Sundance Film Festival Hong Kong
Sundance season is well under way in Hong Kong, bringing with it a parade of internationally renowned indie films from the prestigious annual film festival. Here are our picks for the ones to watch.
All screenings at the Metroplex, G/F, E-Max, KITEC, 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay. $90 from hk.sundance.org
Southside With You
Director and writer Richard Tanne’s début film gives audiences a different view of the relationship between the First Couple of the United States: A first date between lawyer Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) and young associate Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers). In “Southside With You,” the pair go to an Afrocentric art exhibition, catch a screening of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and share their most idealistic thoughts, planting a seed which would become the Obamas’ monumental presidential term. Sep 23, 9:30pm; Oct 2, 2pm.
Directed and written by KoreanAmerican Andrew Ahn, “Spa Night” merges themes of coming out with the second-generation Asian-American narrative. In this English and Korean-language feature début, the closeted 18-year-old David (Joe Seo) takes up a job at a Korean spa and popular cruising spot in LA to help his family with finances. Sep 24, 7:45pm; Oct 1, 3:30pm.
The Lovers and the Despot
A documentary uncovering the bizarre and thrilling story of South Korean celebrity couple Choi Eunhee and Shin Sangok. After a tumultuous divorce in the late 1970s they were abducted and brought before noted film buff Kim Jong-il. For years, they were forced to make films together under the dictator’s watchful eye. Directors Ross Adam and Robert Cannan make full use of interviews with Choi—and secretly taped recordings from the period. Sep 25, 7:30pm; Oct 1, 5:45pm.
Swiss Army Man
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, this highly anticipated festival favorite tells the story of a man stranded on a desert island (Paul Dano, “12 Years a Slave,” “Prisoners”) who makes an unexpected friend (Daniel Radcliffe) with some interesting quirks—for example, he’s dead. Known among international critics as “the farting corpse movie.” Sep 23, 7:30pm; Oct 1, 9:45pm.
This new offering by 27-year-old Hong Kong director Nicole Fan tackles a problem that hits very close to home for many: The objectification of women in media in Hong Kong, and the effect it has on girls and society. From interviews with celebrities and frank portrayals of everyday Hongkongers, this documentary exposes how “pretty” images on social media can be linked to eating disorders and violence against women. Sep 25, 1:30pm; Sep 29, 7:45pm.