Above: GF*BF, a moving study of youth set against Taiwan’s rocky history.
A two-week celebration of Chinese and international cinema gets underway today as the curtain rises on the Hong Kong Summer International Film Festival.
The fortnight will open with one of the most eagerly anticipated films to emerge from Taiwan in years. GF*BF, written and directed by Ya-Che Yang, charts the lives of Liam, Mabel and Aaron in Taiwan during the 1980s, where martial law and youthful exuberance combine to cement a rebellious streak in the three friends. As decades go by, frustrations build and relationships fray, the three drift apart before events contrive to bring the story full circle.
Sushi aficionados will look forward to Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary centering on Jiro Ono’s pursuit of perfection at his Tokyo restaurant, Sukibayashi Jiro. If the act of massaging an octopus for 45 minutes (to improve the texture) weren’t a sufficiently unambiguous indicator of his dedication, consider that he is still plying his trade at the age of 87—the oldest chef to hold a Michelin three-star rating.
The occasional seminar punctuates the film schedule—see the HKIFF website for details—but be sure not to miss Martin Scorsese’s affectionate yet unsentimental homage to George Harrison on August 25 and 27, before the festival closes with a screening of Wes Anderson’s return to form in Moonrise Kingdom.