Saturday, 12 November 2011

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2011 Day 4: Friday November 11, 2011


Heading out to Day 4 of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival for taking in their Friday Night screening of Saigon Electric and wow, it reminds me why this is usually the last festival I go to of the year is it was a chilly night hanging out at line outside The Royal, but the film was a lot of good hearted dance film fun so it was totally worth it. And I got a moment to say hi to director Stephane Gauger, who also directed Owl and the Sparrow /Cú và chim se sẻ which was at the festival in 2007 and I really enjoyed.


Saigon Electric
Dir: Stephane Gauger (Owl and the Sparrow /Cú và chim se sẻ)
Cast: Van Trang, Quynh Hoa, Zen 05, Khuong Ngo

I always keep dance films on my radar, and when looking through the festival calender this year Saigon Electric popped out at my right away as I loved director Stephane Gauger previous film Owl and the Sparrow /Cú và chim se sẻ, I love dance films - especially ones in the vein of people from different sides of the tracks working together. The very 2 different sides of the tracks include a girl who is a ribbon dancer and moves to the city from the countryside to audition for a dance school, and a group of disadvantaged but good-spirited hip hopping city kids who train at a youth centre. That's going to get me every time, and I actually loved the sweet nature of the film even though it still pairs as a coming of age film and has it's own fair share or romances. There is a beautiful kind-heartedness as the central spirit and driving force behind the teens, whether they are battling other hip hop dance crews or conflicts with their landlords. Thinking of it as a dance film, I would have loved to see a little more dancing but overall the human stories are the ones that carry us through over the killer moves and dance rivalries. It certainly made me smile and I was present with the characters through their trials & tribulations, dance or otherwise. Very sweet, tender and refreshingly optimistic to boot. I really enjoyed Saigon Electric.

Saigon Electric also plays next Saturday November 19, 2011 at 1:30PM at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. See more information on that screening here and see more about Saigon Electric at the films website

Reel Asian Artistic Director Heather Keung with Saigon Electric director Stephane Gauger

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2011 runs from November 5 - 13, 2011 in Toronto and November 18-19, 2011 in Richmond Hill in Ontario, Canada.

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