Attawapiskat is a name we are hearing more often: it’s the community that has been riven with a horrific spate of suicides this past year, and the same community which Stephen Harper implied was some kind of mis-managed money pit for Canadian tax payers (misleadingly, as it turns out). Vicky Lean filmed there from 2008 to 2013, a period which saw the much-heralded arrival of a new neighbour for Attawapiskat in the form of a De Beers diamond mine, just 90 miles away. Her film may be the most pressing portrait of Canada you will see all year.
In this kinetic horror/kung-fu mash-up, an innocuous-seeming dry cleaners fronts for a hitman-for-hire operation. When a nameless contract killer becomes haunted by his former targets, he enlists a psychic for help, but their quest to make peace with the past puts them at odds with his ruthless employer. Colorful and brimming with unforgettable characters, The Laundryman puts the stylish influences of Wong Kar-Wai on the spin cycle. (Chicago Film Festival)
Lekal Sumi Cilangasan
Based on a true story, up and coming directors Yu-Chieh Cheng and Lekal Sumi weave a wonderfully shot story about aboriginal rights. When Panay, a college-educated single mother, returns to her home village to attend to her sick father, she discovers a plan to turn their lands into large resorts. Rekindling her love for her home, she works with the villagers to revive the village and save their lands.
In 1991, a man makes a promise to create a detailed account of the Black Kites (a specie of eagle) of Taiwan. Produced by the Raptor Research Group of Taiwan, Fly, Kite Fly! follows Chen-Chung Shen, a.k.a Mr. Eagle, on a 20-year journey across Taiwan as he observes its 200 remaining Black Kites. The film chronicles a story of rapid urbanization, conservation, and the dangers of pesticide use, through the plight of the Black Kites, borrowing the voice of famous director and scriptwriter, Wu Nien Zhen. Carefully shot scenes of the Black Kites playfully gliding over Taiwan’s coast will inspire the same desire to protect these precious creatures as it did for Mr. Eagle almost 20 years ago.
An eccentric young girl has her dreams of traveling to America dashed after her grandmother takes a tumble down the stairs. Their desolate hot springs resort is left in her care, along with a debilitating debt. What’s more, a strange young foreigner stumbles upon the resort with limited funds and even more limited Chinese. Join these two in an unusual partnership as they try to keep the resort afloat, while discovering its hidden romantic secrets. Welcome to the Happy Days will invite you on the vacation of a lifetime with its comic book-style storytelling and vibrant colors of a pre-WWII resort.
Eileen’s life takes a turn for the better when a motorcycle accident lands her with free violin lessons. She develops a newfound relationship with retired police officer turned taxi driver Liao Chun-Ming as well as Kevin, the man of her dreams. Elena portrays the struggles of the average Taiwanese working class, and the difficulties they face in a rapidly changing country that sees rusty old factories as a thing of the past.