Summer International Film Festival 2019 Brings to Hong Kong an A-List International Films
Why We Recommend it
The 15-day cinematic extravaganza, featuring big names such as Woody Allen and Spike Lee, opens with Pedro Almodovar’s passionate and deeply personal gem that won Antonio Banderas the Best Actor award in Cannes – Pain and Glory.
To accompany Almodovar’s latest masterpiece is an eight-film tribute programme, offering an encompassing overview of the maverick Spanish filmmaker’s highly diverse style, ranging from transgressive sexual comedies to subtly complex melodramas. The retrospective includes his break-out films Law of Desire (1987) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), his two Oscar-winners All About My Mother (1999) and Talk to Her (2002), and Volver (2006), a feminist drama galvanized by the enchanting performances of the Cannes-winning ensemble of actresses.
Also fresh from Cannes are Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, the hipster walking-dead comedy that opened the festival this year. Other highlights include Deerskin, Quentin Dupieux’s eccentric black comedy; And Then We Danced, Levan Akin’s upbeat romantic dance drama from Georgia; Korea’s burly charismatic actor Don Lee anchors the high-concept thriller The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, while Diego Maradona is at once the hero and anti-hero of the eponymous documentary.
Woody Allen’s romantic comedy, A Rainy Day in New York, featuring popular young idols Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning, is SummerIFF’s Gala Presentation. Cantopop A-lister Sammi Cheng impresses the audience with her solemn melancholy in Fagara, a touching melodrama by local director Heiward Mak.
The Fantastic East section brings a selection of six gripping films from Japan and South Korea, including Almost a Miracle, a lighthearted romance by Ishii Yuga, Ride Your Wave from free-spirited animator Yuasa Masaaki, and Promare, a thrilling action animation.
In terms of the classic cinema, the new Dynamic Debuts section revisits Green Fish (1997) and Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), offering a glimpse at the beginning of Lee Chang-dong and Bong Joon-ho’s unique cinematic visions. The ever-popular Back to the Screen section showcases Quentin Tarantino’s deliriously overwhelming revenge saga Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Vol. 2 (2004), which playfully references iconic elements in Hong Kong movies and Asian genre films.
In the Restored Classics section, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), and Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995) are seminal works on youth frustration and social violence that still resonate loudly with our world today. Tokyo Twilight (1957) and A Geisha’s Diary (1961) demonstrate how the different visual languages of Ozu Yasujiro and Kawashima Yuzo have transformed the Japanese cinema.
The festival will conclude with Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You, a riveting portrait of the everyday struggles of the British working class, following his 2016 Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake.
Please click here for the venues and details of individual films.