Two films from Taiwan will open the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) on March 19. Taiwanese-American director Jay Chern’s third feature, Omotenashi, as well as Maren Hwang’s directorial debut, Xiao Mei, are chosen to be the opening film for the 42nd edition of the festival, the longest-running and largest film festival in Asia.
At the other end, Japanese comedic veteran Yamada Yoji will present the world premiere of the latest in his What a Wonderful family! saga, What a Wonderful family! 3: My Wife, My Life, to close the festival on April 5.
One of the special presentations this year is the Hong Kong premiere of HTC’s first virtual reality (VR) Chinese-language film, The Deserted, directed by Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-Liang, who will also accompany the audience through the VR experience in a masterclass.
This year’s festival will showcase over 230 titles from 60 countries and regions, including 63 world, international and Asian premieres.
Brigitte Lin, one of the most renowned actresses in Asian cinema, has been chosen as this year’s Filmmaker in Focus. Debuting in the 1960s in her native Taiwan in romantic adaptations, Lin was one of the most in-demand superstars in the Hong Kong film industry all through to the mid-1990s, during which she immortalized the iconic trans-character of Dongfang Bubai in The Swordsman trilogy, as well as starred in Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express as the enigmatic blonde. Retired in 1994, she celebrates the 45th anniversary of her career this year, which the HKIFF will honor her with a 14-film retrospective, including a new restored version of her first film, Outside the Window.
A number of international filmmakers will also make an appearance during the festival, namely, German visionary Werner Herzog, the subject of another retrospective who will conduct a masterclass, American independent filmmaker Sean Baker and legendary Japanese actress Kagawa Kyoko.