Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Similar to catching TIFF films this year, I’m quite keen to watch some Reel Asian International Film Festival screenings during the festival running November 8-13 in Toronto and November 18-19 in Richmond Hill. The Richmond Hill screenings are just a subset of the Toronto ones and not the films that caught my attention so I guess I’ll be headed into the city a few times.

There are so many more films given the festival runs for twice as long as VAFF (Vancouver Asian Film Festival) that I only perused the full-length feature films and tended to not sift through the shorts as I did for VAFF. There are more films that caught my eye than I have time to watch so I will need to shorten the list.

  • When Love Comes (Saturday November 15, 5:15pm) – this is a Taiwanese film centered on a 16-year-old withdrawn girl and her dysfunctional family; it is “critically acclaimed film that presents the struggles of a traditional Taiwanese family in their efforts to cope with each other’s flaws.”
  • The Journals of Musan (Saturday November 12, 12:00pm) – gets into the complexities and struggles of North Koreans who have defected and tried to start a new life in South Korea
  • Fortune Teller (Thursday November 10, 8:45pm) – a Chinese film of a fortune teller just outside of Beijing whose craft is considered illegal and he works with many fellow members of the underclass such as prostitutes and shadowy figures
  • Summer Pasture (Wednesday November 9, 6:45pm) – a documentary of a young nomadic couple in the highly insular community of Dzachukha, Tibet where they experience the “5-most”: highest, coldest, poorest, largest, and most remote area of Sichuan Province. This would be an exclusive and rare look into these people’s lives.
  • Lover’s Discourse (Tuesday November 8, 7:00pm) – a modern-day Hong Kong film of the love lives of eclectic characters – looks quite cute and stars Eason Chan, Karena Lam, Kay Tse, Eddie Peng, Jacky Heung and Mavis Fan.
  • Pearls of the Far East (Sunday November 13, 5:00pm) – seven women’s narratives, based on true stories of forbidden love, and set in stunning locations throughout Vietnam and Thailand, but with a homage to diaspora with a link to Toronto
  • Surrogate Valentine (Sunday November 13, 3:00pm) – as mentioned in my VAFF post, I’m really keen to watch this film after great promotion by one of the actors (Lynn Chen) and the prospect of seeing the cast in attendance!
  • Piercing 1 (Saturay November 12, 10:30pm) – quite different from what I would normally notice, this Chinese animation reflects gritty working-class life. I’m just not sure if it is free of gangsters, spirits, and all the usual stuff I don’t like.
When I look over the feature films that interest me, I’m impressed that they range from all three flavours of Chinese (heh): Taiwanese, Mainland, and Hong Kong to also Tibetian and Vietnamese. One Asian-American film listed here represents just how wide the spectrum of films is. Now, just how wide will my actual experience be…?
Image from reelasian.com
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