Our must-see guide to the festival
'Rediscovered' by film-goers (and financiers) after the moving documentary Of Time and the City, Terence Davies - whose last fictional feature was the 2000 period drama The House of Mirth - returns to his favourite topics of transgressive romances and suppressed emotions with a fine adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea (Mar 29, 9.45pm, Hong Kong Cultural Centre; Apr 4, 12.30pm, City Hall). Another veteran on the move is the 99-year-old Shindo Naketo, who drew from his wartime memories to make Postcard (Mar 25, 7.30pm, Grand Cinema; Mar 31, 10.30am, City Hall), about a soldier's re-engagement with the challenges of life back home.
While Bence Fliegauf's Just the Wind (Mar 24, 12.30pm, Mar 26, 9.30pm, UA Langham Place), about the persecution of the Roma community in a Hungarian village, tackles the alarming emergence of the far-right in mainstream politics, the increasingly conservative leanings of the country's cultural establishment is taken to task in Hungary 2011 (Mar 25, 8pm, UA Cityplaza; Apr 2, 5.30pm, Science Museum). Produced by Bela Tarr and featuring shorts directed by 11 filmmakers spanning generations (from Miklos Jancso to Agnes Kocsis, Gyorgy Palfi and Fliegauf), the portmanteau amounts to a collective cry in support of socially engaged, thought-provoking art.
The festival follows up on its two previous Quattro short-film collections with the omnibus film Beautiful 2012 (Mar 22, 7.15pm, Mar 24, 10.30am, Mar 28, 5.30pm, UA Cityplaza), which features the efforts of Gu Changwei (Long Tou, about the meeting of an author, an artist, a forager and a young girl); Tsai Ming-liang (Walker, with Lee Kang-sheng's monk reflecting as he walks the streets of Hong Kong); Kim Tae-yong (You Are More than Beautiful, about a man and the woman he pays to act as his girlfriend in front of his ailing father) and Hong Kong's Ann Hui On-wah (My Way, in which a middle-aged, middle-class executive hauls himself out of the lie of a life he's living).
A 15-parter tracing the development of cinema, Mark Cousin's The Story of Film, An Odyssey begins with Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers' flickering images and ends with the arrival of digital technology and new cinematic languages beyond the Euro-American arthouse axis. This mammoth production is being shown in five screenings of three parts (various times from Mar 30 to Apr 9, Space Museum and Hong Kong Arts Centre). Davy Chou's Golden Slumbers (Mar 23, 9.45pm, Space Museum; Apr 3, 12.30pm, Hong Kong Arts Centre) tells a more intimate but no less powerful story about cinema, as he documents Cambodian filmmakers trying to restore a film heritage laid waste by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s.
Now mostly known for lyrical and lushly photographed interpretations of Indonesia's historical legends, director Garin Nugroho's latest film, The Blindfold (Mar 22, 5.15pm, Mar 27, 9.30pm, UA Cityplaza), is a comparatively conventional drama about how fundamentalist groups brainwash and blackmail students to join their cause.
His daughter, Kamila Andini, is following in his footsteps: her debut, The Mirror Never Lies (Mar 23, 9.30pm, Grand Cinema, Mar 26, 1.30pm, Space Museum, Mar 29, 5.15pm, UA iSquare), captures the unravelling bonds within a fishing community, using the magical-surrealist metaphor of the mirror as a reflection of a girl's psyche.
Of the three feature-length films in the festival's avant-garde section, two were either helmed by or about well-established legends (Jonas Mekas and Peter Kubelka). But take note of the documentary Bestiaire (Mar 26, 9.30pm, Mar 30, 5.30pm, UA iSquare): Quebecois filmmaker Denis Cote reflects on the different ways in which people connect with animals - a wry take on life which he has done so well with his previous fictional films.