by Chris MaGee
The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival will be kicking off this Wednesday and fans of Japanese film have got a lot... and we mean A LOT... to look forward to during its 16-day run.
There will be a number of brand new films on the big screen in Hong Kong, starting off with Yu Irie's third installment in his "8000 Miles" series, "Roadside Fugitive". Irie's new film will be joined by another hip hop-based indie buzz film, Katsuya Tomita's "Saudade". Hong Kong audiences will also get a chance to see the new film "Heaven's Story" director Takahisa Zeze, "Life Back Then", and indie wunderkind Yuya Ishii, "Mitsuko Delivers". It won't all be indie films on show though. Programmers at HKIFF will also be screening studio films like Takashi Miike's "Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai", Hirokazu Koreeda's "I Wish", Kaneto Shindo's "Postcard" and Shinbu Yaguchi's "Robo-G".
What will be especially exciting for Japanese film fans at this year's HKIFF are the retrospectives. Coming off it's screening at last year's Tokyo Filmex, Hong Kong will host a retrospective of the work of lesser known Golden Age director Yuzo Kawashima, including such films as "Between Yesterday and Tomorrow" (1954), "Burden of Love" (1955), "Elegant Beast" (1962) and "Our Doctor, Our Chief" (1952), "Suzaki Paradise: Red Light" (1956) (above), "The Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate" (1957). Fans of the recently released Eclipse box set will also be happy to hear that HKIFF will also be host to a retrospective of the films of Koreyoshi Kurahara, which will include "Black Sun" (1963), "Glass-Hearted Johnny" (1962), "Intimidation" (1960), "The Third Dead Angle" (1959), "The Warped Ones" (1960) and "Thirst for Love" (1966). Most interesting on the retrospective front at HKIFF is its Takashi Ito Programme, highlighting all the films of one of Japan's most-respected experimental filmmakers.
Although there's just too many films from Japan at Hong Kong this year to outline all of them here, we have to give a special notice to their offering of 3/11 documentaries, including Yojyu Matsubayashi's "Fukushima: Memories of the Lost Landscape" and Atsushi Funahashi's "Nuclear Nation".
To browse a full listing of all the films in the 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival line-up (and have your mind boggled) click here. This year's HKIFF runs from March 21st to April 5th.