Friday, 15 June 2007

On The Case in Shanghai

The 10th Shanghai International Film Festival kicks off this weekend with a line-up stuffed to the gills with new Chinese movies, plus a number from Japan and Korea for good measure. Festival-goers may have to look beyond the main competition for the goods however - although the international Jin Jue Award nominees include some strong titles, movies such as Yau Nai-Hoi's Eye in the Sky and Yoji Yamada's Love and Honour have already done the rounds elsewhere, as have Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Go Master and Lee Joon-ik's Radio Star (the director's follow up to the massive success of The King and the Clown). Less known titles in competition include Yin Li's historical saga The Knot, which has already received theatrical release, and follows its protagonist, a teacher, from Taiwan to the Korean War and Tibet, with a love story in the mix, Japanese drama Bushan by director Isshin Inudou, and contemporary murder mystery Shanghai Red, the first directorial outing for a Hollywood producer by the name of Oscar Luis Costa.

But it's the Asian New Talents section which looks capable of the most surprises - with movies from Indonesia (Denias, Singing on the Cloud by John de Rantau), Vietnam (Saigon Eclipse by Othello Khanh), and Korea (For Horowitz by Kwon Hyung-jin) alongside several Chinese entries, the most interesting of which may be The Case (pictured). Set in a mountain guesthouse, the movie follows what happens when the guesthouse owner discovers a suitcase flowing down the river which is full of frozen female body remains. The grisly discovery coincides with the appearance of a suspicious couple at the guesthouse, whereupon events become steadily more sinister... The feature debut of documentarist Wang Fen, The Case made its world premiere at the recent Hong Kong International Film Festival, and looks worthy of investigation. Other titles included in the New Talents strand include The Cold Flame (Yang Shupeng, China), and Bliss (Sheng Zhimin, China), The Touch of Fate (Pan Zhiyuan, Taiwan), The Crossword Monologues (Hideaki Kataoka, Japan) and Veyil (Gurunathan Vasantabalan, India)...

Shanghai International Film Festival website

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