“Visions of Asia”, one of the main components of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, presents seven award-winning Asian indie films from India, Japan, Russia, China, Thailand, and the Philippines, to be screened on August 3 to 12, at various CCP theaters.
The featured films include: “Beti” by P. Sheshadri, “Goodbye, Grandpa!” by Yukihiro Morogaki, “Nearest & Dearest” by Kseniya Zueva, “The Taste Of Rice Flower” by Pengfei, “Of Love & Law” by Hikaru Toda, “Bad Genius” by Nattawut Poonpiriya, and “The Chanters” by James Robin Mayo.
Directed and written by P. Sheshadri, “Beti” follows the story of Suleiman and his wife Juleka. While Suleiman had gone off to work overseas immediately after marriage, his wife Juleka gave birth to their daughter, Salma. But for fear of disappointment, Suleiman was made to believe that they had a son named Salman. For years, Suleiman was unable to visit Juleka and the child, so when the news came of Suleiman’s impending return, the whole household is thrown into panic. The 101-minute long film won the NETPAC Award-Best Kannada Film at the 10th Bangaluru International Film Festival in 2018.
In “Goodbye, Grandpa!” by Yukihiro Morogaki, Yoshiko receives a phone call about her grandfather’s death. On the day of the funeral, the family attended – a slovenly uncle, an angry aunt, a shut-in cousin and grandma with dementia. Yoshiko marvels that nobody cries, and she witnesses her family’s adverse behavior like never before. The film, which stars Yukino Kishii, Ryo Iwamatsu, Ken Mitsuishi, Jun Miho, and Miki Mizuno, won the NETPAC Award at the Black Nights Film Festival held in Estonia in 2017.
Starring Russian actors Andrei Stoyanov, Elena Chekmazova, Nadezhda Ivanova, Danila Mozhaev and Larisa Morozova, “Nearest & Dearest” by Kseniya Zueva follows the story of a family who lives in a small apartment in Moscow. Each family member carries a baggage of problems that torments and requires relief. Each of them dreams of support and human warmth, but finds neither one nor the other. Life seems completely unbearable, and the defenseless old woman, living in a separate room, becomes a scapegoat. It won NETPAC Award -“Pacific Meridian” at the Vladivostok International Film Festival in 2017.
In “The Taste of Rice Flower,” director Pengfei narrates the story of Ye Nan, a mother from the Dai minority who returns to her village in Yunnan after years of working in town. She wants to take care of her rebellious-teen aged daughter, who she had left behind. However, the road to rebuild their relationship and reconnect is met with challenges and struggles as they contend with social norms and cultural traditions.
The Chinese film, which received the NETPAC Award at the Vesoul International Film Festival for Asian Cinema in 2018, will be the closing film of the Cinemalaya film festival on August 11, 9p.m., at the CCP Main Theater.
“Of Love & Law” by Hikaru Toda centers on Fumi and Kazu who are partners in love and law. They run the first law firm in Japan set up by an openly gay couple. As lawyers driven by their own experience of being an outsider, they attract a range of clients who reveal the hidden diversity of a country that prides itself for collective obedience, politeness and conformity. The 94-minute long documentary features Kazuyuki Minami, Masafumi Yoshida, Yae Minami, Kazuma Tsujitani, Rokudenashiko, Hiroko Tsujitani, Masae Ido, and Natsuo Yamamoto.
Inspired by true events, “Bad Genius” by Nattawut Poonpiriya bis a story about Lynn, a genius high school student who makes money by cheating tests. She gets a new lucrative task that leads her to Sydney, Australia where she must take the international test and deliver the answers back home before the exam commences there. But she needs another genius, Bank, to pull off this difficult task. How far will she go to convince him? How bad will this genius become? It stars Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Chanon Santinatornkul, Teeradon Supapunpinyo, and Eisaya Hosuwan.
“The Chanters” is a comedy-drama film about Sarah Mae, a 12 year old school girl who is the grand-daughter of the last chanter of the Panay Bukidnon tribe. As her Lolo starts losing his precious memories, Sarah Mae is tasked to help him complete the last of the remaining 12 epics, their tribe’s vanishing tradition. Featuring Jally Nae Gabaliga, Romulo Caballero, Zuellen Faye Cerbo, Jean Aubrey Garin, Kara Francine Bela-Ong, the film won the Pylon Award, Best Screenplay and Best Actress at the QCinema International Film Festival, 2017.
“Beti,” “Goodbye Grandpa!,” Nearest & Dearest,” and “The Taste of Rice Flower” are curated by NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema), a worldwide organization founded in 1990 to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Asian films and filmmakers at a time when Asian cinema was just coming into its own but was relatively unknown regionally and internationally. In 2015, the NETPAC committee has decided to expand its geographical landscape up to the Pacific Region.
“Of Love and Law” is in partnership with Eiga Sai, the Japanese film festival, through the Japan Foundation Manila and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the screening of “Bad Genius” is made possible through the partnership with the Embassy of Thailand.
Visions of Asia is part of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers. This year’s Cinemalaya will be held on August 3 to 12, at the CCP theaters and Ayala Malls Cinemas.