Apart from blessing us with 4K restored versions of Wong Kar-Wai’s “In The Mood for Love” and other Philippine cinema classics, this month is also a fete of recognizing Asian films.
The Asian Next Wave (a.k.a. QCinema’s main competition) is OTW for the 10th edition of QCinema International Film Festival after a two-year break. Happening on Nov. 17 to 26, a roster of seven flicks from filmmakers in Southeast Asia and East Asia will be competing for the fest’s Pylon Award.
Peep the entries below:
“Ajoomma” by Shuming He
This Singaporean entry is the debut film of Shuming He. “Ajoomma” follows a widow who is fascinated with Korean soap operas (like us), tours for the first time in Seoul and suddenly discovers something bigger than she planned throughout her trip. This film has been selected as Singapore’s entry for the Oscar’s Best International Film category.
“Plan 75” by Chie Hayakawa
Japanese Oscar entry “Plan 75” is about a government policy encouraging the voluntary euthanasia of senior citizens to address Japan’s aging population. This drama depicts the life and death situations of three struggling individuals: an old woman whose survival means are waning, a Filipino laborer, and a practical Plan 75 salesman. Chie Hayakawa, a first-time director, was awarded the Cannes Golden Special Mention.
“Return to Seoul” by Davy Chou
Former QCinema juror Davy Chou’s “Return to Seoul” follows a 25-year-old French woman’s first trip to Korea who’s on a journey to search for her biological parents. She was born in Korea before being adopted by a French couple. Suddenly, her quest takes a strange turn. BTW, this film bagged awards at the Athens International Film Festival.
“Arnold is a Model Student” by Sorayos Prapapan
Short film “Arnold is a Model Student” is Sorayos Prapapan’s feature debut about the titular math student, set in the middle of student protests and authoritarianism in Thai schools. According to the British Film Institute, this film highlights the “Bad Student” movement in Thailand.
“Autobiography” by Makbul Mubarak
This melancholic thriller follows a young mansion housekeeper who builds a strong relationship with the property’s owner. He stands up for his employer when his mayoral election campaign is vandalized, sparking a series of violence. Makbul Mubarak’s “Autobiography” was awarded the Orizzonti FIPRESCI Prize in Venice this year.
“12 Weeks” by Anna Isabelle Matutina
“12 Weeks” is a Filipino film about a 40-year-old woman named Alice who, after splitting up with her abusive boyfriend, discovers she’s pregnant. Considering her age and current relationship status, she initially thinks of undergoing abortion. While embracing drastic changes in her body, Alice must decide for her fate. “12 Weeks” won the Netpac Award for the Full-Length category in Cinemalaya 2022.
“Elehiya” (a.k.a. “Mirador”) by Loy Arcenas
Last in the roster is “Elehiya,” a Filipino movie that dwells on the story of a grieving widow who returns to her ancestral home haunted by memories of her failed marriage. The film features the late iconic actress Cherie Gil, as her last screen performance.
Stills from “Return to Seoul” and “Elehiya”