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Festival news

New Asian Cinema – first titles of the flagship section announced

15 October 2020
Daughters by Hajime Tsuda

New Asian Cinema is a section focusing on the most eccentric and ambitious productions. The voices of young, independent filmmakers and the precisely composed creations of renown masters come together to form a striking story of modern Asia – and beyond.

New Asian Cinema – pressing subjects, surprising forms, masters of Asian cinema.

Asian cinemas are a rich palette of various forms, aesthetics, and storytelling strategies. The section devoted to their latest achievements presents a cross-section of pictures that moved audiences and critics in the past two years – from a subtle, balanced portrait of family relations, to dynamic, visually striking stories from places no one should explore on their own.

The latest film by Miwa Nishikawa, the guest of the 9th Five Flavours, holds a special place in the program. The writer and director, following in the footsteps of Ozu and Koreeda and continuing the humanistic traditions of Japanese cinema, returns to the Festival with her new feature, which premiered at the recent Toronto IFF. Written with a remarkable psychological sensitivity, "Under the Open Sky" is a story of a Yakuza gangster who leaves prison after many years behind bars and is searching for a new, lawful path in today's Japan.

"Daughters" by Hajime Tsuda offers a completely different portrait of Tokyo. The young director, with background in the world of fashion, envelops the story of young, ambitious friends, one of whom faces an unplanned pregnancy, in sensual, glittering frames, bringing a touch of lightness to this bittersweet narration filled with subtle emotions. An original take on motherhood is also present in Jacky Yeap Swee Leong's Malay film "Sometime Sometime" This delicate, nuanced picture focuses on the relationship between a young boy and a woman raising him on her own. The two are extremely close, yet they are both looking for independence and their own paths in life.

A young boy is also the protagonist of a unique feature from Vietnam. "Rom" is a visual firecracker – edited like a music video, it focuses on the complex world of the Ho Chi Minh slums. Initially blocked by censorship, it was released this September and became one of the country's biggest box office hits. It is one of the most original Vietnamese films of the decade, searching for new ways of talking about exclusion and the specific culture of a community the world would much rather forget about.

The theme of problematic origins comes back in "Boluomi," a Taiwanese film about an unexpected friendship between two migrants from Southeast Asia. The echoes of their family dramas find solace in the newly rediscovered empathy and mutual care. Healing is not an easy process, but the director found a way to showcase its complex nature.

One of the most formally unique films of this edition is "Jalikattu," representing the cinema of southern India. Exceptional camerawork, pulsating montage, chilling music (composed by the protegee of A. R. Rahman himself) is a close look at the man's world of Kerala where, at the edge of the jungle, people's everyday lives meet the hurricane of animalistic instincts.

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