Italy’s Absolute Orient Film Festival revealed its power-packed lineup Wednesday for its 25th anniversary edition. The largest film event in Europe with a special focus on popular Asian films, FEFF will open on April 21 with a double bill inspired by the Korean-Singapore co-production hit Shuming ajoomma follows Taiwanese director Kai Ko’s first-time black comedy bad education. And on April 29, the screen will go down in the festival with the Italian premiere of the legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s latest blockbuster; The Red River is full. During these days, the festival will screen 78 Asian films from 14 countries, including nine world premieres.
The organizers of the FEFF, founded in 1999 in the northern Italian city of Utine and enlarged by the painting festival Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche, say that the 2023 selection “intends to show the huge complexity of Asia more than ever before”. The line does indeed provide compelling snaps of offensively different commercial film content in the stream.
FEFF got its start in the early 2000s by bringing the best of Hong Kong’s golden age films to Europe, and this year’s festival will celebrate that city’s resurgent film scene, showcasing box office record-breaking courtroom drama. Guilty of consciencesix films by new Hong Kong directors and the latest by Anthony Wong (Sunny side of the street, 2022). And near the end of the festival’s narrative, Hong Kong industry titan Johnnie Ut, a long-time partner of the event, died in the transmission fleet.
Japanese cinema will have a particularly strong presence at FEFF’s Silver Jubilee. Prolific director Hiroki Ryuichi will screen three films (his latest feature; The increase of the moon2022’s Do you have a friend? and the 1994 breakthrough 800 Two-Leg Runners). Hiroki will be present in Italy to do the teaching, as well. Other highlights of the different Italian lines are Tokyo-based Indian filmmaker Anshul Chauhan’s well-regarded drama DecemberOtomo Keishi’s historical drama Legend & GloryAnd a queer love story ambitious and Nakamura Mayu’s COVID-era drama She is me, I am her. Cult director Watanabe Hirobumi will visit FEFF to present two world premieres, Techno Brothers, described as a “Kraftwerk-esque road movie that paid homage to the Blue Brothers and Aki Kaurismaki;” and a documentary film The way of life. Veteran Japanese actress Baisho Chieko, the star of the just-beloved Yoji Yamada Tora-san filins, 2023 Attaining the glory of the Feast of St. To mark the occasion, the festival will screen three of Hayakawa’s films: his first Tora-san (1969) feature, Yamada’s Where Spring Late (1970), and his most recent starring project, Chie Hayakawa’s dystopian social drama Plan 75which deserved a special mention at Cannes in 2022 Camera d’Or.
On the Chinese language front, in addition to Zhang’s blockbuster, the selection includes recent Chinese reform hack, another Chinese industry legend, Feng Xiaogang, in the lead role. And Taiwan picks FEF diversity to be added as far as 2023. Laha Mebow’s Gaga set tells the story of a native Taiwanese Atayal, Cheng Wei-hao’s family To lead my dead body Superno is a luxurious comedy, and Fu Tien-yu’s day off he takes by touch the portrait of a rare male.
Korean cinema, both commercial and famous for its biting gloss and commercial storytelling, has increasingly become a pillar of the FEFF program over the years. Seven titles will be presented this year, showcasing the incomparable quality of Korean industry, as usual. Among them: the mystery of Jin-young Kim’s horror Another boyAhn Tae-jin in period drama costume Nocturnal and Lee Hae’s twisted spy thriller; Phantom. Korean film auteur Jang Sun-woo will visit and celebrate the release of the masterpiece in person and receive a mini-retrospective treatment, three of his edgy and popular characters: The way to the race track (1991). To you about Me (1994) and a lie (1999).
The 2023 South Asia festival picks up the same eclectic mix of auteurist cinema and a well-built class of vehicles. FromThailand: You & Me & Methe upcoming film directed by the Hongvivatan twin sisters; About the developer: abang adikfrom life to the edges Cost of Malaysia: Opis Helangthe action of the visceral organs. Indonesia will bring Joko Anwar and his blockbuster sequel Servant of Satan: Communion. And the Philippines will be represented by three horror flies: Mikhail Red’s deleteThe dark story of Kenneth Dagatan In my mother’s skinand Quark Henare’s comedy of profound misinformation Where is the lie?
To celebrate Feff’s quarter-century anniversary, the authors have put together a retrospective that is as knowledgable as it is counterintuitive. Rather than revisiting the highlights of the event’s early years, the 21-part retrospective title will explore the period in Asian cinema that proceeded immediately after the establishment of the FEFF. The founders of the festival, Baracetti and Bertacche, will personally explore the fertility of the history of Asian cinema (the 1980s and 90s) that gave birth to their passion for the region’s films – a passion that in turn inspired the creation of Europe’s largest Asia-dedicated film event. Examples include: Nonzee Nimibutr seed of 1997 rogue Thai film Dang Bireley and the Young GangstersPark Chan-wook’s 1997 crime comedy and second feature TrioHsu Hsiao-ming’s angel dust from 1992 (by Hou Hsiao-hsien) and a crime comedy Teenage Runaway (1984), written by Tsai Ming Liang, who has just moved to Taipei from Malaysia. Having spent 25 years trying to foresee the future of Asian cinema, in 2023 the FEFF will also ask: What films did we show in the years before us?