12th Annual Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival – Reviews in 88 words or less, Part 1

12th Annual Toronto Reel Asian Film FestivalThe 12th Annual Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival kicks off this coming Wednesday, November 12th at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto’s Annex Village and runs till Sunday, November 16th. Billed as one of the best little film festival the city has to offer, 15 features and 60 shorts pack the 4 days with film, video, music and multimedia art.

To give you a brief snapshot and review of the festival, I’ve gone ahead and have done reviews (in 88 words or less) for some of the films. Part 2 is tomorrow along with a POP 88 exclusive interview with the festival’s Executive Director, Deanna Wong.

We currently have one invitation for two tickets to give away for the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, November 12th at 6:30pm in Toronto. That gets you two tickets to see the Opening Night film The Drummer starring Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan’s son) and also into the After Party at the Century Room after.

Want them? Email christine [at] popcast88.com with the answer to the following question: How old is the festival? Good luck, and after the jump, some film reviews in 88 words or less.

West 32nd – directed by Michael Kang, starring John Cho, Grace Park and Jun Kim (hot!)

An entertaining film about the underground seediness of NYC’s Koreatown and stars a lot of really good-looking people hanging out in karaoke bars/ room salons. With the amount of hotties in the movie, where the hell was the passionate sex scene? Overall, the film makes sense for the most part, my only objection is the lawyer would’ve been sued for malpractice for not bringing in a third party translator – thanks Akrypti.

Santa Mesa – director Ron Morales – USA/ Philippines

A coming of age story about a 14 year-old American boy who is sent to live with his estranged grandmother in the Philippines after the tragic death of his single mother. Unwittingly, he gets caught up in the same circle of characters including a disenchanted local girl trying to get away from her control-freak pick pocketing boyfriend, an angry eccentric photographer and teacher who seems just too nice. It takes you for a ride, but you end up not going anywhere.

Tiger Spirit – director Min Sook Lee – Canada

Six months pregnant, Min Sook Lee tries to find the legendary tiger in the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. ‘Can Korea ever be united?” she asks herself as she sits through a state-sanctioned family reunion. It’s a fascinating look back into history and how it’s shaped the country today. It also begs the question whether or not unification would be beneficial for either side. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, this is Lee’s first personal documentary.

Daddy Tran: A Life in 3D – director Siu Ta – Canada

Hai Tran loves photography, but more importantly, he loves 3D photography. A very expensive hobby with a gorgeously beautiful product you can almost smell and touch. Escaping Vietnam with his family in tow, he packed only one suitcase of photographs and three cameras. It ends up being their ticket out of the turmoil brewing in the country. A snapshot portrait of a man whose steadfast passion for his hobby both unites and alienates his family.

Confessional: Late-Night Shorts

A collection of experimental shorts that explore various dark themes of sex, violence and the human psyche. Of interest: Watch Porn, Learn English redubs porn classic Deep Throat then quizzes you at the end. You think you know the answer, but really, you don’t. Red Light Graffiti District is like watching a really sexy Picasso painting put into motion. Castle in the Sky explores the emotional repercussions of the taboos of mental illness when schizophrenia plagues a Chinese family.

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About Xxxtine

The main Canuck here I (sometimes) give a different perspective. I used to be 'read only' but you can actually hear me via POP 88 on 8Asians podcasting sister site Popcast88.com. Always trying to find that right balance between fluff and substance, I tend to focus my interests in discovering different perspectives. Look forward to hearing (and perhaps seeing) things you wouldn't anywhere else. Current vice and embarrassingly obsessed with: Kpop group AFTER SCHOOL
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