International galas at this year's HKIFF include Peter Strickland's The Duke Of Burgundy (pictured), SABU's Chasuke's Journey, David Cronenberg's Maps To The Stars, Matthew Warchus' BAFTA-winning Pride, Kornel Mundruczo's White God, Ruben Ostlund's Force Majeure, Yann Demange's '71, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 3D adventure The Young And Prodigious T.S. Spivet, Peter Greenaway's Eisenstein In Guanajuato and French drama Party Girl, from Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis.
This year's Master Class programme includes a host of prestige titles from the festival circuit, headlined by Berlin Golden Bear winner Taxi, from Jafar Panahi, and Oscar nominees Timbuktu (pictured) from Abderrahmane Sissako and documentary The Salt Of the Earth from Wim Wenders and Julian Salgado, focusing on acclaimed Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. Also in this section are P'tit Quinquin from Bruno Dumont, Im Kwon-taek's Revivre, The Postman's White Knights from Andrey Konchalovskiy, and Wu Tianming's Song Of The Phoenix.
Swedish auteur Roy Andersson is the subject of the spotlight programme Roy Andersson - The Critical Surrealist, which includes the local premiere of his Venice Golden Lion winner A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (pictured), as well as screenings of A Swedish Love Story (1970), Giliap (1975), Songs From The Second Floor (2000) You, The Living (2007) and a collection of shorts and commercials.
Tsukamoto Shinya's bold re-interpretation of Ichikawa Kon's classic Iwo Jima drama Fires On The Plain (pictured) heads up the Auteurs programme, which also includes The Forbidden Room from Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, In The Basement from Ulrich Seidl, Tales from Rakshsan Banietemad, Alexei German Jr's Under Electric Clouds, Lech Mejewski's Field Of Dogs and Hal Hartley's latest, Ned Rifle.
Toa Fraser's fantastic Maori warrior adventure, The Dead Lands, brings a welcome dose of adrenaline to the Global Vision programme, which also includes the likes of Amour Fou from Jessica Hausner, Ixcanul Volcano from Jayro Bustamante, Masashi Yamamoto's The Voices of Water, Malgorzata Szumowska's Body and the incredible sign-language-only drama from Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, The Tribe.
A new section this year, German Cinema Now, looks to be one of the festival's most exciting, if only because it features the Asian Premiere of Sebastian Schipper's one-take action thriller Victoria, which went down a storm in Berlin earlier this month. The programme also includes Andreas Dresen's As We Were Dreaming, Giulio Ricciarelli's Labyrinth of Lies and Dietrich Bruggemann's Stations Of The Cross.
This year's Midnight Heat sidebar has uncovered a quartet of arthouse genre gems, and first among them is certainly Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz's terrifying Goodnight Mommy, which traumatised audiences at Fantastic Fest last September. Also screening are Jonas Alexander Arnby's When Animals Dream, Juanfer Andres and Esteban Roel's Shrew's Nest, and Eric Cherriere's Cruel.
More delights from New Zealand emerge in the form of Jermaine Clement and Taikia Waititi's sublime vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows. Joining it in the I See It My Way sidebar are the excellent Corrections Class from Ivan T. Tverdowsky, Lisa Takeba's insane follow-up to The Pinkie, Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory, Ryuichi Hiroki's Kabukicho Love Hotel and Taisuke Kawamura's Princess Jellyfish.
Also worth mentioning is the appearance of Best Animated Feature Oscar nominee Song Of The Sea from The Secret Of Kells director Tomm Moore, which absolutely should not be missed.
Joshua Oppenheimer's compelling follow-up to his Earth-shattering documentary The Act Of Killing, The Look Of Silence features in one of this year's two documentary sections: Reality Bites and Filmmakers And Filmmaking. Other highlights include Sunflower Occupation from a host of Taiwanese talent, Dark Star: HR Giger's World from Belinda Sallin, The 50 Year Argument from Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi and Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery. Ruediger Suchsland's From Caligari To Hitler is also an unmissable treat.
The Hong Kong International Film Festival has always maintained an incredibly strong focus on restored classics and repertory screenings. This year proves no exception, featuring four films from Japanese auteur Ichikawa Kon, including An Actor's Revenge and Tokyo Olympiad; another quartet of classics from Naruse Mikio, including a 50th anniversary restoration of Floating Clouds; Shinsuke Ogawa is also celebrated with screenings of four of his best offerings.
Outside of these celebrations of Japanese filmmakers, this year's festival also sees beautifully restored presentations of world cinema classics from all eras, including Robert Wiene's sensational The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai, Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon A Time In America, Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas and Powell and Pressburger's newly restored The Tales of Hoffmann (pictured). Festival-goers will also be gifted the dubious treat of revisiting Bernando Bertolucci's Oscar juggernaut The Last Emperor in its new 3D retrofit. Sergei Parajanov's The Colour of Pomegranates and Tsai Ming-liang's Rebels Of The Neon Gods will also screen.