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Hi, some American [and Peruvian] distributor, you should totally buy this.

Newsweek has a very interesting article on Xiaogang Feng and his latest IMAX flick, Aftershocks (aka. After Shock, Aftershock), which has just beaten James Cameron’s Avatar in the biggest Chinese opening for a film. Aftershocks is the first ever non-American IMAX film… so of course Aftershocks opened in more than 4 000 screens – which is also a first – and it only made about $5.3M on a day, but it is still a feature. I mean, not everyone pays $15USD to get into the theater.

So when I think of IMAX… I think National Geographic under the sea films, Star Wars, and The Dark Knight. But let me tell you, Aftershocks is playing a complete different game. Aftershocks is a drama… it’s a tear-jerking, heart-tugging drama. It depicts the story of a family that was forever affected by the 1976 7.8 magnitude in the city of Tangshan, which had a reported death toll of 240 000 people.

When I first heard about Aftershocks, not being familiar with Feng’s style, I thought “Oh, China is making their big Hollywood Disaster Film on IMAX” and boy, was I wrong. Sure, the film counts with a luscious (and devastating) sequence that last several long minutes of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake… which felt like a mega-earthquake on screen. However, after that scene, which pretty much starts the film, it aptly turns into a drama telling the struggle of a mother that had to choose between her daughter and her son, and the hurt of a daughter that believes to have been abandoned.

The film lasts about 2hrs, and I was possibly in tears in the first few minutes as the earthquake struck, and the audience immediately feels connected to the mom and her kids. It instantly reminds me of writers telling me “You need something big so your reader believes the connection can happen,” and for the viewers watching Aftershocks, this big event is the devastating earthquake.

When you thought the worse of the crying was done, a brand new wave came over you and you were at it again. I think I was bawling for a good 1.30hr of the film. LOL

A good solid 4/5

Oh how I wish this opened in America so there could be ANY nomination for actress Fan Xu, though the whole cast was remarkable.

The first reviews from the Lima Film Fest are up… you can already buy tickets for the shows which start showing on August 6th until August 14th. They aren’t much, but you can get all the Lima Film Fest 2010 tagged items to keep updated throughout this week.

Here are the reviews at the moment:

Entre a Luz e a Sombra (2009)
Genre: Documentary
Directed by:  Luciana Burlamaqui

Between Light and Shadow is a documentary that spans 7 years into the life of a Brazilian actress, who devotes herself to working with the prisoners in Carandiru — which was the largest penitentiary in South America [there’s even  a movie about the 1992 massacre there]– A couple of the prisoners, Rap duo 509-E members Dexter and Afro-X, who were there for different sentences, are encouraged to create music.

The documentary shows that even though the actress [whose name escapes me, and doesn’t show up anywhere] and the guys from 509-E were born in the same city, but where born in different parts of town and in different families, there’s a disconnect. This is why The Actress spends 20 years of her life working with prisoners on theater workshops, dancing, encouraging them to create music, or paint, while also supporting 509-E in their rap careers in and outside prison. The rap duo is granted permission to perform at events outside prison while still doing their sentences because the judge granting these permissions is convinced that this is a good way to give prisoners a second chance.

Of course politicians and police enforcement officers are against prisoners going out and commenting on political issues. And of course the duo, young at that time, was against “The Man” so they didn’t waste any time to speak up.

There are problems in Carandiru, the prisoners take over the prison with hostages — “We have women and kids” read one of the messages they hung — and the situation got out of control. The prison was closed down, the prisoners transfered, and Carandiru was demolished. With terrorist groups running rampant in and out of prison, government officials stopped letting prisoners do public events… even when 509-E was winning big in the Rap festivals and awards.

Finally, as time passed by, Dexter and Afro-X split after Dexter was transfered to another prison, and Afro-X was given probation because he was fathering a child with singer Simony.

In a telling ending, both Dexter and The Actress — who were a couple in the beginning of the documentary — tells us what we’ve known all along. Maybe it’s just better to put your best effort in keeping children out of the prisons. Because once people live “the life” and feel proud of it, there’s never going back.

2.75/5

COMPETENCIA OFICIAL – DOCUMETAL

Screenings:
Tuesday 10 @ 4pm in Centro Cultural Catolica – Sala Azul

La Yuma (2009)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Starring: Alma Blanco
Directed by: Florence Jaugey

La Yuma — don’t ask me what Yuma means, but La Yuma is the boxing nickname of the character — tells the story of a girl from the poor neighborhoods of Managua, Nicaragua, who wants to become a professional boxer. One day she sees her brother mugging a young journalist who loses a disc with his work, so she decides to return it to him, and decides that she likes him. As she deals with her possible love life, as well as her family life with her younger siblings, good-for-nothing mother with her good-for-nothing boyfriend, she finally gets the chance to train under renown boxing trainer Polvorita.

La Yuma pretty much reminded everyone of Girlfight — which launched the career of now the familiar Michelle Rodriguez — for their “tough girl who wants to box” theme, but ultimately La Yuma distances itself from boxing, and focuses on what Alma Blanco’s character has to do for her and her siblings to survive.

Since the story starts out as a boxing film, and then distances itself from it… La Yuma seems a bit disjointed, as if you were watching 2 or 3 different films. However, the film’s protagonist is interesting — she’s tough and sassy with a sense of humor — she keeps bringing you back into the story. The acting is a bit uneven, especially from Ernesto (Gabriel Benavides) the “love interest” and you wonder why La Yuma feels attraction towards him, but characters like Doña Scarlett (María Esther López), or La Cubana (Juan Carlos García) are enjoyable and memorable enough.

3/5

COMPETENCIA OFICIAL – FICCION

Screenings:
Monday 9 @ 5.15pm in Cineplanet Alcazar  – Sala 1
Tuesday 10 @ 7.30pm in Centro Cultural Catolica – Sala Azul
Thursday 12 @ 9.45pm in Cineplanet Alcazar – Sala 1

Unubore Deka aired its 2nd episode on Friday. ;P

The show tells the story of a detective whose ex-girlfriend is now married to his newest co-worker. Now, for reasons unknown, he always ends up obsessed-in-love with women who turn out to have committed crimes. In the end, he always ends up asking them to choose between marriage to him, or being arrested… without much success for him in his love life.

Well, that’s the best thing I can do without subs.

But no worries!

Unubore Deka is getting subbed by TOMAlicious Fansubs in hardsubs English, Suu no Command in hardsubs Spanish, Haniko’s Fansubs in Hungarian, and Asia Powa Fansubs in French~

In this week’s episode, Yu plays Konuma Setsuko, who appears to be your everyday masseuse. One day Unubore ends up in the massage parlor she works in, and falls in love just by her touch.

A lot of kinky stuff going on.

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