Five Flavours Film Festival returns for its 15th edition in a hybrid format streaming across Poland Nov. 17 – 29 with cinema screenings taking place in Warsaw Nov. 17 – 24. This year’s festival will include the recent Wong Kar-Wai touring retrospective as well as specialist strands themed around The Olympics and Taiwanese queer cinema.
- Cliff Walkers – taut 30s spy movie from Zhang Yimou following Communist Party agents as they attempt to extract a former prisoner who can blow the whistle on Japanese war crimes committed by Unit 731.
- Spring Tide – an alienated investigative journalist struggles to free herself and her 9-year old daughter from the legacy of toxic parenting both personal and national in Yang Lina’s powerful family drama. Review.
- No.7 Cherry Lane – animation from Yonfan set in the Hong Kong of the 1960s.
- The Empty Hands – a jaded young woman rediscovers a sense confidence through reconnecting with karate in Chapman To’s soulful character piece. Review.
- The Way We Keep Dancing – a collective of artists finds itself torn between complicity and resistance in the face of rising gentrification in Adam Wong’s musical dance drama. Review.
- Weeds on Fire – true life sporting drama following baseball team Shatin Martins.
- Death Knot – Siblings enter a dark world of supernatural dread when unwisely returning for their estranged mother’s funeral in Cornelio Sunny’s eerie folk horror. Review.
- We Are Moluccans – a motorbike taxi driver attempts to tackle religious division through an integrated children’s football team.
- Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash – an impotent hitman living for nothing but violence falls for a female bodyguard after she effortlessly defeats him in Edwin’s genre hopping adventure romance.
- The 12 Day Tale of the Monster That Died in 8 – Takumi Saitoh plays a version of himself raising “capsule kaiju” as means of combatting Covid helplessness in Shunji Iwai’s whimsical pandemic drama. Review.
- A Balance – an idealistic documentarian’s journalistic ethics are strained when she uncovers scandal close to home in Yujiro Harumoto’s probing social drama. Review.
- Blue – a trio of dejected boxers contemplate their place inside and outside of the ring in Keisuke Yoshida’s unconventional boxing drama. Review.
- Last of the Wolves – sequel to Kazuya Shiraishi’s Blood of Wolves set in 1991 in which a rogue cop attempts to keep the peace between yakuza gangs.
- Red Post on Escher Street – the extras reclaim the frame in Sion Sono’s anarchic advocation for the jishu life. Review.
- The Wife of a Spy – an upperclass housewife finds herself pulled into a deadly game of espionage in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s dark exploration of the consequences of love. Review.
- Fighter – a young woman from North Korea finds both purpose and a new sense of security in found family in the boxing ring in Jéro Yun’s gritty drama. Review.
- The Foul King – dramedy by Kim Jee-woon starring Song Kang-ho as banker entering the wrestling ring.
- Not in This World – gritty drama from Park Jung-bum in which a mountain recluse attempts to save a drop out teen.
- The Story of Southern Islet – a wife embarks on a perilous journey to save her ailing husband.
- Money Has Four Legs – an ambitious filmmaker turns to crime in order to escape his desperate circumstances in Maung Sun’s meta satire. Review.
- Number 1 – a straight-laced executive discovers a new sense of freedom after losing his job and taking up drag in Ong Kuo Sin’s cheerful Singaporean dramedy. Review.
- The Silent Forest – an idealistic student is caught between justice and complicity when he uncovers a culture of bullying and abuse at a school for deaf children in Ko Chen-Nien’s hard-hitting drama. Review.
- We are Champions – two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of an ideological divide as they chase their dreams of basketball glory in Chang Jung-Chi’s family-themed sports drama. Review.
Taiwanese Queer Cinema
- Alifu, the prince/ss – empathetic drama in which a transgender woman from an indigenous community finds herself caught between conflicting cultural mores. Review.
- As We Like It – a romantic exile meanders through an internet free corner of Taipei in Chen Hung-i & Muni Wei’s all-female adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Review.
- Born to Be Human – a teenager’s life is upended when they discover they are intersex but have almost no rights over their bodily autonomy in Lily Ni’s elegantly designed social drama. Review.
- Dear Tenant – a grief-stricken man lovingly takes care of his late partner’s family but finds himself continually othered in Cheng Yu-Chieh’s melancholy familial drama. Review.
- Eternal Summer – 2006 classic in which the intense friendship between two boys is disrupted by a transfer student from Hong Kong.
- Spider Lilies – two women connected by childhood tragedy struggle to overcome their respective anxieties in Zero Chou’s ethereal reflection on love and the legacy of trauma. Review.
- The Teacher – a politically engaged teacher’s worldview is challenged when he starts dating a man who is HIV+ in Chen Ming-Lang’s sensitive drama set in the run-up to marriage equality. Review.
- Anatomy of Time – drama set in a rural village in the 1960s and present day Bangkok as a young woman finds herself torn between a calculating soldier and kindhearted local man.
- The Medium – a shamaness suspects her niece’s shamanistic consciousness is awakening but soon discovers something far more sinister in play in this atmospheric Thai folk horror. Review.
Wong Kai-Wai Retrospective
- As Tears Go By – Wong Kar-Wai’s moody triad debut stars a young Andy Lau as a lovelorn petty gangster who is forced to host a distant cousin (Maggie Cheung) when she comes to the city to seek medical treatment for a respiratory illness. Review.
- Days of Being Wild – a rootless playboy breaks hearts all over Hong Kong in Wong’s ’60s tale of irresolvable longing and existential displacement. Review.
- Chungking Express – lovelorn policemen seek new directions in Wong Kar-Wai’s frenetic journey through pre-Handover Hong Kong. Review.
- Fallen Angels – lovelorn denizens of a purgatorial Hong Kong fail to connect in a world of alienation in Wong Kar-Wai’s chronicle of pre-Millennial loneliness. Review.
- Happy Together – lovers on the run flee pre-Handover Hong Kong for Argentina to “start over” but discover only more loneliness and heartache in Wong’s melancholy romance. Review.
- In the Mood for Love – betrayed spouses accidentally fall in love but are unable to act on their desires in an atmosphere of social repression in Wong Kar-Wai’s heady ’60s romance. Review.
- 2046 – a quasi-sequel to In the Mood for Love and Days of Being of Wild, 2046 follows Tony Leung Chiu Wai’s Chow Mo-wan as he struggles to overcome his longing for Maggie Cheung.
Five Flavours takes place in Warsaw Nov. 17 – 24 and online throughout Poland Nov. 17 – 29. More information on all the films as well as screening times and ticketing links can be found on the official website, and you can keep up to date with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Instagram, and YouTube Channels.