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‘Umbrella movement’, Chantal Akerman lead Hong Kong Independent Film Festival

A collection of short films, features and documentaries cast a spotlight on the city’s changing political landscape and challenge social norms

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 5:41pm

Promising a modest programme of screenings that are deliberately non-mainstream, the annual Hong Kong Indie Film Festival (HKIndieFF) returns this weekend. Its selection of short films and features seeks to challenge social norms and the possibilities of film as a medium.

Sandwiched between a rare screening of Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s 317-minute female friendship drama Happy Hour (at The Metroplex in Kowloon Bay on January 24) and a film and music night (on a Kwun Tong factory rooftop on February 5) is a concise series of screenings at the agnès b. Cinema in Wan Chai’s Hong Kong Arts Centre.

Apart from Happy Hour, which won its four female leads a shared best actress prize at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, the HKIndieFF is showing two other recent efforts by Japanese writer-director Hamaguchi, 2008’s Passion and 2013’s Touching the Skin of Eeriness. The director will hold a masterclass after the latter film.

There are three screenings of early works by Chantal Akerman, the visionary Belgian filmmaker who took her own life last October, featuring the experimental gems Saute ma ville (1968), La Chambre and Hotel Monterey (both 1972), as well as her first feature Je Tu Il Elle (1974) and the New York-set documentary News from Home (1976).

Documentaries from various Asian territories, including Taiwan, Japan and Singapore, will be screened as part of the Asian Indie Vision section, while Macau’s emerging filmmaking scene is represented by a trio of screenings in another section.

Closer to home is “Hong Kong Umbrella Movement Exclusive”, which considers the city’s changing political landscape. While Yellowing and Road Not Taken document scenes from the “umbrella movement” protests, new works by Ying Liang and Evans Chan seek to understand the upheaval respectively through drama and interviews.

For programme details, visit