The 11th edition of Italy’s Far East Film Festival will kick off on April 24 with the European premieresof Thai martial action film, Ong Bak 2, and Chinese black comedy, Crazy Racer.
The festival, the largest showcase of Asian films abroad, will screen 59 films from nine countries and will show 19 international premieres. This edition is giving more space to films from territories including Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines in addition to industry strongholds like Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea.
This year’s highlights include 13 titles from Japan, including Miike Takashi’s live action pop-robot film, Yatterman, based on the cartoon Yattaman, which will close the festival. Japan’s Foreign Oscar winner Departures will also be screened.
There are nine titles from South Korea including Crush and Blush a screwball comedy from Lee Kyoung-Mi and Jang Hoon’s Rough Cut, which tells the story of a actor who enlists a real-life gangster to replace him in a film, while China has seven titles at the festival including Tsui Hark’s All About Women and Desires of the Heart by Ma Liwen.
Hong Kong brings six titles of which Benny Chan’s action film Connected and Wilson Yip’s martial arts biopic Ip Man and Cash Chin’s sex comedy The Forbidden Language-Sex & Chopsticks are all international festival premieres. Dante Lam’s The Beast Stalker will also be screened, with the director and lead actor Nick Cheung attending.
Indonesia, which is bringing a total of six titles, is contributing Joko Anwar’s The Forbidden Door to the festival’s dedicated Horror Day. Meanwhile, the Philippines has three films including historical drama Baler by Mark Meily, the romantic comedy My Only U by Cathy Garcia-Molina and a social drama Caregiver by Chito S. Rono.
Thailand will be represented by eight films including, Best of Times, a comedy from Yongyoot Thongkongtoon and Chocolate, directed by Prachya Pinkaew. The latter is a female action film that is set within the Kicks of Fury-New Muay Thai Films subsection.
Taiwan and Singapore are represented with one picture each, CapeNo.7, a comic romance by Wei Te-sheng and horror film Rule #1 by Kelvin Tong.
The festival will be attended by a number of key figures from Asian film including Pusan International Film Festival’s Kim Dong-Ho Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, who will be screening her most recent work The Way We Are, and South Korean director Kim Jee-Woon. Marco Mueller, the Venice Film Festival director, will also be attending.
The festival, which takes place in Udine in North East Italy (April 24 - May 2), also announced that this year’s edition will be dedicated to the memory of Fortissimo Films founder and co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht, a champion of Asian cinema, whose recent death has shocked the international film community.