The Udine Far East Film Festival returns for its 21st edition on April 26! As usual, the festival has brought together some of the most highly anticipated East Asian cinema releases with 76 films included in this year’s programme including a retrospective strand dedicated to classic Korean cinema and sidebar on Korean indie comedy. This year’s guests of honour are veteran Hong Kong star Anthony Wong who will be receiving the festival’s Golden Mulberry Award, and Chinese superstar Yao Chen.
- A Cool Fish – comedy crime caper in which two losers, a woman in a wheelchair, and a dejected security guard get mixed up in a strange series of coincidences. Review.
- Crossing the Border – heartwarming drama in which a grandpa goes on a tractor roadtrip with his 6-year-old grandson.
- The Crossing – a teenage girl becomes a mobile phone mule in Bai’s sensitive coming of age drama. Review.
- Dying to Survive – dark comedy drama in which an aphrodisiac seller becomes rich smuggling generic cancer medication.
- Lost, Found – remake of the Korean film Missing in which a lawyer in the middle of a custody dispute discovers her nanny has disappeared with her daughter.
- Pegasus – New Year comedy drama in which a disgraced middle-aged racing driver tries to make a comeback. Review.
- The Rib – a trans woman tries to get the approval of her devoutly religious father.
- When Love Blossoms – a Beijing delivery boy is inspired to pursue his secret crush on a real estate agent who is also his roommate.
- Bodies at Rest – a pathologist and his assistant are suddenly accosted by crooks wanting access to a body in Renny Harlin’s action drama.
- A Home with a View – Mr. Lo sinks all his savings and his father’s pension into buying a flat which has a view of the ocean that calms the rowdy family down, but one day their lovely view is suddenly blocked by an illegal billboard in a dark family comedy from Herman Yau.
- Hotel Soul Good – comedy in which a hardbitten exec starts seeing ghosts and then forces them to open a hotel with her.
- Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy – spin-off / sequel to Ip Man 3 starring Max Zhang and directed by Yuen Woo-ping.
- Missbehavior – New Year rom-com from Pang Ho-cheung in which a secretary tries to replace a bottle of breast milk belonging to her boss after accidentally using it to make coffee for a client.
- Project Gutenberg – twisty action drama from Felix Chong starring Aaron Kwok and Chow Yun Fat. Review.
- Still Human – Intouchables-esque drama starring Anthony Wong as a man in a wheelchair who doesn’t immediately take to his Filipina carer.
- Three Husbands – Fruit Chan satirises modern Hong Kong through the story of a sex worker with a high libido who lives on a boat with her three husbands.
- 212 Warrior – historical martial arts action comedy.
- Dare to Stop Us – drama directed by Kazuya Shiraishi set at Wakamatsu Productions in the early 1970s.
- Every Day a Good Day – tea ceremony drama featuring one of the last screen performances by the late Kirin Kiki.
- Fly Me to the Saitama – local humour comedy in which residents of Saitama have been relegated to second class citizens. Review.
- HARD-CORE – robot comedy from Nobuhiro Yamashita.
- Jam – absurdist comedy from SABU in which a singer is kidnapped by a crazed fan.
- JK Rock – comedy in which a washed up rocker mentors a girl group.
- Lying to Mom – black comedy in which a family keep up the pretence that their oldest son who committed suicide is alive and well in Argentina.
- Melancholic – a dejected university graduate takes a job in a bathhouse but discovers it is used as a location for killing after hours.
- Only the Cat Knows – a disappeared cat places a wedge between husband and wife.
- Fly by Night – taxi drivers running an extortion scam become embroiled in crime conspiracy
- Motif – a policewoman investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl in a small town finds herself digging deep into family secrets.
- Two Sisters – horror in which a woman is released from a psychiatric hospital and returns to live with her sister only to encounter dark family secrets.
- Eerie – a clairvoyant guidance counsellor investigates the deaths of a series of girls at a convent school in Mikhail Red’s supernatural drama.
- Heaven’s Waiting – two old souls trapped in purgatory find each other in Dan Villegas’ supernatural romance.
- Miss Granny – Filipino remake of the classic Korean musical comedy in which an old woman becomes young and gets to relive her youth.
- Signal Rock – indie drama set in an island community where a brother determines to help bring his sister and her daughter home to the Philippines on learning that she is in an abusive relationship abroad.
- Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug war. Review.
- Birthday – melancholy family drama exploring the aftermath of the Sewol ferry tragedy.
- Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home.
- Default – drama exploring the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
- Extreme Job – bumbling police officers go undercover running a chicken restaurant to catch drug dealers but the restaurant ends up taking off.
- The Great Battle – historical drama centring on the siege of Ansi Fortress.
- Innocent Witness – Jung Woo-Sung stars as a lawyer defending a housekeeper accused of murdering her boss who discovers the only witness to the crime is an autistic teenage girl.
- Intimate Strangers – Korean remake of the Italian film Perfect Strangers in which dinner party guests unwisely agree to share all their incoming mobile messages.
- The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – comedy in which a family’s life is disrupted when dad gets bitten by a zombie.
- Rampant – historical zombie action starring Hyun Bin.
- Romang – romantic melodrama in which an elderly couple fall in love all over again while suffering with dementia.
- Unstoppable – Ma Dong-seok stars as a former gangster hot on the trail of human traffickers who’ve made the mistake of kidnapping his wife.
- Konpaku – A young man upset after his girlfriend leaves him ends up in a relationship with the sensuous Midori but is disturbed when strange things start happening to those close to him.
- The Devil Fish – spin-off/sequel to the Tagalong franchise this time revolving around an urban legend about a fish with a human face.
- More than Blue – remake of the Korean romantic melodrama in which two young people try too hard to please each other. Review.
- The Scoundrels – action drama in which a former basketball player gets mixed up in crime.
- Krasue: Inhuman Kiss – an innocent village girl discovers she is a victim of a strange curse in which her head detaches from her body to hunt for blood!
- Reside – haunted house horror starring Ananda Everingham.
- BNK48: Girls Don’t Cry – Thamrongrattanarit Nawapol interviews members of the Thai idol group.
- Kampai! Sake Sisters – documentary following three women in the historically male sake world.
- People’s Republic of Desire – documentary exploring the growing Chinese online streaming industry. Review.
- YI DAI YI LU – One Belt One Road – Italian documentary exploring the One Belt One Road initiative.
The Odd Couples
- The World of Suzie Wong – classic 1960 British/American HK drama in which an American artist falls for a sex worker.
- My Name Ain’t Suzie – 1985 HK drama following a 1950s bar girl.
- City on Fire – 1987 Ringo Lam classic starring Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee in which an undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves only for the operation to go very wrong.
- Reservoir Dogs – Tarantino’s 1992 crime drama.
100 Years of Korean Cinema:
I Choose Evil – Lawbreakers Under the Military Dictatorship
- Black Hair – Lee Man-hee classic from 1964 in which a betrayed gangster’s moll mulls going straight thanks to the attentions of a cheerful cabbie. Review.
- The Body Confession – Jo Keung-ha’s 1964 melodrama in which a woman turns to sex work to raise her three children.
- A Day Off – Lee Man-hee’s bleak 1968 melodrama following an impoverished couple as they face an impossible situation. Review.
- Promise of the Flesh – 1975 melodrama from Kim Ki-young in which a young woman on temporary release from prison meets man and promises to meet him two years later.
- Jagko – Im Kwon-taek pioneers the division film in exploring the parallel fates of a partisan and the man who failed to catch him in the very different world of 1980. Review.
- The Last Witness – a detective’s investigation of a brewery owner’s murder takes him right into the dark heart of the recent past in Lee Doo-yong’s powerful drama. Review.
- Ticket – 1985 Im Kwon-taek drama exploring the lives of five “coffee girls”.
- Lovers in Woomukbaemi – Jang Sun-woo’s 1990 romantic melodrama stars Park Joong-hoon as a henpecked husband who begins an affair with a battered wife. Review.
- A First Farewell – A muslim boy in Xinjiang prepares to say goodbye to his deaf/mute mother when his father decides to put her into a nursing home.
- Ten Years Japan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Japan. Review.
- Ten Years Taiwan – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Taiwan.
- Ten Years Thailand – omnibus film featuring five visions of near future Thailand.
Korean Independent Comedies
- Coffee Noir: Black Brown – prohibition-themed comedy as a barista turns her coffee shop into a speakeasy following the outlawing of the beverage.
- Passing Summer – A couple running a Jeju hotel are stunned when a pair of faces from the past turn up as guests.
- Saem – a man goes to Seoul to look for his first love but has a rare condition in which he is unable to recognise faces.
- A Speck in the Water – 1976 Philippine fishing village drama from Ishmael Bernal
- The Wheel of Life – Omnibus film featuring three tales directed by King Hu, Li Hsing, and Pai Ching-jui in which the same two actors play lovers across different ages.
The 21st Udine Far East Film Festival runs from 26th April to 4th May 2019. Full details for each of the films will be available shortly via the official website where you will also be able to 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.