Canadian Film Festival a feast for cinephiles
The Canadian Film Festival, which returns to Hong Kong next month (March) will be a feast for cinephiles. An impressive selection of contemporary films will be shown together with a retrospective on the acclaimed Toronto-based film director Atom Egoyan.
A Cannes favourite and an icon of Canadian independent cinema, Egoyan is coming to Hong Kong for the Festival and will attend the Hong Kong premiere of his latest highly acclaimed film “Where the Truth Lies”, which was nominated for The Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival 2005. He will meet the audience after the opening screening on March 6.
Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Consulate General of Canada, “Canadian Film Festival 2006” will be shown at the Theatre of the Hong Kong City Hall, the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive, and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Space Museum from March 6 to 19.
The 13 films include “3 Needles” which had its world premiere at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, the highly creative “The Saddest Music in the World”, Guy Maddin’s poetic imagery “The Blue Butterfly”, romantic comedy “Love and Magnets” and three shorts including the Oscar-winning animated short “Ryan” .
Fans of Egoyan can enjoy works from different phases of his career in the retrospective- “The Anonymity of Connection: Atom Egoyan”. The six films featured are: the opening film “Where the Truth Lies”, the probing dramas “The Sweet Hereafter”, “Exotica” and “The Adjuster”, and Armenian stories “Ararat” and “Calendar”.
Born in Cairo in 1960 to Armenian parents, Egoyan was raised in Victoria, British Columbia, and studied International Relations at the University of Toronto where he began to seriously explore the art and language of cinema. With very personal thematic obsessions, his films delve into issues of intimacy, displacement and the impact of technology and media in modern life.
As one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, he is a frequent name at the top-tier international film festivals. His films are life-refreshing, sensual and touching. Often interweaving past and present with different incidents, different locations and characters, he skilfully develops his thematic plots with an enigmatic touch.
His latest film “Where the Truth Lies” takes a popular turn from his earlier serious works. Based on the best-selling novel from Rupert Holmes, and starring Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth as the legendary showbiz duo, Vince Collins and Lanny Morris, the film is a surprising, suspenseful, seductive whodunit that explores and explodes Hollywood’s mythmaking machine.
Adapted from Russell Banks’ novel, the haunting film “The Sweet Hereafter” (1997) is Egoyan’s masterpiece. A bus-load of school children die in an accident, but it is the parents who need to keep on living. Poetic images, slowly paced, all to capture the total eclipse of the heart. Winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury and FIPRESCI Prize of Cannes Film Festival 1997 and the film was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay in Academy Awards 1998.
“Calendar” (1993) and “Ararat” (2002) are films of Egoyan’s personal statement of the Armenian homeland. In “Calendar”, Egoyan and his wife plays a married couple. The wife runs off with the tour guide in Armenia and just leaves messages on the husband’s phone. With advanced technology, face-to-face communication becomes more difficult.
“Ararat” (2002) brings personal sufferings in epic scope, combining war history and today’s family problems. The film won five Genie Awards in 2003 including the Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
“The Adjuster” (1991) which focuses on voyeurism and twisted morality; and the darkly mysterious “Exotica” (1994) landed Egoyan stronger reputation in the international film community and a wider audience. The two films won the Best Canadian Feature Film of Toronto International Film Festival respectively in 1991 and 1994. “The Adjuster” was awarded Special Jury Prize of Moscow International Film Festival 1991 while “Exotica” won the FIPRESCI Prize of Cannes Film Festival 1994.
Not to be missed in the festival is “The Saddest Music in The World” (2003) directed by Guy Maddin, who was described as Canada’s answer to David Lynch. Isabella Rossellini plays the double amputee baroness who organises a competition looking for the saddest music in the world. With jump cuts, high contrast and snowy screens, the film is a nostalgic visual experience as if it were the 1930s. It was awarded the Best Director of US Comedy Arts Festival 2004, and the Best Screenplay-Adapted of Chlotrudis Awards 2005.
All you need is love! “Les Aimants” (Love and Magnets) (2004) is a romantic piece with a pretty heart-broken young lady trying to help her sister‘s failing relationship by forging love notes from her sister to her fiance on their fridge. The messages, however, fall into the wrong hands leading to crossed signals that results in a new love…
“The Blue Butterfly” (2004) is based on a true story. Ten-year-old Pete is terminally ill with cancer and his last wish is to search for the most beautiful blue butterfly in the rainforest. Young actor Marc Donato offers a moving performance. Contrast to the shining story, the three intertwined stories in “3 Needles”(2005) show our inability to deal with the epidemic.
Other highlights are selected short films from the National Film Board of Canada, “Ryan” (2004) won the Best Animated Short Film in Academy Awards 2005, “Hardwood” (2004) was nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in Academy Awards 2004. With “In the Shadow of Gold Mountain” (2004), Karen Cho uncovers a dark chapter in Canadian history of how Chinese Canadians struggled to survive.
All films in the “Canadian Film Festival 2006” are in English or provided with English subtitles. “Where the Truth Lies”, “The Saddest Music in the World”, “The Blue Butterfly” and “3 Needles” will have Chinese subtitles.
Tickets priced at $40 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. A 10% discount will be offered for each purchase of 6-10 tickets and 20% discount for 11 tickets or more.
For programme information, please call 2734 2900 or visit http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp
. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at http://www.urbtix.hk
Ends/Thursday, February 9, 2006