Vault Shorts #9: (Winter Cabin, I Am Afraid of Pussy, Butoh Dance, Extravaganza) (T)

The ninth entry in the column deals with a rather diverse selection

Winter Cabin (2018) by Michael Huntsman

Yuching Tsai, a 23-year-old Taiwan-born and NYC-based international actor/ filmmaker, recently finished her first written-produced-starring English short film "Winter Cabin". The film deals with a couple, Norman and Roxy, trying to survive a devastating bio-chemical war, which broke out in the US. As they are trying to find food, they also have to deal with Norman's psychological issues.

The film tries to deal with environmental issues and human relations, although I felt that the most interesting aspect is Norman's mentality and the way Roxy deals with it, in a message that seems to state, "love conquers all".

Sam Schmitz's cinematography is quite good, as he paints the setting with bright white lights (for the most part) that suit the subject quite nicely. The same applies to the acting, with Yuching Tsai highlighting her character's vulnerability and Bernard White as Nolan, an extreme passive aggressive behaviour. Some issues with the sound do exist, particularly regarding the speech, but are minor and do not fault the general quality of the title.

Both Huntsman and Tsai seem to have talent in the field, and I would like to see them cooperating in a feature, dystopian movie, that will function as a psychological thriller.

I Am Afraid of Pussy (2017) by Tomohiko Iwasaki (3.58 minutes)

Based on a Rakugo about a man who, supposedly, is afraid of sweet buns (まんじゅう こわい)(, "I am Afraid of Pussy" is another hilarious and crude short by Tomohiko Iwasaki, who switches the sweet buns, well, for pussy. This time, a man whose friend constantly pulls pranks that leave him terrified, takes the place of the youngsters in the original, trying to find something that will scare his friend. He experiences, though, the same surprise as them, although the finale proves much worse.

Tomohiko Iwasaki directs another hilarious, farcical short, casting himself in the protagonist role, while Cage Nurata plays the "victim" and Misaki Nishiri, well, the "catalyst". Don't expect anything much in terms of depth, just be entertained.

Butoh (2018) by Jaim Cleeland (5.01 minutes)

Jaim Cleeland continues his endeavours into the extreme, with another short that combines noise with a plethora of very string images. The epicenter of the film is a Butoh dance performance that takes place in a number of locations, combined with a number of other, usually duplicated images, all of which are presented under Theo Nugraha's noise music. Along with a sequence where a grotesque sculpture is burning, "Butoh" emits a constant sense of "danger", which is heightened by the rapid editing and the almost constant succession of images.

As in Death of a Chinese Clown, Cleeland's approach is rather experimental, and the film functions as an extreme
music video. The artistry is there, however.

Extravaganza (2017) by Matthew Baren (45 minutes)

July, 2017, Shanghai. Drag queen Miss Jade has brought together 12 of the city's drag performers for a one night show. They are the fiercest kings and queens in town. "Extravaganza" takes you behind the scenes of one of China's most dynamic drag scenes.

Matthew Baren directs a documentary that uses the preparations of the night show in order to present the actual circumstances of the drag kings and queens of Shanghai. The picture he paints, apart from the "struggles" of their "transformation" is a really happy one, as we watch people from Korea, Indonesia, the US, Russia, etc, joking (occasionally in crude fashion), gossiping, dancing, talking to the audience, and in general having a great time.

Matthew Baren and Will Dai's (he is also the producer) camera is quite thorough in the presentation of the above elements, making the spectator feel as a part of what is going on, while the various interviews, and particularly of Miss Jade's shed much light in the drag scene of the region. Ma Xiong's editing connects the various footage quite nicely, retaining a pace that stresses the entertainment aspect of the production.

"Extravaganza" is a very interesting spectacle, which, for once, shows the bright side of the whole drag concept, through a quite nice presentation.



2017,1,A Company Man,1,A Love,1,A Man Vanishes,1,A Tale of Love,1,A Whale of a Tale,1,Adam J. Symchuk,5,Adam John,1,Aditya Vikram Sengupta,1,Adriana Rosati,2,Alex Oost,1,Amir Masoud Aghababeian,1,Andrew Thayne,1,Anime,1,Anna Bliss,1,Anshul Chauhan,2,Arang,1,Armour of God,1,Arrow,1,Article Films,1,Asha Jaoar Majhe,1,Asian Classics,5,Aya Itabe,1,Bad Poetry Tokyo,4,BAMY,1,Ben Stykuc,1,Bengal,1,Branded to Kill,1,Breathless,1,Burning Birds,1,Camera Japan,3,Chinese Visual Festival,1,Chungking Express,1,Close-Knit,1,Coffeemates,1,Colette Balmain,2,Crows Zero,1,Cyrano Agency,1,Daisuke Miyazaki,2,Ddongpari,1,Deadly Outlaw: Rekka,1,Deepak Rauniyar,1,Digger,1,Ding Shen,1,Documentaries,5,Don Anelli,1,Double Life,1,Exploitation,1,Fabricated City,1,Faye Wong,1,Features,6,Festivals,1,Filmdoo,2,Flying Fish,1,Forgetting Vietnam,1,Good -Bye Silence,1,Haunters,1,Hidden Gems,10,Hong Kong,1,Horror,2,I-Lin Liu,3,ICA,3,Imran Firdaus,1,In this Corner of the World,2,Indonesia,2,Interview,1,Interviews,17,Inugami,1,Iran,1,Jackie Chan,2,James Mudge,1,Japan,37,Japan Cuts,8,Japan Filmfest Hamburg,1,Jithin K Mohan,1,Joe Odagiri,1,Jonathan Wilson,6,Joo Ji-hong,1,Jun Tanaka,1,Jung Yoon-suk,1,Junichi Kajioka,1,Kengo Yagawa,1,Kenichi Ugana,1,Kim Hyun-seok,1,Kim Min-suk,1,Kiyoshi Kurosawa,1,Koji Wakamatsu,1,Kon Ichikawa,1,Konrad Aderer,1,Kwak Kyung-taek,1,Kyoko Miyake,1,Kyriacos Kyriacou,1,Lady Snowblood,1,Lim Sang-yoon,1,Lists,5,Little Big Soldier,1,Love,1,Maria Georgiou,8,Masato Harada,1,Matt Cooper,2,Mermaid,1,Miwa Nishikawa,1,My Dad and Mr Ito,1,Nanachan,1,Naoko Ogigami,1,Nepal,1,Nicholas Poly,2,Nobuhiko Obayashi,1,Nobuhiro Yamashita,1,Non-fiction Diary,1,NYAFF,2,Old Boy,1,Omar Rasya Joenoes,2,On The Line Festival,2,Orson McClellan Mochizuki,1,Osaka Asian Film Festival,3,Pai Kau,1,Palatpol Mingpornpichit,1,Panos Kotzathanasis,38,Park Chan-wook,1,Park Kwang-hyun,1,Pedro Morata,1,Pieter - Jan Van Haecke,1,Psychic,1,Rabbit and Lizard,1,Railway Sleepers,1,Reviews,18,Ryuki,1,S. Korea,8,San Diego Asian Film Festival,2,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,1,Sankha Ray,4,Satan's Slaves,1,Satoshi Kon,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,1,Score,1,Seijun Suzuki,2,She's the Boss,1,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,1,Shikhar Verna,2,Shinji Iwai,1,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinya Tsukamoto,1,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,8,Shuna Iijima,1,Sidi Saleh,1,Sinophone,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song of the Week,17,South Korea,4,Sri Lanka,1,Sunao Katabuchi,2,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Takashi Miike,2,Takuro Nakamura,2,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Thailand,4,The Inugami Family,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Road Home,1,The Snow King,1,The Sower,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tom Waller,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,1,Tran Ham,1,Trinh T. Minh-Ha,3,various,2,Vietnam,1,Violated Angels,1,West North West,2,White Sun,1,Wiman Rizkidarajat,1,Woman of the Lake,1,Yamato (California),2,Yang Ik-june,1,Yeon Sang-ho,1,Yoshishige Yoshida,1,Yoshiyuki Kishi,1,Yosuke Takeuchi,1,Yu Aoi,1,Yuki Tanada,1,Zhang Yimou,1,
Asian Film Vault: Vault Shorts #9: (Winter Cabin, I Am Afraid of Pussy, Butoh Dance, Extravaganza) (T)
Vault Shorts #9: (Winter Cabin, I Am Afraid of Pussy, Butoh Dance, Extravaganza) (T)
The ninth entry in the column deals with a rather diverse selection
Asian Film Vault
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