Reel Asian’s 2014 TIFF picks – Contemporary World Cinema

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The city is already in a buzz for the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 4-14). We’re only a couple weeks away, but with all the latest film and guests announcements, it’s hard to not get swept up by the excitement. We’ve combed through the entire film programmes and selected our Asian picks.

Contemporary World Cinema

Justice | Philippines | Dir: Joel Lamangani

 A middle-aged domestic worker remains fiercely loyal to her employer even as it draws her ever deeper into the dirty world of human trafficking, in this gritty melodrama about corruption, criminality and conflicted conscience in contemporary Manila.

Kabukicho Love Hotel | Japan | Dir: Ryuichi Hiroki

This erotically charged drama from Japanese director Ryuichi Hiroki (Vibrator) traces the intersecting stories of a group of employees and visitors at a notorious “love hotel” in Tokyo’s red-light district.

Margarita, with a Straw | India | Shonali Bose

In this inspirational love story, a Delhi university student and aspiring writer afflicted with cerebral palsy (Kalki Koechlin, Dev.D, That Girl in Yellow Boots) leaves India for New York University, where she falls for a fiery young activist.

Men Who Save The World | Malaysia/Germany/Netherlands/France | Dir: Liew Seng Tat

The superstitious inhabitants of a small Malaysian village go to ever sillier extremes to exorcize the “ghost” they believe is haunting a dilapidated house, in this boisterous and richly observed rural comedy.

Partners in Crime | Taiwan | Dir: Chang Jung-chi

Three high school boys discover that there may be more than meets the eye in the apparent suicide of a pretty classmate, in this engrossing mystery thriller from Taiwanese director Chang Jung-chi (Touch of the Light).

Still the Water | Japan/France/Spain | Dir: Naomi Kawase

Facing both family tragedy and the unpredictable rhythms of nature, two teenagers on a subtropical Japanese island find solace in each other, in this gorgeous and poetic cinematic vision from director Naomi Kawase (Shara, The Mourning Forest).

Tigers | India/France/United Kingdom | Dir: Danis Tanovic

Devastated when he discovers the effects of the infant formula he’s peddling, a young salesman challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama from Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land). 

Tokyo Fiancée | Belgian/Canada/France | Dir: Stefan Liberski

A Japanophile young Belgian woman in Tokyo falls into a whirlwind romance with a Francophile Japanese student, in this charming and tender tale of young love and cultural discovery.

Where I Am King | Philippines | Dir: Carlos Siguion-Reyna

When his fortune is wiped out, an arrogant, self-made tycoon is forced to return to the slum tenement where he grew up, in this vibrant, socially-aware comedy from Filipino master Carlos Siguion-Reyna.