We present the second part of our list of films you shouldn’t miss at the 43rd Hong Kong International Film Festival which will take place from March 18th to April 1st, 2019 in the city of Hong Kong.
Jinpa by Pema Tseden – China | 2018 – 86 min.
A metaphysical mystery about death and life on Tibet’s windswept Kekexili Plateau, following award-winning Tharlo (40th). Jinpa, a truck driver played by the poet Jinpa, faces a crisis when he accidentally kills a sheep. Soon, he picks up a hitchhiker – again named Jinpa – on a quest to avenge his father. Stories merge and separate, as warm interior worlds reveal the life amidst the barren landscapes, in a film that challenges and intrigues us. Venice Film Festival, Orizzonti Award for Best Screenplay.
March 19th | Tuesday | Tai Kwun JC Cube | 7:15 pm
March 23rd | Saturday | PREMIERE Elements | 7:00 pm
Killing by Tsukamoto Shinya – Japan | 2018 – 80 min.
In the twilight of samurai culture, a skilled lone ronin in a farming community uses his blade for combat practice but not as a deadly weapon – unwilling to kill. Yet, war calls and he must face a motley gang of outlaws who slay his disciple and rape his lover. In a whirlwind of motion and raw energy, provocative cult director Tsukamoto Shinya (Fires on the Plain, 39th) shows a world torn between savage and empathic nature, where the male code of honor is falling apart. In competition, Venice Film Festival.
March 19th | Tuesday | Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | 7:45 pm
March 22nd | Friday | PREMIERE Elements | 11:55 pm
A Land Imagined by Yeo Siew Hua – France, Netherlands, Singapore | 2018 – 96 min.
Having created a nation, Singapore must now create more land to hold it, with sand from Southeast Asia and workers from China and South Asia amid shifting imaginations that reveal the noir sides of the Lion City. Filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua won the Golden Leopard at Locarno with his archetypical intertwinings of the hard-boiled policeman, the displaced hero-object and the hard-bitten girl in the cyber café. Yet the more important question, perhaps, is what is real and fiction today in Singapore itself.
March 19th | Tuesday | MCL Telford Cinema | 10:00 pm
March 26th | Tuesday | PREMIERE Elements | 7:45 pm
A Long Goodbye by Nakano Ryota – Japan | 2019 – 127 min.
Time moves in one direction; memory, in another. On his 70th birthday, a retired school principal nearly forgets the names of his two estranged daughters. Despite their own individual agonies, Mari and Fumi return home to take care of their father as he faces Alzheimer’s disease. In a long goodbye to their father, fond memories and forgotten hopes flow back into their lives. This warmly observed contemporary family drama gives us a taste of master director Yamada Yoji’s comedic vision.
March 26th | Festival Grand Cinema | 9:45 pm
March 30th | Hong Kong Cultural Centre | 1:30 pm
Manta Ray by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Thailand, France, China | 2018 – 106 min.
The brutal persecution of the Rohingyas of Myanmar underpins an ethereal narrative of friendship, identities and mystery. At the center are two enigmatic characters – the fisherman and the found man – whose backgrounds seem to be as mysterious as their choices of destiny. And the woman who moves between them. A parable swathed in myth, its Apichatpong-like dreamy movement, like the manta ray, leaves subtle ripples across our memories and souls. Venice, Orizzonti Award for Best Film.
March 19th | Tuesday | The Metroplex | 7:15 pm
March 21st | Thursday | Festival Grand Cinema | 9:30 pm
Memories of My Body by Garin Nugroho – Indonesia | 2018 – 106 min.
A journey of exploration of sexuality and selfhood, framed by the elegant dance traditions of Java against the darker clouds of political and cultural repression. Nugroho (The Blindfold, 36th) orchestrates this odyssey through four episodes in the life of an abandoned child, who discovers himself in the world of Lengger, where men take on women’s dance roles. From childhood through relationships that explore problematic masculinities to a mature position where he confronts corruption, history is written on and through the body.
March 20th | Wednesday | The Metroplex | 10:00 pm
March 25th | Monday | Festival Grand Cinema | 9:30 pm
Nakorn-Sawan by Puangsoi Aksornsawang
Thailand, Germany | 2018 – 77 min.
Negotiating the many pathways between life and death in Thailand, debut filmmaker Aksornsawang juxtaposes documentary and fiction to create an unusual, haunting vision. The casual, personal video she made with her parents before her mother died resonates with the polished autobiographical narrative of a woman traveling with her family to scatter the ashes of her mother near “Heavenly City.” Together, we share in her worlds of love and loss, the expression of a daughter who is also an artist.
March 20th | Wednesday | The Metroplex | 8:00 pm
March 22nd | Friday | MCL Telford Cinema | 9:45 pm
The Nikaidos’ Fall by Ida Panahandeh – Japan | 2018 – 106 min.
After the death of his only son, a middle-aged divorcee is pressured by his ailing mother to save the ancestral line of the Nikaido family. The way out is either for him to remarry and have a son, or for his daughter to marry a man who can take their family’s surname. Entwining Iranian cinema’s naturalistic realism and Japanese subtle profundity, Ida Panahandeh (Nahid, 40th) portrays the struggle between personal freedom and family obligation in societies where traditions run deep.
March 19th | Tuesday | MCL Telford Cinema | 7:30 pm
March 21st | Thursday | The Sky | 9:15 pm
Our Body by Han Ka-ram – South Korea | 2018 – 96 min.
Han Ka-ram makes her feature directing debut with this fascinating look at contemporary women stymied by the ageist and sexist social structures holding them down. After years of studying for a civil service exam, disenchanted 31-year-old Ja-young gives up her career ambitions and turns away from society and its expectations. Then one evening, trim and alluring Hyun-joo literally runs into Ja-young’s life, putting the two women on an enticing but perhaps destructive path towards self-discovery.
March 20th | Wednesday | Festival Grand Cinema | 9:45 pm
March 22nd | Friday | The Metroplex | 8:00 pm
Our Departures by Yoshida Yasuhiro – Japanese | 2018 – 120 min.
Unexpectedly widowed, Akira and her stepson seek out her late husband’s estranged father: Setsuo, a train conductor in sunny Kagoshima. Though flustered by his new family, he tries to welcome them warmly. The train ties the three generations together as Akira takes on her husband’s childhood dream to inspire her stepson, and become a train conductor with Setsuo. Showing off the volcanic and sublime landscapes of the southern tip of Japan, this heartwarming film full of hope in a time of grief is also a treat for all train lovers.
March 23rd | Saturday | Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | 1:30 pm
March 25th | Monday | PREMIERE Elements | 9:45 pm
The Red Phallus by Tashi Gyeltshen – Bhutan, Germany, Nepal | 2018 – 83 min.
Sangay isn’t happy with her life. Living in a remote valley in the happy kingdom where phallus worship is an age-old tradition, she feels trapped in constant harassment by men – her sculptor father, her married lover, the school principal – and her own confusion. Full of enchanting images and mysterious symbols, Bhutanese director Gyeltshen’s debut weaves together reality and illusion, as a teenage girl gets lost and struggles to find her identity in a convoluted world of phalluses and masks.
March 20th | Wednesday | PREMIERE Elements | 7:30 pm
March 31st | Sunday | Festival Grand Cinema | 7:00 pm
Still Human by Oliver Chan Siu-kuen – Hong Kong | 2018 – 111 min.
Evelyn, a Filipino domestic helper, moves to Hong Kong to work for Cheong-wing, a divorcee paralyzed in a construction accident. Becoming unlikely friends, the two discover shared humanity that helps them face life’s mounting hardships. Produced by Fruit Chan, this essential debut work from writer-director Oliver Chan uses uncommon humor and heart to bridge the divides separating us. In a city as culturally diverse as Hong Kong, stories like Still Human are absolutely necessary.
March 23rd | Saturday | Hong Kong Arts Centre Louis Koo Cinema | 2:30 pm
Three Husbands by Fruit Chan – Hong Kong | 2018 – 101 min.
The third in Fruit Chan’s “Prostitute Trilogy,” this provocative, frequently outrageous comedy-drama is the iconoclast director’s latest allegorical take on Hong Kong and its people. Near-mute sampan sex worker Mui has an insatiable libido which she placates with legions of eager johns. Pimped out by her three husbands, she’s subjected to bizarre indignities that push her and the audience to their limit. By turns, disturbing, brutal, and beautiful, Three Husbands is pure, uncut Fruit Chan.
March 23rd | Saturday | Hong Kong Arts Centre Louis Koo Cinema | 5:00 pm