20th Far East Festival to Open With Korean Thriller 'Steel Rain,' Malaysia's 'Crossroads'

Courtesy of NEW
'Steel Rain'

The festival, based in the Italian city of Udine, marks its milestone anniversary with a program of 81 films, including a restored classic from Johnnie To and a Brigitte Lin retrospective.

A combination of old favorites and new commercial hits dominate the lineup at the 20th Far East Film Festival held in the northern Italian city of Udine later this month. 

Opening night at the specialist Asian film festival will see a world first and perhaps last, with a screening of South Korean spy thriller Steel Rain. Directed by Yang Woo-suk, the Netflix original stars Jung Woo-sung and has never been shown in a theater before — and there are no plans to do so in the future. Malaysian drama Crossroads – One Two Jaga also will screen on opening night. 

FEFF will screen 81 films from 11 countries this year, with nine world premieres, 12 international premieres and 22 European premieres. One of the highlight world premieres is Emil Heradi's Indonesian war movie Night Bus, which will close the festival. 

For its milestone anniversary, the festival will welcome back some of the stars, directors and producers who have supported the event over the last two decades. There will be a special screening of a restored cut of 2004 Hong Kong martial arts film Throw Down from longtime festival favorite Johnnie To.  

The festival also will honor one of Asian cinema's biggest and most enigmatic stars with its biggest award. Brigitte Lin, the Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based superstar who abruptly quit the film industry at her peak in the mid-'90s, will receive the Golden Mulberry Lifetime Achievement Award. FEFF will celebrate Lin's career with a retrospective of her most iconic films, including Ronny Yu's The Bride With White Hair and Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express

Alongside the Golden and Black Mulberry audience awards, FEFF is introducing a new award for its 20th edition, the White Mulberry. The jury for that award will be made up of Hong Kong producer Albert Lee, U.S. producer and former Legendary East chief Peter Loehr and Italian screenwriter Massimo Gaudioso. 

FEFF takes places April 20-28.