The East Winds Film Festival is one the UK’s major cinematic events that allows audience members to enjoy a selection of the latest East Asian cinema, and also be is possibly one of the best events found outside of London for viewing films from the region. The festival takes place in Coventry over three days between October 31st and November 02nd and it has a great line-up of films from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand and a strong Japanese horror film contingent.
Here are the titles programmed. Click on the films to get taken to the festival page for more information:
Friday, October 31st
The festival opens on Friday with the European Premiere of the Taiwanese film Partners in Crime at 7PM. This is a mystery/thriller involving three schoolboys who come across the body of a schoolgirl who has just committed suicide. They have vague recollections of her and aren’t convinced by the suicide story so decide to investigate her death which leads to disturbing revelations…
At 9PM is the Japanese black comedy Greatful Dead (which will be getting a UK release courtesy of Third Window Films). This played at last year’s Raindance Film Festival where it received excellent reviews. The story follows Nami, a young woman with a dysfunctional childhood who stalks lonely old men and acts like a peeping tom, spying on people who have gone crazy from loneliness. One old man in particular provides great entertainment for her but when some Christian missionaries promise to bring him happiness, Nami takes drastic steps…
Saturday, November 01st
1PM sees Lust of Angels screened at the festival. This is part of the New Directors from Japan DVD release that Third Window Films Kickstarted earlier this year and soon set for release on DVD. It also played at the Raindance Film Festival where it went down well.
Saori, a schoolgirl, is molested on the notorious “molester train” of the Hanagawa line and rescued by another school girl who witnesses the act. The girl who rescues her turned out to be a new student of Yamashiro Gakuen high school, which Saori also attends. The mysterious new student Yuriko, is rumoured to be a “parent killer”. Yuriko soon leads Saori and her friends to hunt molesters on the Hanagawa line…
I really like the poster for this one.
From 2PM, audience members can watch Thai film, Laddaland, a horror based on the real story of a haunted luxurious residential development called Laddaland. A struggling father moves his family there, much against their wishes, and soon people are murdered, a ghost shows up, and dark secrets are revealed.
Veering away from horror and into the world of thrillers is David Lam with Z Storm at 4PM. In the film, Louis Koo plays an anti-corruption investigator who looks into the case of a corrupt cop and a money laundering accountant who are caught on film destroying evidence. The case gets very complicated when they beat their charges and it emerges that they are working for a financial tycoon.
Saturday night will play host to the International Festival Premiere of The Swimmers at 7PM. This is from the director of Laddaland and also involves horrifying visions. In this film a schoolgirl is found dead in an apparent suicide at the bottom of the school swimming pool and it looks like two members of the swim team who were in a love triangle with the girl are involved.
One of the major highlights of the weekend for J-horror fans will be getting the chance to see A Record of Sweet Murder at 9PM, which gets its European premiere at the festival. This is a Japanese/South Korean co-production released just last month and it comes from Koji Shiraishi, one of Japan’s rising horror directors. With titles like CULT and Noroi: The Curse, he has carved out a niche melding reality TV with supernatural occurrences. This looks like more of the same but it has been getting good reviews (some spoilers in the Variety review).
The story begins when a reporter named Kim Soyeon is contacted by her childhood friend Park Sang-joon, a man who recently escaped a mental hospital and is said to have murdered eighteen people. He promises her an exclusive story if she brings along a Japanese cameraman. When she meets Sang-joon he explains to her that he has been hearing the voice of God and has been promised a “miracle” if he kills 25 people. The miracle is the resurrection of mutual friend. What she next witnesses is horrifying…
Sunday, November 02nd
The last day of the festival feature more films but with a lighter tone as drama and comedy come to the fore.
The first film screened, at 1:30PM, is the International Festival Premiere of romantic comedy Live @ Love. This title features a cast of rising stars in Taiwanese TV and looks set to be a fun spin on the detective duo narrative where a professional detective and her inexperienced but handsome assistant investigate a murder.
That is followed up at 4PM with yet another international festival premiere, Bugs 3D, a schlocky fun 3D film reminiscent of Hollywood B-movie pictures from the 60s and 70s. Giant bugs? Yep. Scientists create them because they provide high-quality protein at a low-cost, but when they escape, they start hunting humans.
Drama awaits at 6PM with the family drama Wonder Mama, starring Petrina Fung Bo Bo as a 49-year old librarian named Ah-Oi who is about to retire. Then she finds her quiet shattered when she learns her teenage maid has been impregnated by her 70-year old father. With her parents’ set to divorce at on old age, the pressure of raising the new-born, a missing husband and her 30-year old unemployed son who still lives with her, things are reaching crisis point in her house. Apparently this is based on a true story.
The final film of the festival, at 8PM, is another European Premiere and it is Nithiwat Tharatorn’s Thai box office smash hit The Teacher’s Diary, which has been selected as Thailand’s official entry into the Oscars’ foreign-language division.
This looks like a sweet comedy-drama about that follows the intertwining
stories of two lonely teachers posted to the same rural school a year apart. Sukrit “Bie” Wisetkaew is given work at a remote floating schoolhouse out in the middle of nowhere. He finds an illustrated diary left by his predecessor, the headstrong and opinionated Ann and, as he reads it, he slowly falls in love with her. When he leaves, Ann returns and finds that her battered diary has been expanded upon. Even though the two have never met, a bond is formed, as the two teach their pupils.
The full schedule and tickets are now available at www.eastwindsfilmfest.com.