Hong Kong and Singapore 1999

  • Hai Leong Toh


HONG KONG AND SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS The 23rd Hongkong International Film Festival, (31st March to 15th April), focussed on a few interesting and topical issues, the most pervasive being the feeling of alienation and loneliness. The recent Balkan conflicts found their reflection in the festival as well, especially in the nonconformist Greek film-maker Theo Angelopoulos' Balkan Trilogy, a sweeping fresco including the 1991 Suspended Step of the Stork, the 1995 Ulysses' Gaze, and culminating in the sublime Eternity and a Day (Mia eoniotita ke mia mera, 1998). The reverberation of the painful Kosovo conflict is most noticeable in the Eternity, where the artist brings home the reality of the Serbs' ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Albanians through the portrait of a runaway Albanian street urchin who crosses path with the film's hero, a celebrated dying writer (played by the unsurpassable Bruno Ganz). Theo Angelopoulos' protagonist is often a...