The 2021 Cine Fan Summer International Film Festival (SummerIFF) will open and close with significant new works by three auteurs – Leos CARAX’s Annette, YAMADA Yoji’s It’s a Flickering Life, and Paul VERHOEVEN’s Benedetta.
Returning to its regular slot after last year’s pandemic-enforced cancellation, SummerIFF will take place between 17 and 30 August, showcasing 33 new films and timeless classics, including five for online viewing.
Annette, the delightfully quirky musical tragedy that won CARAX Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will open the 14-day extravaganza with its Asian premiere on 17 August. Starring Adam DRIVER and Marion COTILLARD, this all-singing tale of twisted love paradoxically reflect on the corrosive effects of egotism and fame.
SummerIFF will conclude on 30 August with two films of contrasting styles. Commemorating the centennial of Shochiku Cinema, the revered YAMADA’s It’s a Flickering Life is an affectionate comedy in which SAWADA Kenji and SUDA Masaki take the audience on a nostalgic journey into the Golden Age of Japanese cinema. Following his masterpiece Elle that closed SummerIFF in 2016, Dutch master VERHOEVEN returns with the Asian premiere of his provocative and taboo-breaking Benedetta, transforming the real-life story of a 17th-century nun into a vexing commentary on the church’s hypocrisy and lust for power.
For followers of KON Satoshi and KIM Ki-Duk, SummerIFF will offer two retrospectives, highlighting the unique visions between dreams and reality of these late filmmakers. Entitled The Dreamscapes of Kon Satoshi, the KON retrospective will include his four full-length features, from his directorial debut Perfect Blue (1997) to his final work, Paprika (2006). The audience will also have a rare opportunity to experience KON’s ambitious animated series, Paranoia Agent (2004) – showing in two parts – and witness his whimsical flights of imagery, obscuring the real and the unreal. The ingenious Japanese animator’s creative influence is evident in Pascal-Alex VINCENT’s tribute documentary, Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist, and Darren ARONOFSKY’s Requiem for a Dream.
Despite being the only Korean director to have won top prizes at Cannes, Venice, and Berlin, KIM Ki-Duk remained hugely controversial – both professionally and privately – even after his death last year of COVID-19. While many appreciate his aesthetics of violence entwined with an unusual sympathy for the underdogs, others despise his extreme human cruelty and cinematic assaults on women. SummerIFF’s nine-film retrospective, entitled From Darkness: Kim Ki-Duk, features many of KIM’s shocking and yet beautifully crafted dramas, including his breakout hit The Isle (2000), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003), Samaritan Girl (2004), 3-Iron (2004), and Pieta (2012), for all those who are keen to explore a critical debate.
Fresh from the international festival circuit are two Berlinale winners from this year: Korean auteur HONG Sang-Soo’s Introduction, the Silver Bear winner for Best Screenplay, and Maria SCHRADER’s android romantic comedy, I’m Your Man, featuring the festival’s first gender-neutral acting winner, Maren EGGERT.
SummerIFF’s Fantastic Beats section features six dynamic films, including YAMAGUCHI Junta’s Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a sci-fi comedy on the time paradox, and Blue, YOSHIDA Keisuke’s true-to-life boxing drama, featuring MATSUYAMA Kenichi and HIGASHIDE Masahiro.
SummerIFF for the first time, cinephiles can view five films from this year’s selection, including Fred SCOTT’s tribute documentary to Swedish master Roy ANDERSSON, Being a Human Person, through the SummerIFF Online platform. KIM Ki-Duk’s self-indulgent re-enactment, Arirang, will be available SummerIFF online exclusively.
The complete SummerIFF 2021 programme is now available through our official website http://cinefan.com.hk. Tickets will go on sale from 4 August at all URBTIX outlets. Full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their carers, and CSSA recipients can enjoy discounted tickets at $28 each.