The London East Asia Film Festival returns for its fourth edition on 24th October with a screening of Korean action drama Exit. This year the festival will host a special actor focus dedicated to Hong Kong star Aaron Kwok, as well as showcasing two films from North Korea, and paying tribute to the classic samurai movie.
- Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Director Lee Sang-geun will be present for a Q&A.
- The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.
- Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family.
- Send me to the Clouds – a young woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer ends up writing a biography of an entrepreneur’s father and embarking on an existential journey.
- Summer of Changsha – directorial debut from actor Zu Feng in which he also stars as a policeman investigating a possible murder after a severed arm is found in a river.
- The Crossing – a teenage girl faces differing kinds of crossings as she finds herself embroiled in a world of crime smuggling phones across the Hong Kong/Shenzhen border. Review.
- Europe Raiders – third in the “Raiders” series in which two bounty hunters go on a search for the “Hand of God”.
- G Affairs – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people. Q&A with Director Lee Cheuk Pan
- Still Human – touching drama in which a grumpy old man eventually bonds with his Filipina carer. Review
- Three Husbands – latest from Fruit Chan in which a young woman lives a life at sea with her three husbands.
- After This Our Exile – Aaron Kwok stars in Patrick Tam’s drama as a dejected husband and father who finds himself alone with his young son after his wife finally manages to leave.
- Cold War – Aaron Kwok stars as an earnest ICAC agent trying to secure the release of kidnapped policemen. Plus talk with Aaron Kwok
- Port of Call – Aaron Kwok stars as an eccentric detective investigating the death of a young girl in Philip Yung’s melancholy thriller. Review.
- I’m Livin’ It – Aaron Kwok stars as a former finance worker rendered homeless. Closing gala with Kwok in attendance.
- Butterfly – a closeted lesbian married with a child falls for a younger woman in Mak Yan Yan’s sensitive drama.
- Green Snake – Tsui Hark’s take on the classic Lady White Snake legend starring Maggie Cheung and Joey Wong.
- The Science of Fictions – a farmer wanders onto a film set where they’re filming a moon landing.
- A Girl Missing – Koji Fukada reunites with Harmonium’s Mariko Tsutsui who stars as a carer implicated in a crime.
- To the Ends of the Earth – Kiyoshi Kurosawa reunites with recent muse Atsuko Maeda as a lost TV presenter goes searching for herself while filming in Uzbekistan. Review.
- Erica 38 – a middle-aged woman seeks chases illusionary success after getting involved with large scale fraud. Review.
- The Woman Who Keeps a Murderer – Horror from Ring’s Hideo Nakata in which a traumatised woman’s world gradually collapses.
- Under Your Bed – stalker drama from Mari Asato starring Kengo Kora as a lonely man obsessed with a former uni classmate now married with a child.
- Long Live the King – comedy in which a mob boss aims to become president to win the heart of a woman who constantly rejects him and also save his friend who has been sentenced to death!
- Another Child – teenage girls bond in unexpected friendship when they find out their parents are having an affair. Review.
- Divine Fury – An MMA fighter battles his demons while teaming up with an exorcist priest! Review.
- Money – a cynical stockbroker gets in over his head with an unscrupulous fixer. Review. Q&A with Director Park Noo-ri & Actor Ryu Jun Yeol.
- Ms Purple – Drama set in LA’s Koreatown in which Korean-American siblings attempt to reconnect in their father’s final days.
- The House of Us – Yoon Ga-eun’s The World of Us followup in which a young girl trying to get her parents to patch things up becomes a big sister figure to two other kids. Review.
- The Battle: Roar to Victory – drama starring Yoo Hai-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol in which Resistance fighters in 1920 attempt to get funds to the Independence Movement in exile in Shanghai.
- The House of Hummingbird – a young girl’s perspective widens when she connects with her enigmatic Chinese teacher. Review.
- Tune in for Love – Romantic drama from Jung Ji-woo set in the ’90s following a baker who likes to call in to a radio requests show. Q&A with Actor Jung Hae-in
- Inseparable Bros – two best friends, one who has a physical disability and the other learning difficulties, meet a woman who encourages them out into the world.
- Juror 8 – comedy drama inspired by Korea’s first jury trial in which a strange young man refuses to abide by the majority opinion. Review.
- The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Ma Dong-seok stars as a gangster attacked by serial stabber who teams up with a rogue cop to trap a serial killer. Review.
- My Name is Kim Bok-dong – documentary exploring the life of “comfort woman” Kim Bok-dong who passed away last year after decades of trying to gain acknowledgement for women like herself forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during the Second World War.
- Rivercide: The Secret Six – documentary focussing on the outcome of President Lee’s Grand Canal project.
- The Culprit – a man’s wife is murdered and circumstantial evidence suggests his best friend did it. He teams up with his friend’s wife to search for the truth!
- The Story of Our Home – propaganda drama about a teenage girl who adopts a series of orphans.
- A Broad Bellflower – propaganda romance in which a man dreams of moving to the city while his wife wants to improve their town.
- Rainbow’s Sunset – drama in which an 84-year-old man tells his family he is gay because he wants to care for his longterm lover in his final days.
- Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students. Review.
- Cities of Last Things – tripartite story which begins with the protagonist’s suicide and then moves back to examine the events which led to it.
- Nina Wu – psychological drama from Midi Z in which an actress gets her big break but is forced into uncomfortable situations by a difficult director.
- Deep Evil – a top plastic surgeon is a prime suspect when a headless corpse is discovered.
- Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student.
- Millennium Mambo – Hou Hsiao-Hsien drama starring Shu Qi as a young woman living in turn of the century Taipei.
- The Tag-Along: The Devil Fish – spin-off to the Tag-Along series inspired by another urban legend in which fishermen notice a human face in their fish as they’re grilling it.
- The Pool – A man ends up having to clean a disused pool after a film shoot but falls asleep on an inflatable raft. When he wakes up, he finds that the water level has fallen so low he can no longer climb out. He screams for help, but the only creature to hear him is a crocodile…
- 13 Assassins – Takashi Miike’s remake of the 1963 Eiichi Kudo classic in which 13 assassins go up against a corrupt lord.
- Harakiri – Kobayashi classic from 1962 starring Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin taking a principled stand against samurai corruption.
- Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance – first in the Lone Wolf and Cub series which sees a noble samurai fall from grace and take to the road with his small son in tow. Review.
- Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx – The second film in the Lone Wolf and Cub cycle in which Ogami is hired to take down a corrupt manager. Review.
- Sword of Doom – blistering drama from Kichachi Okamoto in which Tatsuya Nakadai stars as an amoral samurai.
The London East Asia Film Festival 2019 runs at various venues in Central London from 24th October to 3rd November. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links will shortly be available via the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.