Hong Kong International Film Festival’s summer 2016 line-up: more diverse than ever

Woody Allen’s Café Society and Paul Verhoeven’s Elle bookend a programme that includes recent Asian films along with tributes to Hollywood musicals and the late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 10:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 1:20pm

The 2016 summer programme of the Hong Kong International Film Festival will open in August with Woody Allen’s 1930s-set Café Society, which also opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Officially referred to as the Cine Fan Summer International Film Festival (Summer IFF), the two-week event will close with the controversial rape revenge comedy Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert.

Sixteen of the 30 titles included are new or recent films, including much anticipated works by established filmmakers such as Thomas Vinterberg (The Commune), Terrence Malick (Knight of Cups) and Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship).

Asian entries span the major cinema markets: from China comes De Lan, recently picked as the best feature film at the Shanghai International Film Festival), while representing Japan is the two-part crime novel adaptation Six Four and from South Korea A Man and a Woman, inspired by Claude Lelouch’s eponymous 1966 classic, which is also screening in the festival’s “Restored Classics” section.

Two of the four documentaries featured are about filmmaking: Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words is a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary actress, while The Sion Sono considers the unusual career of the Japanese poet turned cult director. The other two titles explore the back story of heavy metal titan X Japan (We Are X) and the yucky possibilities of making food from insects (Bugs).

The “Life Is a Musical” section pays tribute to the Hollywood musical genre and presents eight classic titles, from the Gene Kelly vehicles Cover Girl (1944) and An American in Paris (1951) to the 1965 crowd-pleaser The Sound of Music. Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz (1939), starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, will be screened in a digitally remastered 3D version.

Apparently trying to cater to as wide an audience as possible, the programmers have included two musicals at the opposite end of the spectrum: Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap (1984) and Alan Parker’s Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982). As a homage to the influential Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who died on July 4, the festival is screening one of his most celebrated recent films, Certified Copy (2010).

Summer IFF runs from August 16 to 30 at various venues. Tickets will be on sale via Urbtix from July 27 onwards. For full programme details, visit http://cinefan.com.hk/