Ocean Flame BFF
Asian film festival image
Contemporary Asian cinema is better described as contemplative and cinematographic, rather than speedy or spectacular. The annual BAFF festival showcases 60 such movies this year, mainly new, many critically-acclaimed.
In the ‘Official Selection’, the big draw will be this year’s surprise Oscar winner, the Japanese film Okuribito (Departures) by veteran director Yojiro Takita, which sees a cellist finds spirituality by working in the funeral business. Other highlights include Serbis (Service) in which Filipino director Brillante Mendoza tackles the intricacies of family life and Naomi Kawase’s latest work Nanayo, a Japanese film shot in Thailand. Better known for her documentaries, Kawase became the youngest winner of the Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 1997.
‘Asian Selection’ screens the box office biggies of the year. Chinese director Jia Zhangke, famed for his lengthy camera takes, puts the technique to the test in 24 City. Junji Sakamoto’s Chameleon is a slick Japanese flick about a schoolgirl pop star. Poetry meets documentary in Hirokazu Koreeda’s family drama Still Walking, which was described as a “quiet masterpiece” when screened at the Toronto Festival.
There is also a focus on southeast Asia, including films by Indonesian directors Riri Riza and Ravi Bharwani. The latter presents the neorealist Jermal set in its entirety in the middle of the sea.
Festival de Cine Asiático de Barcelona
April 30th to May 10th