A special program by Stefano Locati
This special program was designed with the purpose of providing an overview on the vibrant film scene of short movies produced in East Asia. This year’s selection features four movies from four different countries – Japan, China, South Korea, Philippines –, and inevitably provides a non-exhaustive yet significant sample of the various artistic and narrative devices that fuel different and distinctive ways of making movies. Starting from the violent social portrait of the Philippines presented in Judgement, passing through the unsettling desperation of A Cog in the Wheel (Korea). The program also features the disrespectful Chinese animated short A Fly in the Restaurant and the Japanese docu-fiction That Man from the Peninsula. All the selected short movies share the same visual awareness and attention to their own social context, each presented from a personal and unusual angle.
A Cog in the Wheel
Director: Lee Gyeong
South Korea, fiction, 20’40”
While the Executive Director of a cleaning company low-balls the rights of his employees to get more temporary, a cleaning lady is desperately fighting for her rights and to maintain her own position within the merciless company system. Young director Lee Gyeong obtained her degree in Film & Digital Media from Dongguk University and has already produced a couple of short movies. Through this short she casts a critical and careful eye over the dark corners of Korean society. Her accurate direction technique, which is particularly careful in organizing the geometry of spaces, investigates the narrow boundaries between living and surviving.
A Fly in the Restaurant
Directors: Chen Xi, An Xu
China, animation, 6’20”
A fly is annoyingly flying in a restaurant. While a waiter is trying to get rid of it, the customers continue to eat, take a rest, read and talk to each other. A short ironic depiction of the timeless Revolutionary China, in which the neat animation technique through a 360-degree panning shot reproduces a microcosm that seems to support Mao’s quote: «A revolution is not a dinner party». Chen Xi and Xu An worked together on a handful of inventive animated shorts: unfortunately this is their last collaboration, due to An Xu’s premature death at the age of forty in 2017.
That Man from the Peninsula
Director: Kitaguchi Yusuke
Japan, fiction, 7’02”
A young Korean student is attending a language school for foreigners in Japan. Within this linguistic and cultural melting pot he seems to give an overall a good impression, but appearances can be deceptive. Kitaguchi Yusuke, who already starred in and directed some short movies, blends fiction and documentary techniques providing a disarming, lightning-quick picture of how superficial impressions can be. This short movie was designed and shot in two days and presented at the Osaka 48 Hour Film Project.
Director: Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
Philippines, fiction, 15’00”
A four-year old girl’s mother is taken to the police district, where she reports her violent husband for savagely beating her. However, the judicial process turns out to be an endless ordeal, riddled with bureaucratic procedures and humiliations. By using a hand-held camera and fast editing, Judgement seems to focus on its brave main character, building up a climax of anguish. Young director Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, directing his second short movie, is one of Brillante Mendoza’s disciples, whom he intensely collaborated during each phase of this project.