Magazine article Screen International

Beautiful 2014

Magazine article Screen International

Beautiful 2014

Article excerpt

Dirs: Zhang Yuan, Kang Je-kyu, Christopher Doyle, Shu Kei. Hong Kong-China. 2014. 117mins

The now annual HKIFF world premiere of the latest of the 'Beautiful' compilation films - backed jointly by Youkou, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society - typically offers up a mixed bag of four short films, linked by no obvious theme apart from the fact that love and compassion are at the core of most of them.

Beautiful 2014 once again reinforces the extent of the film making talent in the region.

All, though, are delightfully made and each distinctive in its own right, and while Beautiful 2014 could travel - and sell - as part of the 'Beautiful' branding each of the films could also exist as a stand-alone short and have (and deserve) profile at other international film festivals.

The first film is Kang Je-kyu's Awaiting, which stars South Korean Moon Chae-won (who starred in hit 2011 film War Of The Arrows) as Cho, a woman awaiting a reunion in Pyongyang with her husband Minwoo who travelled north of the border but failed to return home. Verging on the sentimental at times, its charming twist is nicely staged and gently moving, with the film making its point about families torn apart by the separation between North and South Korea with sad grace.

The second film is Shu Kei's The Dream, a lustrously shot period piece about a beautiful but bored housewife who fantasises about a tall dark stranger at the next table. Sadly the version seen had no subtitles, but its style and lingering sexuality were evident. …

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