OPENING FILM

Nina Wu 灼人秘密

After eight years toiling in bit-parts, aspiring actress Nina Wu finally gets her big break with a leading role in a spy thriller set in the 1960s. The part is challenging, not least because it calls for full nudity and explicit sex scenes, and the film’s director is often hard on her. But both the industry and the press are confident that the results are sensationally good. On the brink of triumph, though,Nina’s psychological resolve begins to crack. She rushes back to her family home to deal with two crises: her father’s business has gone bankrupt and her mother had suffered a heart attack. She dreams of rekindling a close relationship with her childhood friend Kiki but is haunted by paranoid fantasies that a mysterious woman is stalking and attacking her. As Nina clings to memories of happier times, it seems that there is one crucial memory that she is repressing…?

MALAYSIAN CINEMAS

Sell Out

Rafflesia Pong is a bottom-ranking arts show host who’s disillusioned with “those over-rated underachievers we call artists. Eric Tan, a product designer who’s just about to learn that it doesn’t pay to be creative. They both work for FONY, a multinational conglomerate whose mission statement, copied from a Taiwanese company, is to be original. In the face of such pressure, while Eric and Rafflesia retain their artistic integrator will they finally sell out to fame, fortune or some other nasty thing that also starts with “F”?

The Tiger Factory虎廠

19-year-old Ping works in a pig farm and cleans dishes in a rundown restaurant, but longs to go to Japan to work in a car parts company. She is under the guardian of her aunt, Madame Tien, who shuffles her between her two jobs. Tien is also involved in a secret “baby factory” scheme, pairing young women with illegal migrant workers and then selling the babies for money. In need of funds to fulfill her dream, she decides to go through with her aunt’s scheme. The two women survive with each other in a symbiotic love-hate manner, until the true nature of her aunt is revealed to Ping.

Talentime

The tale of three different families are strung together when a music teacher decides to organise an inter-school talent competition. Melur, who comes from a Eurasian family is one of the finalists of the Talentime competition. The sweet 16-year-old who possesses a melodious voice is taken by the charm of Mahesh, a hearing impaired schoolmate who is selected to take her to rehearsals. Tragedy strikes Mahesh’s family when his uncle, who is also the caretaker of his family is stabbed to death on his wedding night. One of the other finalist in the talent competition is Hafiz, a cheeky but brilliant student that divides his time between school, and his sick mother in the hospital who suffers from brain tumor. By the critically acclaimed director, Yasmin Ahmad, Talentime explores the idea behind how the pain and suffering that we go through enables us to reach greater heights. The last of her silver screen legacy that Ahmad had left behind.

ASIAN CINEMA

The Baggage

The Baggage tells the story of an OFW, Mercy Agbunag. As the whole family celebrates her homecoming, NBI agents appear on the doorstep inviting Mercy to join them for an investigation of a case about a newborn child being thrown into a trash bin of an airplane toilet, and she is believed to be a suspect. As Mercy undergoes a rigid examination of testimonies and evidences, she is turned over to different social entities – police, hospital, shelter, media, church, and bureaucrats. What unfolds is the whole truth behind a mother who got abused, and the measures in which she is taken care of by her motherland.

Last Letter 你好,之华

There are fidgety encounters, like there are uncomplicated goodbyes. All Yuen Chi Nam left behind on the morning of her departure from the physical world was a letter and an invitation to a school reunion. Attending the reunion in lieu of her late elder sister, Chi Wah accidentally ran into Wan Chuen, her crush of her youth. And thus began Chi Wah’s letter correspondences to Wan Chuen, without leaving a return address, relaying all and sundry about her daily life, akin to a walk down the memory lane to the times of her youth where something was amiss. What Chi Wah did not expect was the misunderstanding this correspondence would cause her husband, followed by their disconcerting marital relation. The letters sent by Wan Chuen to what he remembered to be Chi Nam’s home address landed in the hands of her daughter, who continued the correspondence in search of the bits and pieces of her mother’s youth. As old memories are evoked to a present time of reshuffled relationships, as correspondences travel through different contexts and times, unveiled was the intricate story among the trio, compelling them to make peace with the remorse and heartbreak of the past to restore peace of mind.

A Family Tour自由行

The Mother of One Recluse was the work of Chinese film director Yang Shu. She made the film five years ago, and in doing so offended the Chinese government. Since then, she has been forced to remain in exile in Hong Kong. Her mother in Sichuan has had a relapse of her stomach cancer from years ago, and needs to undergo an operation imminently. She wishes to see her daughter and the family, having only known her grandson via online chats. Therefore, Yang Shu takes the opportunity of a film festival event in Taiwan to go with her husband and son to meet her mother, whom they have arranged to cross paths while her mother is there on a mainland company leisure tour. To ensure this family reunion can take place under the strict itinerary of the Chinese tour company, the young family checks into the same hotel and follows the tour group to the various scenic spots they visit.

Manto 芒多传

The film follows the most tumultuous four years in the life of Manto (1946 – 1950) and that of the two countries he inhabits – India and Pakistan. In Bombay’s seedy-shiny film world, Manto and his stories are widely read and accepted. But as sectarian violence engulfs the nation, Manto makes the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay. In Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends and unable to find takers for his writings. His increasing alcoholism leads him into a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, without dilution. This is the tale of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man who tries to make sense of it all.