The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival was revealed last week ahead of its run at The Institute of Contemporary Art and The Prince Charles Cinema in London between May 23rd and June 01st. I then wrote a preview for it at Anime UK News and now I’ve put together another, expanded view on the festival.
This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it still remains the best place to see a wide variety of releases from East Asian cinema. There are a number of different strands to the festival such as Current Asian Cinema where the latest titles from territories like Japan and Hong Kong are played. The Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter makes a welcome return with some great looking titles mixing ghosts and serial killers. The Spotlight On section uncovers the hottest titles that remain undiscovered. Last year’s festival saw Indonesia as the focus, this year the Philippines takes centre stage with six films released within the last year getting screened. The festival is made opens on May 23rd at The Institute of Contemporary Arts with the Spotlight On: Philippines. The festival will then move to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the festival will screen films from The Current Asian Cinema and Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter sections.
Enough of the intro, the next part has the films, dates and times. Click on the title to get taken to the festival page.
Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Films:
The Spotlight On: The Philippines section takes place at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from May 23rd to May 27th and showcases Filipino films released within the last year. There are many UK premieres and some of the actors and directors will be present.
Screened: Fri May 23rd, 2014 at 20:40
Running Time: 121 mins
Director: Erik Matti
Cast: Joel Torre, Gerald Anderson, Piolo Pascual
Dangerous inmates Daniel (Torre) and Tatang (Anderson) are granted temporary release from prison – but only to carry out traceless assassinations for crooked government officials before being returned to their cells. Young gun Daniel seems to love the job while old hand Tatang (Anderson) wants out of the cycle of violence and prison altogether. As their story plays out, a young cop named Francis (Pascual) discovers the corruption taking place in his own department.
This film was inspired by a real-life scandal and is considered so good that the Filipino original has got a UK release and Hollywood are doing a remake. Director Erik Matti will be present for a Q&A after the film.
Screened: Sat May 24th, 2014 at 16:00
Duration: 81 mins
Director: Siege Ledesma
Cast: Yeng Constantino, Felix Roco, Matt Valena, Alex Medina
Shift is the acting debut of flame-haired Filipina singer-songwriter Yeng Constantino who is making waves in the music world. In this she stars as a directionless dreamer named Estela who works the night shift at a dead-end call centre. Estela’s slacker routine changes when is assigned a mentor. He is Trevor (Roco), a Senior Sales Agent, a smart, funny and cute guy who is also gay. As the two become close friends she falls in love with him.
Shift is an example of independent Filipino cinema described as being driven by the natural chemistry of the two leads and full of vibrant visuals. The actor Felix Roco will be present for a Q&A.
Screened: Sat May 24th, 2014 at 20:40
Running Time: 92 mins
Director: Nathan Adolfson
Cast: Felix Roco, Avy Viduya, Epy Quizon, Lance Raymundo, Jade Lopez, Jack Falcis
In this bitter-sweet comedy an unlikely bond develops between a privileged but bullied ten year old boy named Maximo (Viduya) and two small-time thieves who invade his apartment named. The thieves are Nico (Roco) and his cousin Lloyd who are on the lam following a bungled jewellery heist. Despite their differences in age and circumstances, Maximo and Nico become friends but Lloyd becomes increasingly twitchy, especially since corrupt cops could be closing in on the thieves and their black market diamonds…
Lead actor Felix Roco, director Nathan Adolfson, and producer Gene Lacson will be present for a Q&A after the film.
Screened: Sun May 25th, 2014 at TBC
Running Time: 105 mins
Director: Veronica Velasco
Cast: Eugene Domingo, Enchong Dee, Leo Martinez, Empress Schuck, Jake Cuenca
This dark comedy begins when a swerving bus and a steel bar result in three bus passengers finding themselves impaled and stuck together! The three, one a student desperate to lose his virginity, one a prickly bus conductor haunted by family troubles and the third, a long-suffering father who wants to follows his dreams; reveal their backstories as a team of doctors try to get free them. Their connections to each other run deeper than their present situation…
Screened: Sun May 25th, 2014 at TBC
Running Time: 79 mins
Director: Raya Martin
Cast: Nonie Buencamino, Shamaine Buencamino, Ness Roque
After a successful and awards-packed film festival run, How to Disappear Completely finally shows up in the UK and audiences will get to experience this unique film which has an acclaimed ambient electro soundtrack from London-based Filipino music producer EYEDRESS. The tale concerns a young girl (Roque) searches for a way to disappear from a life spent with suffocating parents more concerned with drink and religion. Her life takes a very dark turn as an unnatural presence in the forest changes her into someone more violent… The atmosphere has the words, dread, hypnotic and claustrophobia used to describe it and the trailer is a bit of a trip.
Screened: Tue May 27th, 2014 at 20:40
Running Time: 92 mins
Director: Andrew Leavold
Cast: Eddie Nicart, Bobby A Suarez, Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Maria Isobel
Andrew Leavold, the former owner of Australia’s largest cult video rental store, turned detective for three years to track down a forgotten action hero, the two foot nine inch tall action star Weng Weng. The name will be familiar to anyone who watches bad movies since he was big in the 80’s with James Bond parodies, starring as Agent 00 in For ‘Y’ur Height Only. On screen, he was a spy, martial artist and ladies’ man but off screen, he led a different life.
The film is full of interviews with actors, directors and even the former President of the Philippines Imelda Marcos (she of the many shoes). Director Andrew Leavold will be present for a Q&A.
The festival then moves to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter and Current Trends in Asian Cinema sections take place.
Terror Cotta is back with a mix of horror titles from Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The all-night screening is packed full of premieres and It starts on Saturday, May 31st from 22:40.
Running Time: 129 mins
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Hideaki Ito, Fumi Nikaido, Shota Sometani, Mitsuru Fukkoshi, Takayuki Yamada, Takahiro Hira, Kento Hayashi, Kodai Asaka
The Terror Cotta All-Nighter gets going with Lesson of Evil, one of the latest crop of titles from Takashi Miike, a film which genre fans will be sure to love. It is about a cool and charismatic teacher named Seiji (Ito) who is popular with students and teachers. But his actions soon take a turn revealing that behind his smile lurks a dangerous man and when a student and a teacher start to discover this after a number of disappearances from the school, chaos erupts. The film will be released by Third Window Films on September 29th, 2014.
Running Time: 99 mins
Director: Yeo Joon Han
Cast: Wang Po Chieh, Candy Lee, Jennifer Foh
Malaysian director Yeo Joon Han scored an award-winning film with Sell Out!, a Manglish (Malaysian-English) musical comedy creates a ghost story full of twists and unrelenting horror. The story begins when a guy named Joseph (Wang Po Chieh) defies a fortune-teller’s warnings and proposes to his girlfriend May (Foh) who soon dies in a car accident. Joseph is distraught and tries to contact May in the afterlife with the help of May’s friend, Vivien (Lee) but they disturb demons…
Running Time: 137 mins
Director: Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto
Cast: Oka Antara, Kazuki Kitamura, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Mei Kurokawa, Tara Basro, Ray Sahetapy
This violent Indonesian film was released in Japan a few weeks back and is another title due to get a UK release thanks to Lionsgate UK. Troubled Indonesian journalist Bayu (Antara) finds himself drawn to the member’s only website of a Japanese serial killer named Nomura Shuhei (Kitamura). Bayu uploads footage of his own and both he and Nomura become closer…
Running Time: 102 mins
Director: Erik Matti
Cast: Dingdong Dantes, Lovi Poe, Joey Marquez, Janice De Belen
Tik Tik is a special effects driven comic book action adventure with a dark sense of humour as the world gets to see the vampires that reside in the Philippines. The story follows a cocky layabout named Makoy (Dantes) who travels to a remote village to reconcile with his pregnant girlfriend. He tries to win favour by purchasing a suckling pig but that pig isn’t what it seems and soon Makoy and the family are under attack from a bunch of Aswang. It comes from the director Erik Matti who has another film at the festival and was the first full-length Filipino film to be shot using green screens, with stylised sets.
The Current Asian Cinema strand also plays at the Prince Charles Cinema and audiences get to see 12 of the latest films from various territories like Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. There are many UK and European premieres and even an international premiere. Here’s the list:
Screened: Wed May 28th, 2014 at 20:15
Running Time: 122 mins
Director: Dante Lam
Cast: Nick Cheung, Eddie Peng, Mei Ting, Crystal Lee,
Hong Kong directing legend Dante Lam crafts a film about MMA where the actors took home awards because of the great drama! The story is about an disgraced ex-boxing champion named Scumbag Fai (Cheung) who is chased out of Hong Kong by debt collectors and seeks to rebuild his fighting career in Macau where he meets others who are down on their luck: struggling single mother Gwen (Ting) and Lin Si-Qi (Peng), a rookie fighter looking at entering lucrative MMA tournament to raise themselves up from their bleak situations.
Screened: Thurs May 29th, 2014 at 20:30
Running Time: 104 mins
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Cast: Tony Jaa, RZA, Jeeja Yanin, Marrese Crump,Ratha Pho-ngam
Fresh from Thailand comes Warrior King 2 and Tony Jaa is back together with Prachya Pinkaew to make another extreme action film full of stunts and fights. In this film, Jaa portrays a man named Kham and he finds himself framed for the murder of an elephant camp boss named Suchart. With the police and Suchart’s deadly twin nieces on his tail, Kham goes on the lam while also searching for his elephant Khon, who disappeared during the time of the murder. Kham also finds himself drawn into an underground fighting ring run by a crime lord named LC (RZA). To get out of this, he must fight the beautiful but deadly Twenty (Pho-ngam) and the diabolical NO.2 (Crump). Expect much violence.
Remote Control (2013) (UK Premiere)
Screened: Wed May 30th, 2014 at 12:15
Running Time: 90 mins
Director: Byamba Sakhya
Cast: Enkhtaivan Bassandorj, Nergui Bayarmaa, Chagnaadorj Ganbaatar
Remote Control is an award-winning film from Mongolia and looks at the modernisation that the country is undergoing through a coming of age film about a naïve teenager named Tsog (Baasandor) who moves from the country to the city and falls for an older woman, Anya (Bayarmaa). To make a connection, he steals a remote control and starts to manipulate her television.
Screened: Fri May 30th, 2014 at 15:15
Running Time: 124 mins
Director: Aozaru Shiao, Toyoharu Kitamura
Cast: Lung Shao-hua, Blue Lan, Amber An, Li Yi-chieh, Edison Wang, Tien Hsin, Shen Hai-jung, Liao Jun, Chen Ping-nan
From Taiwan comes a fantastical fish story all about love and the golden age of Taiwanese-language films which were weird and wild. It is split between the present where an energetic old man named Liu Chi-sheng who retells the story of meeting his wife to their granddaughter. The film flashbacks to 1969 when Chi-sheng (Lan) was the hottest scriptwriter in Taiwan’s film industry and his wife, Mei-Yue (An) was an aspiring actress in love with a posturing matinee idol. The film is full of egotistical drunken directors, stars and men in rubber monster suits as the Taiwanese film industry of the time is brought back to life.
Screened: Fri May 30th, 2014 at 18:10
Running Time: 138 mins
Director: Hitoshi One
Cast: Kenta Niikura, Naoko Wakai, Chihiro Shibata, Yuumi Goto, Aya Kunitake, Hiroki Ueda, Daisuke Sawamura, Kenta Enya,
This Japanese film is a product of the ‘workshop’ indie films that are released nearly every weekend in Tokyo. Be My Baby is a low-budget film shot I four days for under $10,000 in a couple of locations. It is based on a play by award-winning dramatist Daisuke Miura (which was screened at cinemas) and it’s directed by Hitoshi One, director of the big-budget Love Strikes!. It’s a very adult film about the aftermath of a party attended by a group of drop-out twenty-somethings who are all flawed and caught up in damaging relationships.
Screened: Fri May 30th, 2014 at 20:55
Running Time: 89 mins
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Cast: Cho Jae-hyun, Seo Young-ju, Lee Eun-Woo
Controversial director, or should that be, director of controversial films, Kim Ki-duk, is a man who makes extreme films with extreme subject matter and in this one (which has no dialogue) a spurned wife wants revenge against her adulterous husband and tries to castrate him. He fights her of and so she castrates their teenage son. The father, desperate to help his son, goes to extreme lengths to try and make amends… This helps bring the two together… Apparently, this is a comedy…
Screened: Sat May 31st, 2014 at 12:20
Running Time: 109 mins
Director: Jackie Chan
Cast: Jackie Chan, Kwone Sang Woo, Zhang Lanxin, Yao Xingtong, Liao Fan, Laura Weissbecker, Oliver Platt
Writer, director, choreographer and superstar Jackie Chan goes back to the films he made in the 80’s by dropping the drama for the stunts and comedy in a globe-trotting adventure that is unofficially regarded as the latest in his fun Armour of God franchise. In this film he plays maverick treasure hunter JC (Chan) who leads a team which is hired by the Max Profit Corporation to track down six missing bronze sculptures, part of a set of twelve representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This launches the crew on a global adventure that stretches from France to China.
Screened: Sat May 31st, 2014 at 14:45
Running Time: 113 mins
Director: Park Hong-soo
Cast: Choi Seung-hyun, Han Ye-ri, Kim Yoo-jung
Choi Seung-hyun, a.k.a. rapper T.O.P. from the group Big Bang, takes the lead In a South Korean spy thriller where he displays his acting and action skills. He plays a young man named Ri Myung-hoon who is imprisoned in a North Korean labour camp with his sister. He makes a deal to save himself and his sister and becomes a spy in the South where he has to track down an assassin picking off fellow agents. Pretending to be a high school boy, he befriends bullied classmate Hye-in (Han Ye-ri) and finds that his allegiances change and he has to think of a new way to save his sister.
Screened: Sat May 31st, 2014 at 17:45
Running Time: 99 mins
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu Leung
Cast: Donnie Yen, Jian Tian, Andy On
Hong Kong makes lots of contemporary police thrillers and action hard man Donnie Yen takes to the screen in this brutal looking action film which sees him beat gangsters in Hong Kong and on the mainland of China. He plays Chen Zilong (Yen), a deep undercover agent who infiltrates a Hong Kong gang and finds himself ordered to head to the mainland to take out Sunny (On), an old adversary causing problems for both police and gangsters. He isn’t alone, however. His lover and fellow police officer, Fang (Tian) is ready to crack some skulls in a film with lots of action.
Screened: Sat May 31st, 2014 at 20:00
Running Time: 126 mins
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Cast: Mao Inoue, Go Ayano, Misako Renbutsu, Nanao
This is one of the big titles for the festival and its story is a contemporary suspense thriller based on a work by the novelist Kanae Minato who is the writer of the award-winning Confessions. It looks at the devastating power of social media from multiple perspectives and the hyperactive media world. It starts with the death of a beautiful girl named Noriko (Nanao). The scandal-hungry media make it their latest fixation. Twitter addict and newbie director Akahoshi (Ayano) gets a tip-off, via Twitter, that Noriko’s dowdy co-worker Miki Shirono (Inoue) is the killer. His investigation sparks a massive media sensation that turns very dark…
Screened: Sun June 01st, 2014 at 12:15
Running Time: 139 mins
Director: Han Jae-rim
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Jung-Jae, Baek Yun-shik, Kim Hye-soo, Jo Jung-suk
The Face Reader brought a high-profile and talented cast to a film full of action and historical drama and it was a hit in South Korea. The setting is 15th century Korea, ruled over by the Joseon dynasty. Gifted physiognomist Nae-kyung (SONG Kang-ho) seizes the opportunity to cast off his peasant existence and tries to advance through the ranks of the warrior nobles in the capital but gets caught up in the court intrigues and dangerous games played between two deadly power players—Grand Prince Sooyang (LEE Jung-jae), known as “the Wolf”, simmering with menacing ambition, and Kim Jong-seo (BAEK Yoon-shik), “the Tiger”, charged with maintaining royal power.
Screened: Sun June 01st, 2014 at 15:00
Running Time: 110 mins
Director: Alan Yuen
Cast: Andy Lau, Yao Chen, Lam Ka Tung, Hu Jun
We get another explosive police thriller from Hong Kong where the island’s brave police force face-off against mainland gangsters. Tou Shing-bong (La Ka tung) is released from prison and links up with mainland criminal Nam Cao (Hu Jun) and his brutal gang of armed robbers. Police Inspector Liu (Andy Lau) hunts them down but the lack of evidence means that he cannot lock the guy up. In his desperation to catch the crooks, Liu begins to lose control. Expect many chases and gun battles!
Screened: Sun June 01st, 2014 at 17:15
Running Time: 105 mins
Director: Akira Nagai
Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Keiko Kitagawa, Yosiyosi Arakawa, Lily Franky, Denden
The festival ends on a high with the hit comedy, Judge!, getting its international premiere. Furthermore, the director Akira Nagai will be appearing for the festival and conducting a Q&A after the film which should be fascinating because Nagai and the screenwriter, Yoshimitsu Sawamoto, are both veterans of the Japanese advertising world.
The film itself is a comedy about a hapless ad agency employee named Kiichiro Ota (Tsumabuki) who is sent by his almost-namesake boss to the Santa Monica Advertising Festival to scheme, bribe and cheat as much as possible to ensure that his company’s ad wins. However his English skills are lacking and so he drags along his brilliant colleague Hikari (Kitagawa) for support. With lots of culture clash gags, larger than life characters, and slapstick comedy, this is definitely one to attend. Post-screening Q&A wit director Akira Nagai
During the festival, Terracotta will be operating a festival hub at the Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Bar on China Town’s Gerrard Street (next to Dumplings Hero). Free wi-fi will be available and maybe some of the stars will appear…
Forever Love Poster Exhibition
There will be a special display of Taiwanese theatrical posters at the hub for the duration of the festival.
The Venues and the Ticket Prices:
Here’s where we get to the nitty-gritty of how to see the films: the locations and contact details and prices.
Spotlight On: The Philippines will take place at Institute of Contemporary Arts(ICA) from May 23rd to 27th:
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH / Box Office: +44 (0)20 7930 3647
Tickets at the ICA: £10 / £8 Concessions / £7 ICA Members
Current Asian Cinema and TERROR COTTA Horror All-Nighter takes place at The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st:
7 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BY / Box Office: +44 (0)20 7494 3654
Individual tickets at Prince Charles Cinema cost £9.50 for non members, no concessions/ £6.00 for members
(Friday afternoon: £7.50/ £5.50)
The Festival Pass costs £66.50 non members/ £56.50 for members
The Early Bird Pass* costs £65 non members/ £55 for members (excludes Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter and ICA Spotlight ON: Philippines)
*early bird price available for purchases before midnight, Thursday 1st May
Terror-Cotta Horror All-nighter: £22 non members/ £19.50 members
Keep an eye on the main website for updates and more information about the festival.