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Parasite lands Everywhere Following the Academy Awards!

13 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Congratulations to Bong Joon-ho for taking home four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards! This dark comedy deserves all the wins. The use of classical background music gives more than a change of atmosphere to the South Korean character drama. Ultimately, I feel it’s a Shakespearean play that constantly shifts genres. Just how this film ends, it’s tough not to feel for the main protagonist.

The scholars rock is a macguffin which kept me curious about when it becomes important to driving this tale forward. It can mean anything. For a moment I wondered if it’s a philosopher’s stone, a transformative device. When the last film I saw from this director includes Snowpiercer and Okja, I knew he’s not going to make this change come easy. When this story is about the lower class infiltrating the home of a wealthier clan and watching how they feed off each other, the importance is with who holds the power instead.

The Kim clan is led by Ki-taek Kim (Song Kang-ho). Nobody is really doing well, not even Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), Ki-jung (Park So-dam) and Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik). When Ki-woo’s wealthy friend Min-hyuk gifts them a this stone, supposedly imbued with magical properties, just what happens next is with how they pretend to be skilled workers when they are not–just so they can work at the Park home.

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A Matter of Faith in The Seer and the Unseen

13 Feb

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Screened at the Victoria Film Festival 2020
For upcoming presentations, please click here.

Belief in elves, or even leprechauns, all depends on where  you’re raised. In some countries, they simply exist and you don’t want to piss them off. The Seer and the Unseen looks deep into Icelandic tradition to understand our relationship with these hidden folk, the land and modernization. The Huldufólk lives with us; just because not everyone can commune with them doesn’t mean disrespecting them.

The plot is simple. A road is needed and it cuts through a swath of ancient lava rock in the outskirts of Reykjavik. Four different protest groups gathered to say we cannot destroy it since it represents more than our past. It’s a life vein of Gaia, and elves live here. In greater context, belief in spirits is not restricted to one culture. This film is excellent in how just a bit of dialogue connects with other cultures. The belief of elves in Iceland is no different than those who follow the ways of Shinto or even those of First Nations–where spirits reside within Nature everywhere.

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On Isa Willinger’s Hi A.I. and When Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

11 Feb

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at Victoria Film Festival 2020
Feb 12 | 3:15 PM | SilverCity #3

Spoiler Alert

Isa Willinger‘s Hi A.I. is a bizarre and long documentary about attempting to replicate human behaviour. This filmmaker shows how they work in the modern world than science fiction. We all worry about something along the lines of Terminator ala Skynet or I, Robot will take a decade or two more to realize before coders can replicate how the brain works to create that level of uncertainty.

Thankfully, this film is not about the dangers of artificial intelligence. If we can ignore the aspect of trying to put the technology into a human body (it’s still creepy to look at no matter what), the possibilities are endless. We are not there for cognitive ability, but it’s fascinating to see where we are with it now. The creations on display here aren’t ghosts in the shell or a machine either. Gilbert Ryle explains cognizance quite well and reference to his work was brief.

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Flipping through Different Chapters in The Booksellers at Victoria Film Festival 2020

11 Feb

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Feb 13 | 5:30 PM | Parkside
* a limited amount of tickets is held at the door for purchase.

Hitting select theatres worldwide in March.

Bibliophiles are a unique lot, and I’m one of them. To understand what we represent is more than just about admiring a bunch of typeset paper with pictures slabbed in between two hard pieces of rectangular cardboard and reading it from time to time.

The Booksellers is a fascinating documentary. I belong to not only the comic book but also the antiquarian world. The discourse suggests how it influenced the arts. I can see how dada influenced hip hop, but surrealism?

Although the interviewers slips into tangents from time to time, the only thing missing is adding a bit of dialogue about sequential art. I’m certain we had a few seconds of the Yellow Kid (a reprint?) on a window display, but this subculture was not discussed at all. I did not expect any, though any note would have added to this documentary since collecting books is as synonymous as collecting autographed baseballs.

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