The 2018 Vancouver International FIlm Festival’s (VIFF) Gateway stream will once again illustrate that Vancouver’s ties to the Pacific Rim are not only geographic and economic; the city is also a vital port of call for East Asia’s finest cinema. From China, Gateway offers Jia Zhangke’s Ash is Purest White, starring Zhao Tao, and Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring Tang Wei. From South Korea comes Lee Chang-dong’s Burning and Hong Sang-soo’s Grass. From Japan comes Yoshida Daichachi’s The Scythian Lamb and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II.
For 27 years running, VIFF’s celebrated Dragons & Tigers series has discovered some of Asia’s leading cinematic talents. Focusing on first and second features, the 2018 series will see five of eight films directed by female filmmakers, underscoring the abundant diversity of East Asia’s next generation of storytellers. These films include Kamila Andini’s The Seen and Unseen (Indonesia / Netherlands), Moon So-ri’s The Running Actress (South Korea) and Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife (Vietnam).
The theme of home–its physical, geographical and spiritual meaning–cuts across various films in the stream. Jeon Go-woon’s Dragons & Tigers selection Microhabitat (South Korea) portrays a resourceful, couch-surfing woman, while Shuichi’s Okita’s Mori, the Artist’s Habit (Japan) is a comic look at a 30-year recluse. In Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s Manta Ray (Thailand), also featured in Dragons & Tigers, a man takes over his rescuer’s home–and his life. Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai (Japan) and Shireen Seno’s Dragons & Tigers entry Nervous Translation (Philippines) present home and family from the perspective of small children
“As we experience greater political and economic instability around the globe, filmmakers explore the shifting ideas of what constitutes home and family, while evaluating the consequences of consumerism and materialism,” said Maggie Lee, Gateway Programming Consultant and Chief Asia film critic at Variety.
Gateway also presents three Tibetan works. Lhapal Gyal’s Wangdrak’s Rain Boots is the story of an impoverished young boy’s development, Sonthar Gyal’s Ala Changso portrays a grueling spiritual journey, and Pema Tseden’s Jinpa is an eccentric tale of revenge, produced by Wong Kar-wai.
“The last 13 years have witnessed a thrilling new movement in Tibetan filmmaking, something we might call a Tibetan New Wave,” said Shelly Kraicer, Gateway Programming Consultant and one of the foremost Western experts on Chinese cinema. “A small group of young visionary Tibetan directors, filming mostly in the Amdo region of Qinghai, China, have figured out how to realize their visions while facing a myriad of obstacles.”
For the full programme and ticket booking facility, visit the festival website.