Did you know that South Korea represents the fifth largest theatrical box office in the world? (More than Germany.) Or that Korean films and TV shows are sweeping Asia, with middle-aged ladies in Japan and the PRC swooning over SK pop stars? Or that Hong Kong star Andy Lau Tak-wah (Infernal Affairs, As Tears Go By, Running Out of Time) has been in 130-plus movies?
Variety for October 9-15 has a nice supplement pegged to the Puchan Film Festival detailing what’s on there. Kristin and I went once, and we had a great time (despite my coming down with pneumonia). It’s fall’s most important Asian film festival, with Hong Kong playing a parallel role in the spring. Online you can go to VARIETY  or SCREEN INTERNATIONAL .
This year’s outing gives the award for Asian Filmmaker of the Year to Andy. He is of course a major pop idol–singer, TV star, film star, and model for fashion, shoes, watches, cameras, and God knows what else. After twenty-five years in the business, he still has charisma; I’ve seen a stadium full of teenage girls burst into a frenzy, screaming, “Tak-wah!”
Andy’s used his clout to benefit local and regional cinema. His production company Focus has supported a lot of recent work, notably Crazy Stone, and his First Cuts program underwrote such films as Patrick Tam’s After This Our Exile and Ou Yuhang’s Rain Dogs. (On the last, see my Vancouver blogs). And Andy is only 45 (though he looks about 30, dammit).