The Hong Kong International Film Festival, which will be held from March 30-April 10, and will feature nine world premieres, including Ann Hui’s Elegies and Cheuk Wan-chi’s Vital Signs. There will also be 67 Asian premieres, the highlight of which will be the festival’s filmmaker-in-focus Soi Cheang’s Mad Fate.
This year will mark the 47th edition of the festival and will be the first time since 2019 that international filmmakers will attend the event. In all, there will be 200 films showcased from 64 countries and regions.
The opening film, Mad Fate, sees a fortune-teller (Lam Ka-tung) attempting to stop a delivery boy (Lokman Yeung of Cantopop boy band Mirror fame) from becoming the next victim of a serial killer. Elegies, which will also be screened on Day 1 of the festival, uses the works of poets Huang Canran and Liu Wai-tong as inspiration to depict an emotionally turbulent picture of Hong Kong. The closing film, Vital Sign, stars Louis Koo as a veteran ambulanceman, in a dramedy about civil service culture and Hong Kong’s latest emigration wave.
Apart from the festival-openers and closers, there are other films of note. One highlight of the festival will be The King of Wuxia, a two-part documentary about the life and career of King Hu, who is widely considered one of the stalwarts of martial arts cinema. The Juzo Itami retrospective will focus on the actor-director’s works, such as Tampopo, the comedy A Taxing Woman, and the controversial Minbo: The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion.
Festival-goers will also get a chance to see Normal People’s Paul Mescal in his Oscar-nominated role in the indie flick Aftersun. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras’s All The Beauty And The Bloodshed, which won the Golden Lion for best film at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival, will also be screened at the event.
Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda’s Plan 75 — which took inspiration from Hong Kong’s speculative anthology Ten Years — envisions a not-so-distant-future when voluntary euthanasia is promoted to the elderly to curb the country’s ageing population. Eastern Front is an unflinching look at the Russian invasion of Ukraine as captured by a team of filmmakers who volunteered to be part of a first aid battalion on the front lines of the war.
Saint Omer, which won the Grand Prix at last year’s Venice film festival, is about the bond that develops between two Senegalese women — one who stands trial in France for abandoning her baby, and another who attends the trial with the intention of writing about it.
Tickets for the screenings will be available on Urbtix. There are also free community screenings for four films: Aurora’s Sunrise, The Fire Within: Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft, Seventeeners, and Love Battlefield.
Header image credits: Hong Kong International Film Festival