Second Sight: 'Kora' by Du Jiayi
The debut directorial effort of Shanghai-born actor-producer Du Jiayi, Kora tells the story of a young man from Taiwan who embarks on a lengthy and arduous bicycle trip from Lijiang (in Yunnan province) to Lhasa, Tibet - one that his beloved elder brother had planned but was unable to go on prior to his untimely death. Filled with scenes of great natural beauty, the adventure drama feels at times like a documentary - and not just because its protagonist and the actor playing him (Bryan Chang Shu-hao) share the same Chinese name.
Kora (which means "prayer walk" in Tibetan) is among the 10 films in this year's Chinese Film Panorama jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and the South China Film Industry Workers Union.
With its selections including a cold war-era drama set on what was then the Chinese-Soviet border ( Memories from the Watchtower) and another drama set in the Shaanxi province city of Ankang ( Folk Songs Singing), the programme's geographic span is broad.
Interviewed at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival (where Kora garnered the best artistic contribution award), Du said: "From the very beginning, I wanted to make Kora an Asian film rather than a Chinese film. I asked a Korean crew to make the colour corrections. And Michiru Oshima from Japan took care of music. I believe if filmmakers across Asia get together, we can make a film that can be a worldwide success."
Along with a Taiwanese star, Kora has a Taiwanese producer in Chen Kuo-fu. The film is based on Taiwanese writer Hsieh Wang-lin's book chronicling his 60-day bicycle journey along the 2,000km route. Du has gone on this demanding two-wheeled road trip too, and his experiences add to the sense of authenticity permeating the film.
Kora, today, 4pm, Cine-Art House, Nov 8, 7.30pm, HK Film Archive, Nov 18, 7.30pm, HK Space Museum. Part of the Chinese Film Panorama 2012 programme