Friday, May 08, 2009

10th Jeonju International Film Festival Award Winners

From April 30 to May 8 the fest will run in South Korea and has many interesting sections especially the Short! Short! Short!digital project which is an omnibus film about money with segments directed by 10 young Korean filmmakers.

These are the films in the International Competition.

Agrarian Utopia, Uruphong Raksasad, Thailand, 2008
Director Raksasad who has been making documentaries on his rural hometown embodied the traditional way of Thai agriculture which disappeared since industrialization and mechanization in this recent film Agrarian Utopia. Director actually rented out the land to shoot the film for four seasons, Agrarian Utopia quietly reports the sacrificed life of the farmers who suffer from government’s policies that only concerns about economic growth of the country. One of the farmers deplorably says in this film ”How can we dream of utopia while our stomach is still grumbling?” “My parents didn’t expect me to farm for a living as they see it as hard work that earns little money. We can no longer farm in any case for two reasons: one being that the bank has already taken almost all our lands. And second, farming won’t help us paying off all our debts in this lifetime,” ‐ Director’s statement

The Bastards, Amat Escalante, Mexico, France and USA,2008 ("dying to see"...)
This Southern California‐lensed drama consists of long stretches of dreary quotidian activity shrouded in dread due to something very bad you know is coming, all in the interests of presenting a rigorously reductive slice of earthly hell. Picʹs commercial prospects remain similar to those always faced by the directorʹs mentor and co producer, Carlos Reygadas.

City of the World, Christian Klandt, Germany, 2008
An idyllic German town is not what it appears to be. Christain Klandt’s first feature film presents the twenty-four hours leading up to the moment when two drunk teenage boys, Till and Karsten, murder a homeless man. Failures at their jobs and in their personal relationships, the lives of these boys fill with a deadly boredom that threatens to carry them over the edge.

The Exploding Girl, Bradley Rust Gray, USA, 2008
Twenty-year old Ivy heads home for college spring-break to New York with a fresh romance in her heart. When her best friend Al can’t find a place to stay, she asks her mother to take him in. Spending time in the city together strengthens their friendship, while Ivy’s boyfriend grows more distant. Although troubled, Ivy keeps her emotions in check, until her feelings become something she can’t control.

The Happiest Girl in the World, Radu Jude, Romania and Netherlands, 2008 (must be seen for me)
Delia has won an expensive car. She comes with her parents to Bucharest for the testimonial shooting -the proof that she really won the prize. During the shooting Delia has long talks with her parents -that eventually turn into ugly arguments: Delia wants to keep it, while her parents want to sell it. What seemed to be a lucky event at the beginning eventually becomes for Delia an extreme and emotionally painful situation, in which she has to rethink and question her family relations. *Won C.I.C.A.E Award Berlinale 2009

*Imburnal, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Philippines, 2008 - Winner of the Woosuk Award and NETPAC Award
Rabat and Allen enjoys an albeit kind of childhood in a place where, for some reason, kids find sanctuary on the crevasses of Punta Dumalag. As both try to pursue a world of their own—independent and free, they are pushed to spend their time on the point where the river meets the sea—and in these waters they witness a world that seeks to quench the hunger of common yet different desires of and for “manhood”. In this world of sewers, the seemingly banal challenge of crossing the river will become their own disturbing quest to being in stagnant yet dangerous waters. *Won Lino Brocka Award Cinemanila International Film Festival 2008

*Inland, Tariq Teguia, Algeria and France, 2008 - Winner of the Daum Special Jury Prize
Living almost as a recluse, the topographer Malek accepts a job in a region of western Algeria at the insistence of his friend Lakhdar. Malek arrives at the base camp previously used by a team, but decimated by fundamentalists. A young shepherd observes him from afar; several men, some armed, approach and question his being there. Having previously run from Islamist terrorism, these farmers decided to return to their village. *Won FIPRESCI Award at Venice Film Festival 2008

Mid-August Lunch, Gianni Di Gregorio, Italy, 2008 (I'll watch it...)
Gianni is a middle‐aged man, the only son of his widowed mother, with whom he lives in an old house in central Rome. Living under the tyranny of this impoverished aristocrat, his life drags on between housework and going to the bar. The day before the August bank holiday the condominium manager asks him to take his mother into his home for the two days of the bank holiday. In exchange, he will knock some money off the condominium debts Gianni has run up over the years. *Won Pasinetti Award & Luigi De Laurentiis at Venice Film Festival 2008

North, Rune Denstad Langlo, Norway, 2009
North is a road movie comedy set in romantic natural surroundings. It is the story of the athlete Jomar who has isolated himself in a sad lonely existence after having mental crises. On a snow scooter, with 5 liters of moonshine as provisions, Jomar embarks on a strange and dramatic journey towards the far north, where his ex-girlfriend lives with his child that he just learned about.

A North Chinese Girl, Zou Peng, China, 2008
Xiao Xue, a 19 year old girl lives in a northern city of China. She’s a salesgirl in a clothing market by day, but at night she accompanies her boss on his social exploits; hosting dinner for his friends, going to karaoke and doing the nightclub scene. Xiao Xue sees this as a chance to seek a better life for herself, but an unplanned pregnancy has sent her life careening in a new, unexpected direction….

The One Man Village, Simon El Habre, Lebanon, 2008
As the only remaining inhabitant of Ain El Hazaroun, a small village outside Beirut, Semaan stubbornly remains, while other villagers, who fled the besieged village during the 15‐year civil war, have failed to return. As well as recounting the remarkable hardships and isolation faced by his uncle, El Habre’s moving and brilliantly shot film highlights the impact the country’s bitter in-fighting has had on countless similar villages and towns, which were left deserted and ruined

Lluvia (Rain), Paula Hernandez, Argentina, 2007
Lluvia is water that falls, wets, shakes, pierces, slaps, exiles. It is distortion, it is out of focus. It is what can and can’t be seen. Lluvia is winter and is night, is Buenos Aires or any other city. Lluvia is people in movement or stuck in traffic, trying to find a possible direction for their own lives. It’s a woman who does not know where she is going to and a man who does not know where he comes from. Lluvia is running the painful risk of focusing on who we are rather than on what we think we are.

Tokyo Rendezvous, Ikeda Chihiro, Japan, 2008
Nogami was burdened with a debt his late father has left. He comes up with the decision of selling his grandfather’s property to pay it off. The apartment in the property seems just an old building to him, but his grandfather would not say yes to the demolition of the apartment. He happens to start living in the apartment with two other young people. They felt lost in life, but start finding their own ways when they start knowing more about the people with life experience surrounding them. Nogami comes up with a final decision when he finds out the story hidden in one of the rooms.

Opening film: Short! Short! Short!
Closing film: Machan, Uberto Pasolini, Italy, 2008

I suggest you check the films in the Korean competition, as some seem quite interesting and funny. To browse the site and to check the award winners in the Korean Competition and other sections go here.

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