When one thinks of the Hong Kong film industry, some of the greatest filmmakers of all time immediately spring to mind, from the gorgeous, evocative films of Wong Kar-Wai to gripping action films there seem to be no shortage of. At the 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF42), Hong Kong once again opens its doors and welcomes the very best films from all over the world, from award winners from the past year to new films set to receive plenty of acclaim over 2018.
HKIFF42 runs for 18 days from 19th March to 5th April, and will show over 230 films from 60 countries, including 63 World, International and Asian Premieres. For its opening films this year, HKIFF42 will be showcasing the debut features of two promising Taiwanese directors. Jay Chern’s Omotenashi is a Taiwan-Japan co-production about bridging the gap between generations, and will star Tanaka Rena and Wang Po-Chieh, both of whom will join Chern at the red carpet opening. The second opening film will be Maren Hwang’s Xiao Mei, a gripping film noir that explores the mystery behind a vanished girl. Both director Hwang and stat “XiaoMei” Jao Cincin will be present at the Grand Opening.
Other highlights of the festival include this years’s “Filmmaker in Focus”, as the HKIFF presents a retrospective of distinguished actress Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia’s work , showing 14 of her films to commemorate the 45th anniversary of her screen debut and career. Lin herself will be present to speak at a seminar, and the screenings will include a new restoration of her very first film Outside the Window.
Esteemed filmmaker Werner Herzog will also be in attendance at the festival to conduct a masterclass. Famed for being one of the pioneers of New German Cinema, Herzog’s films will be given a showcase at the festival, including four of his classic films along with his latest documentary Into the Inferno, all of which reflect his key filmmaking elements and boundless imagination.
At the HKIFF, the premiere of HTC’s very first virtual reality Chinese language film will also be showing. Directed by Taiwanese master of slow cinema Tsai Ming-Liang, The Deserted stars Tsai’s muse Lee Kang-Sheng, and both will be conducting a masterclass about the film. Other masterclasses will include sessions with Japanese controversial documentarian Hara Kazuo, The Florida Project director Sean Baker, legendary Japanese actress Kagawa Kyoko, known for her work with Mizoguchi Kenji and Ozu Yasujiro, as well as Ricky Lee, screenwriter to the late Filipino master, Ishmael Bernal.
Cinephiles can also look forward to catching a number of award-winning films at the festival. Look out for films like Golden Globe Best Foreign Language Film In the Fade starring Diane Kruger, Joaquin Phoenix fronted You Were Never Really Here, and the Cannes Jury Prize winner and Oscar-nominated Loveless. A selection of Venice Film Festival award winning films will also be showing, including Grand Jury Prize winner Foxtrot, Special Jury Prize winner Sweet Country and Best Director award winner Custody, while audiences can also catch Berlinale award winners such as Grand Jury Prize winer Mug, and FIPRESCI Jury Prize winners River’s Edge and An Elephant Sitting Still.
The festival will finally close on 5th April on a light note, with the world premiere of What a Wonderful Family! 3: My Wife, My Life. The latest in the acclaimed comedy series by veteran director Yamada Yoji, this edition exposes the changing values and behavior within contemporary Japanese society.
As with all film festivals, we’re overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of quality and quantity that HKIFF42 has to offer. There’s undeniable power in the selection of films that will be showing at the festival, and a can’t wait to see these films for ourselves and engage with the filmmakers who’ll be making their way down.
HKIFF42 runs from 19th March to 5th April. For more information, visit their website here