Filmasia focusing on literary adaptations

The festival will have six films from the 1990s to the present

The 14th edition of the Filmasia festival takes place Dec. 6–9 at Lucerna and Ponrepo cinemas.

The festival’s theme is “Film and Book,” and it examines the relationship between the cinema and literature. The festival program is composed of adaptations of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese literature.

The films were chosen for their creativity with design, settings in new contexts and enrichment of the text. The festival opens Dec. 6 in Lucerna with the 2015 Korean film Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, based on a famous Chinese novel with the action relocated to Korea in the 1950s. Due to poverty, a man has to sell his blood to get enough money to get married. Years later, there are questions about the paternity of his oldest child.

The film was directed by and stars Ha Jung-woo, who has appeared in films at Filmasia previously such as The Berlin File and The Handmaiden.

The remaining five films in the festival will be shown at a place in Ponrepo, and translators of the Czech version of the books will lead discussions after the screenings.

The 2009 Korean film Vegetarianism is adapted from the novel by Han Kang, which won the Man Booker International Prize. A dream makes women convert to vegetarianism, but this brings her into conflict with those around her. The film is a parable for nonconformity in a rigid system.

The classic 1991 Chinese co-production Raise the Red Lantern by director Zhang Yimou will be screened from a 35 mm print. This film won a Silver Lion at Venice and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Next up is the 2007 Taiwanese erotic espionage thriller Lust, Caution by director Ang Lee, starring Tony Leung and Tang Wei. A group of students try to assassinate an important political figure in Shanghai. The film is based on the novel by the same name by Eileen Chang.

Thew 2015 film Wolf Totem is a Chinese and French co-production directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who is known for his visual approach to films. A student arrives at Inner Mongolia to live with shepherds but decides to raise a wolf despite the spiritual and political restrictions. Jiang Rong’s 2004 book became a best seller in China.

The festival closes with Burning, a new Korean film from director Lee Chang-dong. The film is based on the short story “Barn Burning” by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, and was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It was also selected as the South Korean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. Nominations have not yet been announced.

In the film, an aspiring writer is going through an ambiguous romance with a woman, only to gradually become obsessed with a wealthy mystery man and love rival.

The festival is organized by Axman Production with the support of the Ministry of Culture and several embassies.

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