This weekend took place the third East Winds Film Festival in Coventry University. During 4 days, projections of popular films from East Asia followed each other. It was a golden opportunity for people unfamiliar with culture from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam to discover an other cinema; an other vision of the 7th art far away from the blockbusters.
Over 4 days, the city of Coventry was lucky to welcome 8 European Premieres and 3 UK Premieres. Students and staff from different cultural background came to assist to the movies. Indeed, there were many international students but also few English students.It was interesting to see how ethnic differences could make people closer because the point of this event was to make asian cinema known by more souls.
I chose to watch two films: The Midas Touch and Pee-Mak. I didn’t watch the trailers before going, I chose according the genre 2 comedies. It was a great opportunity to discover unknown aspect of the cinema because nowadays every movies tend to be alike. American blockbuster, the aim of them is to attract a maximum of audience with common expectations and generic conventions in order to generate a lot of money. You will see in the reviews below that these films were quite different from what you would expect from a movie today, in a good way.
At the end of each film, we took time to talk with the director and to discuss about it. All the staff were very nice and helpful and the festival was very well organized.
THE MIDAS TOUCH
The Midas Touch, Chinese Movie directed by Andrew Fung Chih-chiang from Hong Kong starring Chapman To and Charlene Foi is a comedy. The film is about a crew of 7 girls who want to become superstar, during all the movie their manager Mak Chiu will set his heart on making their dream come true. He will be helped by Suen Mei, the farmer manager of JD an action film star that laid her off despite her professional qualities. All together they will form a real family, they will learn to rely on each other and that to succeed in this world being with the right persons is essential. I was very unfamiliar with asian humor, but this movie was a way for me to discover it. I have to avoid that I was a little bit reluctant about it but I was positively surprised because it was quite similar to the humour I know though there was some weaknesses like
After the movie, we had the opportunity to ask some questions to the director Andrew Fung Chih-chiang, here is the minute of the interview :
- How did you come to write this movie?How did you get to work with Steven Cheung?
Steven Cheung is a huge a star, we got to work together previously about a script he has written. And the latest ask Andrew Fung Chih-chiang to work together for his film so that is how we got to work together.Regarding Chapman Toe, Legendary Hong Kong Cinema give me the chance to work twice with him, I have to say he’s a great actor comedy.
- The artists that are playing the main characters are not famous in China. Why did you find these infamous actors to make the movie?
Actors need to show their talent so I wanted to give them a chance. I chose new people also because I wanted the movie to be more realistic. What stands out in the movie is that for most of the girl starring they don’t particularly want to be actresses, they don’t want anything but becoming famous.
- What inspired you the idea of the concept of the script?
Reflected entertainment based on truth facts, I aimed at showing true facts to the audience.
- Do you have any advice to upcoming directors?
Keep on believing, don’t be in a rush to write a script. Take all your time to write your own script because it will be your only weapon in this war of writers. It thanks to your script that you will be able to find sponsors to give you money to make your movie.
This film festival was a beneficial experience, it was the first time I was watching an asian movie actually. I am a very open-minded person but I have to confess that I was never really appealed by watching this type of movie. My cousin is a huge fan of asian art but I don’t know why I always refused to give a chance to these movies and it was a big mistake from me. I feel silly now to say that.
What I really liked in the movies is that mix different genres together : romance-comedy-horror. I know when , it may be complicated to believe that mixing all theses genres that look so different from one another will give a good result. Yet it does. And it’s not comparable to any other movies I have seen before.
In China, movies are an important place of people’s culture, indeed for them it’s their window through the world. Indeed many of them don’t have the opportunity to travel and it’s through all the movies they watch that they can have an insight of the life abroad. Actually I have few chinese friends I met in England. They never travelled anywhere before and they were imagining foreign countries as it was depicted in the movies, with all the stereotypes.
To conclude, these movies were an open door to another culture. If you have never watch an asian movie, don’t hesitate one second you won’t be disappointed and you’ll discover something new!