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[외신] His Claws: Merantau, Wasn"t scared, no really, D&B Films 2009.07.25
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A Sumatran Tiger Flashes
His Claws: Merantau
by Kyu Hyun Kim

The newly energized Indonesian genre films continued to show their strength at the Pucheon Film Festival, not only through horror films such as <Macabre> and <The Forbidden Door>, well-received by both critics and the local viewers,
but also with <Merantau>, purported to be Indonesia’s first martial arts action film(Hmm, don’t they mean Indonesia’s first serious martial arts action film? Otherwise what do we make of the old 80s Rapi productions starring Barry Prima, like <Jaka Sembung>?), has had its premier screening as the Closing Film at the 13th PiFan, ahead of a domestic release in Indonesian theaters.  <Merantau> refers to a Minangkabau(the indigenous highlanders of West Sumatra) custom of a young man leaving his hometown to travel and accumulate experiences, eventually coming back to serve as a "useful" member of his community. Yuda (Iko Uwais), who had diligently practiced the native martial arts Silat Harimau(the tiger-style fighting) since childhood, leaves for Jakarta to perform his <Merantau>.  He dreams of opening a Silat school, but things don’t get done so easily in the big city.
Yuda befriends a little boy(Yusuf Aulia) and his exotic dancer sister Astri(Sisca Jessica). When they are kidnapped by human traffickers, Yuda must bend his principle of pacifism to rescue them.
Directed by Gareth H. Evans, a martial arts enthusiast, <Merantau> at first glance appears to be a low-key, pictorial version of the Thai hit <Ongbak>.
And yet, like other Indonesian films shown at the 13th PiFan, beneath its superficial fidelity to the conventions of Asian action cinema lies a big cat of different stripes, if not an altogether different species. For one, <Merantau> takes the coming-of-age storyline at its core very seriously, and works hard to establish and delineate the character arcs that lead to surprising but convincing resolutions. These features of the film are counter-balanced by the sharply kinetic, unflinchingly violent action(which spills very realistic, dark blood). While action set pieces performed by the sweet-faced Iko Uwais is not as jaw- dropping as, say, the ones patented by Tony Jaa, they are impressive enough, especially a bone-crunching
mash-up inside an elevator and the two-against-one climactic duel. <Merantau> suffers from the drawn-out pace(It certainly could use some trimming by 10 minutes or so, especially in the first half), and is probably too subdued or uneven for some hard-core action fans demanding a continuous supply of the adrenalin rush.  But the movie basically works: it is a hard-edged action film all right, but with the emotional texture that can prove authentically moving at unexpected moments. The film certainly succeeds in raising our curiosity about what Uwais and Evans will come up with next.

Wasn't scared, no really.
by Darcy Paquet

If I had been a normal teenager, I surely would have seen Tom Holland's horror classic <Child's Play>(1988) during my high school years. This year, PiFan kindly gave me the chance to rectify this gap in my film viewing history with its inclusion in the 'Thirteen' special program. But 20 years on, is Chucky still scary?
Surprisingly, yes. Although the film itself looked extremely dated, it's hard to imaginethat any application of CG effects could improve on the devilish demeanor of this murderous plastic doll. Indeed, the filmmakers seem to have understood well that a light use of effects and a limited range of movement for the doll are far more effective in emphasizing his malevolence.It was interesting to watch the reaction of the crowd on this Wednesday afternoon screening. There was a kind of stunned silence as the lights went up; you could sense that people wanted to ridicule the film, but that the lingering dread stirred up by Chucky kept them from speaking up.

D&B Films
by Stephen Cremin

This year's PiFan pays tribute to one of Hong Kong's key production companies, D&B Films. Founded by luxury goods entrepreneur Dickson Poon, action star Sammo Hung and producer John Sham in 1984, the company existed for just eight years during which time it produced several of the key films of the decade whilst invigorating and creating new genres.
One of the companies first films, <Owl vs Bumbo>, starred a 22-year-old Michelle Yeoh in her debut role opposite Sammo Hung and George Lam. She had just signed a two-year contract with D&B Films and the experience encouraged her to become an action star. She headlined a handful of features until her temporary retirement in 1988 after marrying Poon.
Sammo Hung's action-comedy <Owl vs Bumbo> is among the films screening in Puchon this year alongside Stanley Kwan’s urban drama <Love Unto Waste>(1986), Derek Yee's social commentary <The Lunatics>(1986), Mabel Cheung's immigration drama <An Autumn's Tale>(1987),
Stephen Shin's yuppie romance <Heart to Hearts>(1988) and Yuen Wo-ping's action film <Tiger Cage>(1988).
It's commendable that PiFan has chosen D&B Films as the subject of its tribute to 1980s Hong Kong cinema over the more predictable Cinema City. The latter, founded in 1980 by Karl Maka, Raymond Wong and Dean Shek, produced <A Better Tomorrow> <A Chinese Ghost Story> and <City on Fire>. D&B Films productions are less well known outside Hong Kong but equally important.
Michelle Yeoh and Dickson Poon divorced in 1991. Soon after Poon lost interest in movie production, shuttering D&B Films the following year. Yeoh made a high profile comeback opposite Jackie Chan in <Police Story 3: Super Cop>(1992) before finding international fame in James Bond movie <Tomorrow Never Dies>(1997) and <Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon>(2000).
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