13 TREASURES · #2 · The Signal

The socially aware American horrors of the 70s and innovative spirit of J-horror join with the giddy nastiness of splatter flicks the world over to create the must-see American horror that so few have seen. With the genre better equipped and better loved than ever before, what distinguishes this indie underdog from its fellow American horrors?

A.J. Bowen has the crazy in THE SIGNAL (2007) ...

Continue reading

13 TREASURES · #1 · Nuda v Brne (Bored in Brno)

13 TREASURES is a feature intended simply as a platform for recommending and exploring the virtues of exceptional but little-known contemporary films that contribute to a rich and alternative cross-section of contemporary cinema and are worth raving about to the world. Be they bona-fide classics not known outside their home country, obscure short-films of exceptional impact and style, or potential cult favorites that never made it into theatres, every one of the films I’ll be covering is nothing short of a must-see for those hungry for a distinct taste of the unusual, the alien and the original.

In this first installment the Czech New Wave sensibility meets contemporary Czech comedy in a meditation on the flimsiness of masculinity and the unsexiness of sex in Moravia…


Continue reading

Bye Bye, SIFF 2011

After 9 days gorging on a diet of international cinema (and more than a few Subway sandwiches between screenings) my coverage of the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival has reached its conclusion.

The Golden Goblet Awards for Best Film and Best Actor went to Turkish drama HAYDE BRE, while the Jury Grand Prix and Best Director goblet went to China’s offbeat HELLO MR TREE. Tiwa Moeithaisong’s vivid cinematography for FRIDAY KILLER was awarded, too, and Yuthlert Sippapak’s riveting genre exploration finally took home the Jury Award.

In the Asian New Talent Award, Taiwanese Yung-Shing Teng received the Best Director award for his deeply felt portrait of migrant workers in Shanghai, RETURN TICKET, and Japanese offerings, KASAAN MOM’S LIFE and BIRTHRIGHT were awarded Best Film and the Special Jury Prize, respectively.

In summary of SIFF 2011 (and to indulge an unhealthy addiction to list-making) I’ve compiled a list, below, of all the festival films I’ve reviewed on FOEC, ranked in order of preference and divided by my three levels of enthusiasm. Continue reading