The upcoming 42nd edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival announced their lineup. The festival will run for 18 days from March 19th until April 5th, 2018. The opening night on March 19th will feature two gorgeous films from two promising Taiwanese directors – Omotenashi, directed by Jay Chern and Xiao Mei, directed by Maren Hwang. Closing film will be the World Premiere of What a Wonderful family! 3: My Wife, My Life, the latest work from the acclaimed comedy series by the Japanese master Yamada Yoji.
Omotenashi is a co-production of Japan and Taiwan with up-and-coming Taiwanese director Jay Chern, which offers a heartwarming portrayal of the younger generation learning to appreciate the cultural differences and traditional values through love and respect; whereas Maren Hwang’s Xiao Mei brilliantly juggles elements of film noir and suspense in exploring the riddle of identity and truth through the mystic tale of a vanished girl. Directors and casts of both opening films will join HKIFF42 Grand Opening on 19 March. Veteran director Yamada Yoji continues his success inWhat a Wonderful Family! 3: My Wife, My Life, the third installment of his amusing series that playfully exposes the changing values and behavior within contemporary Japanese society. The world premiere of this much anticipated film will bring a delightful conclusion to this year’s Festival.
The “Filmmaker in Focus” this year is Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, one of the most distinguished actresses in Chinese language cinema. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of her career since her screen debut, HKIFF42 will showcase 14 of her films including the new restoration of her first film Outside the Window. Lin will share her insights on film and life in the “Face to Face” seminar.
Werner Herzog, one of cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, will attend HKIFF42 and conduct a Master Class. His first visit to the Festival will be honored by a retrospective of his films, giving local audiences a rare opportunity to watch his classics, including four of his greatest cinematic achievements and his latest documentary Into the Inferno, which reflect his frantic imagination and poetic stylization.
HKIFF will also present the Hong Kong premiere of HTC’s first virtual reality (VR) Chinese language film, The Deserted. This groundbreaking work is directed by Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-Liang, with the support of HTC VIVE, ZOTAC Computer, and the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Film. TSAI and Golden Horse Award winner Lee Kang-Sheng will lead the Hong Kong audience through an unparalleled eye-opening VR experience, and share their visions of this cinematic innovation in a Master Class.
In addition to the two masters, the Japanese documentarian Hara Kazuo, known for his highly original and controversial films, will bring his latest work Sennan Asbestos Disaster and meet the audience in a Master Class. Several world-renowned directors will also visit Hong Kong for screenings of their films. Acclaimed American independent filmmaker Sean Baker, with his celebrated new film The Florida Project, will share his filmmaking experience. Kagawa Kyoko, the legendary Japanese actress of the Mizoguchi Kenji masterpiece A Story from Chikamatsu, and Ozu Yasujiro’s classic Tokyo Story will share her collaborations with the giants of Japanese cinema following the screening of the newly restored classic. The late Filipino master, Ishmael Bernal, will be featured in the Restored Classics section, and his longtime screenwriter, Ricky Lee, will also meet the audience to share his insights.
Cinephiles can enjoy a number of internationally award-winning films firsthand at the HKIFF. These include In the Fade, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and Cannes Best Actress Award for Diane Kruger’s powerhouse performance; Joaquin Phoenix took home the Cannes Best Actor Award with You Were Never Really Here, which won the Cannes Best Screenplay Award alongside The Killing of a Sacred Deer; as well as Cannes Jury Prize winner and Oscar-nominated Loveless. Award winners from the Venice Film Festival include Grand Jury Prize winner Foxtrot, Special Jury Prize winner Sweet Country, Best Director award winner Custody, Best Actress Award for Charlotte Rampling in Hannah, and Best Actor Award for Kamel El Basha in The Insult. The Berlinale award winners include Grand Jury Prize for Mug, Outstanding Artistic Contribution Award for Dovlatov, winners of FIPRESCI Jury Prizes for River’s Edge andAn Elephant Sitting Still, the latter also won Special Mention for Best First Feature Award.
Multifaceted Argentine and Danish films open up new frontiers in the international scene. HKIFF42 will celebrate the achievement of Lucrecia Martel, a major auteur and forceful leading light of New Argentine Cinema, by showcasing four of her acclaimed works, including Zama, her latest and multiple award-winning film. In the New Danish Cinema section, six outstanding films will be showcased, including Thelma, a chilling psychological thriller from director Joachim Trier, the topical Borg/McEnroe, and Winter Brothers, winner of four major awards at the Locarno International Film Festival.
The Awards Gala Night will feature the international premiere of Transit, directed by acclaimed German auteur Christian Petzold. The French Night will feature Custody, helmed by the Venice Best Director winner Xavier Legrand, who will come to Hong Kong to greet the audience. HKIFF will also present the Canadian film Ava, a feature debut about women’s fight for independence by Sadaf Foroyghi, who will meet the audience at the screenings.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Polish independence, HKIFF42 will present a prelude program “70 years of Polish Animation: Live Animation x Music”. The program will feature celebrated Polish filmmaker-animator Mariusz Wilczyński with live hand-drawn animation while the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will present fabulous music under the baton of Polish conductor Sebastian Periowski.
In response to what the festival describes as “overwhelming response” HKIFF has decided to continue with the “Audience Choice Award”, which was first launched last year.