You gotta love a film festival about which the email message, "Missiles or not, the film festival will go on!" is sent. The fest in question was the 10th Annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PIFAN), which was held a couple months ago, and Film Comment's Chris Chang was there to catch some of the 250 films being shown there. Chang gives some deliciously descriptive details about films such as Meatball Machine, an "industrial sci-fi splatterfest." I don't want to give away all the fun, but suffice it to say it involves some softball-sized metallic parasite puppet masters, a mad scientist, and "continuous jaw-to-the-floor cyber carnage." I was thinking of picking this up on DVD for the kids. A little cyber-carnage would be a nice respite from the endless episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine around here. And just think of all the fun they and their little friends would have playing "Parasite Puppet Masters."

If Meatball Machine doesn't suit, you could always check out Beneath the Cogon, which segues from a sensual romp in a stagnant swimming pool (I know, that seems like a contradiction in terms, but work with me here) to large fetal things in jars. Not really my thing; I'm much more interested in Taiwanese director Lin Tay-Jou's experimental short Bardo -- subtitled "Lamentation of the Dying Creatures." "Bardo" is a Buddhist term for the interval between one's death and rebirth, so the film is most assuredly not a nice, light-hearted romp. Chang describes the film thusly: "An apocalyptic, visual tone-poem, it borrows equally from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Biblical Judgment Day, and Dante-among other things." Oh, yeah! Give me that, a cheese course and a nice bottle of wine, and I'd be one happy cinegeek.

With all the movies I get to see, there are so many more that I miss. When I was a kid, I remember standing in a library and looking at the vast number of books, then going home and calculating how many books a day I'd have to read to read everything I wanted to before I died. I still feel distraught about all the unread books out there, and I feel the same about every intriguing movie that I don't get to see. But hey, the Seattle International Film Festival will be here in a scant seven months, and they show a lot of Asian film. Perhaps someone in the SIFF programming department has Bardo on their watch list; a film like that would play very well here, I think. I'll keep my fingers crossed. What fascinating films have you not seen yet that you're dying to add to your next film fest schedule or Green Cine queue?
categories Cinematical