Festivals: Pifan Reviews

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BiFan 2016 Review: EVA DOESN'T SLEEP Spins a Elliptical and Thought-Provoking Tale

Few politician's wives have been as mythologized as Eva Peron. The wife of the President of Argentina in the late 1940s, she reached iconic status during her life, as a poor girl from the countryside who married well, rose to...

BiFan 2016 Review: CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Takes Quirky Journey to Known Destination

There's a certain type of film that'e become prominent and popular among a lot of American indie filmmakers in recent years; I like to call it the Sundance Film (though not all have played at that festival). It's a social...

BiFan 2016 Review: INSANE, Kinda Lame

Released earlier this year, the surprise hit Insane is the sixth film from versatile director Lee Cheol-ha. Employing a less than original premise, this new thriller turns out to be a middle-of-the-road attempt that pales in comparison to a slew...

BiFan 2016 Review: UNDER THE SHADOW Scores with Strong Scares and Social Sting

A well-executed jump scare can deliver one of the strongest physical reactions possible in a theater, but by and large, horrors that go bump in the night rely on little more than technical scares. This leads to a parade of...

BiFan 2016 Review: THE LURE, The Polish Mermaid Horror-Musical You Never Knew You Wanted

In the crowded world of cinema, many filmmakers set out to try something different. However, it's one thing to be novel, which normally means stretching a thin gimmick over other recycled bits of past films, but another thing entirely to...

BiFan 2015 Review: DEADMAN INFERNO Pits Iconic Aikawa Sho Against The Undead

Director and comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa has focused his film career on mining the drama, and subsequent comedy found in the relationships between partners and prospective teammates. Debut feature Drop followed a juvenile delinquent group, Manzai Gang features similarly unruly youths...

BiFan 2015 Review: OWNERLESS FLOWER UHWUDONG Can't Choose Between Erotica And Drama

Thirty years after Lee Jang-ho's landmark film Eoh Wu-dong (available to watch for free on the Korean Film Archive's Youtube channel), a period ero that became a surprise critical and commercial hit in 1985, Lee Soo-sung offers up his own...

BiFan 2015 Review: 12 DEEP RED NIGHTS: CHAPTER 1, A Competent But Unremarkable Practice Run

Horror anthologies are a great way for new filmmakers to take a swing at bat, while viewers (or industry folk) get the opportunity to seek out new talents in the making. Unfortunately, that also means they're mixed bags, to say...

BiFan 2015 Review: STUNG's Bite Quietly Fades Away

Benni Diez takes on the creature feature in his debut film Stung, which, while set in the US, was actually shot in Germany. With a few familiar faces in the supporting cast and generally strong production values, his film coasts...

BiFan 2015 Review: ANGRY PAINTER Presents Artsy Revenge Erotica

Following his trip From Seoul to Varanasi in 2011, arthouse filmmaker Jeon Kyu-hwan takes a bigger leap overseas with his latest project Angry Painter, an indie tale of revenge and despondency that spends much of its running time trapping through...

PiFan 2014 Review: GIOVANNI'S ISLAND, A Moving Tale of Post-War Survival

Director Nishikubo Mizuho's ode to post-war survival, Giovanni's Island (Jobanni no shima), offers a heartbreaking account of the struggles of two brothers, as the world they grew up in changes around them, amidst the aftermath of the Second World War. Junpei...

PiFan 2014 Review: Horror Comedy MOURNING GRAVE Aims Low But Hits Its Mark

Korean horror has been in the midst of a rough streak for the past half decade. Relying on worn out themes, new works been have trotted out regularly every summer but even with lowered expectations, each year has put forth...

PiFan 2014 Review: MY ORDINARY LOVE STORY Is Not Your Ordinary Rom-Com

Expectations play a large role in how we consume and react to cinema, particularly in the commercial realm. Genre formulas are so clearcut than any deviation is immediately noticeable. Some variation is required to prevent things from getting stale but...

PiFan 2014 Review: ZOMBIE FIGHT CLUB Loves Shooting Ass Way More Than Kicking It

Joe Chien's follow-up to the bafflingly tasteless and salacious Zombie 108 delivers a generous second helping of the same Z-grade trash and splatter. Andy On and Jessica C are the attractive, if helpless, leads who - eventually - find themselves...

PiFan 2014 Review: Silat Drama YASMINE Fights From The Heart

An earnest and heartfelt coming-of-age story hailing from the tiny South-East Asian sovereign state of Brunei, Siti Kamaluddin's debut feature has attracted widespread attention thanks to its spirited use of en vogue martial art silat. While Yasmine trades the visceral...

PiFan 2014 Review: CAMERA Has A Good Eye But Lacks Focus

The debut feature from James Leong showcases the director's strong visual sensibility, but with an unimaginative and wasteful screenplay, Camera fails to capitalise on its intriguing premise.Set in a near-future Hong Kong, a gaping class and wealth divide has seen...

Review: SOMETHING IN THE WAY, A Dark Tale Of Obsession, Addiction And Faith

Teddy Soeriaatmadja follows up the award-winning Lovely Man with this absorbing and shocking story of a young, porn-addicted taxi driver in Jakarta, who becomes fixated with the prostitute who lives across the corridor. Dividing his time equally between attending Koran...

PiFan 2013 Review: THE KIRISHIMA THING Explores The Mysteries Of Social Hierarchy

Shot through with deadpan humor and framed in a complex but always coherent structure, The Kirishima Thing is an engaging new work from director Daihachi Yoshida that is both modest in its aims and ambitious in its construction. Kirishima is...

PiFan 2013 Review: THE CONGRESS Is A Unique Cinematic Mind-Bender

Loosely based on the sci-fi musings of Stanislav Lem, Ari Folman follows up his Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir with this ambitious and mostly successful exploration of Celebrity, Cinema and the subconscious. One of the biggest criticisms of Cinema, and Hollywood...

PiFan 2013 Review: THE TERROR LIVE Starts Strong But Runs Out of Steam

In an era of oversaturation at the cineplex, with countless retreads and follow-ups dominating the marquees, sometimes a gimmick is just the trick to freshen things up. A clever and well-executed hook can seem fresh and original, but if poorly...