PIFF: Wrapup

One day when I was walking to the PIFF pavilion, I was stopped by some university students. They wanted to interview me for an English assignment. One of the questions they asked was why I like coming to PIFF. I told them that one of the major things I miss about living in the United States is the wealth of independent and art films I can see there. Here, we only get the major Hollywood blockbusters. There are Korean movies of all kinds, but they rarely if ever provide subtitles. So PIFF is like a vast banquet for a starving movie freak.

I had a great time at the 13th festival. I saw 10 movies in all: five Korean, two Japanese, and one each from France, Iran, and the Czech Republic. Five dramas, four docs, and one animation. Only one of them blew me away, but all except one were at least entertaining. Some last thoughts, in viewing order:

Exhausted (Korea, F-): horrible, horrible, horrible.
American Alley (Korea, B): good doc, interesting subject well done, wish it had more director perspective.
The Sky Chasers (Japan, B): interesting animation, very different, but a little slow and the English parts were hard to hear.
A Faint Trembling of the Landscape (France, B): nothing much happens, but it’s quirky, has some really funny moments, and some nice conversation.
Empty Chair (Iran, A++) amazing, breathtaking, mind-blowing, surreal, high emotion, and a fantastic ending.
René (Czech Republic, B): compelling Czech doc about the life of a serial petty criminal; the guy is interesting but not very likable.
Into the Breeze (Korea, A): great documentary about independent film in Korea; I learned a lot from this.
VIY (Korea, B-): very weird, but too clean in presentation; not scary; narrative continuity is a mess.
Sisters On The Road: (Korea, A) what could have been a disaster of a story was made brilliant thanks to great acting and a fantastic job by the director.
Tokyo Girl (Japan, C+) this was just plain silly, like something a 16-year-old would write, but the last half hour sucked me in.

I had a guest pass, so I got some nice privileges. The third floor of the PIFF pavilion was a good meeting area, with a fantastic view of the beach, free coffee, free wireless, chairs to lounge in, and a counter where you could reserve tickets one day in advance.

I don’t know if I’ll be around next year, but I hope so. Here are a few random pics:


One Response to “PIFF: Wrapup”

  1. You don’t get foreign films just anywhere in the US. You have to live in a big city like San Francisco. I wish we did have some more art films in the California valley. I would love to see a couple of those you mentioned.

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