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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Jeonju International Film Festival 2011 recap part 2


80 minutes later, I stumbled out of the theaters, a little dazed and confused. (check out this short review on Aphanisis)

Here is its trailer.

Yup, that's what I saw.

I went to the guest lounge and found out through Twitter that Osama Bin Laden was killed. Ten years ago when 9/11 happened, it was night time in Malaysia, I at home, we had family friends over, and we suddenly paused and looked at the news, and spent the rest of the night glued at the television.

Perhaps ten years from now, when people were to ask me "where were you when Osama Bin Laden was killed?", I would say, without hesitation "I was at the Jeonju International Film Festival 2011, having just seen Kim Sun's Self Referential Traverse: Zeitgeist and Engagement... yeah."

Moments later, I headed back to the theaters to catch Kidlat Tahimik's 1977 cult classic PERFUMED NIGHTMARE. (the entire film is actually on Youtube) A retrospective was held for Kidlat at Jeonju. (I first met him last December at the Cinemanila International Film Festival)

Watching the film on the big screen was entirely a unique experience, mostly because of the nature of the film itself, and how I felt myself feeling more and more immersed into the thing. There were moments when I actually started believing that the film was a documentary about Kidlat's own past (he was also the main actor of his film). Imagine my surprise when I gradually realized that I was watching a work of fiction.

I walked out of the theaters again, and headed to the JIFF lounge, a really nice band was performing on the stage nearby.


I rested on the beanbag outside the JIFF lounge.

Resting outside the JIFF Guest Lounge

Night came.

My friend Jean brought us all to the nearby Jeonju Hanok village.

Hanok Village

The place was filled with traditional buildings and shops selling traditional stuff. There was a shop for paper fans, apparently it called itself a museum for folding paper fans. I often carry a paper fan with me during film shoots, so I went to check it out.

Folding Paper Fan Museum in Hanok Village

We were heading to the Damoon traditional Korean restaurant for dinner.

entering Damoon traditional korean restaurant

Damoon traditional Korean restaurant

After the feast, we had tea at the stylish Poong-Kyoong teahouse.

Poong-Kyoong teahouse

May 3, I went to the video room and watched ANYANG, PARADISE CITY by Park Chan-Kyong (he's Park Chan Wook's brother). The film would end up as the winning film of the film festival under the Korean competition. It's hard to describe what the film is, it's sort of like a documentary, with some fictional reenactments, it's also about a crew making a documentary with some fictional reenactments, it's all very meta.

I then caught 15 minutes of Álex de la Iglesia's THE LAST CIRCUS (Balada triste de trompeta) which won the Silver Lion last year at the Venice Film Festival for Best Director. I then decided to catch the film on the big screen instead. So I hurriedly headed off to its industry screening. I enjoyed it. Here's the (probably unofficial) trailer

I immediately followed that with Im Kwon-Taek's digitally restored 1981 MANDALA, a film that follows the differing lives of two Buddhist monks in Korea. It's a meditation in individualism, faith and enlightenment, which reaffirmed many things I thought about Buddhism. It's a masterful film and I'm glad I caught it. I was also a little amused that I saw THE LAST CIRCUS and MANDALA back-to-back, when both of them were extreme opposites.

After that, I went to the Portuguese Film Night. That's me with director Yang Ik-June ("Breathless") and the actress of his new 40-minute short film commissioned by the Jeonju Film Fest, Ryu Hye-Young.

Portuguese Film Night at Jeonju Intl Film Fest 2011

I caught sight of Claire Denis, a filmmaker whose films I've really admired in the past year and a major influence for my latest film "LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER". (she was one of the three filmmakers for this year's Jeonju Digital Project) Wanted to approach her for a photo, but thought to wait until everyone's done with their speeches. Alas, once the speeches were done, she was nowhere to be found. :(