February 8th 2024: Today, the East Asia Film Festival Ireland (EAFFI) and the Irish Film Institute (IFI) are delighted to announce the programme for the eighth edition of the festival, which will take place this year from Thursday, March 7th to Sunday, March 10th, bringing works from prominent and emerging writers and directors from diverse cultural and social backgrounds across East Asian cinema to audiences in Ireland.
These films reflect on individual and communal experiences, and observe and explore life and relationships in an eclectic mix of fiction, documentary, and classic titles. At the programme’s centre is a season of rare screenings by auteur filmmaker Edward Yang (1947–2007) – four masterworks from one of the most iconic figures, alongside Hou Hsiao-Hsien, of the Taiwanese New Wave film movement of the early 1980s.
Each of the four special screenings will be introduced by Taiwanese film producer Chuti Chang. They will be:
A Confucian Confusion, which charts the tangled web of emotional and professional manipulations among a group of young urbanites, and screens on Thursday 7th.
One of the greatest debuts of the 20th Century, Yang’s first feature That Day, on the Beach – starring Sylvia Chang and Terry Wu as old friends reuniting after thirteen years apart, and screening Friday 8th.
Sublime magnum opus Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes – following a middle-class family in Taipei over one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral – screening on Saturday 9th.
Deeply personal epic A Brighter Summer Day immortalises the moment when teen pop culture went global, forging an effervescent but lasting bridge between East and West, and screens on Sunday 10th.
Revered as “the thinker of urban culture”, Yang’s fast-moving yet melancholic ensemble pieces are grounded in a realist aesthetic – revealing the intricacies of interpersonal relationships (between different generations and classes).
The festival is also delighted to welcome documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda who will take part in a Q&A after the screening of his new film fresh from the Berlin International Film festival, The Cats of Gokogu Shrine, on Thursday 7th. Kazuhiro Soda will also take part in an in-conversation event with producer Chuti Chang on Tuesday 5th.
Speaking about this year’s East Asia Film Festival Ireland, Festival Director Marie-Pierre Richard commented, “This year’s programme is a rich selection of fiction, documentary, and film essays by prominent and emerging writers and directors across East Asian cinema – memories, collective stories, and personal journeys of identity and culture, with themes of understanding, tolerance and hope.”
Commenting on this year’s programme, Richard said, “We are focused on bringing classic cinema and key film talents from East Asia to Irish audiences whether this is through our cinema screenings, commissioned online interviews or hosting in-person visits. To celebrate the wonderful Taiwanese New Wave director Edward Yang (1947–2007), we have four rarely screened works in 2K and 4K restorations, and Taiwanese producer Chuti Chang will be with us to present his films. Another great festival guest, Japanese documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda, will take part in a series of talks and screenings in collaboration with four Irish universities, and share an In-Conversation event with Chuti Chang on producing independent cinema in a globalised environment. Soda’s fascinating new documentary The Cats of Gokogu Shrine, will open this year’s festival with a Q&A session following the Irish premiere screening.”
Tickets are on sale now from ifi.ie
Photos can be downloaded from HERE
The programme in full with dates and times:
IN-CONVERSATION: KAZUHIRO SODA AND CHUTI CHANG
Tuesday, March 5th (18.30)
A discussion on producing independent cinema in a globalised environment.
THE CATS OF GOKOGU SHRINE
(GOKOGU NO NEKO)
Thursday, March 7th (18.00)
Film info: 119 mins, Japan-USA, 2024, Digital, Subtitled
Gokogu, an ancient Shinto shrine in Ushimado near the Seto Inland Sea in Japan, is home to dozens of street cats, and is also known as Cat Shrine. People visit to worship, to garden, or tend to the shrine, while others stop by on their way to fish. But mostly, it’s a haven for cat-lovers. Gokogu looks peaceful on the surface, but is the epicentre of a divide in the community.
Filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda’s (Zero, EAFFI 2023) follow-up to Oyster Factory (2015) and Inland Sea (2018), also shot in Ushimado, sees him drawn in by the allure of the place and, befriending the local street cats. The result is as beautiful as it is harsh, a simple yet complex portrayal, observing an aging community and its spiritual centre.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda.
A CONFUCIAN CONFUSION
Thursday, March 7th (20.30)
Film info: 129 mins, Taiwan, 1994, Digital 4K, Subtitled
Art versus commerce, friendship versus status, independence versus conformity — values clash and collide in Yang’s study of an increasingly Westernised country heading into the twenty-first century without moral guideposts. Moving from breakout hit A Brighter Summer Day’s investigation of the past to a critical survey of the present, A Confucian Confusion charts the tangled web of emotional and professional manipulations among a group of young urbanites with Molly, director of a floundering public-relations firm, at its centre. Alienated by the childish fiancé who bankrolls her enterprise – and frustrated by the demands of assistant Qiqi, and her own fiancé, Ming – Molly lashes out at everyone in her path and threatens to dismantle the company altogether. Injecting comedic elements into his patented brand of earnest soul-searching, Yang finds humour as well as pathos in the desperate behaviour of a lost, lonely generation.
THAT DAY, ON THE BEACH
Friday, March 8th (17.00)
Film info: 166 mins, Taiwan, 1983, Digital, Subtitled
One of the greatest debuts of the 20th Century, That Day, on the Beach, the first feature for both Yang and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, stars Sylvia Chang and Terry Wu as old friends reuniting after thirteen years apart. “There’s a mystery,” noted David Bordwell in 2016, “but, as in L’Avventura, the disappearance sends out ripples that reveal social pressures and psychological states. There are flashbacks, both fragmentary and extended; there are flashbacks within flashbacks; there are multiple narrators, replays of key events, and floating voice-overs—all in the service of probing the ways in which patriarchal authority stunts young people’s lives”.
ONLY THE RIVER FLOWS
Friday, March 8th (20.30)
Film info: 101 mins, China, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Adapted from Yu Hua’s novel Mistakes by the River, this third feature from Chinese writer-director Wei Shunjun (Ripples of Life, EAFFI 2022) is set in the 1990s in the rural town of Banpo, Southern China. Ma Zhe (Zhu Yilong), chief of police (and father-to-be) investigates after the body of an elderly woman is found murdered by the river. An early arrest looks like case closed, but Ma Zhe is puzzled and continues the investigation, opening up a labyrinthine journey. Shot on 16mm in foggy, rainy landscapes, this is a sophisticated atmospheric thriller. What lies beneath though is a complex portrait of provincial community, taut social and psychological relationships, and the quiet and oppressive existence of the occupants, their pasts all served up with a pitch-dark sense of humour.
Saturday, March 9th (12.30)
Film info: 173 mins, Taiwan, 2000, Digital, Subtitled
Sublime magnum opus Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ’s tentative flirtations with an old flame, or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic wanders contemporary Taipei, moving from one member of the Jian family to another and back again.
MAN IN BLACK
(HEI YI REN)
Saturday, March 9th (16.00)
Film info: 60 mins, France-USA-UK, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
86-year-old Wang Xilin, one of China’s leading modern classical composers and conductors, lives in exile in Germany having suffered persecution during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Renowned French cinematographer Caroline Champetier captures the empty, dimly lit Bouffes du Nord theatre in Paris, showing Wang Xilin walking naked between stage and auditorium, the camera circling him, mapping his body movements, stretches, and bends, capturing his bruised and scarred body in shadow and light. In his monologue, Wang Xilin speaks of his painful past, his words sometimes drowned out by the musical excerpts from his symphonies playing furiously in the background. Chinese director Wang Bing’s hour-long performance-painting-portrait of Wang Xilin is an extraordinarily powerful and immersive film focusing on the body as an act of witnessing.
Preceded by short film FÜR BETTINA, dir. Adrian Duncan
Film info: 20 minutes, Ireland, 2023, Silent, Colour and B&W
A silent-film love story told through a public sculpture in Berlin of the 19th-Century Romantic-era poets Bettina and Achim von Arnim.
The screening of MAN IN BLACK and FÜR BETTINA is organised in partnership with aemi, an organisation funded by the Arts Council to support and develop artist and experimental film culture in Ireland.
Saturday, March 9th (18.10)
Film info: 109 mins, China, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Snow Leopard, written and directed by late Tibetan writer/filmmaker Pema Tseden (1969–2023) (Jinpa, EAFFI 2021), was completed just weeks before his sudden death last year. He leaves us a beautiful, magical tale told in two parts, a surreal venture in the distant past, and a realistic present-day account. In the village of Drigar on the Tibetan plateau, a snow leopard has jumped into herder Jinpa’s sheep pen, killing nine rams. Jinpa insists the government provide financial compensation or he will kill the leopard, a protected species. This creates a storm in the community, Jinpa’s father arguing with Jinpa to release the snow leopard, Jinpa’s brother, a young monk known as ‘Snow Leopard Lama’, local TV crew, government officials and the police! A story about unparalleled compassion, solicitude and love told through the stunning immersive photography of cinematographer Matthias Delvaux.
SOLIDS BY THE SEASHORE
Saturday, March 9th (20.40)
Film info: 93 mins, Thailand, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
This tender, atmospheric debut from Thai director Patiparn Boontarig’s (assistant director Manta Ray, EAFFI 2018) set in a coastal town in southern Thailand, uniquely tackles climate change, tradition, identity, and LGBT love. Shati (Ilada Pitsuwan) a Muslim from a conservative family, works at the local art gallery where she meets Fon (Rawipa Srisanguan), an activist-turned-visual artist from Bangkok, completing her exhibition ‘End Effect’. Immediately attracted to each other, this opens deep internal conflict for Shati whose traditional roots forbid same-sex relationships. Fon sees things differently: ‘If we impose limitations on our lives, they end up eroding our own selves.’ This is like the ‘solids’ – the poorly built seawalls intended for coastal defence but ultimately responsible for further soil erosion with beaches filled with sand from elsewhere, and the different sands cannot combine.
A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY
Sunday, March 10th (12.30)
Film info: 237 mins, Taiwan, 1991, Digital 4K, Subtitled
Deeply personal epic A Brighter Summer Day immortalises the moment when teen pop culture went global, forging an effervescent but lasting bridge between East and West. Set in the early sixties in Taiwan and based on the true story of a crime that rocked the nation, a film of both sprawling scope and tender intimacy, this novelistic, patiently observed epic centres on the gradual, inexorable fall of a young teenager (Chen Chang, in his first role years before appearing in Happy Together and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) from innocence to juvenile delinquency, and is set against a simmering backdrop of restless youth, rock and roll, and political turmoil.
Sunday, March 10th (17.45)
Film info: 101 mins, Hong Kong, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Celebrated Hong Kong New Wave auteur writer-director-producer Ann Hui returns with a personal, evocative, joyful, and beautiful documentary portrait of contemporary poets from Hong Kong.
This is an ode to the city of Hong Kong in a state of transition, devoted to poets of the ‘old’ generation (born 1937–1952), through to the poets of today. Filming conversations through personal encounters with Hong Kong’s most notable poets including Yam Gong, Wai Yuen, Chan Chi Tak, Deng Ah Lam, York Ma, Xi Xi and Leung Ping Kwan, Hui reveals the topography of contemporary poetry, while giving us glimpses of inner life in Hong Kong, with its many memories and ways of life. Subtle and graceful vignettes of everyday life unfold freely, bringing us poetic imagery and inspirational ideas.
Sunday, March 10th (20.10)
Film info: 97 mins, South Korea, 2022, Digital, Subtitled
Walk Up is the 28th feature from prolific South Korean favourite Hong Sang-soo. This is a delightful, humorous, existential drama, where time circles elliptically and the story unfolds up and down, from top to bottom in the floors of a Seoul apartment building. Byungsoo (Kwon Haehyo), a well-known filmmaker, visits old friend Ms. Kim (Lee Hyeyoung) with his daughter Jeongsu (Park Miso), an aspiring interior designer. Ms. Kim is an interior designer and owner of a beautiful four-story building that houses her office, a restaurant and cooking studio, and two apartments. After much talk and drinks, she offers to rent out an apartment to Byungsoo. Always witty and playful, Hong revisits themes close to his heart – love, friendship, art, career, cinema, family and home renovations, all set around casual philosophical table chats and lots of wine and soju.
The East Asia Film Festival Ireland (EAFFI) would like to thank the Arts Council, the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, the Taipei Representative Office in Ireland, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Brussels, the IFI, aemi and all its sponsors and partners for their invaluable support, including Asia Market, Belltable Arts Centre, Pálás Cinema and Triskel Arts Centre, and a very special thanks to Janus Films and NG Yuk Lin for their invaluable support with the Edward Yang programme, Edward Yang season notes taken from the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, the Film Lincoln Centre and Janus Films.
ALL OF US STRANGERS
THE TASTE OF THINGS
THE ZONE OF INTEREST
WICKED LITTLE LETTERS
13.10 (OC), 20.35
WILD STRAWBERRIES: ONE LIFE
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council