By Ibarra C. Mateo
Award-winning playwright and director Chong Wishing is visiting Manila to grace the screenings of his film and for a series of discussions, which are among the highlights of the 2019 Japanese Film Festival in Manila (Eiga Sai).
Chong’s “Yakiniku Dragon” 焼肉ドラゴン (2018) will be screened on Aug. 16-17, 2019 at the UP Diliman’s Film Institute (UPFI) as part of the 22nd edition of the Eiga Sai in Manila.
“Yakiniku Dragon” is the film adaptation of a successful stage play that explores the struggles of the Korean community in 1970s Osaka.
“Yakiniku Dragon offers its viewers a look into the vigorous life of a Korean community in the 1970s era Japan. In the outskirts of Osaka, in a squatter settlement on government property, a Korean family runs a barbecue restaurant. With a wife, three daughters and a son, the father Yong-gil lives with bravado, but is gradually bombarded by the tides of the times,” the Japan Foundation, Manila said in an announcement emailed to media.
In this film, Chong brings his successful theater production to the big screen. Yakiniku Dragon, the play, was a collaboration between the Seoul Arts Center and the New National Theatre Tokyo.
It has received numerous theater awards including the 8th Asahi Performing Arts Awards Grand Prix, the 12th Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award, the 16th Yomiuri Theater Award for Best Play, and the 59th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts.
Yakiniku Dragon, the film, was produced in 2018 and marks Chong’s first feature film as a director. It showcases a cast of leading Japanese and Korean actors including Mao Inoue, Yoko Maki, and Kim Sang-Ho.
Yakiniku Dragon was the opening film of the 19th Jeonju International Film Festival, a festival dedicated to alternative / independent films worldwide that supports freedom of expression in cinema.
As a third-generation Korean living in Japan himself, Chong’s life experiences reflect prominently in his works.
Chong was born in July 1957 in Japan and studied in the Department of Arts of the Yokohama Movie and Broadcasting College. In 1993, he won the 38th Kishida Prize for Drama for his play “The Terayama”, wherein the same year he branched out into film, and his movie “All Under the Moon” (1993) won the prize for Best Screenplay from both the Mainichi Film Competition and the Kinema Junpo Award.
He published a collection of essays “Andreas’s Hat” in 1995 then bagged several awards for his movie ‘Begging for Love” (1998), including the Kinema Junpo Awards, Japan Academy, and the First Asia-Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay.
He also won the 2001 National Arts Festival Grand Prize for his TV drama “I’ll Be Eighteen Tomorrow” (2001).
Together with film producers Toru Emori and Hirotake Sasaki, he is scheduled for a Director’s Talk on Aug. 16, 2 pm and Aug. 17, 4:30 pm at UPFI Cine Adarna.
They will also take part in a talk and roundtable discussion on film production in Japan and the Philippines, together with award-winning producer-director Prof. Giancarlo Abrahan for select UP film students and filmmakers, at the UPFI Videotheque on Aug. 16, 1:30 pm.
Screenings of Yakiniku Dragon and other festival entries at UPFI on Aug. 14-17 are free of charge.
Note: Yakiniku Dragon (2018), running time 126 min | Drama, Feature | Color.
Story: Film adaptation of the play that has been honored with numerous theater awards. Warm portrayal of the joys and sorrows of a Korean family living in Japan, set in the Kansai region when Japan’s economy was booming. Playwright Chong Wishing wrote the screenplay and makes his directorial debut with this film. In 1970, the Kansai region was jubilant over the World Expo in Osaka.
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Japan Foundation, Manila Images