Tag Archives: 2020

Landing at LAAPFF 2020 is Parachute!

6 Oct

null 5By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California from Oct 1, 2020 at 12pm PT to Oct 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

It’s uncertain how long rich Asian families (usually Chinese) have plopped their children in a foreign land and assume they will remain fine. The plan to get them to assimilate to local culture, and welcome them home later, can backfire, as Katherine Tolentino’s short film sadly shows. The term was once called satellite kids, but these days, the media identifies these youths as Parachute–also the title of this short film.

This filmmaker’s drama reveals how this idea to bridge cultures together can and cannot work. Part of the problem lays with how Asian parents exercise tiger parenting—a term coined by Chinese-American author Amy Chua in “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” Their desire also includes thinking removing them from a harsh education system of the East will do some good for the child.

Nicky Zou is excellent at playing a not so idealistic Wendy Zhang, a young woman who’s turned punk because she’s had a rough go at the transition. She’s not the only one in her class. Although we don’t get the other students’ stories (they too are transplants), she’s the one who has a lot of air to grieve. Her host family and school doesn’t try to help. Usually, in real life situations, the desire by the parents to extricate youth from one extreme educational system in hopes to amalgamate them to another is thought of as a good thing. But without guidance counsellors, life can be tough.

Continue reading

Exploring Horimono: Japan’s Tattoo Pilgrimage at LAAAPFF 2020

2 Oct

null 1By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California (excluding San Diego County) from October 1, 2020 at 12pm PT to October 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

The Japanese word Horimono (彫物) does not necessarily translate to defining the same art form which the English term tattoo expresses. The mini-documentary, Horimono: Japan’s Tattoo Pilgrimage, shows that this country’s older generation sees a difference in how to express themselves through full body art modification. Some conflict exists. The media in Asia stereotyped the image of what it means to have a pattern on their skin–they are historically labelled a criminal. This belief dates back to the 4th Century.

This mini documentary aims to correct all the misconceptions.

The soundtrack is just as entrancing. The English definition includes how the word can signal the beat of a drum at night to tell soldiers it’s time to go to their quarters. We see it played at a temple in Oyama during a ritual of purification. The mountain shrine welcomes not only the artists who still practice the ancient art but also the men, whose body is fully covered in imagery from the Edo period (1603 – 1868). They wear it like a suit–a badge of honour.

Continue reading

You Can’t Break The Haunted Swordsman at LAAPFF 2020

2 Oct

The Haunted Swordsman (2019) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California (excluding San Diego County) from October 1, 2020 at 12pm PT to October 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

If Studio Laika ever feels they’re stuck on what to make next, they should talk to Kevin McTurk and give him the chance to realize The Haunted Swordsman as a full length film. His work may not be mainstream, but the Japanese folklore about the spirit world he’s borrowing from certainly is! His Kickstarter page reveals how the spooky narrative would develop, and his use of Bunraku Puppet Theater must be seen to be believed. It’s nearly photo-realistic, and the puppeteers are hidden from view to move scale figures in alluring detail. The spook factor is something even The Addams Family would approve of.

Laika made a name for themselves with their equally haunting works, Coraline and Kubo & the Two Strings. Their ability to generate box office hits is very hit or miss. Certain groups will love puppet theatre, but for the masses, CGI has sadly tainted the spectrum. McTurk’s previous short won him accolades. The Mill at Calder’s End earned 14 awards and Guillermo del Toro purchased Grimshaw for his traveling museum exhibition At Home With Monsters.

Continue reading

LAAPFF 2020 Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad “Bakemono?”

30 Sep

null 33 e1601448602226

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California (excluding San Diego County) from Oct 1 at 12pm PT to Oct 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

In South Asia, Hungry Ghost Month is over, but in America, Halloween will soon be here! I’m thrilled to watch Bakemono, a short film about Ayumi (Claudia Fabella), a very young girl acting out and wanting to accept the supernatural in her life, despite her parent’s fears. The word refers to a class of monsters who are shapeshifters, and they don’t have to be ghosts.

I found out in my research that writer/directors Sumire Takamatsu and Jorge Lucas are working on expanding this short into a feature length work. Thanks to Gus Wood of Pop Horror for this revelation, and I’m hopeful this can blow the beans away from how Paranormal Activity was made. In this short film’s case, the throwing of beans from the entranceway of a home during Setsubun is said to keep the evil spirits at bay. This spring ritual has no place during autumn, but I get where this belief comes from. It’s no different than the Japanese ritual of pouring beer over the gravestone.

Continue reading

LAAPFF 2020 From Adolescence to Adulthood in The Death of Nintendo

30 Sep

null 32 e1601447552705By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Sept 24 to 27th, 2020

Please check local film festival schedules for a screening near you.

The Filipino coming of age film, Death of Nintendo, is deceptive because of the title. I wondered how video games factored into a story about three boys going through puberty and trying to understand the life they have under the shadow of Mount Pinatubo, a very active volcano. Plenty of level ups are going to be required to deal with school bullies and to win a certain princess’s heart.

Paolo (Noel Comia Jr.) is crushing hard on Shiara (Elijah Alejo). His friends Kachi (John Vincent Servilla) and Gilligan (Jigger Sementilla) are not as grown up and have their video games, a Famicom, to fall back to. We also see in Paolo’s room a lot of posters representing everything that’s considered manly. The Wolverine poster says it all.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: