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From Expatica.com

Japan stars in French Asian Film Festival (sarah michelle gellar mention)

Tuesday 8 March 2005, by Webmaster

PARIS, March 8 (AFP) - Japanese films will be out in force for a French Asian Film Festival aiming to show the best in cult and contemporary movies from the Far East, many of which have not been released yet in Europe.

The festival, which opens Wednesday in the northwestern French seaside resort of Deauville, will showcase some 40 films during the four-day film fiesta with nine competing for the coveted Golden Lotus best film award.

Three Japanese films are in the running this year, including the drama "Charon" directed by Gen Takahashi, murder mystery "Lakeside Murder Case" by Shinji Aoyama and a low-budget controversial horror "Marebito" by Takashi Shimizu. An earlier Shimizu film "Ju-On" was remade in the United States as "The Grudge" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar with great box-office success.

They will be competing against "Electric Shadows" a heart-warming tale from China by first-time female director Xiao Jiang, Taiwan’s romantic comedy "Holiday Dreaming" from Fun-chun Hsu and part of South Korea’s new wave cinema "This Charming Girl", shot entirely by hand-held camera by newcomer Lee Yoon-ki.

Also in the running are the visually poetic "Chased by Dreams" from Indian Bengali director Buddhadeb Dasgupta, "The World" also from China by Jia Zhangke and Thailand’s "The Overture" directed by Itthi-Sunthorn Wichailak, which will aptly open the four-day event.

The festival, now in its seventh year, is slowly attracting a reputation for highlighting new trends in Asian cinema and attracting wider audiences for some films which otherwise might never make it to Europe.

French director Regis Wargnier will head the all French five-member jury which will have the tough choice of dishing out the awards.

Last year’s Golden Lotus winner was the South Korean film "A Good Lawyer’s Wife", by director Im Sang-Soo for his story of a frustrated wife who starts an affair with a teenage boy.

This year will see the return for the second year running of an action movie section in which five films are competing, including Japan’s "Survive Style 5+" by Gen Sekiguchi.

The festival will also pay homage to the iconic and prolific Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Miike, who has recently been discovered by French cinema audiences.

Miike, who started out as a television assistant director, broke into directing in the early 1990s with low-budget action movies.

In 1996 his second feature film "Fudoh" was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the best 10 movies of the year. And in the past decade he has shot an amazing 20 films including "Audition", "Dead or Alive" and "Bird People in China".

Tribute will also be paid to the Indonesian actress and producer Christine Hakim, who in her 30-year career has collected a string of awards at international film festivals. Five of her films will be shown in Deauville.

The "Panorama" out-of-competition section, will feature some 13 films, including three each from Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong as well as a co-production from the three.