Magazine article Screen International

Hong Kong Film Festival 2018 Preview

Magazine article Screen International

Hong Kong Film Festival 2018 Preview

Article excerpt

This year’s event includes a tribute to Lucrecia Martel and a Werner Herzog Masterclass.

‘Omotenashi’

For the first time, the 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF, March 19-April 5) will open with a double bill by two promising Taiwanese directors.

The world premiere of Jay Chern’s Omotenashi, a Kyoto-set romantic drama co-produced by Japan’s Shochiku, will be followed by veteran TV commercials director Maren Hwang’s debut feature Xiao Mei. The film, about a missing girl, is produced by Chung Mong Hong (The Great Buddha+) and premiered last month at the Berlinale. HKIFF will close with the world premiere of What A Wonderful Family! 3: My Wife, My Life by Japanese director Yoji Yamada.

Unlike in recent editions, none of these premium slots are filled by Hong Kong titles this year, reflecting an absence of world premieres of local films. “There was nothing suitable from those [films] that were available to us,” says Geoffrey Wong, who joined HKIFF as programmer in 2014 before assuming the post of director of programming last November. “The premiere of Hong Kong films depends on a lot of different factors. Various local productions are being prepared for shooting this year, and we hope there will be suitable Hong Kong films for us next year.”

Local flavour

Wong points out that the Hong Kong Panorama sidebar will screen eight local productions from last year, including Kearen Pang’s 29+1, Chasing The Dragon from directing duo Jason Kwan and Wong Jing, and Angie Chen’s I’ve Got The Blues, about artist Yank Wong, in the documentary strand.

“Hong Kong film retrospectives are now catered for by the Hong Kong Film Archive,” says HKIFF executive director Roger Garcia. “However, our annual Filmmaker In Focus highlights local talents. This year we’re excited to present the first tribute to Brigitte Lin, a true star of Chinese-language film.”

Lin rose to stardom in popular Taiwanese romantic dramas and later became a key figure in Hong Kong cinema, appearing in more than 100 Taiwan and Hong Kong films. Along with the rare opportunity to meet the screen legend in a face-to-face session, audiences will take in a 14-film retrospective, from Outside The Window, her 1973 debut film at the age of 17, and Cloud Of Romance - both newly restored - to Swordsman II, featuring her iconic gender-bending role, and Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express and Ashes Of Time Redux. …

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