The Toronto International Reel Asian Film Festival rolls into town — mine! — November 11 – 15th, 2009. In honor of the film festival, this is the first of a three-part mini reviews post of the features being presented. Watch the trailer and if you like, check out the limited edition shirts over at NIWE Style Clothing.
- Overheard – Hong Kong (2009) – Opening Night Film
From the same team that produced Infernal Affairs, Overheard explores the lure of insider trading as it takes a toll on three surveillance team members struggling to decide whether or not to profit from their knowledge. At a time when the crash of the economy has many financial casualties, it’s easy to sympathize with the main characters personal dilemmas. It’s a gripping, unpredictable edge of your seat blockbuster-like cop-drama thriller that gets confusing at times but pays off in the end.
- Yang Yang (Trailer) – Taiwan (2009)
In the coming of age story, Yang Yang tries very hard to fit in. Thanks to her French genes, her Eurasian features gets a lot more attention than she would like. After all, she sees herself as Taiwanese and nothing else. It’s an interesting take on a kind of discrimination and exoticism with Asian cultures revering bi-racial children and how these kids have to face a set of challenges from the family where they are supposed to belong to. The film is well crafted and performed. Highly enjoyable.
- Yanggaw – The Philippines (2009)
Part family drama, part horror story, Yanggaw sets itself in a remote village in the Philippines. Far from any formal law enforcement or modern medicine, the locals still take the advice of witch doctors and carry out their own justice. When the daughter comes home with an undiagnosable illness, livestock are slaughtered and people start disappearing at night. The family struggles to keep their ties together while dealing with the beast in their midst. The film is a bit slow and dragging, even for a drama.