The 21st Film festival opened earlier this week with all the usual gripes about ticket availability. Sure the opening films sold out weeks ago, and if you didn't race down to the ticket office with your forms filled in nano-seconds after postal bookings way back in February, then you missed the chance to catch Maggie Cheung in Irma Vep or the Oscar-winning Czech film Kolya. But contrary to the word on the streets, there is a lot of great stuff left. This afternoon for example, at 5.30pm in the Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre, there is Carla's Song, the latest film by Britain's highly respected independent film maker Ken Loach. Last year the festival screened Land and Freedom, the tale of an idealistic young Brit who left Liverpool to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Carla's Song is set in the modern equivalent, the Nicaraguan Sandinista period, the story of a Glaswegian bus driver drawn into the conflict by his love for a Nicaraguan refugee. Loach has a strong faith in the power of the international working class to change the world, it's an unfashionable position to take in these post Cold War days, but if gives his films a special power. There is a second screening on Sunday at 930pm. Another little gem still selling is Looking For Richard, also screening at the Cultural Centre on Tuesday at 9.30pm. Shakespeare mania is of course sweeping Hollywood, with Kenneth Branagh's epic, and endless version of Hamlet currently doing good box office elsewhere. Looking For Richard, which is loosely based on Richard III, has the same star appeal, performances from Winona Ryder, Kevin Spacey and Alec Baldwin among others, but this is most of all a personal passion of the lead actor/director Al Pacino. Pacino has been using his reputation and substantial salary from more commercial films to make curious, intense art house movies for years. In Looking For Richard he has made a film about a group of actors making a film of Richard III, complete with rehearsals, contributions from other actors, like Vanessa Redgrave on how to handle the different roles, and even vox pop clips of the average John and Jane Doe on the street. Mixed reviews, but always a pleasure to see Pacino in action. The documentary section is always a mix of the harrowing and the uplifting, bringing us true tales from abroad that seem to bear little relation to everyday life in Hong Kong. When Mother Comes Home For Christmas, filmed in Sri Lanka, is the exception. It is the true story of Josephine, who had to leave her children in orphanages in order to provide money for their future when she took a job with a wealthy family in Greece. Eight years later, after rearing someone else's family, she returns to hers in Colombo, a daughter now grown who wants to marry a bad lad, and a son who has turned into one himself. Worst of all, although they appreciate the gifts and the money, everyone thinks Josephine has been having a great time slaving for rich foreigners. Compulsory viewing for anyone who employs a helper from abroad who had to leave her children to look after someone else's, or almost worse, sacrificed her chances of having a family of her own because she was so busy with other people's. The first screening is on Thursday, 5.30pm at the Space Museum and the second on April 6 at 9.30pm. That is a Sunday so many of Hong Kong's own Josephines will be able to attend if they can bear to see their lives and dilemmas on the big screen. The reel thing To complement the festival there is also a fascinating display of oddities from Hong Kong's film world, including a fake antique, and a coat Jackie Chan wore in First Strike. This kind of show is a must for everyone who happily admits to enjoying the stuff in glass cases at Planet Hollywood. This exhibition even includes a cudgel actually used by Bruce Lee to bash someone. All this, and a world map showing the locations Hong Kong film makers have used and a special showcase on the classic movie Tragedy of a Poet King will be at City Hall Low Block Exhibition Hall until April 13.