MANILA, Philippines – This May 17-21, the diverse cultures of Asia converge as Shangri-La Plaza, in cooperation with Asia Society Philippine Foundation Inc. and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, holds the first-ever Asian Film Festival. With the theme Asia as Our Society, the festival is a celebration of Asia’s shared identity amidst the rich array of cultures and traditions.
Free and open to all, the festival will showcase films from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Sri lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
A look into Asia
The festival begins and ends with the country’s very own own masterpieces; Dinig Sana Kita, a dramatic love story between a deaf boy and a rebel rocker girl, and Halaw, the journey of an illiterate Badjao and his daughter as they attempt to illegally travel from the Philippines to Malaysia.
China’s line up boasts of 3 of their most acclaimed films. Forever Enthralled is an inspiring retelling of stage actor Mei Lanfang’s story as he thrusts local opera to the international stage; The Founding of a Republic is a historical narrative showcasing the momentous post-World War II Communist Party unification; and, lastly, Glittering Day is a dramatic portrayal of the struggles of the forcely relocated residents of Jinyuchi, and their annual return to the place they once called home.
Three Indonesian films will captivate the audience. Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops), based on a popular novel by Andrea Hirata, tells of the author’s own experience in helping the marginalized. 3 DOA 3 CINTA (3 Wishes, 3 Loves) is a story about making dreams into reality, centering in on emotionally-troubled students and their adventures with the people they come accross. Lastly, Jakarta Magrib (Jakarta Sunset) — which features 6 different stories — is a sneak peek into the daily hustle and bustle of Indonesia.
Vietnam’s line-up is also an array of dramatic narratives with Mua Oi La Saisondes Goyaves (The Guava House), a historical interpretation of the city of Hanoi, and Thoung Nho Dong Que (Nostalgia for the Countryside), a story about leaving and returning home.
In Wanko: The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog, Japanese life is encapsulated through the story of a family who is forced to leave their home due to the violent eruption of Mount Oyama. Japan also shares Éclair, a tale about an orphan’s struggles in a time or war.
Similarly, Sri-Lanka takes pride in Dheewari, a portrayal of the violent realities in a fishing village through the eyes of an orphan, and Agni Dahaya, a story of an exorcist and the events that take place under political turmoil.
Laos’ Only Love will also stir emotions as it traces a fresh graduates’ fight to improve his village’s living conditions amidst opposition and sabotage.
Hwang Jin Yin is Korea’s bet, a story about the main character becoming a gisaeng (entertainer) to gain favor with the noble class. On a lighter note, Korea presents Speedy Scandal, a comedy about a former teen star who is shocked by the news of having a daughter.
Asia reaching out
Aimed at providing a glimpse into how similar and intertwined Asian nations are, entries were chosen specifically for their portrayal of the countries’ cultures, beliefs, people, and day-to-day life.
The festival most especially reaches out to students, who, according to the organizers, will greatly benefit from the films. Given that, there is ongoing planning of partnerships with universities around the country, starting with the University of the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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