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Highlights from Five Flavours Film Festival, Warsaw

The sixth edition of Five Flavours Film Festival opens today, 24 October, in Warsaw's Muranow and Praha cinemas. The festival is the only film event in Poland focused primarily on Asian cinema. The seven-day programme involves six sections and thirty new features with two European premieres.

Every year, Five Flavours brings a deeper insight into the cinematography of a selected country from South-East Asia. The sixth edition presents Focus: Malaysia which is one of the main sections of this year's festival. It is dedicated to the young generation of Malaysian filmmakers who are involved in the transformation of the Malaysian cinema and in their original, daring way present the reality of their country.

The core of the section is a selection of the films from one of the most promising Malaysian directors, Woo Ming Jin, announced by Variety magazine "a new, brilliant, striking voice of East Asian cinema". It also includes titles such as multiply awarded debut from Tan Chui Mui "Love Conquers All" (2006) as well as two recent hits of the Malaysian box-office: "Songlap" (2011) from Effendee Mazlan & Fariza Azlina and "Bunohan" (2011) from Dain Said, the latter of which was submitted to represent Malaysia as the official candidate for the 85th Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category. Both Effendee Mazlan and Dain Said are special guests of the festival.

 

New Asian Cinema presents the latest productions from East and South-East Asia. This year the section becomes the Five Flavours' competition. The best title is selected by People's Jury with thirteen non-professionals interested in Asian cinema and culture as the jury members. The programme includes two juicy satires on the film industry: "The Woman in the Septic Tank" (2011) from Philippines and "Vulgaria" (2012) from Hong Kong, ironic and grotesque "Tokyo Playboy Club" (Japan 2011), horrifying and brutal "Kotoko" (Japan 2011), animated "The King of Pigs" (South Korea 2011), mysterious and challenging the viewer's imagination "P-047" (Thailand 2011), epic "The Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" (Taiwan 2011), visually sophisticated "Pearls of the Far East" (Vietnam/Canada 2012), "The Fourth Portrait" (Taiwan 2010) as the closing film along with Malaysian "Bunohan" and "Songlap".

China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Tibet and Burma are the countries portrayed in the section Freedom in Asia. Presenting Asian perspective of their authors, the films explore current social and political issues. Among the titles presented in the section is the latest title from Rithy Panh "Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell" (Cambodia/ France 2011) which is a confession of the Comrade Duch (Kaing Guek Eav) who managed the S-21 detention centre and was found guilty of deaths of over 13 thousands people by the Cambodia's UN-backed genocide court. In turn, "Return to Burma" (Taiwan/Burma 2011) by Midi Z portrays an immigrant worker from Taiwan returning to his home village in Burma and observing political and social changes in a small, rural community. The leading actor, Wang Shin-hong, is also a special guest of this year's Five Flavours. Freedom in Asia brings also two films from one of the most known Chinese contemporary artist, curator and political activist, Ai Weiwei: "So Sorry" and "Ordos 100" (China 2012).

Return to Burma, dir. Midi Z

Five Flavours never forgets about genre cinema fans. This year's late night screenings present a true Asian spécialité de la maison: horrors and - for the first time at the festival - martial arts films. The sixth edition of Five Flavours serves up a decent dose of martial arts films in Water Dragon Attacks section. The programme involves both epic stories and action films with stunning martial arts choreographies: "The Blood Letter" (Vietnam 2011) from Victor Vu, which has its European premiere at Five Flavours, two martial arts hits from Thailand: "Ong Bak 3" (2011) from Tony Jaa & Panna Rittikrai and "Chocolate" (2008) from Prachaya Pinkaew as well as the philosophical "The Sword Identity" from Xu Haofeng (China 2011).

Moreover, the latest production from Sopon Sukdapisit along with the debut form the film duo Woo Ming Jin & Pierre Andre are on the thriller and horror menu. With his multiply awarded "Laddaland" (Thailand 2011), Sopon Sukdapisit takes the viewers to discover dark secrets of a house in the posh neighbourhood named Laddaland. On the other hand, the docu-horror "Seru" (The Calling, Malaysia 2011) from the Malaysian duo tells a story of a film crew who is shooting a horror somewhere in the forests. Apparently, some crew members are possessed by evil spirits.

An important mark on the festival's map is Poludnik Zero club. This is where this year's Five Flavours presents Taiwanese New Wave titles in a unique way. With the films screened from 16mm prints, the festival invites for both exciting and sentimental journey to the times of the analogue cinema. All the screenings are introduced by Wafa Ghermani, a sinologist and film specialist from France.

Last but not least, Five Flavours is not only a delicious selection of Asian titles. It also brings an opportunity to meet the festival's guests, take part in debates as well as special events which involve, among others, a series of mahjong workshops, the butoh performance "A Gentle Creature" based on the short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and exhibitions of film posters, designed for Five Flavours by Dorota Podlaska and included in the festival's catalogue.

Five Flavours Film Festival is an annual event to present films from East and South East Asia. The festival is organised by Warsaw-based Arteria Art Foundation which projects are focused on theatre, cinema, art and education.

The sixth edition of Five Flavours takes place from 24 to 30 October, 2012, and is implemented with the financial support of the Warsaw City Council, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, the Polish Film Institute, the Lech Walesa Institute, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Warsaw and FINAS Malaysia.

The partners of the festival are Muranow, Praha and Helios Nowe Horyzonty cinemas, Poludnik Zero club, the Museum of Asia and Pacific, TuPraga Dom Kultury, the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Warsaw and the Polish League of Mahjong.

Media patrons: TVP2, TVP Kultura, Trojka – Polskie Radio, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Polityka, Stopklatka.pl, Portalfilmowy.pl, KINO, Ekrany, Filmaster, Projektor Kulturalny, Empik.com, Traveler, Globtroter.pl, Peron4, EmmaPak, Stosunkimiedzynarodowe.pl.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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