The success of regional directors including Korea's Bong Joon-ho and Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda " winners of the top prize Palme d'Or in 2019 and 2018 " prompted the first official Festival de Cannes Film Week in Asia
Hong Kong will be the next red carpet destination for one of the world's most influential and prestigious film events.
For the first time, the Cannes Film Festival is landing in Asia " with Hong Kong playing host to the Festival de Cannes Film Week. The region is not a surprising choice for the stand-alone series, with Asian artists playing an increasingly influential role at the festival every year.
When Cannes comes around each May, all eyes are fixed on the red carpet, with the French Riviera in the backdrop. It is one of the biggest events of the year, attracting the most glamorous guests from the global entertainment industries, from actors to directors. For 12 days, invitees in Cannes take part in screenings, networking events and parties " while the film world watches and the flashbulbs fire.
The last two years have seen the Palme d'Or awarded to film directors from (Asia)Thierry Fremaux, general delegate of Festival de Cannes
Now, the party is coming to Hong Kong, and more specifically to K11 Musea, with a series of screenings at the on-site K11 Art House cinema, from November 12-17.
A post shared by Festival de Cannes (@festivaldecannes) on May 23, 2019 at 10:37am PDT
Thierry Fremaux, the general delegate of Festival de Cannes, highlights the region's significance. "The last two years have seen the Palme d'Or awarded to film directors from this continent: Shoplifters by (Japan's) Hirokazu Kore-eda in 2018 and, this year, Parasite by (South Korea's) Bong Joon-ho," he said.
"The latter, released in Hong Kong in June, was a box office success. Both these directors, like many others before them, have a close relationship with Cannes; they entrust us with their films, we have been following them for years, and today we are delighted to be spectators to their success."
Organising such an event, Fremaux adds, is a way to celebrate these successes, and Hong Kong is the ideal place for it. Hong Kong filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai, Johnnie To Kei-fung, Ann Hui or Tsui Hark have contributed to building the legend of Cannes. "We therefore feel honoured to be welcomed here in return," said Fremaux.
Cannes Film Week will bring the celebrated Dardenne brothers to our shores for the first time, with their latest film, Young Ahmed, which won the Best Director award at Cannes in May. "Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are part of the very close circle of only eight filmmakers in the world to have won the Palme d'Or twice," notes Fremaux.
The first Festival de Cannes Film Week was hosted nearly a decade ago in Buenos Aires, with the aim of bringing the spirit and quality of Cannes to far flung audiences, but it was a fortuitous meeting which has helped bring the concept to Hong Kong.
The event may not have come to fruition but for Fremaux's encounter with Hong Kong-born Adrian Cheng, the founder of the K11 Group and executive vice-chairman of New World Development, two years ago.
They reached the conclusion that by combining their forces they could contribute to the cultivation of culture, creativity and the world of cinema, by organising a whole week dedicated to films.
Festival de Cannes Film Week attendees can attend three masterclasses, on successive days. The first, on November 13, will feature a yet-to-be-announced special guest; the second welcomes Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; and the third, a presentation given by Fremaux will give attendees insights into the works of pioneers the LumiEre brothers.
"We have the same commitment to show these works, to restore them as our cultural heritage, but also the desire to share our discoveries with the cinema-goers of today," says Fremaux of his restored LumiEre programme. "Our areas of expertise complement each other, as does our love of film, and we have an appetite for cinema of all kinds."
During the week-long festival in Hong Kong, six acclaimed films from the 72nd Official Selection will be screened: Young Ahmed by the Dardenne brothers (winner of the Best Director award); French historical drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire (winner of the Best Screenplay award); The Traitor by Italian director Marco Bellocchio; Brazilian filmmaker Karim AInouz's The Invisible Life of Euridice GusmAo (Un Certain Regard winner); The Climb (winner of the Un Certain Regard jury's "Coup de Cœur" Prize); and On a Magical Night (Chambre 212, winner of Un Certain Regard's Best Performance trophy).
"The six films represent cinematographic works from around the world," Fremaux says. "Their commonality include the examination of issues the world is facing today, each with their own pair of eyes. And what they show is a view of cinema itself as much as a look at what they decide to put in front of the camera.
"Although some of them do benefit from having a Hong Kong distributor and will be shown locally in theatres, others do not currently have release dates " and therefore might only be able to be seen exclusively during Cannes Film Week."
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