Omotenashi, the latest drama from Taiwanese-American filmmaker Jay Chern (Dawn/Spring, Warmth), and Maren Hwang’s debut thriller, Xiao Mei, have been announced as the opening films of the 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival, which will run from 19 March to 5th April 2018. Closing the festival is the world premiere of Yoji Yamada’s ensemble comedy What a Wonderful Family! 3: My Wife, My Life. Featuring over 250 films from more than 55 countries, the festival has always been the cinematic highpoint of the year in Hong Kong, but it cannot go unnoticed how few locally-produced films are playing this year, and the notable scarcity of world premieres.
That said, this year’s lineup include some impressive highlights, including Master Classes with Tsai Ming-liang, to accompany his VR experiential film The Deserted, German filmmaker Werner Herzog and Japanese documentarian Hara Kazuo, together with screenings of many of their films. Local premieres of festival favourites The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos), Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz), You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay), The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) and The Florida Project (Sean Baker), among others, also feature among this year’s Gala Presentations.
This year’s Filmmaker in Focus is Hong Kong screen legend Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia. 14 classic films from Lin’s bountiful career will be shown, including Love Massacre, Peking Opera Blues and Chungking Express, and the actress will take part in an onstage Face-to-Face on 31 March. New Danish Cinema also comes under the spotlight, with films such as Joachim Trier’s Thelma and Janus Metz’s Borg/McEnroe.
Fresh from this year’s Berlinale, the 42nd HKIFF will also host the Asian Premieres of Grand Jury Prize winner Mug (Małgorzata Szumowska), Outstanding Artistic Contribution Award winner Dovlatov (Alexey German Jr.), as well as FIPRESCI Jury Prize winners River’s Edge (Isao Yukisada) and An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo). Other Berlin titles to screen at the festival include Thomas Stuber’s In The Aisles, Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx and Lola Arias’s Theatre of War.
As well as showcasing hundreds of the best offerings from the past year in film, HKIFF has always featured a robust retrospective selection. 2018 proves no exception, with newly restored versions of Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death, Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer, Kenji Mizuguchi’s A Story From Chikamatsu and the full version of Yilmaz Guney and Seref Goren’s Turkish epic Yol, as well as Wim Wenders’ perennial favourite Wings of Desire, and Michael Mann’s crime classic Heat.
Ishmael Bernal was hailed as a genius of Filipino Cinema, and a pillar of the New Wave from the 1970s that also brought the world Lino Brocka and Mike De Leon. Three of his most celebrated films, At The Top (1971), You Are Mine (1978) and Miracle (1982) will all be screened in newly restored versions.
In addition, the festival will feature all of its regular sections, highlighting documentaries and animation, as well as the Firebird Awards, celebrating Young Cinema, Short Films and documentaries. This year’s Pan-Chinese Cinema celebration shines a light on a number of the more obscure titles from the region, as well as the Hong Kong Panorama, revisiting the best local titles from the past 12 months.
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