The 45th Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia has been confirmed as a first class rendez-vous for Asian cinema fans and followers, with an extensive and wide-ranging list of films spread across the different sections of the Festival. The latest films by gurus like Takeshi Kitano, Kim Ki-duk, Takashi Miike or Im Sang-soo as well as productions by new filmmakers will be shown at the Festival alongside Casa Asia’s usual special lineup and the best Japanese ‘anime’ films. This year’s Festival will also count with a strong presence from So uth Korea with a dozen films.
In the Festival’s “Official Fantàstic in Competition” selection, two outstanding and eagerly-awaited Korean films stand out: Jeon Kyu-hwan’s The Weight, one of the Asian productions of the year, with a poetic universe full of pain and beauty set in a morgue, and Doomsday Book, with three visions of the end of the world orchestrated by two of the most highly rega rded directors in Sitges, Kim Ji-woon and Yim Pil-sung. Also showing is Yun Jong-bin’s Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time, a depiction of the country during the decade of the eighties in line with the best Korean thriller tradition. The winner of the latest Venice Film Festival, Pieta, by Korean director Kim Ki-duk will have its place at the Festival, an extreme moral parable that takes us back to the essence of the director of The Isle or 3-Iron. His fellow countryman Im Sang-soo, known for his film The Housemaid, will be presenting The Taste of Money in Sitges, an aesthetically impeccable film full of sex and money. The Japanese filmmakers Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike, two historic A sian directors, will be showing their latest creations. The first will present his film Outrage Beyond, the story of a personal vendetta surrounded by a war between rival families and the law’s fight against organised crime; the latter let all of his imagination soar with a musical of youthful love and feverish fighting entitled For Love’s Sake.
In Sitges 2012’s Asian lineup, there is also an outstanding presence of top-notch films produced or co-produced in Hong Kong: The Viral Factor (directed by Dante Lam), Motorway (directed by Pou-Soi Cheang) and the eagerly-awaited Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, by famous filmmaker Tsui Hark. The screenings of these three films have the official support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels. The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels is the official representation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to the European Union (EU) – thirteen EU Member States (namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain), and two EU candidate countries (namely, Croatia and Turkey). The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels promotes economic and commercial ties between Hong Kong and Europe, and organises trade and investment promotion seminars, cultural and liaison events such as film festivals and Chinese New Year celebrations. First of July this year marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The Office has organised a large number of cultural and business events in different European cities that will continue until the end of the year to celebrate the occasion.
Once again this year the Casa Asia Section is loaded with the continent’s latest productions. A total of fifteen films starting with Ace Attorney by Takashi Miike who has a double bill at this year’s Festival. Indian proposals deserve a special mention: Gangs of Wasseypur I & II, by Anurag Kashyap, five hours of footage of hatred betwee n families that portray the country’s socio-cultural realityand Don 2, by Farhan Akhtar, the sequel where its main character becomes an almost legendary antihero fighting against European organised crime. Sadako 3D, by Tsutomu Hanabusa, The Thieves, by Choi Dong-hoon or The Great Magician are other titles offered by Casa Asia this year. Fans of Midnight X-Treme will be able to enjoy the zany Japanese films Dead Sushi or Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack, at screenings that promise equal doses of fun and horror.
Japan is the clear protagonist of Sitges 2012’s Anima’t Section, led by the documentary Animation Maestro Gisaburo, revising the importance of one of the founding fathers of anime films. Gisaburo will also be present with the recovery of his film Night on The Galactic Railroad, from 1985. The Life of Budori Gusuko or The Tale of Genji are two of the mo re reflective Japanese films that can also be seen in this section.