7th OKINAWA INTERNATIONAL MOVIE FESTIVAL : MOVIE REVIEWS AND EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS (PART 1)
7th OKINAWA INTERNATIONAL MOVIE FESTIVAL : REVIEWS AND EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS (PART 1)
The first day of the festival was marked by the first red carpet event held in Ginowan along with the Opening Ceremony. Located in the same area as last year’s red carpet event from Ginowan tropical beachside to the main stage that filled with musical and comedic performance from Yoshimoto’s artists, the 67 meters red carpet was attended by 580 guests in 73 groups and 35.000 visitors. The ‘Assalamualaikum Beijing’ team from Indonesia consists of the duo producers Yoen K. And Ody M. Hidayat with the actress Revalina S. Temat also attended the event. The opening day was closed with the special screening of ‘Interstellar’ in open air – giant screen treatment in Ginowan beachside, just like last year’s ‘Gravity‘.
Along with the ‘Big Meeting in Okinawa’, a business seminar and panel discussion which was held in the second day at Yoshimoto Okinawa Kagetsu, placed at the newly owned Hapinaha building, Kokusai Dori, there were also the Okinawa Omoro Haunted Mansion Tour. Introduced a new little themed experience, this haunted mansion was more like a live experience in a thriller movies, including solving quests through the rooms full of maze which you’ve never been in before.
The meeting event opened with the introduction from Ryubo Holdings President, Goichi Itokazu, followed by the panel discussion ‘Front Line of Okinawa x Entertainment’ features William Ireton from Warner Entertainment Japan, Inc., GYAO! Executive Yusuke Dan, Twitter Japan’s Kazuhiro Misawa and Harvard graduate Dr. Hideyuki Negoro which talked about the health content as a part of entertainment industry. The ‘Cool Japan and Entertainment’ panel meeting featured the upcoming AEON Mall Rycom’s general manager Takahiro Otawara, Yoshimoto CA vice president Yoshito Toda and Yoshimoto Overseas Operations Division Ryutaro Ko and Wim Manopimok came after with the introduction to Sumimasu Asia performers, the new program of Yoshimoto that send their 9 groups of 13 comedians to Asian countries from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia to Indonesia. The second session of the event featured a showcase program, Slava’s Snow Show and Hinton Battle’s Dance Showcase.
DREAM FLIGHT (2014, Taiwan, Khan Lee)
The box office hit from Taiwan was a 147 mins melodrama with the touch of ‘Top Gun’ traditions. Based on the real life story of Lt. Col. Lee Cheng-liang, an IDF (Indigenous Defense Fighter) Air Force jet pilot (played by Bryant Chang), ‘Dream Flight’ tells his love story with his genetically caused – visually impaired wife (played by Tiffany Hsu). Filmed at the Air Force Academy in Kaohsiung and Tainan, this touching melodrama also has other subplot among families and some aerial action sequence which was beautifully shot. Might be a bit overlong, but nevertheless, worth a look for a lot of its heart factors and fine acts.
ONE NIGHT STUD (2015, China, Li Xinman)
Still playing in China theatres since Valentine’s Day and became one of box office winner, ‘One Night Stud’ gained a respective 9.67 million after 10 days and still counting. Comes from female director Li Xinman, the movie tells a story about a female architect (played by Jiang Yiyan from ‘The Four’ franchise) who wants to have a child without marriage. She then bumped with a pick-up artist (played by Zheng Kai) who she has a baby with and many issues came after, from raising a child outside a marriage to the true love at second sight.
While as a romantic comedy, ‘One Night Stud’ was filled with cliche slapsticks, helmed by a female director whose the first work was more to a non-commercial, the movie has something more to offer. Not only talked about the issues of a carreer-woman and single mother in their society among the raunchy – yet – believable characters, the more adult-themed was also felt different than many other teen-romcoms in Chinese cinema these days.
AT HOME (2014, Japan, Hiroshi Chono)
The opening movie of last year’s ‘Kyoto International Film Festival’ is a unique and tricky black comedy unlike what you think it is. Based on the novel with the same name by Takayoshi Honda, ‘At Home’ will take you to discover each member of an unlikely family of five and how they got connected to each other beyond a kidnapping attempt to one of them.
It was indeed an unusual storytelling with unique message and sharp edges about the family ties. Beautifully acted by Yutaka Takenouchi, Yasuko Matsuyuki and Kentaro Sakaguchi – Yuina Kuroshima, especially Yuto Ikeda who played the three children, the most powerful element of the movie came from Teruo Abe’s script. It was funny, bloody, twisted yet also very heartful. One of the best Japanese movie last year which not yet released theatrically until now.
THE SEX CANNON BALL RUN 2013 THE MOVIE (2014, Japan, Company Matsuo)
Being a Sakurazaka Film University’s selection, ‘The Sex Cannon Ball Run 2013 Movie’, which was screened in Yubari fest earlier this year was a Japanese attempt in their unique transgressive cinema. Shaped as almost a real porn documentary, it was both hilariously funny and insanely awful. It might not fits into the ‘Laugh & Peace’ theme in this all ages- movie festival thoroughly, but it was also fun to explore the audience reactions during the whole movie, presented with live commentary from Sakurazaka people. You have to look for yourself for this one of a kind movie experience.
Li Xinman, the director of ‘One Night Stud’
Q: There were so many romantic comedies in your cinema (China) these days with almost similar theme. What made yours different?
A: As a female writer – director, for my second feature I really wanted to make something more market driven movie. Yes, it was a generic formula in terms of straight out comedy, but as a romantic comedy, it tells more about woman’s physical strength and their power over man in sexuality. It’s always interesting to create something artistic as I did in my first feature (‘BeLoved’, 2013 / won the 2008 Tokyo’s TIFF project market under the title ‘Red Dragonfly’), but I also want to make mainstream movies.
Q: Some of the movie was shot in Okinawa. Did you find any difficulties in the process?
A: The shoots in Okinawa took a full ten days in the process and most of them were located by the beach. Yes there were difficulties and one of them was facing the typhoon which delayed some shooting process.
Q: Interesting. The movie paired Jiang Yiyan and the rising heartthrob Zheng Kai. Are they your first choice of cast for this movie?
A: Actually no. At first I wanted to cast a male lead from outside the country, but I couldn’t find the right one. While for the female lead, my first choice was Yao Chen (from ‘Firestorm’ and ‘If You Are The One 2’, many considered as China’s answer to Angelina Jolie) but unfortunately has a schedule conflict.
Q: As an adult romantic comedy with sex-themed, how did you deal with the censored in China?
A: In China, since we develop the script, everything has to be approved by our movie board. Yes we have to think more about the sexual reference according to the rule of censorship in China, but they have read and approve the script, so there were nothing got censored after.
Q: Okay, speaking about censorship, I also heard in some articles that ‘One Night Stud’ was being called as a first and one of a kind – self rated movie since your country hasn’t introduced a film rating system yet. Could you explain more about this?
A: No, I thought it was the media vocabulary. There’s no such thing as self rated movie by its own producer in China. As I said, since the process of developing a script, everything has to be approved by our movie board.
Q: How do you see a romantic comedy trend in Chinese cinema nowadays?
A: In terms of selling, it might be necessarily needed because most of the audience now are much younger and romantic comedies worked best for them as an escapism fantasy. But I really didn’t want mine to be similar with the others. By making it more for adults and mostly by woman’s POV, I wanted to create something different. (dan)