Here it is… the much awaited line-up for this year’s Terracotta Film Festival, bigger and better than ever. It’s divided into four sections (Current Films, Terror Cotta, Spotlight on Indonesia and In Memoriam of Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui), all screening at the Prince Charles Cinema (June 6–9), except for the Indonesia section, which will be held at the ICA (June 11-15). Further festival highlights include masterclasses and a short film competition (with a trip to Hong Kong as top prize).
Because it’s such a lengthy list of films, I’ve limited myself to one-sentence synopses. If it grabs your interest, watch the trailer and/or hop over to the official festival website, where longer summaries are featured.
The official website has just gone live, although links for booking (which is meant to open today) don’t yet work. I would expect booking to be available some time later this afternoon.
After five Hong Kong police officers are kidnapped, two rival police commissioners take charge of the rescue operation, code-named COLD WAR.
A team of detectives is investigating the case of phantom bullets at a work factory – the victims have gun wounds, but no bullets or casings are to be found anywhere.
Childhood friends Aggie and Dennis, both gay, move in together and masquerade as a couple in this debut indie on “blurred sexuality and love complications” (quote from Terracotta Press Release).
In the seedy underworld of crime where no one can be trusted, Inspector Zhang makes a deal with a drug manufacturer to catch the big fish: the drug lord Li.
In a story that is part fiction, part reality, Sa, a poor country girl, comes to Bangkok to work as an escort girl to support the family she left behind.
In 220 AD China, chancellor Cao Cao is after the throne of his emperor, who is equally plotting to kill his servant.
- 《南方小羊牧場》 (Nánfāng xiǎo yáng mùchǎng/When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep, Taiwan, 2012) – Dir. by Hou Chi-jan.
A copy shop employee notices sheep drawings on the papers of a teaching assistant he is copying, and responds by drawing a big wolf – the beginning of a romance.
Note: I previously featured this film in Trailer Weekly #76.
A fictional story inspired by the real events of 2011 Tohoku earthquake and Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, which tells of a family’s experience in the aftermath of the disaster.
Note: I featured this film in Trailer Weekly #45.
- 「みなさん、さようなら」(Minasang, Sayonara/See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Nakamura Yoshihiro.
Satoru lives in a government estate so perfect he is told that he never needs to leave, yet things are changing…
The affable eighteen-year old Yonosuke moves from Nagasaki to Tokyo in 1987 and makes friends by wild samba dancing, but sixteen years later has disappeared from everyone’s horizons.
Note: I featured this in Trailer Weekly #57.
A family takes in a disheveled and extremely shy boy, found in their garden, who can neither speak nor read and acts more like an animal, especially when threatened.
Note: I featured this in Trailer Weekly #46.
Pyo, a North Korean secret agent stationed in Berlin, finds his loyalties between his country and his wife tested when an arms deals is exposed.
After a potential client dies in a car accident, a detective finds himself in the midst of a criminal plot involving a time machine in this “quirky, low budget time travel romp” (quote from Terracotta Press Release).
Terror Cotta Allnighter
On New Year’s Eve, three flatmates are paid a visit by their drug dealer, who turns psycho on them.
Less horror than psychological terror, this classic, based on a 1825 kabuki play, is an often retold tale of murder, betrayal and ghostly revenge.
Every night Elang suffers from ghastly nightmares involving a beautiful woman, a neighbouring family, blood-covered knives and axes as well as a giant rabbit, slowly leading him to believe that there may be a connection to a murder that has taken place in town.
A wife is faced is the ultimate nightmare: the person she loves the most, her husband, is slowly metamorphosing into a monster before her eyes.
A zombie invasion is taking over Japan, but fortunately Aiko and Hashimoto have discovered some “A Guide to Survive from Zombies” VHS tapes to save themselves.
Spotlight on Indonesia
In the Indonesia of the 1960s, Srintil’s dream is to become her village’s principal dancer, a position that however requires selling her virginity – leaving her childhood love Rasus heartbroken.
Note: The film was Indonesia’s official entry for Best Foreign Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
- Yang tidak dibicarakan ketika membicarakan cinta (What They Don’t Talk about When They Talk about Love, Indonesia, 2013) – Dir. by Mouly Surya.
Fitri, Diana and Maya are all visually impaired students at a special school who have their minds full of love and dreams.
- Opera Jawa (Requiem from Java, Indonesia/Austria, 2006) – Dir. by Garin Nugroho, Arturo Gp and Arswendi.
Retelling one episode of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, Opera Jawa uses both traditional and modern music and dance to tell the tale of a happily married husband and wife that become suspicious of each other’s fidelity.
A 19-year old girl seeks her long lost father and discovers that he is now a transvestite sex worker in Jakarta.
Mata Tertutup offers glimpse into religious radicalisation from the point of view of a recruiter of an illegal group, a recruitee radicalised by his family’s lack of prospects and a desperate mother seeking her daughter taken by the organisation.
In a story full of “myths, magic and memories” (quote from press release), Lana is a foundling that is raised in a zoo by a giraffe keeper.
In Memoriam of Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui
Hong Kong, 1960s: After he learns from the prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother, Yuddy, a youth, is caught in conflicting emotions and volatile acts them out with several women who fall for him.
Note: This film screens on May 29, as part of the monthly Terracotta Film Club.
The ghost of a former bordello hostess seeks her long lost love with the help of a real-life journalist – but note that it’s a tragic, not a comic tale.
Note: I had this on the Double Trailer Weekly #79+#80.
In this much lauded and critically acclaimed film, we watch a gay couple fall in and out of love as they struggle to keep their relationship alive by travel all the way to Argentina.
Note: I had this on Trailer Weekly #29.