7th HK Asian Film fest highlights Chinese film

Hong Kong, China, Taiwan all spotlighted in fall event

HONG KONG -- The 7th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival shines a light on Greater China cinema, especially Hong Kong-made films targeting local audiences, organizer Broadway Cinematheque said.

Held from October 22 to November 8, the festival will open with directors Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan’s first feature, “Lover’s Discourse," and Wong Ching-po’s “Revenge: A Love Story," closing with Mak Yan-yan’s “Merry-Go-Round," the latter two making their world premieres at the festival.

The focus on Hong Kong local productions reflects the recent growth in quantity and quality of Hong Kong cinema, of which the critical and boxoffice reception in the first half of 2010 proved a shot in the arm for the industry, Broadway Cinematheque director Gary Mak told The Hollywood Reporter. 

“Many of the medium-budgeted local productions released in early 2010 succeeded through good word-of-mouth, a sign of quality. It is significant as Hong Kong cinema’s creative revival since it means films that target local audience does not equate poor quality or lackluster boxoffice. The new films completed in the second half of the year continues this trend, which is something we’d like to highlight at the HKAFF,” said Mak.

The festival will also shed light on the diversity of new Chinese cinema, ranging from festival favorites like Zhang Yimou’s love story “Under the Hawthorn Tree” and Jia Zhangke’s Shanghai rhapsody “I Wish I Knew," to Wu Ershan’s “The Swordsman, the Chef and the Butcher," an energetic and cultish actioner. 

“We have a diversified selection of Chinese titles at the festival this year, which serves as evidence of the growth towards maturity in the Chinese film industry. In the past, films from China are either arty to the extreme or huge blockbusters like ‘Founding of the Nation.' Now we see a wider diversity, from arthouse to more commercial and accessible films,” added Mak.

Recent development in Taiwan cinema is also noted by the festival organizers, particularly in the rise of youth-oriented love stories of modest budgets, including the selection of Hsiao Ya-chuan’s “Taipei Exchange” and Gavin Lin’s “In Case of Love."

Although the festival’s selection has shifted to highlight Greater China cinema this year, it continues to showcase titles from Japan and Korea, including Japanese master Takeshi Kitano’s “Outrage," Koreans Hur Jin-ho’s “A Good Rain Knows” and Jang Hun’s “Secret Reunion."

The festival will also host a memorial retrospective of late Japanese anime director Satoshi Kon, who passed away in August, showing four of his films, namely, “Perfect Blue” (1998), “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003), “Millennium Actress” (2001), and “Paprika” (2006), the film some said to have influenced Christopher Nolan’s summer hit “Inception."

Renowned Taiwan cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin is the subject of another tribute, which features directors Chiang Hsiu-chiung and Kwan Pun-leung’s documentary on Lee, “Let the Wind Carry Me," as well as Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “Dust in the Wind," Tran Anh Hung’s “At the Height of Summer," Isao Yukisada’s “Spring Snow," and Ann Hui’s “Summer Snow," all of which Lee served as director of cinematography.
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