05-15 November 2020

Festivals & Events


October 20, 2019

HIFF39: A Long Walk Across Southeast Asia

Programming intern Adrian Alarilla continues his overlook of the HIFF39 program by highlighting this year's SOUTHEAST ASIAN SHOWCASE. Three of the films are in competition for the KAU KA HŌKŪ AWARD.

A scene from Mattie Do's THE LONG WALK from Laos. 

While Southeast Asian Cinema has often been overlooked in film festivals in the past, within the last decade, filmmakers in the region have started getting the recognition they truly deserve, with bold, new stories and daring techniques that have pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. This year, HIFF continues the tradition with four compelling films from this incredibly diverse and colorful region of the world.

The first one, UNTRUE, is actually set in the Eurasian country of Georgia, and revolves around two Filipinos trying to find greener pastures away from their motherland. What starts as an innocent love story between a waitress named Mara and a migrant worker named Joachim turns into a psychological thriller when Joachim starts claiming to see strange visions. With echoes of tropical gothic, this diasporic story is as Filipino a film as they come. Watch Mara and Joachim’s story unfold at Regal Dole Cannery 14 on Thursday, November 7 at 7:30 pm.

In GOODBYE MOTHER (Thưa Mẹ Con Đi), the protagonist is also diasporic, this time a Vietnamese named Van who returns home to attend his father’s memorial ceremony. As he comes to terms with his father’s passing, the changes in his home village, and his relationship with his distressed mother, they both have to forge a path forward together in this family dramedy film that explores themes of autonomy, masculinity, and the perpetual challenges of filial obligation. Catch Van’s story at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 18 on Saturday, November 9 at 5:30 pm, and on Thursday, November 14 at 3:30 pm.

The return home is sometimes also a return to the past in THE LONG WALK (Bor Mi Van Chark), another story of haunting set in rural Laos in the near future. An old man walks the road to the village, accompanied by a silent spirit whose tragic end he witnessed decades earlier as a young boy. Burdened and shamed by the deaths he has witnessed in the past, he undergoes a peculiar kind of repentance. When the spirit offers him a way to turn back time, could this be his way out? This haunting elegy to mortality and Buddhist philosophy screens at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 14 on Wednesday, November 13 at 7:00 pm, and at Regal Dole Cannery 15 on Friday, November 15, at 3:00 pm.

We return to the shores of the Philippines in MINA-ANUD, a crazy drug caper set in a small surfing town on the edge of the archipelago, facing the Pacific. When drugs wash ashore one day, a couple of down-on-their-luck surfers, Ding and Carlo, are soon faced with a choice—do they turn it over to the authorities or get lured towards the road of “easy money,” a risk worth taking for family and freedom and a way out of their financial misfortunes? Wickedly funny with piercing observations of contemporary Filipino life, this film shows at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 16 on Thursday, November 14 at 7:45 pm, and Saturday, November 16 at 11:15 am.

Catch the cinema magic at HIFF! Check out our full schedule for more information.

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