Journey to Asia
Cinema journeys are a chance to visit places not mentioned in any tourist guides and to meet people whose lives are not showcased in colorful magazines. This year, the Festival presents an array of feature films combining two elements – journeys, both real and metaphorical, and the element of water, which gives life and takes it away, and is rooted deeply in local mythologies and traditions.
The journey to Asia section discovers the hidden regions of the continent, portrays local traditions and showcases the crucial bonds shaping the life of communities, big and small.
This year, our ability to travel is significantly limited, but it does not mean that we have to stop visiting picturesque shores and hidden mountain villages. Journey to Asia is a section comprising various aspects of conscious traveling – contemplating the disappearing traditions, learning about communities deeply connected to the local environment, looking for different ways of thinking and searching faraway lands for things close to our hearts.
Some of the films presented in the Festival program offer an ecological message and a reflection on landscapes subjected to man-made changes. “Mekong 2030,” which has already been announced earlier, is an episodic project in which filmmakers from various countries of Southeast Asia travel along the banks of one of the biggest rivers in the world, spinning visions of its near future. “The Takatsu River” is set at the springs of Japan’s clearest waters, currently threatened by the developer’s activities. This warm family tale shows the strength of the bonds between people and their environment. The atmospheric “Ohong Village” transports us to a fishing village facing an economic crisis – an echo of big politics.
The river Ganges is a silent protagonist of “Hotel Salvation,” filled with optimistic melancholy. The films talks about an adult son accompanying his father who, according to the tradition, wants to spend his last days on the banks of the holy river. A meditation on passing and the unfathomable is also the theme of “Sea Serpent,” set on a tiny Philippine island Marinduque where, one day, hundreds of red apples start washing ashore.
“Mermaid Unlimited” takes us to the rocky shore of the volcanic island Jeju. The protagonist, a young professional swimmer, moves there from the big city to help women cultivating the traditional art of shell diving build a synchronized swimming team. This comical, touching story about the clash of two words is a tale about overcoming the limits which exist mostly in people’s heads. After all, going beyond our limits is the essence of a good journey.