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Anderson’s report from the 63rd Cannes Film Festival

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The 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival closed today with Thai film UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES winning the coveted P’alm d’Or. The film, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, was received warmly by critics and audiences alike. Apichatpong, or “Joe” as he is also referred as, almost didn’t make it to France because of the current political turmoil in his native Thailand. Indiewire has a full list of winners and their reactions.

Overall, it was a decent festival, with some good selections in the official selections. I felt the Un Certain Regard sidebar was the best, presenting some very interesting works from emerging filmmakers. My personal favorite from this sidebar was CARANCHO directed by Pablo Trapero. Set in Argentina, the film is an unlikely love story between Sosa, an ambulance chaser, and Luján, a young doctor. Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE, which world premiered at Sundance, stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, as a couple experiencing the deterioration of their relationship.

Mike Leigh’s ANOTHER YEAR and Stephen Frears’ TAMARA DREWE represented the strength of British cinema this year, and both of these titles will, thankfully, be released in the States during the Fall/Winter awards season. On the other hand, the emerging themes of videogames and virtual reality was presented in three titles this year, with very mixed results. R U THERE, a Dutch/Taiwan co-production about a Dutch competitive gamer who loses his way and tries to connect with another human being, in the form of a Betelnut girl was slow and asinine at times, and J-horror maestro (he of RINGU fame) Hideo Nakata’s UK based film CHATROOM, was outdated, as if I was watching a film about the Internet from the early 90s.

Korean cinema was strongly represented with three titles — Im Sang-soo’s “reimagining” of THE HOUSEMAID starring the best actress from Korea, the daring, innocent and very sexy Jeon Do-yeon (SECRET SUNSHINE). It was gorgeously shot and the sexual mind games entwined with the class system was a sight to see. First time director Jang Cheol-soo’s BEDEVILLED, in the Semaine de la Critique (Critic’s Week section), was a film I had very little expectations about the lone woman on a remote island that is constantly abused by the village elders and her abusive husband. It turned out to be a classic “woman revenge” thriller, where the last 45 minutes is bloody curdling genre was oddly a much needed release from the abuse she took on screen. Finally, enfant terrible, Hong Sang-soo’s HAHAHA, continues his examination on pretentious and horny male intelligentsia, was agreeable enough for the film to win the Grand Prize in this section.

This year’s edition was light on the usual Hollywood glitz and glamour of past editions — aside from the Opening Night film, ROBIN HOOD, bringing the likes of Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchette to the Croisette, Hollywood fare was almost non-existent, leaving room for selections from European auteurs and emerging filmmakers. Screenings were easier to get into and there were definitely less parties. The penny pinching atmosphere was very apparent this year, as the Festival fully felt the film industry credit crunch.

And still, the ubiquitous things about Cannes still existed. There were still glamorous parties, the big AmFar AIDS fundraiser hosted by Harvey Weinstein, day clubs full of exotic and beautiful people, and over-priced French food. Imagine the Croisette, the main street in Cannes that borders the coast, as Kalakaua Ave. and Cannes itself as an amalgam of Waikiki and Miami’s South Beach. It’s a good model for a film festival. Pusan Film Festival, in October, takes place in a similar environment, Haeundae Beach, in the bustling southern port town.

For twelve days, Cannes becomes the center of the film universe, and it is a great way to meet up with film sellers, filmmakers, buyers, from all over the world. I’ve got my long laundry list of films I want to show for the upcoming 30th HIFF. It will be a long, arduous process in trying to secure my A list of films and find films that fit with planned sidebars and new partnerships that will make this upcoming HIFF truly special. Capturing that glint of Cannes is always a good thing, as we move forward through the summer to program an eclectic and interesting program for our film hungry audiences.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And what we do well at HIFF, we’ll continue to do. But, we’ve got some interesting and new things coming up. Hopefully, they’ll all work as we look onward for the next 30 years.

Anderson’s Photos from Cannes

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Winner Announced for SIFF Fly Away

The winner of the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) Fly Away was chosen at random and we would like to announce that Dean Matsumori won a trip for 2 to Seattle courtesy of SIFF, Alaska Air, and the Pan Pacific Hotel.  This was a fun promotion and we hope to have more in the future.

Thanks for everyones support!

Thank You For A Great Spring Showcase!

MAHALO! HIFF’s 30th Anniversary Year is off to a tremendous start thanks to everyone’s strong support of HIFF’s Spring Showcase. A special THANK YOU to our HIFF Ohana Members! I particularly enjoyed talking with Members about your favorite films and HIFF’s upcoming Fall Festival. 

MAO’S LAST DANCER was a good collaboration with Ballet Hawaii and a strong audience favorite. Watch for its theatrical release this summer. Several of the films from the Spring Showcase will be in Regal Cinemas in the near future so you will have a chance to see your favorites again and to recommend first-time viewing to your friends.  

THANKS to our Spring Sponsors who helped make the Showcase possible: 

  • Regal Entertainment Group
  • Hawaii Tourism Authority
  • Halekulani
  • Electric Pencil
  • OrangeRoc
  • Castle & Cooke Hawaii
  • Hawaii Pacific Entertainment
  • Liquid Planet Studios
  • Modern Luxury Hawaii Magazine
  • This Week Magazine
  • Aloha Menus
  • Center for Pacific Islands Studies,
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
Chuck Boller, HIFF Executive Director


We had a packed house for yesterday’s screening of local surf/photography documentary FIBERGLASS & MEGAPIXELS. The directors and several guests featured in the film led a Q&A session after the film, and we recorded it. So if you weren’t able to make the screening, take a look at the Q&A below. There are FIBERGLASS & MEGAPIXELS DVD’s for sale ($20 each) at the HIFF Box Office.


AU REVOIR TAIPEI added to Spring Showcase Program as a Sneak Peek for HIFF’s 30th Annual Film Festival

Winner of the Best Asian Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, AU REVOIR TAIPEI will be playing on Thursday, April 22nd at 8:45PM, Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18. See this page to see a trailer for the film and buy tickets.


AU REVOIR TAIPEI (一頁台北 – Yi Ye Tai Bei)
Taiwan, USA, Germany 2010 | 85m | Mandarin w/ English Subtitles
Director/Screenwriter: Arvin Chen

Kai, a brokenhearted young man from Taipei, yearns to be with his girlfriend, who’s left for Paris. He spends his days working at his parents’ noodle restaurant and his nights trying to learn French at the local bookstore, where he meets Susie, a sweet but lonely girl who works there. Afraid of losing his girlfriend, and in need of money to get to Paris, he accepts a dubious offer from a local gangster to deliver a mysterious package to Paris. It’s the beginning of a wild night for Kai, at the end of which he realizes that leaving both Susie and Taipei will only take him further away from true love.

The debut film from rising talent Arvin Chen, AU REVOIR TAIPEI is a love letter to a city famous for its night markets, 24 hour bookstores, and perfectly cooked dumplings. The producers have allowed HIFF to present this film 6 months in advance to its premiere in the upcoming October festival as a special sneak peek to the 30th annual edition of HIFF.

A GOOD RAIN KNOWS – Connection with Chinese Poetry

[img_assist|nid=311|title=A GOOD RAIN KNOWS|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=240|height=160]One of the things that fascinates me about A GOOD RAIN KNOWS is that the title is a reference to a famous poem by classical Chinese poet 杜甫 (Dù Fǔ – a.k.a Tu Fu). He was considered a poet historian, since many of his poems commented on the government or military. The poem’s translated title is “Rain on a Spring Night”, and this refers to how nature knows to send the rain in spring to bring all the plants back to life. See the full article to read this poem in its entirety.

Dù Fǔ lived from 712 to 770, and travelled through China during his life, mostly due to events of the period, including the An Lushan Rebellion of 755. He lived in Chengdu, Sichuan Province for several years around 760, and it was one of the happiest times of his life. This ties in with the film, since it is also set in Chengdu, and the story is about the reconnection of Dong-ha (Jung Woo-sung) and May (Gao Yuanyuan). Seeing each other after a long period of separation, forgotten feelings rise to the surface once again. The recovery of Chengdu from 2008’s massive earthquake also has a place in the film, but you’ll have to watch it to find out what that is.

Screening Dates:
Sunday April 18, 5:30PM & Tuesday April 20, 6:00PM – Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theaters

Quickie Picks: Arts Lovers


Arts and culture lovers, we’ve got films for you. Dancers and ballerinas: MAO’S LAST DANCER is the true story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cuixin, and his rise to international fame. The film also stars Joan Chen, Kyle MacLachlan, and Amanda Schull (she’s from Hawaii!). Graphic designers and creatives: TYPEFACE is a documentary about the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI. For anyone interested in the history of type and design, this film highlights a dying craft that has direct lineage to graphic designers and advertisers today. Photographers and cinematographers: FIBERGLASS AND MEGAPIXELS is a unique surf documentary that focuses on surf photographers and cinematographers. The film is an insightful look into surf documentation and the relationship between surf photographers and cinematographers to the surf industry and surfers. HIFF is proud to present the Hawaii Premiere of FIBERGLASS AND MEGAPIXELS with an extended Q&A with local filmmakers Derek and Craig Hoffman.

Special thanks to Electric Pencil for sponsoring TYPEFACE. 




Spring Showcase Ticket Sales Start Today

Just a reminder, ticket sales for the Spring Showcase start today for HIFF Ohana Members. You can purchase tickets online anytime, on the phone (808) 792-1577 or in person at the HIFF Box Office from 11am-6pm. The box office is directly across the street from the Regal Dole Cannery theaters. Ticket sales for the general public will start this Wednesday April 7th.



Just read an amazing article on CNN about Rep. Ahn Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress to represent Louisiana.  The article tells of how he left Vietnam in 1975 at the age of eight.  His mother stayed behind to care for his other siblings and his father was imprisoned for fighting against the communist regime.  He overcame many barriers to eventually become a US Representative.  For more information click on the link below:

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