February 15, 2006


Each year the Hong Kong Film Market holds the Hong Kong-Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF, for some reason) where filmmakers come and rattle the cup to get cash for their projects. Last year's HAF saw Wilson Yip kick off DRAGON TIGER GATE and funding appeared for MCDULL THE ALUMNI as well as for some movies that still haven't seen the light of day.

This year's HAF line-up has been announced and here's the details on the more interesting projects:

JULIUS CAESAR - Gordon Chan, who used to be a big deal writer and director (FIST OF LEGEND, BEAST COPS, FINAL OPTION), is adapting Shakespeare's play to the Shanghai underworld in 1930. For some reason Gordon Chan seems to believe that Caesar ordered his own assassination in order to be remembered by future generations, however. The movie is described as "theatrical" and the sets are supposed to be "highly stylized".

GREEN MANSION - bemoaning the recent trend of Hong Kong directors (like himself) making movies in and about China, ("This aptly explains why Hong Kong films in recent years have lost their unique quality,") Stanley Kwan is returning to Hong Kong for this melodrama set in a social club on Conduit Road in Hong Kong in 1955.

UTOPIA - part of the digital film series THE AMERICAN DREAM INSIDE/OUT (currently developing a Jean-Luc Godard flick) this is a dreamy fable from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand's arthouse darling. It's about a caveman wandering a snowscape full of "fashionable old American ladies". Caveman goes to sleep and wakes up with the world transformed into a lush rainforest. Trippy.

THE MAID: A NEW BEGINNING - sigh, another Asian horror movie, this time from the team that brought the world THE MAID. Now they've taken the same movie and set it in the 19th Century.

THE MYSTERY OF THE NUN'S DEATH - Herman Yau (UNTOLD STORY) in serious, dark, rainy mode in this flick about a cop investigating the murder of a nun 20 years ago. Yau says the project has been lingering in his mind for a while and that he wanted to make a movie about "God's will."

PLASTIC CITY - Yu Lik-wai (ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES, LOVE WILL TEAR US APART) is a director whose filmography sounds like a mix tape but I can't find a song named "Plastic City". The movie tells the story of nouveau riche Chinese living in Brazil and getting up to no good in the black market.

TAIPEI 101 - Fruit Chan leaves the arthouse behind to make a movie about the tallest building in the world, a super-typhoon that turns future Taipei into a swamp, and four childhood friends who belong to a magic political group fighitng to determine the fate of the world.

TOYOL - Nonzee Nimibutr returns to the ghost stories that made his name (NANG NAK) with this movie about a Hong Kong family who moves to Bangkok and the witchy Thai stepmother who marries the dad and torments the children.

THE UNSPEAKABLE CURSE OF THE OX FAMILY - out of all the movies in this list, this one's my favorite. Directed by Su Chao-pin, the writer of DOUBLE VISION and the "Going Home" segment in THREE, it's a comedy about a Taiwanese family who is cursed by an ancient evil. Their genius son is studying in the US and gets stabbed in the neck while shopping in the local mini-mart. He survives but the knife can't be removed. The daughter is the world's first Taiwanese astronaut who is trapped in a geosynchronous orbit above her bedroom. The father's giant butt is stuck in the toilet and everyone seems to be in love with the mom. How will this bloody mystery be solved and sent back to the darkness from which it came?

THE WEEPING SEA - Terence Tong, director of the 80's masterpiece COOLIE KILLER, returns to the big screen with this story of the attempted Japanese naval invasion of Korea in 1592 and the love affair between a Chinese and Korean doctor.

51 WAYS TO PROTECT A GIRL - Takashi Miike's movie is a serious disaster drama about two 20 year old kids who get stuck in a level 7.8 earthquake that hits Tokyo. The boy resuces the girl from an elevator (she's a princess, he's a slacker) and try to survive the chaos with nothing but a radio, a lighter, a handkerchief, two cell phones, some textbooks and cigarettes.

February 15, 2006 at 10:51 AM in News | Permalink


Thanks for this. Apitchatpong's project sounds pretty ambitious, even if it is only US$1 million. Should be interesting to see how his vision will be realized.

Posted by: Wise Kwai | Feb 16, 2006 5:06:05 AM

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