HKAFF Line-Up Pits Asia's Big Guns Against North Korean Unknowns

James Marsh, Asian Editor
The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival is always one of the highlight's of the city's crowded festival calendar, crammed each year with a host of edgy, artsy and often otherwise unavailable fare from around the continent. This year proves to be no exception. The festival is set to run from 2-18 November and will open with the domestic premiere of Longman Lok and Sunny Luk's much-touted cop thriller Cold War, together with Taiwanese rom-com When A Wolf Falls In Love With A Sheep, from Hou Chi Jan. This year's closing film is the highly anticipated Pieta from Kim Ki-duk, which recently bagged four awards at the Venice International Film Festival, including the Golden Lion for Best Film (much to the chagrin of P.T. Anderson fans).

There are gala presentations of Chen Kaige's Oscar hopeful, Caught In The Web and Hur Jin-ho's Chinese language remake of Dangerous Liasons, starring Zhang Zi Yi, Jang Dong-gun and Cecilia Cheung, as well as a special presentation of Kurosawa Kiyoshi's five-hour TV mini series, Penance. Other highlights include Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone In Love, Lou Ye's Mystery, Brillante Mendoza's Captive and Sono Sion's latest, The Land of Hope.

But that's just scratching the surface of this year's offerings. There's the now obligatory focus on New Taiwanese Cinema, a programme of Sono's early short films, the Director in Focus sidebar, which this year looks at the work of Liang Ying, and an entire section dedicated to the undiscovered treasures of North Korean Cinema. The Flower Girl, The Tale of Chun Hyang, A Bellflower and A Schoolgirl's Diary are surely all worth seeking out and should pique the interest of any budding fan of Asian Cinema.

The full line-up, including showtimes and ticketing information can be found on the festival's official website. Suffice to say I'll be taking in as many of these as is humanly possible next month!


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