From 25 November 2021 to 16 January 2022, the Hong Kong Arts Centre presents New Waves, New Shores: Busan International Film Festival. Following the success of the first edition, which focused on the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, this programme aims to introduce the importance of BIFF as one of the leading film festivals in Asia and how it assists budding filmmakers from Hong Kong and South Korea. The screenings comprise a Hong Kong showcase curated by Maggie Lee, Curator of New Waves, New Shores: Busan International Film Festival; Asia Chief Film Critic, Variety; Curator for Tokyo and Vancouver International Film Festivals, and a Korean showcase co-curated by Lee and Nam Dong-chul, Program Director, Busan International Film Festival. There are four thematic talks designed for those who aspire to pursue a career in film to learn about the industry’s inner-workings. Film distributors, sales, producers, festival curators, funding bodies and filmmakers will share their professional experiences and insights through in-depth conversations. The programme also consists of two workshops: Film Project Pitching Workshop and Screenwriting Workshop with Chung Seo-kyung, and Masterclass on Screen Adaptation: A Conversation Between Chung Seo-kyung and Fruit Chan.
|26/11||(FRI)||7:45pm||Five Fingers of Death*|
|27/11||(SAT)||2:30pm||The Bacchus Lady|
|27/11||(SAT)||7:30pm||The King of Pigs*|
|28/11||(SUN)||1:00pm||Chelsia, My Love*|
|28/11||(SUN)||4:45pm||Talk: Launching Korean Cinema onto the World Stage|
|3/12||(FRI)||7:45pm||Perfect Life *|
|4/12||(SAT)||1:00pm||Comfort Women Trilogy – The Murmuring|
|4/12||(SAT)||3:15pm||Comfort Women Trilogy – Habitual Sadness, My Own Breathing *|
|5/12||(SUN)||2:30pm||Talk: BIFF’s Mission to Nurture Asian Filmmakers|
|5/12||(SUN)||4:30pm||Talk: Industry Toolkit for Emerging Filmmakers|
|5/12||(SUN)||7:30pm||The Journals of Musan*|
|8/12||(WED)||7:45pm||The Floating Landscape*|
|12/12||(SUN)||4:00pm||Talk: Cross Currents in Hong Kong and Korean Cinema|
|30/12||(THU)||7:45pm||Too Many Ways to Be No.1|
|5/1||(WED)||7:45pm||Rolling Home with A Bull*|
|6/1||(THU)||7:45pm||Like a Virgin*|
|16/1||(SUN)||5:15pm||Masterclass on Screen Adaptation: A Conversation Between Chung Seo-kyung and Fruit Chan|
*with after-screening talk
While Hong Kong’s action films swept across Asia and the rest of the world in the 1970s and 80s, one of the biggest Hong Kong films ever in Korea is actually this musical romance, a Hong Kong-South Korea co-production. Singer-songwriter Chelsia Chan – who was cast in her acting debut after director Sung Tsun-shou recognised her potential – co-stars alongside pop singer Kenny Bee as an aspiring musician whose life changes after falling for a fellow musician, only for their romance to be cut short by a fatal disease. Not only did Chan amazingly nab the Golden Horse Award for Best Actress with her very first film role, her theme song for the film, “One Summer Night”, was such a hit in South Korea that even former Girl’s Generation member Jessica has covered it. Even three decades on, Chelsia, My Love remains such a popular work in Korean pop culture history that fans enthusiastically flocked to the locally held 30-year anniversary screening, which was attended by Chan herself.
Too Many Ways to Be No. 1 | Director: Wai Ka-fai
It has been said that the age of 32 is a crucial junction in one’s life, with every tick of the clock seeming to signal one’s impending demise. Small-time gangster Gau (Sean Lau) visits a fortune teller to help him make an important life choice. Whether to go to the left or right is perhaps not the main point, for even if people can choose their fate, it is perhaps their character that determines if they would take a risk or lay low. Wai Ka-fai directed this distinctively creative and darkly humorous work on the eve of the handover of Hong Kong to China. With its 360-degree turning camera and upside-down framing, the film’s duo ending is a reflection of the uncertain fate of the city and the absurdities of life.
The famous minuet of the title was believed to have been a present from Bach to his wife. The plot follows Chan Kar-fu (Kaneshiro Takeshi), an introverted piano tuner who encounters the womanising Yau Wing-fu (Aaron Kwok) while falling in love with his new neighbour Mok Man-yee (Kelly Chen) at the same time, but can only express his romantic longings through fantasy novels that he creates. This directorial debut by long-time production designer Yee Chung-man is an exquisite chamber piece with a script written by Ivy Ho. The story-within-a-story takes place in Vietnam, and uses the happy ending of a fantasy tale to contrast with the emotional regrets of real life. Wei Wei, the lead character in Fei Mu’s classic film Spring in a Small Town (1948) appears in a cameo role as an old granny.
An orphan born in a public toilet in Beijing searches all over the world for a miracle cure for his ailing grandmother who raised him. A young man from Busan discovers a mysterious girl in front of a public toilet by the sea and goes on a quest for a magical elixir to save her. Other characters that populate this film include a pair of Indian brothers who are caretakers of a Wan Chai public toilet and a hitman who completes his final assignment in a New York City public toilet… Fruit Chan met the investor for this film in Busan, an encounter which made possible this international collaboration. Chan fully took advantage of the flexibility of the digital format to let his imagination run wild with a tale that blends scatology with ruminations about life and death.
Long before her turn as a grieving lover in Zinnia Flower (2015), Karena Lam had played a woman struggling with lost love in Lai Miu-seut’s The Floating Landscape (2003). Following the death of her boyfriend Sam (Ekin Cheng), Mann (Lam) goes to Qingdao in search of the childhood landscape that her lover had spoken of. There, she meets a young postman, Lit (Liu Ye), who helps Mann in her quest. Their love for each other grows steadily, but Mann is not ready to let go of Sam. This film boasts a formidable team behind the scenes including Wong Kar-wai’s frequent collaborator Shigeru Umebayashi as music composer, Taiwan artist Jimmy Liao who provided the illustrations and Stanley Kwan as producer. Liu Ye and Su Jin, fresh from their participation in Kwan’s Lan Yu (2001), were solid additions to the cast, while Arthur Wong’s camera work won him the Best Cinematography Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Li Yueying, a young woman from an industrial town in north-eastern China, dreams of a better future by constantly searching for more promising work opportunities. She encounters a man who asks her to help him carry some goods to Shenzhen. Meanwhile Jenny, who was born in a rural area in China but went to Shenzhen to work, is now married to a Hong Konger. Her life, however, is less than perfect and she is in the middle of divorcing her husband. Li Yueying is a fictional character, while Jenny is a real person. Director Emily Tang fashions a partly fictional and partly real cinematic space film in which the two characters encounter one another. Jia Zhangke serves as co-producer on this film, whose title is meant to be ironic while its narrative style that mixes fiction and reality is like two sides of the same coin that expresses certain fates and life paths of women.
Drug trafficker Choi Tim-ming (Louis Koo) crashes his car and is sent to the hospital, where he is arrested by police captain Zhang Lei (Sun Honglei) because of his connection with an explosion at a drug lab. In order to avoid the death penalty for his crimes, he agrees to act as an informant and help the police capture a drug ring. However, Choi plays one side against the other, initiating a high stakes and dangerous game with lethal consequences. Johnny To transcends the conventions of most Hong Kong-China co-productions with a script written by Wai Ka-fai, Yau Nai-hoi and others, incorporating variations of elements from his former films like the gang of seven from Mad Detective (2007), while the sharp observations of the changing era that was evident in the Election (2005) series continues with this work. Yet in keeping with the spirit of the times, the friendly rivalry between people on opposite sides of the law as seen in Running Out of Time (1999) is replaced by mistrust and suspicion here. The bullet-filled finale imparts the gloomy sense of predestination and black humor previously seen in Expect the Unexpected (1998).
The year 1997 when the Asian financial crisis engulfs Bangkok, Mutt flies back from New York to take care of his father’s funeral, and in the process re-encounters his ex-girlfriend. At the same time, his younger brother experiences the pangs of first love. The juxtaposition between his relationship and that of his brother is symbolic of the contrast between Thailand’s past and future. Lee Chatametikool is a well-known editor and a frequent winner of Best Editor awards at the Asian Film Awards. He worked with Apichatpong Weerasethakul on Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) and was the editor on his new feature Memoria (2021). His other works as editor includes So Long, My Son (2019), directed by Wang Xiaoshuai, the Thai horror film Shutter (2004), as well as the films of Anocha Suwichakornpong. Concrete Clouds was financed by Hong Kong company Far Sun Film and co-produced by Sylvia Chang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Mrs. Li (Miriam Yeung) is an aging actress with a stalling career and a cheating husband (Tony Leung Ka-fai). To rescue her career, she turns to Aunt Mei (Bai Ling), whose famous dumplings are known for their rejuvenating abilities, for help. However, the horrifying contents and amazing effectiveness of Mei’s dumplings drive Mrs. Li to take extreme measures for the sake of eternal youth. Originally made as a part of the Peter Chan-produced omnibus Three... Extremes (2005) – which also features a short by Thirst director Park Chan-wook – this slow-burn adaptation of the novella by Rouge and Farewell My Concubine author Lillian Lee (who also wrote the script) is a chilling body horror film on human vanity about youth and beauty. For her creepy turn as Mei, Bai Ling won Best Supporting Actress at both the Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards.
*20% off discount for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis. Concessionary ticket holders must produce evidence of their identity or age upon admission.