2001-2010

Dae-min Park – Geu-rim-ja sal-in AKA Private Eye (2009)

Synopsis:
The story takes place in occupied Korea at the start of the 20th century, where a young student in medicine discovers the murdered body of the son of a government official. Being scared of being accused, he decides to hire Hong Jin-ho (a detective) to help him find the murderer before the police accuse him of the murder. Read More »

Izuru Kumasaka – Pâku ando rabuhoteru aka Park and Love Hotel (2007)

A movie set in a love hotel, but without a single sex scene? A 59-year-old woman as the heroine? It’s hard to imagine that particular pitch loosening purse strings at major Japanese media companies. A fatally ill teenager? That’s more like it.

Mark Schilling’s review from the Japan Times: No sex at a love hotel
A movie set in a love hotel, but without a single sex scene? A 59-year-old woman as the heroine? It’s hard to imagine that particular pitch loosening purse strings at major Japanese media companies. A fatally ill teenager? That’s more like it.
Director Izuru Kumasaka has incorporated these and other decidedly uncommercial elements into debut feature “Park and Love Hotel” (titled “Asyl” — short for “Asylum” — internationally), which won the Best First Feature Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Read More »

Albertina Carri – La rabia AKA Anger (2008)

Quote:
Life in the Argentine pampas is nasty, brutish and short, judging by the intense, compelling drama “La Rabia.” Impressive if challenging-to-watch work by helmer Albertina Carri (“Los rubios,” “Geminis”) observes adultery, violence and animal slaughter largely through the eyes of two disturbed children, while use of jagged animation and luminous landscape shots transmutes the base material into something more sublime. “La Rabia” is certain to sweep through fests, but could have trouble finding distribution in some territories due to unfaked deaths of various animals which, per opening credits, “lived and died as they naturally would.” Read More »

Hun Jang – Ui-hyeong-je AKA Secret Reunion (2010)

Synopsis:
A North Korean killer known as “Shadow” is sent to assassinate an important dissident who found refuge in Seoul. He is helped by two sleeping agents: Son Tae-soon as look-out, and Song Ji-won, an elite fighter. The North Koreans have not counted with Lee Han-gyoo, from the South Korean National Intelligence Service, who has been tracking them and closes in with his men. Han-gyoo has not counted with the North Koreans’ skill and ruthlessness. True to his reputation, “Shadow” disappears. Ji-won manages to escape, but cannot return to his country, where he is suspected to be a traitor, nor defect, for this means certain death for his wife and daughter who remained in North Korea. Discredited, Han-gyoo is fired from the NIS. Several years later, Ji-won and Han-gyoo meet unexpectedly, and pick up their confrontation — but not quite from where they left it off. Read More »

Ragnar Bragason – Foreldrar AKA Parents (2007)

Foreldrar was the big winner at the Eddas ceremony (the yearly Icelandic film prize) winning a total of six Eddas.

In modern day Reykjavik, dark secrets come to light when an unhappy dentist, a lovelorn businessman and a young mother fleeing her troubled past meet by chance.

Inspired by the largely improvisational, collaborative methods of Jean-Luc Godard, John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh. In conjunction with actors from the Icelandic theatrical troupe Vesturport, who based their characters on real people, director Ragnar Bragason has produced an unsentimental dramatic study of parenthood in all its potential for fulfillment, suffering and self-discovery. Read More »

Ming Jin Woo – The Tiger Factory (2010)

Quote:
Casting aside the humor and striking visuals that made “Woman on Fire Looks for Water” appealing, rising Malaysian helmer Woo Ming Jin jumps full-on into wearying miserablism with “The Tiger Factory.” A predictable tale of a young woman ground down by poverty and exploitation, the pic never lets up in its drive toward nihilism, culminating in her loss of compassion. Lensed in a coldly observational manner (inspired perhaps by Brillante Mendoza), “Tiger” will remain chained to rarefied fests partial to this particular brand of Southeast Asian low-budget despair. Read More »

Allan Moyle – Weirdsville (2007)

Royce and Dexter are two slackers who live in the strange little town of Weedsville. When Royce’s girlfriend Matilda overdose’s on their stash and dies, they decide to bury her in an abandoned Drive-In theater. Things get out of control when they discover Satanists performing a ritual sacrifice right where they were going to bury the body… Read More »