Ten highlights of the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2015

Titles from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Turkey among the picks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 October, 2015, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 October, 2015, 6:11pm

1. She Remembers, He Forgets

All eyes are on Adam Wong Sau-ping as the director premieres his much-anticipated follow-up to The Way We Dance, the 2013 indie drama that became a pop-cultural phenomenon in Hong Kong. In the new film, Miriam Yeung Chin-wah plays an unhappily married woman who searches her adolescent memories for comfort. (Oct 28 & 30, opening film)

2. Ten Years

It’s not the best of times for Hong Kong, and five emerging directors have joined forces to reflect that view on this gloomy project. Revolving around their musings about the city a decade from now, the omnibus film touches on everything from political violence, social injustice, the decline of local identity and the demise of homegrown food. (Nov 15 & 16)

3. Zinnia Flower

After Tom Lin Shu-yu lost his wife to illness in 2012, the Taiwanese director of such lyrical efforts as Winds of September and Starry Starry Night channels his grief in this pensive two-handed drama, starring Karena Lam Ka-yan and Mayday guitarist Shi Chin-hang as two people who have lost their respective spouses in a car accident. (Oct 31, Nov 1)

4. Miss Hokusai

An animated feature exploring the artistic process, this father-daughter drama – adapted from a work by the late female manga artist  Hinako Sugiura – takes an intricate look at the lives of early-19th-century ukiyo-e (woodprint) artist  Hokusai Katsushika and his talented but largely unknown daughter  O-Ei through a series of delightfully crafted vignettes. (Nov 1 & 3)

5. Right Now, Wrong Then

It is tempting to think of Hong Sang-soo – who structures each of his films as variations of the same story, mostly involving creative types – as a one-trick pony. While the auteur’s latest – a two-part drama about a filmmaker and a painter – is no exception, this Golden Leopard winner at the Locarno Film Festival also happens to be one of his best. (Oct 31, Nov 2)

6. Mustang

Playing like a Turkish The Virgin Suicides, first-time director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s coming-of-age comedy-drama follows five orphan sisters’ acts of rebellion against their ultra-conservative guardians in a remote village completely alien to the notion of women’s rights. This gripping film is also France’s representative at next year’s Academy Awards. (Nov 21 & 22)

7. In the Room

With longstanding interest in the underbelly of Singaporean society, director Eric Khoo – this year’s Director in Focus – expands his vision to a range of erotic encounters of the eclectic visitors of a haunted hotel room over the decades. The pan-Asian cast of this omnibus film includes Hong Kong’s Josie Ho and the Japanese porn star Nishino Show. (Nov 21)

8. 100 Yen Love

Actress Sakura Ando has portrayed her fair share of offbeat characters since she burst onto the scene with her cult leader role in Love Exposure (2008), but this gritty drama, which sees her transforming from a slacker to an amateur boxer, is surely her most remarkable outing to date. Japan’s submission for next year’s best foreign-language Oscar. (Oct 31, Nov 1)

9. Siti

Shot in black-and-white and featuring a mesmerising performance by lead actress Sekar Sari, Indonesian writer-director Eddie Cahyono’s neorealist drama follows the desperate housewife in the title role as she juggles the hostility of her paralysed fisherman husband and the moral quandary of hosting clients at an illegal karaoke bar just to make ends meet. (Nov 17 & 21)

10. Keeper of Darkness

Doors predictably opened for Nick Cheung Ka-fai after he collected his second best actor prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2014, but few would have spotted a new career as a horror director in his stars. After debuting with Hungry Ghost Ritual last year, Cheung turns to direct and star as a street-wise exorcist in this supernatural detective mystery. (Nov 22, closing film)

Hong Kong Asian Film Festival runs from October 28 to November 22 at Broadway Cinematheque, Broadway The One, Palace IFC and AMC Pacific Place. For programme details, visit hkaff.asia