Take a five day trip to Asia by seeing eleven brand new Asian films including the recently announced Mr. Six and Sweet Bean!
This thrilling new film from gifted auteur Guan Hu (Cow) immerses us in the crime-riddled labyrinth of Beijing’s rapidly changing underworld. Based on actual events, Mr. Six is the story of a fascinating man whose life reflects the history of a nation.
In a welcome return to acting, great Beijing writer-director Feng Xiaogang stars as the mysterious Mr. Six. Many years ago Mr. Six was a notorious gangster. That was back when there was still such a thing as honour among thieves, when criminals earned respect and maintained principles. These days Mr. Six is all but forgotten, a living relic residing in a hutong, or narrow alley.
One day Six’s son, Xiaobo (Li Yifeng), is abducted by some spoiled punks after scratching their precious Ferrari. Mr. Six, who has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition, realizes that he must do whatever it takes to get his son back and forge a meaningful bond with him while there is still time — even if that means returning to the life he thought he had left behind. Beijing’s new generation of thugs are all flash and no ethics, but Mr. Six, calling on a few friends from his past for assistance, finds that the old ways can still be used to get a difficult job done.
With Guan’s impeccable narrative power behind the camera and Feng’s subtle character-making magic in front of it, Mr. Six sees a panoply of diverse talents come together to tell a gripping story that bridges Chinas old and new. – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff
Adapted from the novel by Durian Sukegawa, the new film by Naomi Kawase is a graceful ode to the invisible essences of existence — to the beauty and joy we can discover once we learn to listen to nature and feel the life that is coursing through and all around us.
“Sweet Bean” is a delicious red bean paste, the sweet heart of the dorayaki pancakes that Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) sells from his little bakery to a small but loyal clientele. Absorbed in sad memories and distant thoughts, Sentaro cooks with skill but without enthusiasm. When seventy-six-year-old Tokue (Kirin Kiki) responds to his ad for an assistant and cheerfully offers to work for a ridiculously low wage, Sentaro is skeptical about the eccentric old lady’s ability to endure the long hours. But when she shows up early one morning and reveals to him the secret to the perfect an — listening to the stories of wind, sun and rain that the beans have to tell — Sentaro agrees to take her on, trusting her strange ability to connect with nature. With Tokue’s new home-cooked an recipe, Sentaro’s business begins to flourish — but along with her smiles and culinary skill, Tokue is afflicted with an illness that, once revealed, drives her into isolation once again.
Using cookery to explore her perennial theme of communion with nature, in An Kawase also poignantly addresses the discrimination that condemns many like Tokue to live their lives segregated from the rest of society. Beautifully shot and quietly moving, An is a humble masterpiece from a singularly accomplished filmmaker. – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff
Stay tuned for more on this exciting new Wave!
Passes to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia are available now here: http://sbiff.org/product-category/the_wave/