After nine intense days, the Far East Film Festival 25 comes to a close with the great Zhang Yimou's latest masterpiece, Full River Red, which will be taking the stage for its World Festival Premiere! Drawing literary inspiration from the famous patriotic poetic text from which it also takes its title, it's a sophisticated historical blockbuster set in China's Song Dynasty that blends mystery, humour and action with snappy dialogue and a techno-rock sound track that contrasts with scenes set in the narrow streets of ancient villages. But after all, this is Zhang Yimou we're talking about, so what did you expect?! It's the year 1146 and a rebellion is brewing among the Jin people against the Emperor, who summons a delegation of rebels to a meeting with Prime Minister Qin Hui. But two hours before the crucial meeting the Jin representative is assassinated and the letter he was carrying for the Emperor is stolen... As exciting as it is spectacular, Full River Red is difficult to classify in terms of genre: it's as though it brings together elements of all the films Zhang Yimou has directed, which viewers will enjoy spotting!
And if the Closing Night brings down the curtain of FEFF 25 with the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Audience Awards (at the stroke of midnight, as per tradition), this final day also offers a series of truly unmissable movies: from Yamada Yoji's very first Tora-san, chosen personally by Golden Mulberry winner Baisho Chieko for the Fareast's audiences, and the Italian premiere of powerful documentary Aum: the Cult at the End of the World by Ben Braun and Yanagimoto Chiaki (remember the horrendous attack on the Tokyo subway?) to Benny Chan's restoration of A Moment of Romance (love and action with a young Andy Lau!) and the world premiere of Amos Why's Everyphone Everyday. An acute and tragicomic reflection on the use and abuse of the smartphone and what it means if you accidentally leave it at home when you set out for your day!
All the last day, minute by minute!
TORA-SAN, OUR LOVABLE TRAMP
Directed by YAMADA Yoji
Long live Tora-san! Over more than 50 films, this saga about the kind-hearted traveling salesman has narrated (and continues to narrate) Japan. After twenty years, Tora-san returns home and is reunited with his younger sister Sakura (a radiant Baisho Chieko), now a beautiful young woman. But when a workman vows to win her heart, Tora-san sets in motion a clumsy plan of sabotage...
Two talks this morning: the first dedicated to the new Hong Kong cinema, the other to Japanese cinema.
AUM: THE CULT AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Directed by Ben BRAUN, YANAGIMOTO Chiaki
A powerful directorial debut for Ben Braun and Chiaki Yanagimoto. At the centre of the story is Aum Shinrikyo, the apocalyptic cult that was formed in Tokyo in 1984 as a yoga school and went on to become the terrorist organization which carried out the deadly 1995 attack on the Tokyo subway. Aum retraces the events and outlines their historical and social context.
Directed by MIKI Satoshi
A convenience store, a young screenwriter called Kato, his horror movie actress girlfriend and a dog with a habit of cancelling Kato's work all get thrown into the crazed and ingenious blender that is director Miki Satoshi's mind.
Directed by Amos WHY
(Hong Kong, 2023)
Hong Kong 2022: 25 years after the handover and 25 years after they graduated, three classmates decide to organise a reunion. In bittersweet tones, Amos Why recounts the unusual day of the three friends and their (and our) relationship with smartphones.
FULL RIVER RED
Directed by ZHANG Yimou
1146. A meeting is organised between the army and a delegation of rebels, but their representative is assassinated and a letter addressed to the emperor stolen. Sound like just another historical drama? Think again: this is a Zhang Yimou film. And here Zhang Yimou deftly switches between blockbuster, black comedy and thriller!
A MOMENT OF ROMANCE
Directed by Benny CHAN
(Hong Kong, 1990/Restored: 2022)
Romeo and Juliet in the Hong Kong underworld. Andy Lau is Wah Dee, a good-hearted villain who protects Jojo, who was accidentally involved in a robbery and is now being hunted by gangster Trumpet. The two fall in love but Jojo is a good girl and Wah Dee is a criminal, so reality demands that their love be stifled.
AUDIENCE AWARDS 2023
As per tradition, at the stroke of midnight all the winners of the Far East Film Festival 25 will be announced!