, and big politics affects the fates of the individuals. This is where people from all over the world meet, creating a cultural mosaic and networks of economic dependencies, bringing in elements of their cultures, and the tastes of their cuisines… “Memories…” is a film composed of four novellas, casually grasping the essence of Hong Kong on the brink of its imminent end. Here, nostalgia and reflection meet tasty culinary tropes. It is important to remember that they were created by two artists, one from Hong Kong, the other from the US, both with international experience in filmmaking.

The last novella is a documentary, reminding us that we are here and now. The camera follows a young girl running for local office in 2019. We all know what happened next. The film reminds us, lightly yet pointedly, that the reality of Hong Kong and its future is made grim by political decisions, and that there are millions of lives at stake. (Marcin Krasnowolski)

Trailer:

Microhabitat by Jeon Go-woon – South Korea | 2017 – 105 minutes

Miso is a very unique person, and she is going through life on her own terms. For her, the two most important things in the world are a pack of cigarettes and a glass of good whiskey. She can give up everything else if she has to. He will have to make this decision very soon – as the price of her favorite cigarettes goes up, and so does the rent in her shabby, cold apartment, Miso quickly makes up her mind and… gives up the roof over her head. Searching for a place to crush, Miso visits her old friends. They used to be in a band together, but now everyone else gave up on their teenage rebellion and settled down. Will they take in the person they used to be so close with? Are they happy? Miso will have a chance to find out, as she sets out on a journey through Seoul and the homes of the “normals.”

“Microhabitat” was born out of the director’s outrage with the high prices of apartments in Seoul, which affects the situation of the young generation of Koreans. But the film is not filled with anger. It is a melancholic urban ballad, full of brilliant, eccentric humor, talking about the difficulty of keeping one’s individuality in a clash with rigid social norms and the economic realities of living in a developed country. Jeon Go-woon’s steady-handed debut was created as a cooperation of the independent Gwanghwamoon collective. (Marcin Krasnowolski)

Trailer:

Ohong Village by Lim Lung-yin – Taiwan, Czech Republic | 2019 – 91 minutes

Ohong Village is the story of a village youth who seeks for the home that he cannot return to. In the remotest corner of southern Taiwan, the sinking fisherman’s village prepares for another carnival for the god. Sheng, young man reaching his 30s that departed years ago, now returns in disguise as an established urban elite. As the carnival escalates, Sheng confronts his persistent father Ming who farms oysters throughout his entire life, and Kun, the childhood buddy who always envies his fragile ‘successfulness’. Everyone’s got a secret to hide. (KFF 2019)

Trailer:

Rom by Tran Thanh Huy – Vietnam | 2019 – 79 minutes

Everyone in the old apartment block is in debt. The residents gamble, hoping to keep their homes. 14-year-old Ròm works as bookie and helps the residents win. Phúc kidnaps Ròm and takes all of the bets. When Ròm finally comes back, the creditors threaten that if their debts are not paid off, they will take the apartments. Now it’s up to Ròm to save the tenants. Can he save them again? (TGHFF 2020)

Trailer:

Sea Serpent by Joseph Laban – Philippines | 2017 – 93 minutes

After a particularly strong squall, a sleepy fishing village in a tiny island in Southern Tagalog wakes up to an astonishing sight–their sea has turned red with thousands of floating apples. No one knows where it came from. Some look at it as a bad omen from the baconaua – a creature of myth. A few think it is a miracle from heaven, while others fear a more sinister source. (Cinemalaya 2018)

Trailer:

Verdict by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez – Philippines | 2019 – 126 minutes – Fiction

A young woman with determination in her eyes, sits down at a desk at a police station to finally make an official statement regarding her battery. The perpetrator is her own husband, whom the officers won’t even effectively isolate from the protagonist fighting for her life and protecting her six-year-old daughter. This is only the beginning of her journey – a lone fight for the basic right to safety takes a lot of determination, bordering on desperation.

Guitierrez’s shocking, powerful debut is a psychodrama played out in closed, intimate spaces, which avoids pitying the victim and does not overflow with sentimentality. We are watching the strong heroine’s searching for justice and crashing into walls of institutional incompetence, economic exclusion, and animosity from her family and neighbors. “He seemed like such a nice boy…” The director skillfully doses the tension, drawing a powerful portrait of the Philippine society in which the truth is defined by those who can afford a better lawyer. The film, whose artistic consultant was Brillante Mendoza, follows the best traditions of the socially engaged cinema in the Philippines, talking about the mechanisms of power through small, yet moving stories. (Jagoda Murczyńska)

Trailer:

Wisdom Tooth by Liang Ming – China | 2019 – 104 minutes

Gu Xi and her brother Gu Liang live just outside of a city in a makeshift cottage. It may lack modern amenities but it is full of love as the two support and care for each other without question. They scrape by with money earned from odd jobs, but Gu Xi may be about to lose her work as a maid at a hotel because of her undocumented citizenship status. Things change when Gu Liang gets a girlfriend, the beautiful and cosmopolitan Qingchang who comes from a rich family. Money and goods like cassette players and clothes come their way but so too does the complicated world of adulthood as the siblings are drawn into a murder mystery involving a dead body found floating at sea. As winter sets in and temperatures plunge, the relationship between Gu Xi, her brother Gu Liang, and his girlfriend becomes increasingly unclear and a mysterious tape with evidence repeatedly brings Gu Xi to the cusp of a momentous decision that may cause her to lose everything. A slow-burn drama that luxuriates in shots of the beautiful landscape and the performances of the actors, the film is mesmerising to watch. (Jason Maher)

Trailer:

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the official website here: https://www.piecsmakow.pl/index.do?lang=en

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