SF International Asian American Film Fest

 

The 29th Annual SF International Asian American Film Festival just finished up recently on the 10th-20th of March. Asian American films are something I’m starting to look into recently. I feel a more personal connection to them than say a story-line about a man in Japan. Culturally, I could feel a connection to all the films I’ve seen and talked about on this blog, but with Asian-American films I feel a social connection as well. Films made for film festivals like this tend to have such story-lines and I am interested to find some good films to watch! If you are too, read on!
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Shows I Keep Hearing About

Alright, alright, so you all probably think I randomly pick shows to watch purely on how interesting the title sounds. Which is true. HOWEVER, I also keep track of what’s new as well! I simply chose not to watch them because 1) the title doesn’t sounds interesting enough and 2) it’s always full of idols who can barely act. Thankfully, there has been a selected few that has caught my attention and I do believe they are shows to look through if you’re looking for a new show to watch. Just to warn you, I haven’t seen them yet either so…don’t blame me if they turn out to be horrible.

1. Athena: Goddess of War

Athena is an organization that controls the world’s energy supply (secretly). South Korea, in the plot of the drama, is attempting to utilize nuclear energy as their main power supply. It’s a powerful form of energy and if it can be harnessed will make South Korea a major player in the energy market. Thus, meddling into the affairs of Athena and “she” does not like it one bit. Continue reading →

Help Japan

As many of you might’ve known by now, Japan was struck by an 8.9 magnitude scale earthquake on Friday (March 11th) which left many dead, injured, and homeless. Luckily, as a country prone to earthquakes, their buildings are better structured and probably fared a lot better than most other places. Despite so, help is still needed and every little thing counts.

After watching and learning about the Japanese culture via their dramas and movies, I hope that if you can, please help out the people whose lives inspired said dramas and movies. To learn more about the earthquake and how to help, visit this website for all the information you need.

"Tribute to Japan" by Jacob Cass

 

UPDATE: Flutterscape, an online shopping site for Japanese items, is offering to MATCH YOUR DONATIONS to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Please go here for more details.

Slice of Life Drama – Alone in Love

Lately, I’m really into this genre called “Slice of Life.” Wikipedia defines it as:

It usually tries to depict the everyday life of ordinary people, sometimes but rarely, with fantasy or science fiction elements involved.

Basically, like the definition above states, it’s a story about the everyday things in life. The story tends to focus on a specific set of characters instead of a variety of them and show the ongoing events in their lives. This might sounds like something extremely boring to you like watching someone eat an apple or painting the house, BUT in drama form it’s a lot more interesting!

When slice-of-life (henceforth SOL) is applied to drama, you get to see events like contemplating the meaning of love, finding ways to burrow into someone’s heart, the awkward meetings between people, and of course the seemingly everyday thing that makes you laugh nonetheless. SOL drama/movies are also a breath of fresh air to me because their’s hardly any villains in the show. It’s the circumstances in life that sometimes bring people down, and you get to see how someone pick him/herself up and move forward. It’s much more realistic. Although there might be an evil step-sister out there, I hope and pray that it’s not really a common thing.

A show I’m currently watching is straight out of the SOL section: Alone in Love starring Kam Woo Sung as Lee Dong Jin and Son Ye Jin as Yoo Eun Ho. Continue reading →

Treeless Mountain | Review

My come-back post! Way back in April of last year, I saw the trailer for this movie and wanted to see it as soon as possible. I finally did shortly after, but it really wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s been brewing inside of me all this time and I figure it’s about time to write it all out.

Directed and Written by: So Yong Kim
Released in: 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival), 2009 (South Korea)

Overall rating: C

Main Cast:
Actor/Actress as Character

Hee-yeon Kim as Jin
Song-hee Kim as Bin
Soo-ah Lee as Mom
Mi-hyang Kim as Big Aunt

Treeless Mountain doesn’t talk about any mountain or tree. Instead, it’s about two young girls name Jin and Bin and the abrupt change they face when their mother suddenly leave their lives. Jin, the older of the two girls, comes home from school one day to find people removing furniture from her home. Her mom set her and her sister down for a talk and tells them that they will live with their aunt for awhile. Her mom is leaving to look for their father and won’t be able to take care of them. Their mother also leaves them a piggy bank and promise to return when the piggy bank is full. She says good-byes to the girls at a bus-stop and leaves. Their aunt unwillingly takes them in at her home and try her best to take care of the kids. She, unfortunately, is more apt to take care in filling up her cup with alcohol and is often too drunk to make meals for Jin and Bin. The coins they get from their aunt is few in between if any. Jin later gets an idea to sell roasted grass-hoppers for fish baits (or whatever they’re used for) in return from coins. She then exchange them for smaller change to fill up the piggy bank faster. The day finally comes when their piggy bank is full. Jin and Bin go to the bus-stop where they last saw their mother and wait for her. Will their mother come like she promised?

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The Director Behind “Norwegian Wood”

Hi there! So guess where I went for a week in December? Japan! That’s right, my friend and I said to ourselves one night, “Let’s go to Japan on our winter break.” So we saved up our money, scoured the internet for the best deals, found it, book it, and went for it. It was great! I had a great time. I’m talking about my trip over at yonasu.com in posts My Trip to Japan: Part 1 & Part 2. There are more to come.

That’s not what I want to talk about though. While I was in Japan, a commercial for a Japanese movie was constantly playing on TV. The movie is Norwegian Wood and is adapted from a book by Haruki Murakami that goes by the same name. The movie stars Kenichi Matsuyama (L from Death Note) and Rinko Kikuchi (Ryo from Liar Game II) and a host of other stars. Being a Japanese movie, I was surprised to find out the director of the movie is actually Vietnamese! The director is Anh Hung Tran who is a reputable director from Vietnam who immigrated to France after the Vietnam War. Continue reading →

Liar Game II | Review

Based on: Shinobu Kaitani’s manga Liar Game
Directed by: Hiroaki Matsuyama
Broadcast in: 2009

Overall rating: B+

In a world where lies are more prevalent than truth, Nao Kanzaki (played by Erika Toda) is the black sheep among us. Not only is she truthful, but she is also gullible: believing everything everyone tells her without a spec of mistrust. In the first series, we learned that the Liar Game brings out the greed in its players and is the main force behind their lies. The game forces everyone to become liars in order to trick their opponent out of 100 million yen making one person richer and everyone else in-debt of said 100 million yen. Nao finds herself in the game when she receives an invitation to play and opens a mysterious black box at her door-step. The box contains the huge amount of money (in cash) and by opening the box, she thereby agrees to play and refusal at that point will not be accepted. They never said what will happen but I imagine it won’t be pleasant. Throughout the game, Nao teams up with Shinichi Akiyama (Shota Matsuda) who is a master swindler skilled at mind games and tactics. They make an odd pair, but seem to feed off each other’s energy and ideals. In Liar Game II, Nao is once again invited to join in the game she thought she had already won. Lucky for her, Shinichi is also invited. The two, along with a past rival Yuji Fukunaga (Kosuke Suzuki), battles against the Liar Game organization (also known as LGT office) and a new adversary: Ryo Katsuragi (Rinko Kikuchi). Ryo is as cunning as Shinichi in manipulating the situation to her favor. Besides that, she also has a past connection to Shinichi. Can the Liar Game be won this time around? Read more @ yonasu.com.