22 Film you shouldn’t miss at the 45th Hong Kong International Film Festival (Part 2)

We continue with our list of films that shouldn’t miss at the 45th Hong Kong International Film Festival which will take place in theaters and online from April 1st – 12th (2021) in Hong Kong.

Selected Films:

The Day is Over by Qi Rui – China | 2021 – 108 minutes
Section: Firebird Awards | World Premiere

Living quietly in the mountains, a young girl humiliated by her classmates is eager to go find her father in the city. Her plan is wrecked when the travel money fetched by her good friend is accidentally lost. Unable to repay the loan, and without hope of seeing their parents, the girls take refuge in the pond, where they feel safe and warm, as if returned to their mother’s womb. Shot with naturalistic cinematography, Qi Rui’s directorial debut is imbued with a lyrical tone and sympathetic tenderness reminiscent of Kiarostami’s cinema. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 7th, 2021 (Wednesday) | K11 Art House | 4:45 pm (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | K11 Art House | 9:30 pm (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)

The Edge of Daybreak by Taiki Sakpisit – Thailand, Switzerland | 2021 – 115 minutes
Section: Firebird Awards | Asian Premiere

Meditative and nightmarish, Taiki Sakpisit’s feature debut evokes four decades of traumatising history. On the eve of the 2006 military coup that upended daily life in Thailand, a woman shares a final meal with her husband before being smuggled out of the country. Four decades earlier, as student uprisings similarly threaten the nation’s tranquillity, a young girl lies in a coma after nearly drowning. How they are intertwined is what propels Sakpisit’s poetic, hypnotic tale of shadows, dreams, and memories. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 8th, 2021 (Thursday) | K11 Art House | 9:30 pm (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | ONLINE | 12:00 am (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)


The Halt by Lav Diaz – Philippines | 2019 – 282 minutes
Section: Masters & Auteurs

A futuristic dystopia in the year 2034, as darkness reigns across the country in the aftermath of a catastrophe, the paranoid president consolidates his regime with an omnipresent army of drones and the perception of epidemic horror. Under his phantasmagoric shadow, everyone lives in hypnotic existential predicament. Blending science fiction and horror, Diaz, after Season of the Devil (42nd), continues his exploration into “the cataclysm of the Filipino soul”, a lament over his homeland’s bleak political reality. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 7th, 2021 (Wednesday) | Hong Kong Arts Centre | 7:00 pm


The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time by Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba
Kazakhstan, Japan | 2019 – 83 minutes – Section: World Cinema

The Kazakh steppes form the spectacular setting for an intimate tale of tragedy and revenge that befalls an unsuspecting family. After heading into town to sell his horses, Ondasyn is brutally slain by a band of horse thieves. This shocking act of violence leaves his wife and 10-year-old son in despair, until a former flame, Kairat, reappears on the scene. This slow-burn, almost evasively plotted drama divulges its secrets cautiously, whispered on the winds that haunt its vast, unspoiled emptiness. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 4th, 2021 (Sunday) | ONLINE | 12:00 am


The Kingmaker by Lauren Greenfield – USA | 2019 – 100 minutes
Section: Documentaries

“Perception is real. The truth is not”. Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, Generation Wealth) has made affluence her topic of choice. What begins as a straightforward portrait of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, soon transforms into a gripping portrait of the legacy of the Marcos dictatorship and the myriad ways wealth can distort the truth, erase history, and foster tyranny. From Imelda’s garish lifestyle, to the crucial role she and the Marcos dynasty played in establishing Rodrigo Duterte’s power, here is a chilling document of our post-truth era. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 4th, 2021 (Sunday) | K11 Art House | 5:20 pm
April 8th, 2021 (Thursday) | ONLINE | 12:00 am


The Masseurs and a Woman by Shimizu Hiroshi – Japan | 1938 – 66 minutes
Section: Focus

A formidable force at Shochiku in its early years, Shimizu Hiroshi’s charm lies in his innovative directorial flourishes and notable, spontaneous style. Beginning with two blind masseurs travelling to ply their trade at hot springs, the comedy quietly tilts into a light romance-cum-detective story when one of them is smitten by an elusive beauty from Tokyo. In a melancholy contemplation of “love-is-blind”, Shimizu paints a delicate portrait of transient human relationships, and the yearning for emotional connection. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 2nd, 2021 (Friday) | Hong Kong Arts Centre | 7:30 pm
April 5th, 2021 (Monday) | Hong Kong Arts Centre | 9:45 pm

The Story of Southern Islet by Chong Keat-aun – Malaysia | 2020 – 105 minutes
Section: Firebird Awards

After a dispute with his neighbour, Cheong is struck with a mysterious illness that defies scientific explanation. Suspecting that he has fallen under a curse, his wife searches desperately for a cure, even turning to miracle workers and a shaman for help. Writer-director Chong Keat-aun applies his expertise and childhood memories to his feature debut, a visually arresting and fascinating magical realist tale that transcends genre constraints. Best New Director, Golden Horse Awards. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 8th, 2021 (Thursday) | K11 Art House | 2:15 pm (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | K11 Art House | 7:00 pm (with Q&A with filmmaker via life streaming)


Unfulfilled Dreams by Chu Tien-wen – Taiwan | 2020 – 115 minutes
Section: Documentaries

Chu Tien-Wen, frequent screenwriter for Hou Hsiao-Hsien, makes her directorial debut with this entry in The Inspired Island documentary series. With Hou as producer, cinematographer Yao Hung-I and editor Liao ChingSung, Chu takes a deep dive into the story of her parents, famed authors Chu Hsi-Ning and Liu Mu-Sha. Through family albums, old letters and interviews with fellow writers, Chu crafts a deeply personal portrait of her parents’ romance, literary careers, family roots and the unfinished opus her father left behind. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | Hong Kong Arts Centre | 4:15 pm
April 12th, 2021 (Monday) | K11 Art House | 7:00 pm

We Made a Beautiful Bouquet by Doi Nobuhiro – Japan | 2021 – 124 minutes
Section: Kaleidoscope | International Premiere

Is it really better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all? Mugi and Kinu meet by chance one night, after missing the last train. They believe that they have found the ideal partner in each other through shared interests in music, movies and books, but the relationship eventually turns sour when reality gets in the way. Critically acclaimed for his cracking dialogue and complex characters, television screenwriter Sakamoto Yuji returns to film for the first time in 14 years with this brutally honest chronicle of a four-year relationship’s ups and downs. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 7th, 2021 (Wednesday) | Hong Kong Cultural Centre | 9:40 pm
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | K11 Art House | 4:15 pm

Where is Pinki? by Prithvi Konanur – India | 2020 – 108 minutes
Section: World Cinema

A young mother returns home to discover that her infant daughter and ageing babysitter are missing, leading to a desperate hunt through the bustling streets of an Indian metropolis. Writer-director Prithvi Konanur invites the audience to witness the increasingly jaw-dropping events that befall young Pinki, while the drama exposes a society still entangled in a rigorously upheld class system, persistent gender inequality, and a desperate economic environment that is only too willing to put a price on an unsuspecting newborn. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 4th, 2021 (Sunday) | K11 Art House | 9:45 pm
April 6th, 2021 (Tuesday) | ONLINE | 12:00 am


Yang Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema by Stanley Kwan – UK | 1996 – 79 minutes
Section: Pan-Chinese Cinema

Stanley Kwan examines queer themes in Chinese film for this insightful  documentary, produced for the British Film Institute’s “Century of Cinema” series. Using film clips, personal recollections, and interviews with film luminaries (including Ang Lee, Tsui Hark, Chen Kaige and Leslie Cheung), Kwan demonstrates how Chinese cinema has challenged gender norms for years, while asserting his own sexuality in a poignant conversation with his mother. (HKIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 7th, 2021 (Wednesday) | JC Cube, Tai Kwun | 5:30 pm
April 10th, 2021 (Saturday) | Hong Kong Arts Centre | 7:00 pm
April 13th, 2021 (Tuesday) | K11 Arthouse | 7:15 pm

For more information, please visit the official HKIFF website:

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