Another year, another Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. The Festival, which runs from September 8-22, is now in it’s 29th year and it continues its tradition of showing some of the most recent LGBT feature and short films from around the world. There are films from Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, France, Germany, Turkey and many other countries. Not only will the festival be showing films, talks with film festival directors from India, Myanmar and Pakistan.
We highly recommend you watch every single one of the films that are screening at the festival this year but if you cannot do that, we recommend you watch the following films.
The two opening films this year are SORRY ANGEL and THE DAYS OF MERCY. The French film SORRY ANGEL, directed by Christophe Honoré, was nominated for the for the Palme d’Or and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film, about a student having a love affair with a 39-year old writer, has been screening at many other LGBT film festivals around the world- since it premiered at Cannes. THE DAYS OF MERCY, the girl opening film, stars one of our favorite actresses, Ellen Page. The two women in the film, one who is the daughter of a man on death row and the other is on the other side of the death penalty argument, fall in love.
A pre-op 15-year-old transgender girl Lara is determined to be a ballerina in the closing film GIRL. The film is about Lara’s psychological struggle of self-acceptance as she waits impatiently for her body to be the girl she’s always wanted to be. It won many awards including Un Certain Regard Prize for Best Performance for the lead actor Victor Polster who plays Lara.
EVENING SHADOWS comes to the festival from India and the director and some of the actors will be in attendance. The film is set on the eve of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the anti-sodomy laws in the country and is about a young man coming out to his very conservative mother and her coping with him coming out.
WHEN THE BEAT DROPS reminds us of PARIS IS BURNING and KIKI. The documentary, which won the best doc at both Frameline Festival and OUTFEST, tells the story of the underground dance movement called “bucking” and how this group gay men form their own family through this dance.
ANCHOR AND HOPE, starring Oona Chaplin (granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin) and her real life mother Geraldine Chaplin, is a dramedy that explores the difficulties of love and about what it means to be a family. Eva and Kat live a happy life on a houseboat in London until one of them makes an ultimatum that she wants a baby. They soon toy with the idea of one of their male friends helping them to make the baby.
Another documentary to watch this year is MR. GAY SYRIA. Two Syrian refugees pursue their dream of competing in a gay beauty competition while wrestling with being gay in a Muslim world.
METHOD is one of two South Korean features being shown at the festival this year. In it, a veteran actor stars along with a k-pop idol in a play. In the play they are starring in, their characters become involved in a relationship but as they are rehearsing, the line between reality and fiction starts to blur.
HARD PAINT, which on the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, is a Brazilian drama that focuses on a performer named Pedro who works on gay-oriented video chat sites. The trademark to his performance is when he smears neon paint all over himself but he soon learns that someone is copying him.
31 shorts will be playing during the festival in five separate programs. One popular program in its 3rd year of being part of the festival is the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance Shorts program. This program showcases short films from around the Asia Pacific region. This year will include films from Tonga, Malaysia, South Korea and China. The festival will also have a program showcasing French short films called Le French Gay. Included in this program is the newest short from Yann Gonzalez called ISLANDS.
See you all at the cinema.