Cinema Spring 2014: 19th Vilnius International Film Festival
Today is the first day of the famous international film festival which is held annually in Lithuania – “Kino Pavasaris” (Cinema Spring 2014). The long-lived festival is well known for presenting local cinema lovers with high quality European productions; however, it does not shy away from including the creative works of various other regions. East Asia is a region that boasts not only a well-developed film industry, but also directors of world renown, so there is little surprise that this year’s festival includes the newest films from East Asia.
The program of the 2014 iteration of “Kino Pavasaris” promises a spectacular experience not only for die-hard cinephiles, but also for those who have a passing interest in the contemporary and traditional culture and life of East Asia. The festival itself will be screening 16 full length and 4 shorts that are either the work of East Asian creators or specifically tied with East Asia. These films can be found in 9 of the 22 categories of the program. The festival will see not only rather well known Japanese, Chinese or South Korean films, but also great examples of films from less encountered countries – Mongolia, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The “Masters” category of the program contains the most of all of the Asian films and showcases the newest films from internationally renowned directors such as Kim Ki-Duk, Takashi Miike, Jia Zhang-Ke and Wong Kar-Wai. Each and every movie in this category deserves the attention not only from those that are interested in Asia or Asian cinema, but also from those that are weary of the commercial western cinema. Some of the noteworthy films in the “Masters” category: Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-Ho), for its ambitious attempt to create a Korean film with well-known actors from the West; Grandmaster (dir. Wong Kar-wai), for offering different perspective on the legendary kung-fu master Ip-Man as more than an ass-kicking patriot hero (see: Ip-man, 2008, dir. Wilson Yip); those longing for spirituality in our money-driven society should definitely check out the film Journey to the West (Xi You, dir. Tsai Ming-liang) that fills the squares and streets of Marseilles, France, with Buddhist colors.
It is strongly recommended to not miss a chance to discover the rather sparsely represented Mongolia in the drama Remote Control (Алсын Удирдлага, dir. Byamba Sakhya); a critically acclaimed film Forma (dir. Ayumi Sakamoto), which distinguishes itself in its technical mastery and creative solutions to aged norms, and should attract the attention of those interested in the subtleties of art of cinema; and also the thought-provoking film from Lee Ju-hyoung, the pupil of Kim Ki-duk, called Red Family (Bulgeun Gajok, dir. Lee Ju-hyoung), which depicts the life of a North Korean spy family living in Seoul; those that are not averse to seriousness and intensity should also not miss Norte, The End of History (Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan, dir. Lav Diaz), which was screened at the Canes film festival and which is based on the novel “Crime and Punishment” by F. Dostojevsky.
Those who would rather watch something less serious will definitely find these films enjoyable: The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Renji (Mogura no Uta, dir. Takashi Miike), which has humor in spades, colorful characters and the criminal world of the yakuza; Nepal Forever (Непал форева, dir. Aliona Polunina) a movie that details the story of how two Russian leninists travelled to Nepal to reconcile two rival communist parties; the best traditions of the classical action flicks can be seen in the sequel of the Indonesian cult hit The Raid (dir. Gareth Evans, 2011) rather understandably named The Raid 2 (The Raid 2: Berandal, dir. Gareth Evans).
The program of the 19th Vilnius International Film Festival “Kino Pavasaris” promises heaps of high-quality cinema from and about the East. The program rather shrewdly combines the high-recognition names with the newly rising stars and this trend of presenting East Asia to Lithuania in a comprehensive, qualitative and frank manner can only be taken positively.
Full List of East Asian Films in “Kino Pavasaris”:
2013 / Mongolia, Germany / dir. Byamba Sakhya
2013 / South Korea / dir. Lee Ju-hyoung
2013 / Denmark, Thailand, France, U.S.A, Sweden / dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
2013 / Taiwan, France / dir. Tsai Ming-liang
2014 / France, Taiwan / dir. Tsai Ming-liang
2013 / Japan / dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
2013 / Japan / dir. Takashi Miike
2013 / South Korea / dir. Kim Ki-duk
2013 / China, Japan / dir. Jia Zhang-Ke
2013 / South Korea, Czech Republic, France, U.S.A. / dir. Bong Joon-ho
2013 / Japan / dir. Ayumi Sakamoto
2013 / Philippines / dir. Lav Diaz
New Russian Cinema
2013 / Russia / dir. Aliona Polunina
2013 / India, France, Germany, U.S.A. / dir. Ritesh Batra
2013 / South Korea / dir. Lee Cheol-ha
Special Screenings. Midnight Screenings
2014 / Indonesia / dir. Gareth Evans
2013 / China, France / dir. Hu Wei
2013 / India / rež. Shubhashish Bhutiani
2013 / China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar / dir. Aditya Assarat, Royston Tan, Midi Zhao, Sun Koh, Tan Chui Mui, Tsai Ming-liang
2013 / dir. Zao Wang
Written by: Šarūnas Šalkauskas
Edited by: Monika Dvirnaitė