(March 4, 2003) Hong Kong's
premier annual movie event is making an eagerly-awaited return
this year. The 27th Hong Kong International Film Festival
will take place from April 8 to 23. Presented by the Hong
Kong Arts Development Council, the 16-day event will showcase
nearly 300 movies from more than 40 countries.
Buoyed by the resounding success
from last year, the festival in 2003 not only continues to
offer a delightful programme, but will, for the first time
in the Festival's 27-year-old history, feature three new Competition
In the line-up, Hong Kong International
Film Festival 2003 will be screening such internationally
acclaimed and award-winning films as "Far From Heaven",
which stars Julianne Moore; Kitano Takeshi's latest production
"Dolls"; the trans-racial romance "Dirty Pretty
Things" with "Amelie" actress Audrey Tautou;
David Cronenberg's subversive new film "Spider";
Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award winner "The Magdalene
Sisters"; and "The Ring" director Nakata Hideo's
latest movie "Last Scene".
The two Opening Films are respectively,
"PTU", the latest production by Hong Kong director
Johnnie To, and "Twilight Samurai" directed by Japan's
Yamada Yoji. "PTU" tells the story of a police patrol
trying to recover a lost gun in the course of one long evening.
Two years in the making, it is one of To's more personal projects,
whose noirish mood and style bring to mind the director's
award-winning "The Mission". "Twilight Samurai"
can be regarded as the samurai-era version of the Tora-san
serial that Yamada-san is most famous for. Starring Miyazawa
Rie and Sanada Hiroyki, it was named by Kinema Junbo as the
top Japanese movie last year.
The closing films are "Adaptation"
starring Meryl Streep and Nicholas Cage, and "Cala, My
Dog!" starring mainland Chinese actor Ge You.
The major highlights of the festival
include "Ozu Yasujiro, 100th Anniversary" and "Shaws
on Screen". To commemorate the centenary of Japanese
director Ozu Yasujiro, one of cinema's true masters, the Festival
will screen more than 30 titles by the late director, making
it the largest and most complete showcase of Ozu in the world.
For aficionados of old Hong Kong
cinema, the Hong Kong Retrospective section presents "Shaws
on Screen". The legendary Shaw Brothers studio created
literally hundreds of amazing films of all genres in the 1960s
and 1970s. Now, 40 years on, the special programme showcases
over 20 star-studded classics, many in restored new prints.
The "Hong Kong Panorama"
presents Jeff Lau as the filmmaker in focus. Lau, a maverick
screenwriter and director, whose "Chinese Odyssey 2002"
just took the Best Film award from the Hong Kong Film Critics
Society in January. Fruit Chan's latest production "Public
Toilet" also receives it first local screening in this
section of the festival.
In the section on documentaries,
the spotlight falls on "Morning Sun", another joint
effort by "Gate of Heavenly Peace" directors Carma
Hinton and Richard Gordon. The film studies the historical
causes of the Cultural Revolution from the perspectives of
ideology and psychology, with plenty valuable footage from
those turbulent years.
The Festival this year will feature
three international competitions. "Firebird Awards for
Young Cinema" will screen 11 first or second productions
by new directors, and eight digital films by young directors
from the region will compete for two awards in the "Asian
DV Competition".. An international jury made up of five
world famous film personalities will pick the winners.In the
"Humanitarian Awards for Documentaries", 12 movies
contend for two awards. The jury consists of three veteran
professionals from the documentary scene or journalism.
All six winners will get cash
Other festival highlights include
"Gala Presentation", "Indie Power", "Midnight
Heat", "The Avant-Garde" and "Animation".
The film ambassadors of the Festival
this year are young idols Wong Yau-Nam and Tsui Tin-Yau, the
two members of the popular "Shine" group.
Online booking From 6 March click
Postal Booking from 6 March to 17 March
Counter Booking from 26 March
For more information: (852) 2970-3300