Art Film Fest to provide martial-arts megadose

These promises are far from empty – prepare yourselves for Asia’s most intriguing cinematic delicacies. Eastern Promises is back at this year’s Art Film Fest, running from 16 to 23 June 2012 in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín.

Fans of exotic cinema are in for a treat with films from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia, acclaimed by domestic audiences and critics.

“The section exposes the wilder, livelier and indeed the more passionate side of East-Asian film, more accessible to a wider audience,” says section programmer Adrian Žiška. As usual, the line-up is all over the map genre-wise, including comedy, romance, thrillers and action.

And what self-respecting showcase of Asian cinema would leave out a classic Japanese samurai flick? Not ours: we’ll be screening 13 Assassins, the 2010 remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 cult classic. Based on actual events, this story of 13 samurai on a foolhardy quest to eradicate a despotic ruler has it all: strategic combat, contemplative righteous warriors and over-the-top action.

13 Assassins is more than a masterful tribute to Kudo’s original or to the post-classical samurai films of the 1960s – Takashi Miike elevates it to an exposé of the ills of the Edo-era political system, and ordinary people’s death-defying struggles against it.

In search of more martial-arts action, we head south to Indonesia with The Raid: Redemption. The film depicts an elite 20-strong police raid of a 30-storey block of flats full of drug dealers, arms dealers, thieves, killers and their target: the most feared gangster in Jakarta’s underworld. For fans of beautifully choreographed hand-to-hand combat, it doesn’t get any better than this. The picture was a domestic blockbuster and a hit with audiences at the Toronto IFF.

More excitement awaits audiences with Headshot, a noirish Thai thriller about a hit-man who wakes up from a coma only to find his world flipped upside-down – literally.

One of the section’s sexiest films is Love in the Buff, a loose sequel to Love in a Puff, screened at last year’s Art Film Fest. Protagonists Jimmy and Cherrie have been together for 159 smoke-free days, but without seeing much of each other either. They break up and head separately to Beijing, where each finds a new mate; yet their paths simply can’t be disentangled.  With loads of insight into China’s rising influence on Hong Kong and its citizens, and a bit about modern relationships as well, Love in the Buff was a runaway success, grossing even more than Titanic 3D over Easter weekend in Hong Kong.

The "minor" Chinese film Love is Not Blind provides a different perspective on relationships, focusing on a girl coming to terms with a recent breakup, prompted by discovering her boyfriend on a date with her friend. The film’s 2011 premiere fell on 11 November, celebrated in China since 1990 as "Singles Day", and it was met with instant success.
Interestingly enough, the cheating couple are played by the stars’ real-life partners.

The South Korean Sunny and Taiwanese You Are the Apple of My Eye each whisk us into a remembered past, respectively providing a female and male perspective on adolescence.

Art Film Fest 2012 – the 20th International Trenčianske Teplice/Trenčín Film Festival is made possible by the financial support of the Audiovisual Fund.

Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA, a.s.   

Co-organizers: The Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the City of Trenčín, Kúpele Trenčianske Teplice

General Sponsor: KOOPERATIVA poisťovňa, a.s. Vienna Insurance Group

Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding SE, Slovnaft

Official Transport Provider: Lancia

Logistics Sponsor: DHL
Student cinepasses for only €5 provided by Prvá stavebná sporiteľňa, a. s.
Sponsors: TIPOS, Penzión Baske, Cinemax, Omnia Motors, Omnia 2000, DOMO Omnia, Omnia KLF

Official Suppliers: Moët, Hotel Pax – the festival spa hotel, Esterle&Esterle, LampART, Stredná odborná škola polygrafická
Main Media Sponsors: Slovak Radio, Slovak Television – Dvojka, Pravda, Rádio FM,
Media Sponsors: televízia JOJ, Film Europe, Central Europe Television, Rádio Europa 2, .týždeň, Eurotelevízia, Pardon, OK!, Kinečko, Kam do mesta, Focus, GONG SK, Boomerang Media, SITA, BlueSky, euroAWK

Partners: The Trenčín Self-governing Region, the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, the Slovak Film Institute, Celtima SK, Hotel Flóra