Tuesday, March 18, 2008

HKIFF: Day 1

This is my first year as a festival goer at the Hong Kong International Film Festival (I went to a screening of Hotel Rwanda 3 years ago, but that just makes me a guy going to a movie). I originally have 12 movies lined up, though now it is 11, because the screening of United Red Army I got a ticket for got canceled. 11 is considered quite minor, especially when there are people out there with 20-30 tickets. Nevertheless, on my limited budget and time (both due to me being a student), this is the best I can do this year.

Anyway, over the next 2 weeks, I'll be recapping the films I watch at the festival, though I'll leave the full-length reviews to Lovehkfilm.

My first film of the festival is Masayuki Suo's multiple-award-winning legal drama I Just Didn't Do It. Only a film geek like me would be excited that I got to see the director of Shall We Dance and the guy who acted under Clint Eastwood in person.

And there's Kantoku Suo taking a picture of the audience. I wonder if he has a blog.

Anyway, the film can be described as the long and arduous fight of a man falsely accused of groping a high school girl on the train. It's a painstakingly researched and even infuriating film that exposes the Japanese legal system for all its bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Unlike the Death Note movies, which was knee-deep in so-called moral debates about the inefficiencies of the Japanese legal system, the filmmakers know what they were doing, peeling each process layer by layer. They actually know what they're talking about, and they stick by it. Meanwhile, Death Note pretends to be making a challenging point, but really only to make one of its characters more likable.

I Just Didn't Do It is a powerful film that's also quietly intense and one of the best "message" films to come along in a while. Like I previously have written, I'll leave the bulk of my opinion for the full-length review, but it's even better than Tokyo Tower, which beat Suo's film's at the Japanese Academy Awards. It's no surprise, though: Partially quoting the film, a win for a film against the system is like a blow against the system, so how can it wn?

Tomorrow: Taiwan's God Man Dog


rachael said...

are you kidding? kase ryoooooo :p

GoldenRockProductions said...

Indeed that was Kase Ryo, but he called him "Ryo Case" when he introduced himself in English, which I thought was funny and kinda sad at the same time.