Tag Archives: 2021

Sailing Down “The Silent River” Isn’t Easy…

26 Sep

Silent River (2021) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

L.A. Asian Pacifc Film Festival
Regal L.A. LIVE:
A Barco Innovation Center

Sept 25, 2021
5:30 pm

Spoiler Alert

Eliott (West Liang) looks like a man on the run in Chris Chan Lee’s Silent River. After a long drive into the Mojave Desert, he holes up at a motel and is simply waiting. While there, he meets Gretta (Amy Tsang) and she’s a mystery. Not only does she resemble someone he is looking for, but her agenda is straight out of time. She’s from the future and searching for Patrick. Their separate agendas collide, and their reluctance to help each other out makes for a very intriguing film.

Although this work is billed as science fiction, I’m enjoying the supernatural bits more. Eliott hears things, and he doesn’t know where they come from. He can see things others don’t, and we’re uncertain if he’s going crazy or not. Liang plays up the apocryphal Lovecraftian type of character, someone too curious for his own good; and the suggestion that others have “moved on” makes me think I’m watching a very unconventional ghost story.

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Meditating on what Makes Masao A Simple Man

24 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

L.A. Asian Pacifc Film Festival
Regal L.A. LIVE:
A Barco Innovation Center

Sept 25, 2021
12:00 pm

Not everyone can say, “I Was a Simple Man,” like Christopher Makoto Yogi can. This film by this writer/director offers a truly sombre look at the last days of Masao (Steve Iwamoto). The flashbacks reveal everything you want to know about this protagonist–including bits of his troubled family’s past–and why he lives his days out with his daughter, often alone instead with friends and kin.

It’s tough to watch a parent grow old, hear them complain about one thing or another, and see you’re not able to help. Kati (Chanel Akiko Hirai) is the only relative trying her best because they share the same space. Her brother Mark (Nelson Lee) is living a new life far, far away. When she phones him and asks for him to come home, the dilemma they face together in how to deal with their father is tough. 

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Trying to Figure Out Life’s Little Problems in Definition Please

24 Sep

defolkeaseBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

L.A. Asian Pacifc Film Festival
Regal L.A. LIVE:
A Barco Innovation Center

Sept 25, 2021
4:00 pm

Sujata Day’s debut movie Definition Please offers a Bollywood-style charm about Monica Chowdry (played by Day) dealing with life many years after winning the spelling bee as a child. Her friends and family are proud. They assumed big things would be in store for her later in life. None of that fame stood the test of time and it seems she’s transfixed with living in the comfort of what is familiar instead of taking on new challenges.

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Delving into What Makes LAAPFF’s Pacific Cinewaves Shorts Unique

22 Sep

Playing at the
Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Saturday | September 25, 2021
3:30 pm

The Pacific Cinewaves Program at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival is my go to for kick starting this event. It’s free / pay what you can, because there’s no reason not to miss all the messages being delivered about how to preserve the ancient world of Polynesia. 

The various pieces offer a delightful, supernatural and meditative exploration on what makes this part of the world unique. I say this with mixed feelings, because not all the countries in this vast region are represented. We have Guam, and a beautifully family oriented tale about how to reconnect with one’s faith in How to Catch a Taotaomona

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When The Light The Peony Lantern is …

12 Sep

The Peony Lantern | 牡丹燈籠 — INTREPID THEATREBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Victoria Fringe Festival

Showtimes:
Sept 10 to 16th

Streaming Online
Tickets can be bought online.

Botan Dōrō (牡丹燈籠, The Peony Lantern) is a classic Japanese ghost story that can easily deliver chills when adapted to the silver screen. It’s been made and remade since coming into publication circa 17th Century. One of its earliest incarnations was a 1910 silent film production from which I feel The Yokohama Theatre Group took inspiration from. There’s a German Expressionist design—intentional or not—which I recognize. The angles the two huge projection screens intersect are very reminiscent of how two walls in The Cabinet of Caligari bend towards Francis (with one foot bound to a chain) as though it’s laying pressure, holding him down.

The visual motifs are very clear in the theatrical adaptation. Here, the team creates a fantastic illusion of movement. One example is how the rickshaw seems to come alive when in front of a moving video. It carries a new arrival. A lone traveller, Islay Vogel (Nora Beryll), arrives by boat to Japan and he doesn’t have a place to stay until his cab gets lost, introduces a wandering spirit, and finally makes its way to a hostel. There, he encounters an attractive female, O-Tsuyu (May Sera), even though his landlady seems unaware of, and the young adults fall in love. 

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