Sorry, film buffs – this likely will not come as a surprise, but the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival has officially been cancelled due to the ongoing outbreak in the city. This is the first time that the Hong Kong International Film Festival - one of the oldest of its kind in Asia - which has been running annually since 1977, has been cancelled. The two-week-long festival was slated to run from August 18 to 31 and would have brought hundreds of films, directors, and actors from over 60 countries to the city.
Although the festival’s full line-up was never announced, there was much to be excited about from the confirmed screenings. Some of the most exciting new global cinema was to be presented at the festival, such as About Endlessness (which won Swedish director Roy Andersson the honour of Best Director at the 76th Venice Film Festival), Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden’s Balloon, and Elia Suleiman’s Palestinian production It Must Be Heaven. There were also many restored films that were scheduled to be screened. Six restored vintage Italian films from Bologna were to be shown, including Maciste in Hell (1925) and Ten Documentary Shorts by Vittorio De Seta (1954-59). Ten more restored classics from around the globe would also have been shown, such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (1928), Taiwanese new-wave icon Tsai Ming-Liang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003), and even a newly edited version of Francis Ford Coppola’s eternally haunting Apocalypse Now.
The festival’s organizers have already begun to plan for next year’s festival, and are determined to deliver an even better experience next year to make up for the cancellation. In the meantime, film fans can support the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society by purchasing their festival-themed merchandise from their online store. Ethan Lam
HKIFF44's festival-themed merchandise