2018 Vancouver International Film Festival

All Year

Reviewer Ed Farolan

xThe Face Reader

South Korea 2013 Dir. Jae-rim Han. 142 mins.

Date and Venue 12 July Vancity Theatre

In coordination with the Korean Film Festival this month, this film opened as the choice for its gala screening. Before the film, there was a buffet of Korean food and a small programme with the Consul General and other dignitaries giving brief speeches. The Consul gave a brief commentary on how face reading (just as palm reading is in other countries) forms part of Korean culture.

Winner of several Asian film awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor, this film is about Nae-kyung (Kang-ho Song, Best Actor Award) who is able to assess the personality, mental state and habits of a person by looking at his face. Because of his abilities, he gets involved in a power struggle between Prince Sooyang (Jung-jae Lee) and Kim Jong-Seo (Yun-shik Baek).

.Although the film was quite interesting, I found it a tad too long and I found some scenes that were repetitive. Perhaps editing the film to two hours would have made for a tighter plot.


xLa Carga

Mexico 2016 Dir. Alan Jonsson. 94 mins.

Date and Venue 3 July Vancity Theatre

In coordination with the 10th anniversary of Carnaval del Sol, this film about a Tameme Indian and a noble Spanish woman fleeing through the forests of the New World in search of freedom was the right choice for the festival. It won a number of awards, in particular, for Best Screenplay to filmmaker Jonsson at the Lleida Latina American Film Festival in 2016.

I enjoyed watching this film that stars Spanish actress Maria Valverde, known to be the highest paid film actress in the world. Mexican actor Gerardo Taracena,who plays the Tameme Indian (Itzmin) who carries her to safety (thus, the title "La Carga") was also nominated for this film (Best Actor, Ariel Awards, 2016).

Before and after the show, the audience was treated with Bossa Nova songs from Brazilian singer based in Vancouver, Mara Coelho. I spoke to her briefly and congratulated her for the fine rendition of songs composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto.

The Carnaval continues on until July 8th. Check out the various events at http://carnavaldelsol.ca



xThe Girl in the Fog (La ragazza nella nebbia)

Italy 2017 Dir. Donato Carrisi. 128 mins.

Dates and Venue 15 - 21 June Vancity Theatre

As part of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, this film is based on the best-selling novel by Donato Carrisi who also directs it. It´s an intriguing film. One could label it as an Italian Agatha Christie whodunnit movie. It´s a murder mystery thriller about Detective Vogel (Toni Servillo) who is investigating the sudden disappearance of a fifteen-year-old girl. Like Christie´s mystery thrillers, the character least suspected is the murderer.

Carrisi won the Premio Bancarella Award as a writer in 2009 for Il suggeritore and a David di Donatello, as a director for this film.

It was almost a full house last Tuesday. It seems like word of mouth from those who saw it the first two days got around fast, and I´m almost sure it´ll almost or completely sell out in the next two days.

© 2018 Ed Farolan