Saturday, March 4, 2023

French film Return to Seoul, Taiwanese film Goddamned Asura (該死的阿修羅), and animated film based on Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman help comprise 2023 CMU International Film Festival, from March 16.

Several films with East Asian connections help comprise this year's Carnegie Mellon University International Film festival, starting on March 16. Selections include the 2022 film Return to Seoul, the 2021 Taiwanese film Goddamned Asura (該死的阿修羅), and a 2022 animated film based on Japanese author Haruki Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. The festival starts on March 16 and runs through April 2, and tickets are available online.
Return to Seoul plays on March 23 at the Harris Theater downtown, 7:30 pm, and includes a Q&A with the filmmaker. A quick synopsis by NPR:
In the moving film Return To Seoul, a young woman named Freddie visits South Korea for the first time since her birth, when she was adopted by a French couple. Freddie's attempt to contact her biological parents sets her on an uneasy path toward self-discovery and reconciliation. Written and directed by Davy Chou, the film spans several years and many emotions, and features a vivid lead performance by newcomer Park Ji-Min.

The Taiwanese film Goddamned Asura (該死的阿修羅) plays on March 25 at on the CMU campus, in McConomy Auditorium, Jared L. Cohon Center, from 6:30 pm, and includes a Q&A with the filmmaker. The South China Morning Post summarizes:
A fatal night market shooting in Taiwan is examined from the perspective of several different characters – as well as exploring several different outcomes
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman plays March 30, 7:00 pm at McConomy Auditorium. The distributor profiles:
A lost cat, a giant talkative frog and a tsunami help a bank employee without ambition, his frustrated wife and a schizophrenic accountant to save Tokyo from an earthquake and find a meaning to their lives in the animated feature Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Based on stories by acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami (Drive My Car), the debut of composer Pierre Földes won the Jury Special Mention award at the renowned Annecy Animation Film Festival.

Tokyo, a few days after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Kyoko suddenly leaves her husband after spending five days in a row glued to unfolding earthquake footage on TV. Her helpless husband Komura takes a week’s leave from work and heads north to deliver a box and its unknown contents to two young women. His colleague Katagiri, a simple debt collector by profession and an awkward loner in life, returns home one evening to find a two-metre-tall frog asking for his help to save Tokyo from an imminent earthquake. Through memories, dreams and fantasies, Kyoko, Komura and Katagiri, influenced by their visions of earthquakes—which are manifested as evil willow trees, giant earthworms, secret vows, mysterious boxes and a dark, endless corridor—attempt to rediscover their true selves.

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