30 October, 2008
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
One of the more intriguing showcases for European cinema in the past few weeks was at the Hawaii International Film Festival, which was held October 9 to 19 in the sunny capital city of Honolulu. The Festival's lead sponsor is high end retailer Louis Vuitton, so a taste for European haute couture is definitely part of the event and its festivities.
The European Showcase section of the Festival was a potent grab bag of some of the more impressive European films of the year, including ABSURDISTAN (Germany), director Veit Helmer's inventive and allegorical comedy about a fictional yet very emblematic country in central Europe; THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS (UK), a fictionalized story told through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy shielded from the reality of World War II by director Mark Herman; the German/French co-production CHERRY BLOSSOMS-HANAMI,a poetic story of selfless love by iconic director Dorris Dorrie; THE CHICKEN, THE FISH AND THE KING CRAB (Spain), a virtuso documentary look at the Olympics of haute cuisine, bringing 24 chefs from around the world to compete against one another in Lyon every other year; A CHRISTMAS TALE (Un Conte De Noel), French director Anraud Desplechin's dysfunctional family drama that features an all-star cast including Catherine Deuneuve and Mathieu Almaric; FIGHTER (Denmark), the story of a Turkish immigrant student who is also a passionate kung fu fighter; THREE MONKEYS, award-winning Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's searing psychological drama about the unspoken dynamics in a dysfunctional family; and THE MERMAID (Russia), director Anna Melikyan's modern fairy tale in which age-old myths and
youthful imagination are merged in a surreal urban romance.
The Festival, which is a major showcase of Asian cinema, presented its Maverick Award to the Koran director Kim Jee-woon for his box office smash THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD, while also honoring the film's lead actor Jung Woo-sung with an Acting Achievement Award. The Festival also presented its "Vision In Film" Award to the Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group (SMEG), which among other things, sponsors the prestigious Shanghai International Film Festival.
For more information on the Festival, log on to the Festival website: www.hiff.org