South Korean horror thriller by director Kim Min Suk that mixes the supernatural and heist genres, along with a healthy dose of domestic abuse, that perennial trope of Korean drama. In Haunters, the arch-villain Cho-in discovers he has psychic powers when he stops his father from beating his mother by taking control of his mind, then forcing him to break his own neck. Cho-in goes on to use these powers to obtain money, but during a heist of a pawnshop, he meets Kyu-nam, who inexplicably is immune to his mind control routine. The film follows the face-off between the two. Tough violence, strong performances and the occasional clever tweaking of genre conventions make this enjoyable entertainment.
Danish film by director Thomas Vinterberg scores high on artistry but is described by Variety magazine as “unrelentingly grim.” Two brothers brought up by an abusive and alcoholic mother meet at her funeral. Their upbringing has made them grow into damaged and emotionally unstable adults, and each in their own way are walking down a road to self-destruction, taking various other people along with them. Strong acting and acute character observation are the strong points of the film, but an overly lugubrious pace makes it feel longer than its 110 minutes.
Tears of April (Kasky)
This historical drama from celebrated Finnish director Aku Louhimies is set in Finland around 1918, on the periphery of the Russian Revolution and during a bloody civil war. Brutal violence against civilians elicits compassion from soldier Aaro Harjula, who saves one of a group of female soldiers, volunteering to take her to face trial (rather than being cut down in a massacre of enemy combatants). It’s no big surprise when the two develop romantic feelings, and Harjula is forced to witness the vicious exercise of so-called “justice” by the military to which he has sworn loyalty. Performances are strong and the historical background interesting, but the story development offers little more than conventional wartime romance.
We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay)
Life can be hard for cannibals in Mexico City, with the daily grind of picking up a member of the general public for dinner. A debut feature by Jorge Michel Grau, this is an urban fable that revels in urban decay, and its family of people-eaters only the most ghastly of many living on the fringes of subsistence. Technically, this is a more than adequate horror flick, but too much is left unexplained to make it entirely satisfying.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s/Charade/Roman Holiday
For lovers of old films and for fans of Audrey Hepburn, this week offers a glorious feast of three great films from distributor iFilm as part of its film classics series. The films will show at Ambassador (Changchun), Cinemark Cinemas (Living Mall), and Showtime Cinemas VIP (Shin-shin). A set of three tickets is available through tickets.books.com.tw for NT$749.