Reel Asian Sneaks a Few Titles. The One You Should Care About is COLD STEEL

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
Reel Asian Sneaks a Few Titles. The One You Should Care About is COLD STEEL
Having its sweet 16th anniversary this year, Toronto's Reel Asian Film Festival continues to showcase cinema from from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kashmir, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand; this also includes films from Canada and USA with an Asian bent. As it was last year, the festival will be presented in two parts: November 6-11 in Toronto and  November 16-17 in Richmond Hill (just outside the city).

Having seen the lovely 35mm print of Cold Steel, anyone who loves classic Hong Kong melodrama would be advised to check out David Wu's film, a throwback to 1980s and 1990s John Woo classics (for which Wu served as editor), but also a humorous reaction to Woo's bombastic tendencies. It's a film that sneaks right up and charms its audience, including a curious homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and cinema in general. Also, as below, the initial volley of films includes dramas about Hawaiian ukelele musicians, possessed shamans, and visiting scientists. 

Valley of Saints

Director Musa Syeed | Kashmir/USA 2012 | 82 min | Toronto Premiere  | Director in Attendance

Upon the beautiful but troubled Dal Lake in Kashmir, a young boatman's world is opened up by a visiting scientist in this lyrical drama about friendship, family and home. Winner of two Sundance awards.


Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings

Director Tadashi Nakamura | USA 2012 | 60:00 | Canadian Premiere | Director in Attendance

Jake Shimabukuro plays the ukulele but not like anything ever seen or heard before in this rock documentary on the pioneering Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso who propelled this simple four-string instrument to dazzling heights.


Cold Steel

Director David Wu | China/Hong Kong 2011 | 101:00 | Toronto Premiere | Director in Attendance

Bullets fly, swords are drawn and enemies slashed in John Woo's longtime collaborator David Wu's historical film that recalls the energy and glory of classic 1980s Hong Kong action films. Starring Tony Leung Ka Fai.


A Fish

Director Park Hong Min | South Korea 2011 | 100:00 | Toronto Premiere | Director in Attendance

A professor traces rumours revealing his wife has become a possessed shaman in this mesmerizing exploration of the spirit world. A Fish is Reel Asian's first 3D film presentation.


10 + 10

Omnibus | Taiwan 2011 | 115:00 | Toronto Premiere

Commissioned by the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, twenty of Taiwan's top young and veteran directors each direct five-minute shorts to highlight the uniqueness of Taiwan. The resulting stories are a multifaceted panorama of Taiwanese society ranging from thriller to silent cinema to dark comedy. Including work by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Arvin Chen and Chang Tso-chi.
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