Busan 2014 Review: FIRES ON THE PLAIN Drags Us Into The Abyss

Though based on Ooha Shohei's book of the same name rather than Ichikawa Kon's languid and harrowing 1959 film, Tsukamoto Shinya's Fires on the Plain was always going to be an entirely different beast. Low-budget and with a frenetic and... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARALLEL Means Well But Lacks Drive

The heart-warming story of a disabled ice hockey team's journey to the World Championships, Korean documentary Parallel is a testament to perseverance and passion in the face of adversity. However, at 70 minutes and with an all too easy to... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: FACTORY COMPLEX, An Artful Look At Korea's Beleaguered Workforce

It's no secret that workers are subjected to punishing conditions and constant humiliation in Korea, a country that has made the news recently for having the longest work hours and yet the least productivity among all OECD nations. New documentary... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: EXIT Feels Pretty But Shallow

Chienn Hsiang's second feature, Exit, is lovely to look at, and pleasant enough to watch, but ultimately feels inconsequential. Chen Shiang-chyi stars as Lingzi, a childlike middle-aged woman finds herself alone for a few weeks while her teenaged daughter visits... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: SUNRISE Plunges Us Into Noirish And Riveting Tale Of Child Abduction

Indian cinema provides another jolt of electricity to the thriller genre with Sunrise, a tight, punchy neo-noir about child trafficking in Mumbai. Taking place at night, frequently under heavy rain and driven forward by a pulsating minimalist electro score, the... More »
  

Camera Japan 2014 Review: FORMA Demands Attention

(This review won't scratch the surface, and that is fully intentional...) At the start of Forma, you see one of its protagonists stick a pen in a cardboard box, making a small hole. She then puts the box on her... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Busan 2014 Review: LIVE TV Showcases Misogyny And Bad Filmmaking

Found footage horror and digital age social themes combine to disastrous effect in the lamentable and stunningly offensive Live TV, a midnight film at Busan that'll make you wish you'd turned in early. A pair of chauvinistic jackasses record their... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: RED AMNESIA Is Haunted By Forgotten Ghosts

Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle) returns to cap off his so-called legacy trilogy with a film that is one part thriller and one part melodrama. It does not always work, but when it does, it is largely thanks to the incredible... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: TIMING Mixes Overstuffed Narrative And Plain Animation

Popular webtoonist Kang Full has become a big name in Korean film over the last few years following the success of features based on his work, such as BA:BO (2008), Late Blossom (2011), Neighbors (2012), and 26 Years (2012). At... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: SOCIALPHOBIA Effectively Blends Social Agenda And Genre Tropes

The Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) returns to Busan with Socialphobia, a new work that is equal parts social drama and murder mystery. Examining the disruptive effect of communication in the digital era within a society where the slightest... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARTNERS IN CRIME, A Subversive, Stylish Murder Mystery

Partners In Crime is the latest film from Taiwanese director Jung-chi Chang (Touch of the Light), and, like his previous features, he again taps into a superbly realized gen Y narrative. The film is directed with complete confidence. Right from... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: DOES CUCKOO CRY AT NIGHT, A Simple But Well Told Parable

Playing alongside the 50-odd new Korean films playing at Busan this year is a retrospective of the work of Jung Jin-woo, a prolific director and producer active from the 1960s to the 80s. Known as a purveyor of social melodramas... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: THE GOLDEN ERA Hits All Of Its Marks

The Golden Era follows the (tragically short) life of one of China's most celebrated female writers, Xiao Hong (portrayed by Tang Wei), in typically lavish period-biopic fashion. On an aesthetic level, the film is gorgeously realized by director Ann Hui,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: WILD FLOWERS Wilts After A Bristling Start

The lives of aimless youths at the bottom of the social ladder are the focus of Wild Flowers, a bleak look into teenage destitution in the streets and back alleys of Seoul. Uncompromising in its focus and brisk in its... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, A Top Shelf Crowd Pleaser

Premiering this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, Margarita, With A Straw received standing ovations at each of its three sold-out screenings, and it is not hard to understand why. Dismissing any cliché or heavy handed sentiments, director Shonali Bose... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION Is David Lynch Meets Hong Sangsoo

Following his terrific debut Romance Joe (2011), Lee Kwang-kuk is back in Busan with A Matter of Interpretation, a breathless play on dream logic with smart plotting and a great script that proves he's no fluke, and then some. Frustrated... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: END OF WINTER Boasts Strong Cast And Subtle Mise-en-scene

Dankook University scores a New Currents competition slot at the Busan International Film Festival for the second year running with End of Winter, a controlled family drama taking place in the dead of winter. Eschewing histrionics in favour of a... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: HAN RIVER Ponders Urban Malaise in Contemporary Korea

With black and white lensing, cheerful yet destitute protagonists and the absence of a clear narrative, the philosophical vagabond film Han River, benefits from a style and focus that sets it apart from the bulk of recent Korean indie fare,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: DAUGHTER Explores The Ills Of Modern Korean Parenting

Following a pair of indulgent films that awkwardly straddled the balance between fantasy and reality, the multi-hyphenate Ku Hye-sun, a well known actress, singer and artist as well as director, returns with Daughter, her most mature work to date. An... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: WE WILL BE OK Hits Its Stride Too Late In The Game

Writers are told to write about what they know, so it stands to reason that the same rule should apply to filmmakers. As a result, many films take place within the film world and in the Korean industry this proves... More »
  
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