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Popcorn and Opinions: March 26

The 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival kicked off earlier this week. Our in-house movie expert, Howard Elias, is here to tell us about a few of the festival’s films that should be worth your attention. For Howard’s last review click here.

Force Majeure

Few of us, thankfully, have ever been in a life-and-death situation where we have but a split second to make a critical choice – save or be safe. This Cannes award-winning film from Sweden looks at what happens to a family when a parent makes, in retrospect, the wrong choice. This is a sometimes funny, sometimes painful exploration of gender expectations. It could have ended right after the father’s admission of weakness, leaving us to speculate on the viability of his marriage but two subsequent events jar our preconceptions again and again. I guarantee that after you see this film you will ask both yourself and your significant other, “What would you do?” Excellent film!

The film will be screened on March 28th.

 

Party Girl

Angelique (Angelique Litzenburger) is a cabaret girl in a town somewhere on the border between Germany and France. In her early sixties, she is well past her sell-by date, which is something that only she seems not to have noticed. When Michel (Joseph Bour), a retired miner and Angelique’s erstwhile client asks her to marry him, she is faced with a choice that she has been avoiding for far too long. While you can take the girl out of the bar, it’s much harder to take the bar out of the girl, as Angelique and Michel grow to discover. As flawed as Angelique is, we want her to succeed because we believe deep down that she is a good person who simply makes bad choices. Another excellent Cannes award-winning film!

The film will be screened on March 28th. Filmmaker Sam Theis will be in attendance.

 

This Is My Land

The prospect for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is back in the news this week with the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Is peace even possible? That question is examined from a pedagogical point of view in this documentary film from last year. Unfortunately, the film offers not much more than a simple overview of both the politics and the politicization of education in Israel and Palestine. We are shown pre-teens parroting the opinions that their teachers have been spoon-feeding to them. Sadly, if this is what the children are learning, the prospect for peace is quite dim.

The film will be screened on March 31st and again on April 4th. Filmmaker Tamara Erde will be in attendance.


Howard Elias is a Hong Kong-based film critic and film event organiser. You can hear his reviews every Thursday morning at about 8:40 am on RTHK Radio 4, and read his reviews anytime on his website at howardforfilm.com.

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