Tag Archives: 2021

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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The Shadow in the Water, a Different Kind of Shark Tale

8 Sep

shadowVictoria Fringe Festival

Showtimes:
Sep 8, 2021 – Sep 12, 2021

Metro Studio Theatre
111 Quadra St.
Victoria, BC

Tickets can be bought in advance here.

Anyone who knows Peter Schilling’s music video of his hit single, “Major Tom,” may well get the shivers when learning about Mary’s life in David Elendune’s The Shadow in the Water. She’s coming home alright, but not in a way I would immediately suspect.

This story billed as a tale of love, loss and sharks is a deceptive tease. I’m thinking it’s about sailing into the mystic, Van Morrison style. This octogenarian is recounting moments about her life to Sharon. I assume this younger character is a caretaker sent to check in on this senior–who is listening to the broadcast of the Apollo 11 landing at the start of the play. Bits of this landmark moment in human history plays out throughout the show, and it’s highly suggestive that eventually, Mary’s time will come to “go home.” 

Instead, Mary is lost in her own memories. She wants someone to know everything she’s done since before the night fades away.

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From Fantasia 2021 to Shudder, Spine of Night’s Reach Grows

25 Aug

The Spine of Night - Rotten TomatoesBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasia Film Festival 
RJLE Films

Coming to Shudder Network
Limited Theatrical Screenings Q4

Usually wearing a twig or a leaf is not enough to protect a person from harm. But when you’re Tzod (Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess), and you know this plant has mystical properties, I suppose it’s okay to wander the world mostly naked. Thankfully this animated movie inspired by Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi takes its cues elsewhere as it’s very ambitious in its scope, and is not scared of getting bloody that’d make Conan the Barbarian mutter, “Crom,” as wannabe kings and corrupt soldiers of fortune seek out The Bloom. With this plant, they can rule the world.

The Spine of Night bestows untold power and protection. Not everyone can lay claim to it, and nor can just anyone wear it as a badge of honour than emblem of power. Tzod is trying to protect it, and is laying as low so nobody can track her. Perhaps that’s why we see her in some strange outback, climbing up hills and poking her head in places faraway from humanity until she can find shelter. However, there’s another resident in the cave she found. The Guardian (Richard E. Grant, Withnail & I), is inquisitive, and asks why she’s here. Tzod explains, and that’s where the real stories unfold.

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Closing out Fantasia 2021 with the Shorts Program

25 Aug

Death and the Winemaker (2021) — The Movie Database (TMDb)By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

No Fantasia Festival is ever considered complete without looking at the short films offered. When I can’t be in Montreal for the closing film, The Great Yokai War: Guardians, checking out these shorts collections is the next best thing! That way, I can see who are the up-and-coming talents and perhaps get a sense of what may get turned into feature length works. There was a lot I could have looked at, but decided to settle on two programming blocks. 

I looked at the Circo Animato 2021 and Things That Go Bump in the East selections. These had the overlap of pieces I was curious about, and the pieces that stood out for me are:

Death and the Winemaker
By Victor Jaquier

If Ingmar Bergman was alive, I’m sure he’d have praised this short. Not only does the titular character have to face Death, but also he’ll have to keep this figure happy! The artistic design behind this haunting animation is simply gorgeous and I’m sure there’s a bit of a The Legend of Sleepy Hollow vibe intentionally put into the direction. There’s no relation to this Disney work, but the ambience just felt familiar.

According to IMDB, this filmmaker hasn’t made a lot of works. I’m certainly wanting to track these other shorts down and hope they’re somewhere in the Internet.

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