- reviews - features - people - panasia - blogs - about site - contact - links - forum -
Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The FAQ Page
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit
We do news right, not fast

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with The Golden Rock.

The Golden Rock - Temporarily Out of Hibernation - HKIFF Edition, Part 2

Another short time out of hibernation means more reviews from the Hong Kong International Film Festival:

Love Exposure (Japan, 2008, Dir.: Sion Sono) - It’s  almost impossible to try and describe this 237-minute film in a 1000-word review. Taken in one go is like an array of extremes thrown into your eyeball that grip you from the first hour and rarely lets go. Even though its video format, its not-so-professional production quality, and its length makes home viewing a more comfortable way to watch it, there’s nothing like sitting in a room with 400 other people and watching it all unfold together. Simply said, it’s an insane masterpiece of epic proportions.

Buy a Suit (Japan, 2008, Dir: Jun Ichikawa) - Jun Ichikawa’s first self-produced film is sadly his last, as the Tony Takitani director died just after its completion. More of a story about Tokyo than a story about a woman and her homeless brother, the film is really more about the ideas it’s suggesting than what you really see onscreen. Not-so-professionally shot on HD-video, there’s a crudeness in the filmmaking that can alienate certain audiences, but those who buy into it will see a director’s sublime observation of the city he lives in. It will certain connect to Tokyo-ites better than others, but it’s still interesting to see where Ichikawa was heading and could’ve gone, had he remained with us.

Cry Me a River (China, 2008, Dir. Jia Zhangke)  - Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke proves that his brand of filmmaking is better served in small doses with this 19-minute short film about two pairs of reunited ex-lovers traveling down the Suzhou. Along the way, they talk about how dissatisfied they are with their lives, and that’s about it. It’s supposed to serve as an allegory for something, but I’m not entirely sure what it is. Nevertheless, what’s there is actually not bad, with Jia’s naturalistic style actually delivering effective emotions by its conclusion.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (South Korea, 2008, Dir: Kim Jee-Woon)(International Cut) - This is easily the most fun I’ve had at the big screen all year. Kim Jee-Woon’s so-called “Oriental Western” isn’t quite a modern copy of Leone, as it relies heavily of over-the-top, Hollywood-style action, but it does feature three charismatic characters, a hell of a cinematographer, and the always versatile Kim Jee-Woon in charge. It’s comforting to know that Kim is such a versatile director that he won’t even have to try and top himself after this.

Fish Story (Japan-Korea, 2009, Dir: Yoshihiro Nakamura) -  I bought a ticket to this, not knowing what to expect from this Japan-Korean co-production (I merely skimmed through Mark Schilling’s review, skipping plot descriptions.). It ended up being the most pleasant surprise of the festival for me. Blending four stories in four time periods and four genres, Fish Story is a thoroughly entertaining and has the ability to surprise in ways that most films just don’t anymore. What a joy to hear the gleefully surprised reaction of 500 fellow audiences after every twist. Highly recommended.

That’s it so far. Next entry will cover the final week of Asian films at the HKIFF, including a Japanese indie, a Hong Kong indie, and a documentary from the screenwriter of Night and Fog.

Leave a Reply

Before you submit form:
Human test by Not Captcha Copyright © 2002-2020 Ross Chen