32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival
China, March 17 - April 6 2008
The 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival offered a vast and interesting look at new Asian cinema. This large film festival — which runs for three weeks — is appreciated for its courage in mixing avant-garde cinema with films made for general audiences.
This year was no exception; the event enjoys widespread publicity, and its market attracts many foreign visitors, with a big presence of English and French industry professionals. As well, and in step with the corporatization of the festival, the HKIFF presented the Asian Film Awards, an event that drew the cream of Asian film talent.
But the real highlight of the festival, in our estimation, is the Asian Digital Competition, which offers the chance to discover new filmmakers. This year, we saw an impressive number of low-budget productions from promising young Chinese directors — which proved to be a knockout experience for lovers of Asian cinema.
The Asian presence could also be felt in other sections: Hong Kong Panorama 2007-2008, Auteurs, Master Class and Gala Presentations, and, of course, throughout the Eric Tsang retrospective, which paid homage to this truly unique Hong Kong filmmaker.
Another filmmaker under focus was the late Edward Yang, honored by offering audiences the beautiful chance to see the work of a genius who left us too soon. The festival’s public seminar, a Hong Kong seminar on Edward Yang, was met with extreme success.
The three members of the FIPRESCI jury evaluated a dozen features from first-time filmmakers from the Asian Continent. It was obvious that the best work came from Thailand, a country booming with new talent: The International Critics’ Prize was awarded to Aditya Assarat’s Wonderful Town. (Rui Pedro Tendinha)