Tag Archives: DocEdge

DocEdge 17 | Tokyo Idols

Canada / United Kingdom | 2017 | 89 min | Japanese / English Sub | Kyoko Miyake

Tokyo Idols focuses on idol culture in Japan and is more of an overview, rather than an in-depth look at what is a facinating subject.

We are introduced to young aspiring idols (some very young), and the journey that they inevitably will take on their road to success – or not. With so many eager would-be idols striving for the top spot, the competition is fierce and truly popularity based. A dominating factor of this popularity contest is based on a superficial image constructed by and for the individual. Innocence, youth, vitality, and cuteness are all key qualitites.

The fandom (and potential to profit from ‘super-fans’) is what seemingly drives this industry; However, once you start looking closer at this, questions start arising. Why are these sometimes significantly older men so emotionally invested in these young girls? Is it obsession? How healthy or unhealthy is this obsession?

With a constructed image of innocence and youth catering so blatantly to the personal desires of these fans, one has to consider some realities, such as safety of the idols (and perhaps a few other things).

This is cleverly illustrated with the characters we are introduced to; specifically Rio Hiiragi, or ‘RioRio’, to her fans. She is paving her way to hopeful success by doing her own promotional work, and utilises her small fan-base for support; you can truly see her earnest determination to succeed.

If you have little to zero knowledge of the subject, I would  highly recommend this as a introduction or taster if you will; It provides a fantastic overview as well as an objective take on Idol culture.

Absolutely recommend.


The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June – www.docedge.nz

DocEdge 17 | Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves

Netherlands / Germany | Chinese / English Sub | 2017 | 80 min | Laetitia Schoofs

‘Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves’ subject matter is highly relevant and current, touching on sensitive issues not often discussed in Chinese culture and commonly considered taboo. In-depth sexual education for women is scarce and not as widely available in this setting, and we gain some insight into what is becoming more available in terms of education in modern Chinese culture, with the happiness and satisfaction of these women in mind.

Much is still suppressed in regards to the control the Government exercises, however this is being challenged  – we are introduced to some captivating women; intelligent, independant and attractive. Women whom are sometimes condisered ‘freaks’, as they are unmarried, single, without children and past their mid-twenties. They are subject to the cultural and societal pressures placed upon them, however the discovery and acceptance of the fact that they do not need to reply on a male partner for their sexual satisfaction is empowering to some.

Director Laetitia Schoofs has a sensitivity and gentle beauty to the treatment of her subject, which is felt throughout the viewing of “Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves’. At times I was reminded of last years DocEdge screening for ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’, and in a way these films are both linked – hopefully creating some awareness and understanding of the juxtaposition of a culture held back by tradition, but propelling towards modernerty at a rate which highlights these shortcomings so blatantly.

Highly recommended.

The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June – www.docedge.nz






DocEdge 16 | Inside the Chinese Closet

China | Mandarin / English | 2015 | 72 min | Feature film | Sophia Luvarà

Inside the Chinese Closet is a look into the life and struggle of what it means to be Chinese and Gay in a modern society, bound by the social and cultural expectations of family. It focuses on two contrasting situations; Andy lives in urban Shanghai, and is searching for a lesbian psuedo-wife of convenience to bear his child and appease his family. Socially active, with a calm self-confidence, he is challenged by these social constructs; although his father may to accept his lifestyle to a degree – it is still referred to as ‘his issue’, and something to solve. His journey explores his options, including IVF, surrogates & adoption.

Cherry is a different personality entirely. From countryside China; she is emotionally sombre, and possibly procrastinating when it comes to the task of actually procuring a child. Many complications prolong the process, to the very apparent frustration of her parents. Her Father especially seems to rule with an iron fist, while her endearing Mother tries to understand her daughters homosexuality (and fails).

What I came to realise early on is that there is a real sense of unity in China’s Gay community, as their situation is unique, and they are stuck in this in-between place; a forward moving, industrious China vs. cultural tradition. Andy and Cherry are very real people; Sophia Luvarà illustrates this with beauty and sensitivity.

I would highly recommend adding ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ to your view-list, premiering in New Zealand this May at the DocEdge Film Festival. Get your tickets HERE.

The 11th DocEdge Festival takes place in Wellington 4-15 May and Auckland 18-29 May. www.docedge.nz

seen | Trend Beacons

Trend forecasting is like putting together pieces of a puzzle, quite early on, says Christine Boland, a jet-setting trend forecaster. Boland is one of the many experts interviewed on Trend Beacons, included are Clemens Rameckers and Arnold van Geuns, the art and design duo behind RAVAGE and David Shah to name a few.

Trend Beacons reveals just how trend experts act like sponges and soak in everything around them to predict which direction we will be heading towards in two years time. They pick up early on certain things and anticipate what the consumer’s reactions would be to them. Boland says that a trend is an answer of a consumer need or drive although we don’t know it just yet. She further adds how artists are more sensitive to these needs which is why trend forecasters pay attention to them. Trends are not only restricted to fashion as we discover in the documentary, but extends to other industries including automobiles, food, architecture, furniture and more.

David Shah who is a trend analyst, magazine publisher and a market analysis specialist talks about how it’s currently all about the branded concept with the branders being on top and consumers coming second. He further discusses his distaste for the work “trend” and how he’d rather use the word relevant in its place.

Trend Beacons is shot in a few different cities including Paris where they visit the Premier Vision Textile Exhibition, as well as Amsterdam and Cape Town. The fact that it was shot in multiple locations shows how trends affect every corner of the globe and isn’t just restricted to a certain place. With the advent of social media and fast fashion, one of the trend forecasters has said how the speed has killed quality. Also with technology, it means there are more trends on the market giving consumers more of a choice and forcing designers to be specific as to which trend they focus on.

What will happen in the future? According to Christine Boland the world will think more holistically and more circular. There is a big need for trust and faith amongst consumers and producers. People are quite concerned about privacy which results in what she has termed “intimacy capital” where people will start to share less of their private information. There will be a shift from centralized organised society to a more decentralized society.
The youth no longer finds financial capital interesting and sees social capital as an indicator of a person’s status. There is less focus on material and possessions and more on skills and access. We will hopefully move from an ego driven system to an eco driven system.

It’s quite an idealistic and optimistic view of the future, but here’s hoping she’s on the money with that trend forecast.

Trend Beacons is now showing as part of this year’s Documentary Edge Festival. For more information on screenings and tickets, visit here.