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Check Out Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival (Nov. 9-15th)

On the Flip Side is an entertaining showcase with films ranging from performance art (Exit Upon Arrival) to sexual fetishes (Covers) and family drama (The Auction). This mixed bag of shorts has many films of note, but the highlight for me is Howard Shia’s Peggy Baker: Four Phases. Watching Peggy Baker dance is always a treat, but in this film, her athletic technique and lean graceful limbs move so fluidly that you want to jump into the screen and dance along with her. Animating her movements and interspersing them with live action adds visual interest to Baker’s narration about living and moving through various spaces.
Thursday, November 11th, 6:30 pm, Innis Town Hall (Rated PG)

When something is good you know it, so need for me to wax poet about director, Phan Dang Di’s first feature, Bi, Don’t Be Afraid. The film is reminiscent of Edward Yang's Yi yi: A One and A Two, in that it is the story of an Asian family (in this case Vietnamese) seen through the eyes of a young boy who is naturally oblivious to the tense and complex relationships of the adults in his household. The unaffected storytelling and ease of the actors combined with some very lovely interior and exterior compositions, makes this film a satisfying experience. No wonder this film has garnered awards! Thursday, November 11th, 9:00 pm, Innis Town Hall (Rated 14A)

Learn some Chinese phrases (I’ve always wanted to learn how to say, “I love Andy Lau") and view China Town through the lens of seven talented, award-winning directors in Suite Suite China Town. Adding to the sweetness of this screening will be the live performance of music by Arthur Yeung and Theo Mathien’s by the Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School Band. Which film will be your particular favourite from the works of Lesley Chan, Lillian Chan, Aram Siu Wai Collier, Serena Lee, Howard Shia, and Joyce Wong? Since my, China Town means food, Heather Keung’s short film featuring a slow motion, pixel-filled, close-up of a woman chewing (dumplings, I surmise) earns a special place in my heart. Friday, November 12th, 7:45 pm, The Royal (Rated G)

You don’t have to see Fish Story to enjoy Yoshihiro Nakamura’s follow up film, Golden Slumber. In this thriller deliveryman, Aoyagi, has been framed for the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister. Trying to escape the police and solve the puzzle of his bewildering and dangerous predicament, Aoyagi enlists the aid of friends, strangers, and a child-friendly serial killer whose catch phrase before he kills is “Did I surprise you?” The interactions with once close friends whose lives have taken different turns since their college days, lends a nostalgic undercurrent that grounds the surreal and darkly comic elements of the film. At 139 minutes, Golden Slumber is unnecessarily long, but even though it drags a bit, following Aoyagi to the end of his quest is an entertaining journey. Friday, November 12th, 10:00 pm, The Royal (Rated 14A)

Koji Yamamura: Master of the Form is your opportunity to delight in the brilliant work of this award-winning director. From his 1987 animated short, Aquatic, to 2007’s, Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor, your eyes will be captivated by Yamamura’s creative expressions of whimsy and contemplation. My favourite in this collection of shorts, is the Oscar-nominated, Atama-yama/Mt. Head, which follows the mental and physical progress of a stingy old man who is determined to “waste nothing”. Whether you choose to view this film as a straightforward fantasy or moral and philosophical tale is up to you. Some of the best shorts I have seen. Saturday, November 13th, 12 Noon, NFB Cinema

Want an animation master class with Koji?
SAT NOV 13 | 10 AM – 12 PM | FREE with Pre-Registration
Click here for all the details.

Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival
Nov. 9-15
Ticket Info: Click Here


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