'True Women' to open H.K. Asian Film Festival

Asian film platform opens Oct. 10 with lots of Chinese pics

HONG KONG -- "True Women for Sale," a provocative look at prostitution in Hong Kong starring Anthony Wong ("The Painted Veil"), will open the fifth Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, which will show more than 60 films from Oct. 10-26, organizers said Friday.

Dominated this year by Chinese-language films, the HKAFF -- which opened in 2007 with the Asia premiere of Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" -- is the largest annual platform for Asian cinema in Hong Kong. It is organized by Edko Films, operated Broadway Cinematheque.

Also headlining is Taiwanese director Cheng Hsiao-tse's debut, "Miao Miao," produced by Hong Kong veterans Stanley Kwan ("The Actress") and Jackie Pang, director Wong Kar Wai's longtime partner.

Closing-day films are "Claustrophobia," the directorial debut by award-winning Hong Kong screenwriter Ivy Ho, and "Dada's Dance" by Chinese director Zhang Yuan. These films are competing at the Tokyo and Pusan international film festivals, respectively.

"The downturn in the Hong Kong film industry has resulted in a smaller pool of local films from which we can choose," said Gary Mak, director of the festival and of Broadway Cinematheque.

New talent will be featured in the festival section "Chinese Cinema: A New Generation" said Mak, adding, "The films from new directors in China continue to be appealing and of high production value."

The festival's selection also reflects a recent shift in filmmaking activities from East Asia to Southeast Asia, Mak said.

"Films from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are becoming increasingly interesting, outshining those from Japan and Korea," Mak said. Festival highlights include the musical "12 Lotus" and drama "881," from Singaporean director Royston Tan, and "Serbis" by Brillante Mendoza from the Philippines.

From East Asia come "Dream," by Korean director Kim Ki-duk, and the Venice-winning Japanese animated feature "The Sky Crawlers" by Oshii Mamoru.

Also screening are Japanese director Koki Mitani's "The Magic Hour," "The Song of Sparrows" by Iranian Majid Majid and "Cape No. 7" by Wei Te-sheng, the most successful domestic film at Taiwan's boxoffice in six years.

"Ticket" by Cheung Chi-leung and "Some Like It Hot" by first-time director Pierre Lam will make their world premieres at the festival.

HKAFF will screen a retrospective of the work of Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan and a joint celebration of the 30th edition of Japan's PIA film festival, showing five of PIA's previous scholarship award-winning films.