81 films in the program, 21 of the 55 titles in competition this year are first and second works: an authentic nursery for new directors and new authors. The trip to the "far East" will open on April 20, with the Korean super thriller thriller Steel Rain and the Malaysian drama Crossroads: One Two Jaga, to close on April 28 with the Indonesian war thriller Night Bus and the new FEFF restoration: the beautiful Throw Down by Johnnie To.
UDINE - Twenty years ago. Everything has already been said on the subject, perhaps even more. Songs. Prêt-à-porter aphorisms. Books. Movie. Nostalgia awaits you around the corner, ready to ambush you, and there is only one way to avoid it (or at least to mitigate its impact): turn "twenty years ago" into "twenty years". This is why the Far East Film Festival, simulating a certain nonchalance in front of the 20 that stands out in the logo, has chosen to move along a different line. Far from self-congratulatory temptations, far from reducism and, without having the special crystal ball, directed towards the future: what is cinema today and what will it be, in fact, in twenty years?
The way the film industry is exploiting the film product is also necessarily changing the film product. And, it goes without saying, the public is undergoing a rapid genetic mutation, determined in large part by on demand platforms. Netfilx and Amazon on all. To speak to the "new public", which is already the "public of tomorrow", then new languages are needed (it is certainly not difficult to bet on the grammar of seriality), new authors and new directors. Maybe, why not, just the new authors and new directors who flock to the FEFF line-up this year.
The figure is really impressive: 21 of the 55 titles in competition, out of 81 titles in total, are first or second works. An authentic treasure. An authentic nursery for Asian filmmakers of the future who have done everything to get to Udine and Udine has done everything to enlist!
It had never happened in the long history of the Far East Film Festival and the Far East Film Festival, looking ahead, decided not to subject the "Fab 21" only to the examination of the spectators (always, remember, supreme referees of the final classification) , but also of a highly qualified international jury. Three components: the Hong Kong-based producer Albert Lee, the American producer Peter Loehr and the Italian screenwriter Massimo Gaudioso, historical signature of Garrone's cinema.
The traditional Gelso audience awards for the best film, the Golden Gelso awarded by the public and the Black Gelso awarded by the accredited Black Dragon, will then be added to the White Mulberry for the best first or second work awarded by Lee, Loehr and Gaudioso. A small revolution that clearly brings about something bigger: all the roots that the FEFF has planted, cared for and seen to grow since 1999.
10 + 10. A sum. A sum of chapters, experiences, journeys, but also (above all?) A sum of geographical and cultural distances, which mathematics has enjoyed mixing together. East and West. Europe and Asia. Udine and the world. Asymmetries more harmonious than it looks. Gemini certainly not identical but, anyway, twins.
And here they are, in fact, the two twins, the two icons of similarity / difference that the graphic Roberto Rosolin has translated into the official image of the Far East Film Festival 20. Two bodies almost naked that stand out against a white background, very white, to tell without frills a history of people and passion. A meeting space. A sum.
It will be up to the goddess Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia to symbolically cut the ribbon of the twentieth edition, eagerly awaited in Udine from April 20 to 28, and Udine, for 9 days, will once again turn into the European epicenter of Asian cinema. 9 days of film and meetings, at the Teatro Nuovo and the Visionario, 9 days of events, disseminated in the heart of the city, to continue to discover the similarities in differences and differences in similarities. To continue adding people and passion.
The passion of a truly memorable Opening Night, truly unique in the world, with the Korean Steel Rain super action that no one has ever seen - and never will see - on the screen of a cinema, because it lives inside the insurmountable perimeter of Netflix (we talked right a few lines ago), and with the Malaysian drama Crossroads: One Two Jaga.
The passion of a Closing Night equally memorable, equally unique, because it summarizes the whole sense of FEFF 20: the gaze focused on the future, with the Indonesian thriller Night Bus (a second work), and the heart very faithful to the past, with the restoration of the splendid Throw Down by Johnnie To (it's a real mission, now: after Made in Hong Kong, literally brought back to light last year, it is the second restoration that commits the festival and the new-found image of Bologna).
The passion of a program as intense as it is diversified, developed over a whole year operating on a thousand fronts: the geographical one (11 cinemas: China, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam), artistic (5 world premieres, 13 international, 21 European, 3 world premieres of restored films), technical (about the future: 14 titles selected for Focus Asia, the FEFF project market , and 15 professionals selected for Ties That Bind, the international Asia-Europe workshop - more than 150 participants, from 35 countries).
The passion of those who love cinema, in short, not only those who love Asian cinema. A passion that will involve the Visionario area much more directly, with an ad hoc program designed for the accredited but also for the "regular" public. A trip to the East on the journey to the East, if we can define it, where they will find lots of jewels: from the retrospective on Queen Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia to the little monograph on Ryuichi Sakamoto, without forgetting the colors of eroticism (pink movies return, the Pink Night!) And the flavors of the "far East". For the duration of the festival, in fact, the Visionary will become the branch of Udinese Casa Ramen, the famous Milanese restaurant of chef Luca Catalfamo!
Before being a festival, on the other hand, FEFF has always been a party. A great film festival that has never stopped ferrying authentic legends (such as Jackie Chan and Joe Hisaishi) into the Friuli region, cult directors (like Johnnie To and Takashi Miike), divas and divas, professionals in the film industry and, of course, the devout FEFF tribe: the incredible community of spectators that has progressively spread the name of the Far East Film Festival in the world. Well before the world was within reach of social networks.
Asia is always far, of course, the cinema of twenty years ago is already history and, to know what will be the cinema in twenty years, viewers will have to follow the FEFF for a long time. Then, maybe, who knows: the wing beating of a butterfly in Udine, in a film of the festival, could even wipe out the cinema all over Europe!
GOLDEN GELSO AT CAREER 2018
Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia, the muse of Wong Kar-wai, also the protagonist of a precious retrospective
After Feng Xiaogang, Joe Hisaishi and Jackie Chan, super guests of the last editions, FEFF 20 will reward another icon of the Asian scene. On April 21st the Golden Gelso for Lifetime Achievement will be delivered to Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia, the actress who pierced an entire generation of movie lovers playing Wong Kar-wai's Hong Kong Express.
Considered the goddess of Taiwanese cinema - her mother's house - and Hong Kong, from the early seventies to the mid-nineties (Wong Kar-wai made it, in fact, the beating heart of Hong Kong Express and Ashes of Time), Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia can boast a very impressive filmography: over 100 titles, including sentimental melodramas and wuxia (impossible to mention Swordman II produced by Tsui Hark), through thriller and unconventional experimentation, which the Far East Film Festival will "distill" into a small and precious retrospective. Homage to the homage, the European premiere of the Cloud of Romance (1977), just restored by the Taiwan Film Institute.
Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia will also be the protagonist of the opening of FEFF 20, Friday 20 April, accompanied by the legendary Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi, back on the Udinese stage after receiving the Golden Gelso for Lifetime Achievement during FEFF 17 (on the occasion of the presentation of Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain).
Recall that the Golden Gelso for career has celebrated Feng Xiaogang and Eric Tsang in 2017, and then Sammo Hung, Johnnie To, Kim Dong-ho (founder of the Busan Festival), Michael Werner of Fortissimo, Nansun Shi, Joe Hisaishi, Jackie Chan and, just like the three Gelsi of the Audience Award (awarded to the best films in the competition by the FEFF jury), is created by Idea Prototipi®, a leading company in the metal working of Friuli.
[Far East Film Festival press release]