Melbourne International Film Festival’s Accent on Asia program is a perennial favourite of the festival. It provides a taste of the best films being made in our region; from South Korean black comedies and Thai surrealism to Chinese dramas and five-hour Filipino art-house epics.
The Liar, from South Korean director, Kim Dong-Myung, is a razor-sharp critique of our adoration of celebrity lifestyles. The film features an assistant beauty therapist who goes to ridiculous lengths to convince her co-workers that she lives a glamorous life with a wealthy boyfriend.
The latest from previous Palme d’Or winner, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cemetery of Splendour (pictured above), follows a volunteer at a hospital for soldiers with narcolepsy. Watching this film, you feel as if you’re in a place somewhere between sleeping and waking, much like the charges the protagonist watches over.
For the cinephile with a long attention span it’s hard to go past the beauty of Lav Diaz’ 338-minute epic, From What is Before (pictured). Set in the Philippines in 1970, the film pairs the gorgeous landscape of the country with increasing political unrest and violence.
Another Filipino gem for those who have less than four hours to spare is Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore. Dialogue-free, the story is told through music and eye-popping visuals. As an extra special treat, director Khavn de la Cruz will introduce the film and join in a Q&A session afterwards.
Mountains May Depart is the newest feature from Chinese superstar director Jia Zhang-ke. Through the experiences of one family, the film follows the story of modern China, its rampant economic expansion and Chinese migration – with the film’s final scenes set in a futuristic Australia.