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new world World premiere/Indie Power. Dir: LimKahWai. Jap-Chi. 2011. 95mins

After hoping for a glamorous Christmas in the ritzy part of Osaka, a series of disappointing circumstances sees young Beijing woman Coco end up in a rundown guesthouse (which car- ries the banner ‘welcome new world’) in Shin- sekai, Osaka’s less-than-cool downtown. She bonds reluctantly with the guesthouse owner (who has money problems) and ends up learn- ing a few truths about both Japan and her native China. This is a charmingly made — though modest — film, elegantly shot with nice performances and a great sense of location. INT’L SALES LIM KAH WAI, Mark Adams

Tada’s Do-It-All-House World premiere. Dir: Omori Tatsushi. Jap. 2011. 123mins

A slacker jack-of-all-trades (played by Eita) sets up his own company, Tada’s Do-It-All-House, to pick up random jobs. He is joined — after a freak coincidence involving a Chihuahua he is looking after — by former classmate Gyoten (Matsuda Mahoro). The two take on jobs as varied as escorting a schoolboy (who happens to be working as a drug mule) home from school and fixing the plumbing at the house of nutty Colombian prostitute Lulu. Based on Miura Shion’s 2006 award-winning novel, the film is amusing and highly watchable, driven by quirky performances by Eita and Mahoro. INT’L SALES ASMIK ACE, Mark Adams

Hotel Blackcat World premiere/Taiwanese Cinema Returns. Dir: Herb Hsu. Tai. 2010. 100mins

The oddball guests at the gloriously shabby Hotel Blackcat — ranging from a traumatised runaway schoolgirl and a Japanese salaryman through to a prostitute and her handicapped son and a tormented, spanking-obsessed older man — are watched over by the hotel’s owner, a faded beauty queen. Each has issues (some odder then others), but against all odds they become a dysfunctional family and even man- age to find some sort of redemption. Herb Hsu’s debut film is enjoyable, with Wen Zhen- ling impressive as Fang Chow Chow, ambling forlornly in her schoolgirl uniform while talk- ing to her rabbit doll.


Mark Adams

Edited by Mark Adams

apart from other ‘youth in turmoil’ movies. It will appeal more to festivals than mainstream distribu- tors but given its hip sensibilities — and that it fea- tures Taiwanese pop heartthrob Wang Zi, whose real name is Chiu Sheng-yi — it could get the atten- tion of more daring distributors. Photographer Vicky (Tseng) — who is obsessed


An unconventional and stylish look at interactions between young people in Taipei is at the core of Honey PuPu, blending the worlds of cyberspace and reality as a series of people — who favour their internet nicknames rather than their real ones — argue, romance and search for love against the backdrop of a modern world which drives people apart rather than brings them together. The mention of the word ‘cyberspace’ tends to

imply movie special effects, but Honey PuPu, the second film from Chen Hung-i after 2008’s Candy Rain, is a resolutely low-budget affair, relying on the energy of its young cast, a thoughtful free- wheeling script and some smart direction to set it


Sing. 2010. 90mins Director Wee Li Lin Production companies Bobbing Buoy Films, Add Oil Films, Singapore Film Commission, Iceberg Design International sales Golden Network Asia Ltd, Producer Silvia Wong, Wee Li Lin Screenplay Silvia Wong, Wee Li Lin Cinematography Gerald Stahlmann Editor Yim Mun Chong Music Alex Oh, Lim Yi Benjamin Main cast Joanna Dong, Mo Tzu-yi, Sarah Ng, Teo Kiat-sing


There is a dash of Fatal Attraction — but without the violence and the bunny-boiling — to engaging Singapore rom-com Forever, blessed with a charm- ing lead performance by Joanna Dong as a wed- ding video-maker obsessed with a hunky Taiwanese music teacher. The film offers up such a bizarre love triangle

that it could have ‘Hollywood remake’ written all over it, but at the same time feels so specific to its Singapore location that it could also bypass over- seas attention. But despite the fact films festivals tend to avoid traditional rom-coms, this is a film blessed with genial charm. Joey (Dong) is a talented video-maker who has

created a faux wedding film — starring herself and Gin (Mo), a Taiwanese music teacher working in Singapore — which is screened as the romantic ideal for young singles all over the country. She works for the Wedding Education Depart-

ment (WED), responsible for propaganda videos in which staff are told the nation’s marriage index is falling (due mainly to young local celebrities’ reluc- tance to be wedded), which means funding may be cut and jobs lost. To save the day, Joey’s video is to be shown at the next ‘Romantic Awakening’ sin- gles party. While shooting her film, Joey falls for Gin — even

cringingly calling him ‘Groomie’ when they see each other — and he has to remind her he was acting and

n 6 Screen International at Filmart/HAF/HKIFF March 23, 2011

with the declining honeybee population and given to on-air pontificating about global warming — is searching for her lover who used the internet name of Dog (Lee). She searches in cyberspace — the only visual gimmick is on-screen names and voice- overs — and begins conversations with Cheese- monkey (Lin Chen-shi), Assassin (Lin Po-sheng) and Cola (Chiu), with Cola offering to help Dog. The only clue to his disappearance is a floppy disc which cannot be played in modern computers. Assassin and Cheesemonkey — who, to confuse

matters, also goes by the name of Money — are a couple of intense passions, with Assassin especially unpredictable. The mild-mannered Cola is entranced by the purple-haired Cheesemonkey/ Money, much to the anger of Assassin. Their search for Dog sees them meet the sexu-

ally manipulative Playing (Hsieh) — “Anyone who sleeps with her will be damned,” says one character — who eventually takes up with Assassin once Cola and Cheesemonkey/Money start their tentative and tender romance. The film spirals in different directions as the characters search not only for Dog but also for their own sense of direction. Honey PuPu is disjointed but held together by a

firm director — using a number of impressive cin- ematic styles — who has crafted a film which is hip and stylish, brimming with a youthful energy and oddball romance.


Tai. 2011. 100mins Director Chen Hung-i Production company Red Society Films International sales Good Films Workshop, Producers Yeh Ju-feng, Terrisa Chen, Wei Yung- chuan Screenplay Chen Hung-i, Monica & Shabelle, Lin Fu-jing Cinematography Fisher Yu Editors Chen Hung-i, Liu Yua-xing, Lin Fu-jing Music Barbie Main cast Chiu Sheng-yi, Lin Chen-shi, Lin Po-sheng, Hsieh Hsin-ying, Lee Da-chi, Tseng Pei-yu

is engaged to local rich girl Cecilia (Ng). Furious but still smitten, Joey works her way into Gin’s life, caus- ing no end of problems and even serenading him in the early hours of the morning. There is the now obligatory ‘bride-to-be trying

on wedding dresses scene’, with Gin showing some realisation that Cecilia may not be the one for him, as well as a couple of nicely staged fantasy sequences. The film poses the question whether Joey’s relentless drive to snag the man of her dreams will succeed despite the almost stalker-like behaviour… and given this is a rom-com rather than a drama there can be only one answer. To be fair, Joey does eventually win over her man

through compassion rather than cruelty, and it is to Dong’s credit that she makes Joey slightly crazed but also rather charming.

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