East Winds Film Festival 2012: Preview

In the middle of last week, Third Window Films in conjunction with the Coventry University East Asian Film Society (CUEAFS) officially announced the line-up for the second edition of the East Winds Film Festival, which will take place from 2-4 March 2012. Along with retrospectives of the works of established film-makers Miki Satoshi and Herman Yau, the festival will feature a UK film premiere, four European premieres, an impressive guest list and the second edition of the International East Asian Symposium.

East Winds Film Festival is an event which aims to celebrate and raise awareness of East Asian cinema among university students and the local community in the Midlands, where the audience would normally not get a chance to see the diversity and richness of the Far East. The festival ran its first ever edition in February 2011, and featured some impressive titles, such as the Japanese entry to the Oscars Confessions, the UK premiere of the Chinese The Message and Cold Fish, from the director of the critically acclaimed Love Exposure, Sion Sono. Among the guests were Italian composer Gabriele Roberto and Japanese director Gen Takahashi.

This year, the festival programme features some major films, among which the European premiere of Bloodtraffick, an 11-minute action film by Jennifer Thym, currently circulating in film festivals and generating positive feedback. The short, prequel to a feature film, tells the story of a female vigilante on a quest of revenge in a war between angels and vampires.

East Winds will open with 2007 Miki Satoshi film Adrift in Tokyo, starring Jo Odagiri and Tomokazu Miura, a film telling the story about the simplicity of human life and the complicated nature of human emotion. Having set the mood for one of the festival’s retrospectives, dedicated to the Japanese film-maker, the festival will feature two other films by Miki Satoshi: Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers, a quirky comedy about an ‘ordinary’ housewife who meets a couple of seemingly ‘ordinary’ spies; and the UK premiere of ‘In the Pool’, an odd story where conventional neuroses meet unconventional therapy.

Established Hong Kong film-maker Herman Yau, the subject of the second festival retrospective, comes to East Winds with two European premieres. Woman Knight of Mirror Lake, a biopic about one of China’s heroines, Qiu Jin, and ‘True Women for Sale’, the story about the survival of two women in the landscape of Hong Kong society, which won its lead actress Prudence Liew a Golden Horse Best Actress Award and a Hong Kong Film Award nomination.

Hot on the heels of the South Korean blockbuster hit The Chaser, Hong-jin Na’s second feature The Yellow Sea is an equally breathless and high-speed action film about a man trapped in the crossfire between the police, the South Korean mob and the Chinese mafia. Yuya Ishii, director of comedy Sawako Decides, presents a film about unexpected friendships and the mysterious nature of helping others in Mitsuko Delivers. A simple story about the innocence of youth and the magical moments of yesterday, combining the imagination of Amelie (2001) and the beauty of Midnight in Paris, will close the second edition of East Winds Film Festival. The film, called Starry Starry Night, is a co-production from China and Taiwan, directed by the young up-and-comer Tom Lin.

For more details on the festival programme, schedule, venue and press details, visit eastwindsfilm.com.

Antoniya Petkova