Hot festival tickets

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 April, 1999, 12:00am

Each year at this time, I contact the civil servant who knows about these things, and ask her for details about which tickets are still left for the Hong Kong International Film Festival in order to remind you, ardent film fans, that all hope is not lost.

In years past, the list has been endless. This year, it is not.

There are seven tickets left for Ken Loach's latest film, My Name Is Joe (April 3, 6pm, April 6, 12.30pm). The Joe of the title is a recovering alcoholic with a warm heart, living in one of the grimmer parts of Scotland, who finds his desperate attempts to stay on the straight and narrow thwarted by the need to help his family.

Peter Mullan plays Joe and won an award at Cannes for his performance.

Joe's path to redemption comes partly through his love for his social worker, a woman who cannot resist him either, even though she knows business and pleasure really should not mix.

Slam (April 4, 6pm) also has a man on the road to rehabilitation falling for a woman he thinks can help him climb out of a load of trouble.

The hero is a young man living on the mean streets of Washington DC, who gets sent to jail when the police pick him up with a pocketful of grass on him.

In prison, he discovers poetry through the intervention of a lovely teacher sent to tame the inmates with a creative writing course, and when he gets out, he hunts for her.

The film was inspired by the documentary SlamNation, about the slamming competitions, a kind of rap without the music, and not every critic was completely convinced by the way it mixed fiction and fact.

Sometimes the director Marc Levine plays mischievous games with the casting that do not make the line much clearer: former Washington mayor Marion Barry plays a tired judge who makes a long speech about the evils of drug abuse, a nice conceit since of course Barry himself made a political comeback after being caught by the FBI smoking crack in a hotel room.

But the movie got an award at Sundance, and another at Cannes, so it is not a film to miss.

Hundred Percent (April 4, 9pm) is not 100 per cent sold out either, which is the most astonishing news of all, because this first feature by American director Eric Koyanagi got a lot of play as the film that would relaunch Asian-American independent movies.

Koyanagi's daring idea was to make a movie about three Asian American guys just hanging out and living, rather than agonising about the generation gap. The Joy Luck Club for boys this is not, although there is a link with that earlier movie: actress Tamlyn Tomita stars in both.

In Koyanagi's movie, set in Venice Beach, one guy finds his true love while working in a coffee shop.

A second finds a load of trouble when he messes up an assignment handed out by his Rastafarian boss.

The third, played by Garret Wang from Star Trek, is an aspiring actor on the verge of giving up because he is sick of playing waiters or triads.

Arts and crafts on Lamma Away from the film festival, the Second Lamma Arts and Crafts Market takes place this weekend on Power Station Beach Road, Lamma.

The organisers promise 40 stalls selling all the kinds of arts and crafts one may expect on Lamma, with several alternative medicine practitioners, astrologists and other New Age thinkers on hand (excuse the pun) to give advice on life and future happiness.

Lamma's reputation as a haven for hippies with more essential oils than sense is doubtless going to be reconfirmed several times over by this array of services, but what is wrong with that? Several performers will be turning up too, including Mamadou M'Baye and the HK Cabaret Company, so all in all, two days of good, clean healthy fun, all under the shadow of that hideous power station.

The whole event is partly sponsored by a very straight organisation indeed, Hongkong Electric, and in a very worthy cause: to enable the environmental group A Better Living Environment to fund a tree-nursery on the island.