Asian Cinema Digest #17

Just like that, October has rushed into sight, although the new restrictions don’t seem to faze this month at all. October has arrived amidst re-openings and attempts at normalcy around the world. There’s a flurry of content for us to enjoy—a stunning digital photo exhibition, a thrilling Twitter submission call for young budding film critics, a podcast on Kim Jee-woon’s A Tale of Two Sisters, online talks on audiovisual archiving from Singaporean librarians and archivists, and so much more.


The 2021 Korean Film Festival (KFF) returns with its first ever hybrid line-up from 7-17 October. This year’s KFF will feature 8 titles over 15 in-person screenings and up to 30 classic Korean films online for free via meWATCH, Mediacorp’s VOD platform from 7th October 2021, with 6 new titles introduced each week. Find out more here.

Still from Mother (2009, dir. Bong Joon-Ho)

Video Essay: The Eyes of Hong Kyung-Pyo

To celebrate his cinematography work on action blockbuster Deliver Us From Evil, this video explores three aspects of Hong’s signature style—colour, silhouette and camera movement—giving greater dimension to the stories, characters, and mood behind some of his best work.

The Guerilla Fighter by Mrinal Sen (1973)

Now showing on MUBI as part of Voice of The Unheard: A Mrinal Sen Retrospective and Parallel Cinema. The pioneering Indian filmmaker and theorist spanned a sixty-year career that reflects upon the aftermath of British India through the lives of the contemporary Kolkatan middle-class. Look out for an upcoming series on New South Korean Cinema later this month.

Tony Leung in Lust, Caution (2007, dir. Ang Lee)

Video Essay: How Tony Leung Acts With His Eyes

Riding yet another new wave of fame with his recent role in Shang-Chi, the beloved actor is spotlighted in this essay, which explains why he is known as “the man who can speak with his eyes”.

Interview: Tan Chui Mui on Literature and Life

The Malaysian filmmaker is interviewed on her films and her new book Peanuts and Tofu Together by the Chinese independent film streaming platform CathayPlay. For Chinese-speaking audiences only.

Goodbye Mother by Trin Dinh Le Minh (2019)

Screening via a 7-day rental (9-31 October, 2021) as part of the 15th Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival online. Only available in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland territories. 


Virtual Photo Exhibition: Li Mei Mi

The Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI) recently released archival stills from Taiwanese director Li Mei Mi (李美彌). This photo essay celebrating and giving insight to her journey, spanning five decades, comes after three of her feature films were restored in 2020 – Unmarried Mother, The Evening News, and Girls’ School.

Image still from Laal Singh Chaddha (2022, dir. Advait Chandan)

India’s theatrical schedule takes shape as more cinemas reopen

The reopening of cinemas in Maharashtra on 22 October 2021 could not come sooner for excited industry stakeholders and filmmakers.

Image still from Taste (2021, dir. Le Bao)

Tran Thi Bich Ngoc on Vietnam’s Emerging Talent

This interview with the independent producer touches on the ways the pandemic has impacted filmmaking and the chances for crucial mentorship. She cites the need for more government support for a new batch of young filmmakers with untapped potential.


Podcast: Spotlight On… A Tale of Two Sisters

Loosely based on the Joseon Dynasty folktale Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon, Kim Jee-woon’s A Tale of Two Sisters became a classic horror film that introduced the joys of Asian horror to a wider international audience. Listen to this latest Eastern Kicks analysis of the film’s history in this hour-long episode.


Online Talk: London East Asia Film Festival 2021

An Online Industry Talk with LEAFF Programme Advisor Roger Garcia will complement the sixth edition of the festival, which runs from 21-31 October, 2021.

Online Talks on Digital Preservation and Audiovisual Archiving

Dear Future: What Digital Preservation Means for You is the National Library, Singapore’s inaugural public seminar on archival and preservation in conjunction with the World Digital Preservation Day on 4 November 2021. Two free Zoom webinars will be held on 26 and 27 October, 2021.


Young Critic’s Programme: LEAFF 2021

This festival run marks the inaugural year for the LEAFF Young Critic’s Programme. Budding film critics aged 18-24 years can have their reviews published and promoted by LEAFF. Submissions are to be made via Twitter with the hashtag #LEAFFYoungCritic by October 10. Winners will then be invited to work on the films in Competition.

Busan Asian Film School: Calling All Aspiring Producers

The Busan Asian Film School has announced that it will be accepting fellow applications for March to May 2022, under its International Film Business Academy. Applications open 9am KST on 1 November and close 6pm KST on 30 November, 2021.

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