Tag Archives: Drama

[VFF2018] Defining Joy, not July, in Soulmate (七月与安生) — A Movie Review

4 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Plays at Victoria Film Festival 2018
Wed | February 7 | 9:15 PM | Capitol 6
Purchase tickets here.

In North American terms Lin (Lin “July” Qiyue in the subtitles, played by Ma Sichun) and Anshen (Ansheng, Zhou Dongyu) are BFFs. In Chinese terms, they are Soul Mates (七月与安生) — also the title of this movie. Technically, the kanji spells out their names as the title of the film. As they come of age and become adults, their bond never fell apart, and this fact highlights this drama.

However, the plot needs a conflict to show what can happen which could potentially split them apart. When Chen Jia Ming (Tobey Lee) enters into their lives, one is the hopeless romantic and the other, respecting her ‘sister,’ does not even try. There’s no cat fight as this movie is more about their personal bond than their interest in Ming. These two beautiful actresses are rising stars from Mainland China and their sisterhood shines very brightly here. I can’t wait to see Dongyu in Tsui Hark’s The Thousand Faces of Dunjia (奇門遁甲), a fantasy – science fiction film. Well Go Entertainment released this title to limited markets in December and I hope a video release is coming soon!

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The Vintage Tempest’s Top Picks on What to See at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival

11 Jan

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The folks behind organizing the movies at the Victoria Film Festival (taking place Feb 2 to 11th) never fails to amaze with the diversity offered. The 2018 show will not only enthuse independent film aficionados but also appease with movies not only from the land of the rising sun but also the emerald isle. The quirky documentary School Life was previewed. Anyone interested in a lesser-known version of Hogwarts life (sans magic and adventure) will find a different story here.

The opening gala promises to whisk audiences to Scotland with Waterboys. This comedy-drama will make its Canadian premiere here in Victoria, British Columbia. Not to be confused with the band of the same name, perhaps we might get surprised with the party taking place at The Bay Centre‘s Centre Court following this movie.

Special events like Sips & Cinema and the Virtual Reality Workshop are added bonuses. The special guest this year is Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City). Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys) round out the initial round of announcements. Gillen can be considered to be playing himself in the film Pickups, a drama about the bizarre life of a jobbing actor suffering from insomnia. Bowles is making his feature film directorial debut with Bad Cop. (link goes to showtimes)

My picks from this year’s show include:

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Going into Detail with In This Corner of the World’s Home Video Release

22 Nov

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

A lot of research went into producing In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に). This anime is now out on home video, released by Shout! Factory on Nov 14th, and the bonus material reveals why this film deserves high marks for not only its story but also in historical accuracy. Not many productions go into exquisite detail and I was amazed.

For comparison, this release also offers a 12-page insert of the manga by Fumiyo Kōno it was based on. The three-volume set is available for purchase and it goes into greater detail for specific set pieces. I have reviewed this film when it made its rounds at theatres (it can be found here) and to watch the featurettes certainly made me appreciate this product more.

I have to agree with the points answered in the interview with Sunao Katabuchi about how this movie redefines what anime can do. Masao Maruyama says this product he helped produce is a very cultural. Although this genre has never been limiting in what tales can be explored — anyone who has watched enough product over the decades can find gems — my choice in what I love to see has been more with historical or biographical works than the usual fantastical material.

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In This Corner of the World Arrives This Week to Home Video

14 Nov

corner-of-world-posterSunao Katabuchi’s In This Corner of the World  (この世界の片隅に) is arriving this week, on November 14th, onto home video. Anime enthusiasts will most likely have picked up this title by now, and for those who have not, this title is worth putting into the collection for the poetic journey Suzu (the protagonist) has to face. She has no knowledge of the grander picture. She knows the wartime situation in Japan is dire, and she adjusts by staying completely naive to the whole drama. In what she does have to face, her strength and perseverance shine.

Pre and post, while audiences know that the inevitable bombing of Hiroshima is near, no one else does in this story. Audiences will get glued to every moment as the film shows the date and we wonder how Suzu’s family and the one she married into will fare.

This release includes a few extras to help viewers understand more about this animated product. Included are: “A Look at Post-Screening Q&As with director Sunao Katabuchi and producer Taro Maki” and a 16-page preview of the graphic novel by Fumiyo Kouno that inspired the film. The original theatrical trailer rounds out this collection. More about this content will be looked at in-depth when our order arrives in the mailbox.

For a full review of the film, please look at Ed Sum’s review here. While not everyone had the chance to see this movie theatrically, the opportunity to watch it at home should not be missed. This release comes courtesy of Shout! Factory.