Asian cinema feast in progress. What else to expect at the 16th Five Flavours?
We are entering the second half of the Festival in cinemas. Thank you for the great turnout, in-person and online, and for the enthusiastic reception of the films and their creators during the first four days of the event. More exciting screenings and inspiring meetings with extraordinary artists are coming soon!
Join us in the cinemas – the screenings at Muranów and Kinoteka are a rare opportunity to see the best, most interesting Asian films, including the masterpieces from this year's retrospective of Edward Yang, on the big screen. On Sunday and Monday you have the last chance to meet with Festival guests during the Q&A sessions. The talks with Kamila Andini, Martika Ramirez Escobar and Ho Wi Ding are a chance to ask them about the contexts of their films, their production and their reception in the director's homelands.
Programmers' Top Fives
Five Flavours programmers chose their favorite films of this year's Festival. Who do you agree with the most?
Five Flavours' favorite heroines (chosen by Maja Pielak):
- "Barbarian Invasion" dir. Tan Chui Mui | Moon is a brilliant actress going back to work after maternity leave. She comes back with a bang, starring in a Malaysian remake of the action-packed "The Bourne Identity." The camera follows her preparations for the role – the long, strenuous training sessions, and the process of regaining her acting agency. The autobiographical role is played by the director of the film, Tan Chui Mui.
- "Yuni" dir. Kamila Andini" | Yuni is a sensitive teenager being pressured into marriage. But despite the Indonesian custom, she keeps rejecting all candidates – she doesn’t have to become a housewife, she is bright enough to get a scholarship and go to college. She, in turns, relishes in Indonesian poetry, and trains the martial art pencak silat. Her determination charisma, and tough-mindedness is captivating from the very first moment we see her on the screen.
- "Rent-A-Cat" dir. Naoko Ogigami | Sayoko is an eccentric character. She is not good with people, so one day she decides to open her own, crazy business – renting fluffy vagabonds to those feeling lonely. Sayoko herself is not unlike a cat, always marching to the beat of her own drum. Her path is filled with unexpected meetings and tender melancholy. We need Sayoko in our lives – more than we dare admit.
- "Leonor Will Never Die" dir. Martika Ramirez Escobar | Leonora Reyes is the charismatic creator of cult action films. She keeps longing for the times when VHS tapes dominated the visual culture of the Philippines, living in the world of her films and unfinished projects. One day, when she goes into coma, her old script about the adventures of the charismatic Ronwaldo starts playing out in her head. An oneiric, beautifully metacinematic story.
- "Itomichi" dir. Satoko Yokohama | Ito is a shy teenager with a local accent, a flair for music, and a big heart for the people she shies away from. Even though the family matriarchs demand she plays the tsugaru-jamisen, she gets her own way and starts working in the local maido-cafe in Aomori. This shakes up her family, but also allows her to find the inner sound she has long been searching for.
Melodrama au reboir: Five unexpected love stories (chosen by Łukasz Mańkowski):
- "Terrorizers”" dir. Edward Yang | Edward Yang loved genre cinema, but he always bent it to his own will. His "Terrorizers" is an audiovisual postcard from Taipei, signed by the biggest loners of the world who, in the dark of the night, are still longing for last evening's romances. When the day comes, it opens the new chapter in the Taiwanese cinema – one of the most enigmatic film riddles that still dazzles with narrative structure and the landscape of emotions.
- "Butterfly" dir. Yan Yan Mak | A film chronicle of a lesbian romance, formally resembling a lost child of Wong Kar Wai's. The author of this wonderfully 1990s film, Yan Yan Mak, invites us on a bumpy ride through memory and intimate experiences, creating a mixture of a musical diary, a metacinematic impression, and a dazzling music video. Perfect for the fans of Lou Ye and Shunji Iwai.
- "The Cloud Messenger" dir. Rahat Mahajan | An audiovisual variation on how Indian performative arts could re-imagine the story of Romeo and Juliet, or the myth of Orpheus. Here, love is theatrical – ghosts gesture the signs of an imagines mythology, the camera catches them in its smooth glance, imitating the effect of Indian arts. All of it to fill the love story with the echo of India's colonial past.
- "My Sweet Grappa Remedies" dir. Akiko Ohku | A corporate romance filled with the spirit of "Microhabitat." Instead of whisky, the tender outlook on reality is fueled with the Italian grappa. One of the most cleansing films in this years program, filled with the soothing energy of sisterhood, piercing even through the urban buzz of Tokyo. Ohku is the true champion of quirky comedies, who perfectly mastered the language of the corporate microreality. You are guaranteed to fall in love with her introverts.
- "The Light of Spring" dir. Fumito Fujikawa | Fujikawa's docudrama can bee seen as the anthropology of closeness. A documentary record of a dissolution of a marriage that wants to stay close but doesn't know how. The pandemic reality and the kids that are watching the crisis are no help at all. This is a melodrama of quiet moments, whispered challenges, and silent observations – "The Light of Spring" pierces with silence, creating emotional gaps with patience and static shots.
Five most exciting films (chosen by Marcin Krasnowolski):
- "Infernal Affairs" dir. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak | A ruthless power play between Tony Leung and Andy Lau in a masterful thriller, highly aware of its roots. A film that became a legend right after its premiere and has not lost any of its quality since. And yes – it is way better than Scorsese's "Infiltration."
- "Barbarian Invasion" dir. Tan Chui Mui | A magnificent treat from Tan Chui Mui, the veteran of the Malay New Wave, one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 selection. A breath of fresh air for all martial arts cinema fans, a personal story directed by a woman, and the most beautiful metacinematic game in years.
- "PTU" dir. Johnnie To | A night patrol of the Hong Kong that is no more. The neon-lit alleys, cheap bars where police officers and gangsters mingle, and morally questionable choices… Johnnie To in his top form.
- "Seire" dir. Park Kang | The emotions of "Seire" will stay with you for long – it is the best Korean horror since "The Wailing." One the one hand, it is truly terrifying. On the other, it provides insight into the superstitions that people are still holding on to.
- "Big Night" dir. Jun Robles Lana | A daring, risky black comedy about the dramatic repercussions of the populist politics in the Philippines. Quick, sharp, and dangerously funny.
Keep in touch with us through our social media: our Facebook page, the Pięć Smaków - Kino Azji group, and our Instagram. We will keep posting more interesting compilations that will shed a completely different light on the Festival program.
Wong Kar Wai 4K online
If you have missed the amazing worlds of Wong Kar Wai, we have a special surprise for you. Five films directed by the legendary poet of loneliness and unfulfilled desires will be available at the Five Flavours At Home platform starting December 22!
We invite you to buy a voucher that will allow you to see these beautiful, timeless masterpieces of Hong Kong cinema. It is a perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions. It will be available at our Festival stalls in Muranów and Kinoteka cinemas, and in our online shop at piecsmakow.pl.
Join Wong Kar Wai's protagonists on their amazing, melancholic journeys!
The Festival is dedicated to the memory of Jagoda Murczyńska
The 16th edition of Five Flavours is dedicated to the memory of Jagoda Murczyńska who had been the pillar of the Festival for the past decade. Jagoda passed away suddenly, before her time, in February 2022. On Sunday, November 20, after the screening of Naoko Ogigami's "Rent-A-Cat", we invite you for a meeting during which we will be remembering our dear colleague.