Film festival offers global gems
Fans can look forward to new and classic films from around the world when the curtain goes up on the 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival next month.
While there are fewer of the star-studded Chinese hits that have been a major part of the festival in previous years, those who love discovering big-screen gems from around the world will be in for a treat.
The festival's opening night on March 21 will see the premiere of Hong Kong director Pang Ho-cheung's feature Love in the Buff at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
A sequel to Pang's acclaimed and widely popular local romance Love in the Puff, Miriam Yeung Chin-wah and Shawn Yue Man-lok reprise their roles as a pair going through relationship dramas, this time taking place north of the border.
The closing film will be the latest offering by award-winning mainland director Wang Quan'an, White Deer Plain. An adaptation of Chen Zhongshi's controversial novel of the same name, the film, which was screened in competition at this year's Berlin International Film Festival and won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic achievement, tells an epic story involving two families living in White Deer Plain in Shaanxi province.
This year's film festival features 283 films from 50 countries or regions. While the latest works from big name stars and directors will feature, organisers are keen to salute world cinema.
The Animation Unlimited section features Alois Nebel, a Czech Republic/German 'animated crime noir' and Crulic - The Path to Beyond, the true story of the death of a young Romanian retold in animation.
Highlights of the Reality Bites documentary section will include Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, an Oscar-nominated film examining the legal fight to free three Americans accused of a string of child murders, and First Position, which follows the harsh lives of six gifted ballet dancers.
One star who will be dropping in will be Keanu Reeves, who will present Side by Side, a documentary he produced, and meet the public at the Jockey Club Cine Academy master class on March 18 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Chan Ho-sun, this year's 'Filmmaker-in-Focus', will also join an academy session on April 3.
Acclaimed actress Charlotte Rampling will present the premiere of a new film about her, The Look.
Festival executive director Roger Garcia said that he hoped to groom the next generation of film audience through some new initiatives.
Three free screenings - Come Drink with Me by King Hu, I Wish by Hirokazu Kore-eda and Francois Truffaut's Small Change - will mark the 50th anniversary of City Hall, with some seats reserved for students.
Garcia hopes that in future the festival, which receives HK$10.91 million in funding from CreateHK, can be expanded into the summer. 'I hope to take films outside [the city centre] and do free shows for children,' he said.
The festival will run until April 5. For ticketing details visit hkiff.org.hk.