Opening film Jojo Rabbit
Closing Film I’m livin’ it
The 4th International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao (referred to as “IFFAM” or the “Film Festival”) will be unveiled next Thursday (5th December) to continue for six days in a row. The Film Festival will screen an extravaganza of 50 feature films and six short films from the East and West for the public through various sections as follows: opening and closing films; three competition sections including International Competition, New Chinese Cinema and Shorts Competition; seven non-competition sections including World Panorama, Flying Daggers, Gala, Special Presentations, 20th Anniversary Macao Special Presentations, Director’s Choice and Macao Short Film Special Presentation, among other sections in the programme. Ticketing has started earlier this month.
Opening movie Jojo Rabbit
Winner of People's Choice Award in Toronto International Film Festival, Jojo Rabbit is a satirical black comedy film and a screen adaptation of Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies. The story is set against the backdrop of the Second World War, about a young German boy in face of various disputes in times of turbulence. The movie creates a humorous portrayal of solemn and sensitive topics through the eyes of a child, bringing a hilarious black satirical comedy into life. The film was directed by Taika Waititi, whose other directed films include Thor: Ragnarok, What We do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Closing Film I’m livin’ it reflects reality and tugs at the heartstrings
A press conference was held in Macao for the Hong Kong Film I’m Livin’ It on the closing day of the last edition of IFFAM, to share about the filming process. Chosen as the closing film of this year, I’m Livin’ It revolves around social issues in Hong Kong. The main character Bowen, once a banking elite, sleeps over in a 24-hour fast food restaurant all the time. There, he encounters fellows with whom he can share mutual support and walk together out of the dark valley of life. The film was produced by Cheang Pou Soi and directed by rising film director Danny Wong Hing Fan, starring Aaron Kwok and Miriam Yeung, acclaimed best actor and actress in Asia. The film has recently been screened in Tokyo International Film Festival and featured as the closing film in London East Asia Film Festival.
20th Anniversary Macao Special Presentations showcases local creative style
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region, this edition of IFFAM will present a special section titled “20th Anniversary Macao Special Presentations”. A selection of local films will be screened in this non-competition section. Directed by António Faria and Bernard Rao, produced by Tracy Choi and Kelvin Lam, Ina and the Blue Tiger Sauna portrays a 19-year-old girl in face of the gangster disputes coming from the life of her dad who has passed away. Directed by Keo Lou and starring local singer Vivian Chan, Let’s Sing unfolds the inner path of a female high-schooler finding back the voice in her heart and her dream to become a singer. Directed by Shangshi Chen, Patio of Illusion, through a story of two lovers, mirrors the social transformation over the last two decades since the Macao SAR was established. Directed by Oliver Fa, String of Sorrow depicts a story of musicians in a quartet rising above challenges and their own divergence of opinion to make their music dream come true. Years of Macao is a confluence of nine short stories revolving around different characters, each directed by a different local film director and set against the backdrop of different decades in the century. The nine film directors include Tou Kin Hong, Penny Lam Kin Kuan, Albert Chu Iao Ian, Emily Chan, Peeko Wong, Chao Koi Wang, Maxim Bessmertny, Mike Ao Ieong Weng Fong and António Caetano de Faria. Through this special highlight in the IFFAM programme, the Organizing Committee hopes to bring outstanding local film productions into the limelight on the international stage, showcase the diverse dynamic of the cultural and creative industries in Macao and pay tribute to the city’s filmmakers.
International Competition lines up outstanding entries
The ten entries in the International Competition promise a cinematic feast for the eyes, includingBellbird, Bombay Rose, Buoyancy, Family Members, Give Me Liberty, Goldie, Homecoming, Lynn + Lucy, Two of Us and Two/One, etc. The Jury of International Competition comprises a strong line-up of prominent heavyweights. Accomplished filmmaker, film director, producer and screenwriter Peter Chan Ho-sun is Jury President. Other jury members include veteran filmmaker in Chinese cinema, Ellen Eliasoph, Indonesian actress Dian Sastrowardoyo, Burmese film director Midi Z and British actor Tom Cullen.
New Chinese Cinema pits seven remarkable films against each other
Launched last year, New Chinese Cinema will bring more Chinese films onto the stage of IFFAM and feature a stronger line-up. Seven entries are pit against each other: Better Days, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Lucky Grandma, To Live to Sing, Wet Season, Wisdom Tooth and Over the Sea. Five accolades will be presented to winners of this section, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress.
The seven movies stand out in their unique splendour. Better Days, directed by famous Hong Kong artist Eric Tsang’s son Derek Tsang, unfolds a teen love story shadowed by school bullying. Both the screenplay and portrayal of the cast won critical acclaim for the film. The female lead of the film, Zhou Dongyu, is invited to grace the Film Festival as the Actress in Focus this year. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains depicts a family story of four sons taking turns to tend to their old mother who is unexpectedly diagnosed with dementia, and the subsequent problems they encounter. The film director Gu Xiaogang weaved traditional Chinese paintings of mountains and waterfall into the movie scenes with exquisite artistry. The film was chosen as the closing film for Critics’ Week at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. Lucky Grandma stars legendary Chinese actress Tsai Chin, who played a Bond girl in the James Bond films in the 1960s. The film depicts the story of a grandma in her eighties who lives in the Chinatown of New York City, striving to unveil a new chapter of her life after her husband has passed way. In To Live to Sing, a Sichuan opera troupe is led by their manager to climb out of their predicaments. The amateur cast of the film allows an encounter between life and drama. The film was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight programme of the Cannes Film Festival this year. Directed by Anthony Chen, Wet Season revolves around a female teacher whose life has fallen apart before she moves from Malaysia to Singapore, where a new friendship grows between her and a student, helping her reaffirm her female identity. The film was nominated in the 56th Golden Horse Awards. Wisdom Tooth, the first film directed by Liang Ming, unfolds a story in China’s northern border city in a cold winter in the 1990s from the angle of the female lead Gu Xi. The film harvested two awards in the 3rd Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival. In Over the Sea, a Northeastern Chinese boy named Xiao Jie, at the age of 11, stays with his uncle and elder cousin whom he grows dependent on after his parents left home for work for years. Yet he gradually loses his childlike innocence after his cousin takes advantage of him. The film was screened in the 24th Busan International Film Festival.
The Jury of New Chinese Cinema comprises a strong line-up of prominent film industry figures including film director and winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, Cristian Mungiu, as the President, and four other members as follows: Singaporean film director and screenwriter Kristen Tan, Canadian film producer and former Executive Director of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Noah Cowan, Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival, Tricia Tuttle, and Chinese film director, screenwriter and director of photography, Qiu Yang.
New Highlight – “Shorts Competition”
A new highlight, Shorts Competition, will be launched in this edition of IFFAM to engage youths from neighboring regions aspiring to a filmmaking career for an opportunity to present their works in this competition section. Four short film entries will be screened and compete for the Best Short Film in the Film Festival as follows: Little Red Riding Hood, Lonely Encounter, Nocturne and Room 13.
Gala presents cinematic diversity
Gala of this year will bring three movies onto the screen, including Japanese Gala Dance with me, British Gala Judy and family animation A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. The film crew and cast of Dance with me will attend the Film Festival including director Shinobu Yaguchi, producer Chiaki Kusu and actor Akira Takarada. To spice up the Film Festival with fun experience, two popular film characters of A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, the sheep Shaun and the shepherd dog Bitzer,will meet with the audience after the film screening. A cartoon figure workshop for the film will also be held to delight the young and old of families. In addition, the Hollywood Special Presentation section will screen Dark Waters.
Flying Daggers enthralls audience with compelling films
This year, Flying Daggers will screen three unique international films as a non-competition section: First Love, The Lighthouse and The Platform. The film crew and cast of First Love will dazzle the red carpet during IFFAM, including director Takashi Miike, producer Misako Saka, actor Masataka Kubota, actor Seiyo Uchino and actress Rebecca Eri Kataoka.
World Panorama unfolds an extravaganza of entries from international film festivals
Nine films selected in World Panorama have marked their presence in different international film festivals this year. The black-and-white film Saturday Fiction, directed by Lou Ye and starring Gong Li, and The Wild Goose Lake, directed by Diao Yinan, both entered the competition at the 76th Venice Film Festival. Other outstanding films include: Balloon, Dirty God, Little Joe, My Zoe, Proxima, The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão and The Long Walk. The Long Walk is one of the film projects presented in the Work-in-progress Presentations in the 3rd IFFAM.
Director’s Choice spotlights timeless classics
This year, Director’s Choice recommends three acclaimed classics. The 400 Blows (1959), a feature film directed by French film director François Truffaut, is celebrated as a French New Wave drama film. The other two films are Tokyo Story (1953) and Blowup (1966). The latter was directed by Italian film directorand modernist master, Michelangelo Antonioni.
Talent Ambassadors shine in Special Presentations
A thoughtful selection of eight films in Special Presentations will include The Truth, a film directed by celebrated Japanese film director Hirokazu Kore-eda and starring Juliette Binoche, Talent Ambassador of this year’s IFFAM, as the lead. Another film A City Called Macau, directed by film director Li Shaohong and starring Talent Ambassador Carina Lau, unfolds a story against the backdrop of Macao. An adaptation of one of Eileen Chang’s novels and starring Talent Ambassador Carina Lau as the leading actress, Flowers of Shanghai is a classic film with the story set in Shanghai before the turn of the 20th century. Other films include The Present, Red Amnesia, A Hidden Life, The Captain and The Domain. Among the films, The Present cast Talent Ambassador Kim Jun-myeon (Suho) as the lead while Red Amnesia was directed by Wang Xiaoshuai, Chinese independent film director and Festival Ambassador of the 4th IFFAM. A Hidden Life is the winner of the François Chalais Award in the 72ndCannes Film Festival, while the Domain was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice Film Festival, besides the recent announcement that the Domain is among the entries contending for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars 2020.
Macao Short Film Special Presentation will feature Continuity, a short film created by local filmmakers.
Films in the IFFAM programme will be screened at Macao Cultural Centre, Macau Tower, Cinematheque・Passion and Old Court Building. Residents and visitors can now buy film tickets on www.macauticket.com or at various screening venues during the Film Festival.
For more details of the 4th IFFAM, please visit http://iffamacao.com/en/.