Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
HDFEST Film Festival Coverage 2009
Select HDFEST Shorts
"TRUE BEAUTY THIS NIGHT" directed by Peter Besson is a romantic story that has humor. The story centers around how a guy convinces a gal that she is the one for him. Fun filled.
"THE BIRTHDAY PARTY" directed by Veronique Doumbe takes a serious look at a young girl's birthday party which turns into a horrific situation of a random shooting. This is a very emotional film.
"PEACE OF MIND" directed by Nathan Crooker shows how the New York City singles pick-up game can be quite sadistic. After breaking up with one woman, another female conquest decides to drug him and teach him a lesson by physically injuring him. This is a good crime drama with a hint of romance.
Feature Presentation: TAIPEI 24H
Directed by: 8 Various Filmmakers (listed below)
Running time: 94 minutes Feature Narrative
Language: Taiwanese with English subtitles
TAIPEI 24H is a division of eight stories from different filmmakers. Each story is in an eleven minute segment set in contemporary Taipei and takes place during separate parts of a day. TAIPEI 24H is filled with drama, comedy and a bit of fantasy.
"SHARE THE MORNING" takes place from 6 a.m. Directed by Cheng Feng-feng, this story is about three young children on their way to school with their mother who see a kitten caught in a tree. Their mom calls a friend to assist who comes to help which in turn causing a crowd to gather while a woman vender stationed there sells her goods. Differences on how to get the cat down results in arguments and fights which results in a series of hilarious sequences by a host of funny characters.
This is a minute by minute laugh-fest.
"JUST A LITTLE RUN" is set between 9 a.m. and noon directed Niu Cheng-tse. This is a bitter-sweet coming of age young love story. It opens with a young teenage girl witnessing an argument her mother is having with her best friend over a man. The young bossy girl calls her young passive teenage boyfriend and decides to run away (on a bus). The adventures take them all over town which gives the audience a sightseeing tour. Meanwhile, the young boy tries to solidify their relationship by hinting about how he's just as cool as some "jocks" she admires. By the end of the runaway daytrip, the two youngsters return home and she lets him know that he is the one for her.
My heart melted watching this segment.
"SUMMER HEAT" is quite warm at noon as Debbie Hsu directs a hot and sexy story about a lunchtime fling two young single professional people attempt. Once they get to the hotel and book their room, the maid wants to share her problems with him and everyone from the office calls them about work. It seems to interfere with the agenda of their love making and makes a relentlessly funny flick of close encounters.
Whenever I relaxed after laughing, another funny situation popped up on the screen.
"SAVE THE LOVER" directed by Cheng Hsiaso-tse continues with the love and romance theme that turns violent at 3 p.m. A young man with a telescopic lens camera captures a woman about to commit suicide. However, it's a set-up to handcuff and kidnap him once he tries to rescue her. This, in return, sabotages his new job because his old girlfriend was once his new boss's girlfriend.
This is a solid dramedy.
"SMOKE" takes the audience into the evening hours of 6 p.m. Lee Chi-Yuarn spins a dramatic yarn about a man who is called into his teenage daughter's school to address the issue of her smoking on school property. With limited dialogue this film exhibits a father/daughter bonding although they share a certain stubbornness.
Perhaps, food should have been the subject matter rather cigarettes. But love seems to conquer all in this short.
At 8 p.m., "DREAM WALKER" gives a comedic look at fantasy as a young business executive takes a commuting train (MRT). His only problem is that a little girl dressed in a fairy outfit follows him. Or is this his imagination? The film leaves the audience wondering if this is a dream sequence as his journey on the train allows him to meet a woman having a party for children. Director DJ Chen must have watch "The Twilight Zone" series some time in his life.
This is eerie.
At the midnight hour "OWL SERVICE" directed by An Je-yi is another father/daughter bonding film. A father who is a bus driver snatches his daughter off the streets. She seems to be running away to meet a boyfriend who her father feels is an undesirable. Their ride back to the depot and finally home seals the bond.
This may be the weak link in the series, however it still has merit.
4:00 a.m. is the final segment. The setting is a coffee shop where a patron and its owner reminisce over lives lost at the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. The film is set in Lu Yi-Chung's coffee shop and is a tribute to dancer Luo Man-fei who died in 2006.
Director Lee Kang-shang directs his mentor Tsai Ming-laing in his rare film appearance.
FILM RATING (A)