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QCinema fest off to a good start with controversial drama

By: - Reporter
/ 12:03 AM October 17, 2016
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte (center) at the opening of QCinema Film Festival with guests  —photos by Grig Montegrande

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte (center) at the opening of QCinema Film Festival with guests—photos by Grig Montegrande

The screening of Park Chan-wook’s controversial film, “The Handmaiden,” about a fragile heiress who falls in love with her maid, opened on Thursday the 2016 QCinema International Film Festival, which will run until Oct. 22.

“I’ve watched the film before, but it has a different effect when seen on the big screen,” QCinema festival director Ed Lejano told the Inquirer shortly after the opening gala at Gateway Mall.

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Korean director Park is known for making films with dark humor.

“The Handmaiden (Agassi)” is set in Korea during the Japanese occupation in the 1930s. Sookee (Kim Tae-ri) is hired by a conman, also called the Count (Ha Jung-woo), to become the maid of Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee), a Japanese heiress living in a secluded estate with her uncle (Cho Jin-woong), who is plotting to marry her for her wealth.

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The Count also wants to marry the heiress for her money, but his plan is foiled when Lady Hideko falls for Sookee.

The erotic thriller premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for Palme d’Or and won for Ryu Seong-hie the Vulcan Award for best production design.

“Director Park is no stranger to QCinema,” said Lejano when he introduced the film. In the 2015 QCinema, Park’s “vengeance trilogy,” consisting of “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002), “Oldboy” (2003) and “Lady Vengeance” (2005), was screened.

This year’s closing film is Louie Ignacio’s award-wining drama “Area,” starring Ai-Ai de las Alas.

“We provide opportunities for more artists to showcase their talent through this annual festival,” said Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte in her welcome address.

The finalists in the Circle Competition include Prime Cruz’s “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” Howard “HF” Yambao’s “Best. Partee. Ever,” Bagane Fiola’s “Baboy Halas: Wailings in the Forest,” Kristian Cordero’s “Hinulid (The Sorrows of Sita),” Victor Villanueva’s “Patay na si Hesus (God is Dead),” Roderick Cabrido’s “Purgatoryo” and Sheron Dayoc’s “Women of the Weeping River.”

Director Ed Lejano

Director Ed Lejano

The entries for #QCShorts are Joshua Joven and Kaj Palanca’s “Contestant #4,” Aedrian Araojo’s “Hondo (Deep),” Eduardo Dayao’s “If You Leave,” Gabrielle Tayag’s “Pagdating,” Inshallah Montero’s “Papa’s Shadow,” Victor Nierva’s “Sayaw sa Butal (Coin Dance)” and Janus Victoria’s “Viva, Viva Escolta.”

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From left: Mara Lopez, Maria Isabel Lopez and Ronnie Lazaro

From left: Mara Lopez, Maria Isabel Lopez and Ronnie Lazaro

QCinema is paying tribute to Filipino director Mike de Leon by screening some of his works (at Robinsons Galleria) and Polish auteur Krzysztof Kieslowski (at Trinoma and UP Town Center). Other venues are Robinsons Galleria and Gateway Mall.

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TAGS: cinema, Filipino indie film, QCinema
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