Film fest underway after grand opening
The Hong Kong film festival is in full swing in the German capital after over 200 guests from government, industry and the press attended the opening night reception last Wednesday.
The Hong Kong government's chief administrator Carrie Lam addressed the opening night crowd, hailing the chances the festival offered to "share with our friends in Germany our culture and passion".
"Hong Kong and Berlin also enjoy a special connection in film, as Hong Kong's movie 'Echoes of the Rainbow' won the Crystal Bear award at the 2010 Berlinale," she added.
Lam also looked back to the first movie ever produced in Hong Kong, "Zhuangzi tests his wife", released in 1914, and celebrated how far the city's film industry had come, in particular highlighting the benefits of tightening economic ties with their "motherland", mainland China.
Lam's speech was followed by a showing of Dante Lam's 2013 boxing drama "Unbeatable", which one audience member described to The Local as "very powerful, focusing on human relationships, poverty and the sport of mixed martial arts".
For his performance in "Unbeatable", lead actor Nick Cheung picked up both the Golden Goblet award for best actor at last year's Shanghai international festival and the Best Actor Award at the recent 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards.
And organizers said they were pleased to announce a subsequent showing of Johnnie To's crime drama "Blind Detective" drew a crowd of 55, while Saturday's showing of Andrew Lau's 2002 smash hit thriller "Infernal Affairs" (which inspired Scorsese's Oscar-winner "The Departed" in 2006) brought in an audience of 72.
This coming week will give the festival's biggest films a second showing, with "Internal Affairs" on Wednesday evening, the sequel "Internal Affairs II" on Thursday and the third installment on Friday, followed immediately by "Blind Detective".
Saturday will see the second showings of "Unbeatable" and Benny Chan's 2013 action drama about a narcotics police squad, "The White Storm".
After the Berlin event, a second Hong Kong film festival will be held in Hamburg in the second half of June.