Tag Archives: Asian Cinema

How to Celebrate Hungry Ghost Festival Aug 15th

14 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month will reach its perigee on August 15th. At the Hungry Ghost Festival (盂兰盆节), these once human souls are permitted to visit the living world and some may visit their descendents to see how they are doing. On this day, we venerate them with happiness and acknowledge their existence. We save the first row in any performance venue for them to sit there. Anyone who tries may well feel a chill!

This time of the year is a different sort of Halloween. As for what believers can do in preparation is to beware of certain practices lest the spirit attaches itself. This can range from avoiding wearing clothing that is red or black to not killing insects crawling around–they may be someone’s grandparents reincarnated. The best thing to do with the latter is to catch and release the critter outside.

Superstitions aside, some fans of horror cinema may opt to get into the mood. Instead of scaring ourselves silly, we may opt to look at supernatural comedies. My choices have to fit the criteria of how the spirit world interacts with reality. Instead of a top five, I have six on my list. In my culture, we consider this number lucky. Amongst my favourites that are distinctly Asian and PG-13 in tone are:

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Dead Pigs is Not Your Typical Chinese New Year Movie

7 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dead Pigs
may sound like an unusual title for a movie to kick off Chinese New Year on its Victoria Film Festival screening Feb 4th, but it’s a well-meaning work which looks at the idiosyncrasies behind a dysfunctional family trying to survive in a modern China. In Shanghai, Candy Wang (Vivian Wu) and her elder “Old Man Wang” brother (Yang Haoyu) do not see eye to eye over their old family home. It is destined to be torn down because everything else in the old neighbourhood is gone. The Golden Happiness Project claim to improve the lives of everyone, including the impoverished, for the better is falling on a lot of deaf ears–but at what cost? Money cannot buy everything, especially when concerning preserving memories.

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Changing Faces with Asako I & II

5 Feb

Image result for asako i & iiBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Remaining shows at the Victoria Film Festival
February 5 | 9:15 PM | Capital 6
Victoria, BC

Presented by The Japan Foundation.
Tickets available online or at the door.

Idealized romances are a figment of the Hollywood imagination. To find that one true love is a subject for plenty of films, and in Asako I & II, this strange title suggests the title character (played with naïve innocence by Erika Karata) will see plenty of change in her life. She’s a doting figure who falls for Baku (Masahiro Higashide) like the best romantic tale from the golden age of cinema, complete with fireworks, and this drifter gives this film a plot.

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