The Udine Far East Film Festival returns for its 20th edition in just over a week’s time. As usual, the festival has brought together some of the most highly anticipated East Asian cinema releases in its 81 film programme which also includes a retrospective dedicated to veteran actress Brigitte Lin who will be receiving the festival’s coveted Golden Mulberry Award. The festival will open with Netflix Original Steel Rain making its Festival Premiere, while Emil Heradi’s Indonesian thriller Night Bus will close the festival on 28th April.
- A Better Tomorrow 2018 – Ding Sheng’s remake of the ’80s John Woo classic in which two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the law.
- Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield – Lu Yang’s prequel to the 2014 original follows Shen Lian as he searches for clues to expose a conspiracy.
- The Legend of the Demon Cat – Chen Kaige adapts a Japanese novel by Yoneyama Mineo in which a poet and a monk follow a cat to track down a murderer. Features Chinese/Japanese cast including Shota Sometani, Huang Xuan, Hiroshi Abe, Qin Hao, and Keiko Matsuzaka.
- Never Say Die – hilarious Chinese body swap comedy! Review.
- Love Education – Sylvia Chang’s latest explores the impact of China’s feudal legacy as two women fight for the remains of a polygamous man.
- Transcendent – existential science fiction thriller.
- Wolf Warrior II – Wu Jing’s gung-ho action sequel in which Leng Feng takes the fight to Africa.
- Wrath of Silence – a mute father searches for clues regarding the disappearance of his son in Xin Yukun’s probing crime drama. Review.
- Youth – Feng Xiaogang looks back at the Cultural Revolution through the story of the Revolutionary Ballet corps. Review.
- Operation Red Sea – Dante Lam’s Operation Mekong sequel finds elite Chinese military forces evacuating diplomatic staff after war breaks out in the Middle East. Review.
- Our Time Will Come – Ann Hui tells the story of the resistance movement in World War II HK. Review.
- The Empty Hands – comedy from Chapman To in which a half-Japanese Hong Kong woman’s dreams of freedom from her father’s martial arts legacy are dashed when he leaves 51% of his dojo to another pupil who challenges her to a match for the right to win his controlling share.
- No. 1 Chung Ying Street – drama contrasting 1967 pro-China demonstrations against the British Government, and the Umbrella democratisation movement in present day Hong Kong.
- The Bride with White Hair – Ronny Yu’s classic wu xia. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
- Chungking Express – Wong Kar-Wai’s HK classic. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
- Dragon Inn – 1992 wuxia classic from Raymond Lee. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
- Red Dust – 1990 melodrama in which a novelist falls in love with a Japanese collaborator during World War II. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
- My Heart Is That Eternal Rose – Patrick Tam’s 1989 romantic crime drama.
Throw Down – premiere of the new restoration of Johnnie To’s 2004 martial arts drama starring Louis Koo and Aaron Kwok.
- My Generation – teen movie affectionately satirising Indonesian millennials.
- Night Bus – civilians catch a bus to Sampar – a town rich in natural resources but heavily guarded by the army who are keen to defend against rebel militias. Closing night gala.
- Satan’s Slaves – Joko Anwar remakes the 1980 classic horror movie in which a mother rises from the dead to collect her children.
- The 8-Year Engagement – romantic tearjerker starring Takeru Satoh and Tao Tsuchiya.
- The Blood of Wolves – Koji Yakusho plays a possibly dodgy cop investigating a missing persons case in Kazuya Shirashi’s ’80s crime drama.
- Yocho (Foreboding) – the theatrical cutdown of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s TV companion piece to Before we Vanish.
- Inuyashiki – Shinsuke Sato adapts Hiroya Oku’s science-fiction manga in which an old man gets superpowers and decides to use them to do good, meanwhile a young man has the opposite reaction.
- Mori, The Artist’s Habitat – the latest from Shuichi Okita stars Kirin Kiki and Tsutomu Yamazaki in the story of an elderly artist and his wife of 52 years.
- The Name – bankrupt businessman Masao discovers a new side to himself after encountering mysterious high school girl Emiko.
- One Cut of the Dead – experimental zombie fun from Shinichiro Ueda.
- The Scythian Lamb – Ryuhei Matsuda stars in Daihachi Yoshida’s adaptation of Tatsuhiko Yamagami and Mikio Igarashi’s manga in which prisoners are released from jail on the condition that they help repopulate declining rural towns.
- Tremble All You Want – an office lady experiences a number of romantic difficulties in this off-kilter love comedy.
- Ramen Heads – documentary following “Ramen King” Osamu Tomita.
- Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA – documentary following the legendary composer.
- SUKITA: The Shoot Must Go On – David Bowie x photographer Masayoshi Sukita documentary.
- Blue Film Woman – premiere of a new restoration of the classic 1969 pink film by Ken Mukai.
- Women Hell Song – premiere of a new restoration of the classic 1970 pink film by Mamoru Watanabe.
- Crossroads:One Two Jaga – gritty migrant worker drama from Nam Ron.
- 1987: When the Day Comes – democracy movement drama from Jang Joon-hwan.
- The Battleship Island: Director’s Cut – extended cut of Ryoo Seung-wan’s wartime drama in which a musician and his daughter are conscripted for offshore forced labour. Review of the theatrical edition.
- Be with You – remake of the 2004 jun-ai classic in which a bereaved husband and son discover a woman who looks like their lost wife and mother wandering in the forest.
- The Chase – a retired policeman teams up with a landowner to solve a 30-year-old cold case.
- Forgotten – a nervous young man begins to doubt his surroundings after his brother is kidnapped. Review.
- Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum – a TV crew travel to an abandoned asylum with a notorious past and get a lot more than they bargained for.
- Last Child – powerful drama in which a grieving couple warm to the child their son died saving.
- Little Forest – remake of the Japanese foody drama starring Kim Tae-ri
- Midnight Runners – two police trainees decide to pursue justice alone in this hugely enjoyable buddy cop action comedy. Review.
- The Outlaws – Ma Dong-seok stars in an anarchic crime drama. Review.
- The Running Actress – actress Moon So-ri writes, directs, and stars in this feature length compilation of three shorts.
- A Special Lady – Kim Hye-soo stars as the second in command of a corporate gangster outfit in this noirish thriller.
- Steel Rain – A North Korean operative brings the wounded leader to the South to escape a coup and then must cooperate with an intelligence officer to prevent a nuclear war. Opening night gala. Review.
- Courtesy to the Nation – Kwon Gyeong-won’s documentary focuses on democracy activist Chang Ki-hoon who became the centre of the Fake Will Scandal.
Veteran – Ryoo Seung-wan’s 2015 action drama. Review.
- Chedeng and Apple – two old ladies set off on a quest to discover lost love with a severed head in a handbag along for the ride.
- The Portrait – musical World War 2 drama.
- Smaller and Smaller Circles – Raya Martin adapts the novel by F. H. Batacan in which two priests investigate murders of small boys in a Manila slum.
- Himala– 1982 religious drama from Ishmael Bernal.
Moral – classic 1982 youth drama from Marilou Diaz-Abaya.
- Diamond Dogs – a terminal cancer patient enters an underground social experiment.
- Wonder Boy – ’70s musical biopic.
- All Because of Love – teen romance.
- Dear Ex – family drama
- Gatao 2: Rise of the King – sequel to the gangster drama.
- On Happiness Road – charming animation in which a woman returns to her childhood home.
- Take Me to the Moon – timeslip comedy in which a young man attempts to save his friend from a life decision that will eventually lead to both their deaths.
- Cloud of Romance – restored melodrama from 1977. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
Outside the Window – 1973 Taiwanese age-gap romantic melodrama. Brigitte Lin retrospective.
- Bad Genius – a high school girl hatches a plan to cheat the exams system. Review.
- The Promise – two women pledge to commit suicide together but when one backs out the other returns 20 years later to haunt her!
- Sad Beauty – two female friends get mixed up in a murder.
- The Tailor – a tale of dressmaking and family in ’60s Vietnam.
Full details for each of the films will be shortly available via the official website where you can also find the daily screening schedule. Screenings take place both at the Teatro Nuovo, and the Visionario cinema. You can keep up with all the latest festival news via the festival’s Facebook Page, Instagram and YouTube channels, Twitter account, and Tumblr.