If you’re interested in catching some of the films, most of the information you’ll need is at their official website. Browsing though the schedules, it seems that there an awful number of fairly recent Hollywood releases, such as Eagle Eye and Pink Panther 2. Why you’d want to fork over money to watch these on the big screen is beyond us, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll find that there is a very healthy selection of films by two English directors: Alfred Hitchcock and Danny Boyle. Of the latter, little needs to be said: he’s the head of the jury this year, which is why so many of his films are being shown. Although you’ve no doubt seen many of the more successful ones, you can use this chance to see some of his lesser known, earlier works. As for that great benefactor of Freudian film theorists goes, you’ve got the standard fare: The Birds, Rear Mirror, North by Northwest, Psycho, Rope etc.
Some of the Chinese films that look interesting (and are probably harder to come by in terms of theatrical or DVD distribution) are Birthday (生日), Quick, Quick, Slow (超级50), The Radio in My Childhood (童年的收音机) and One Night in Supermarket (夜·店). *
Don’t forget the film that is opening the film festival: He Ping’s Wheat, a historical drama set in the Warring States period, about two soldiers that desert their armies, settle down in a small place and lie to everyone about their identities and a war that rages on. It’s got some eye candy in it (we mean Fan Binbin), but we’re not sure what else, besides hype, that it’s got going for it.
There’s a small contingent of non-Chinese art films as well. The nouvelle vague is well represented: Agnes Varda’s La Point Courte, Eric Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee, etc. There’s also recent stuff like Gael Garcia Bernal’s directorial debut Deficit or the film adaption of the J.M. Coetzee novel Disgrace, starring John Malkovich as a bitter and eerie middle-aged man (shocking, huh?) We haven’t read the novel but the movie has gotten some positive reviews.
*This film looks better than its strange Chinglishey title would suggest. Read the English synopsis of the film. At least there are guns and hostages involved. Can’t go wrong with that.