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Hong Kong, 1992 (MIFF 1993)

Director: Clara Law

Winner of the Gold Leopard (Grand Prix) at the last Locarno Film Festival, Autumn Moon is a striking departure from the archetypal Hong Kong feature — European critics have compared it to the early classics of Antonioni, such as La Notte. In an industry dominated by work of explosive violence that utilises standard genre themes, Clara Law has created a deceptively straightforward film.

Tokio, a young Japanese tourist (Masatoshi Nagase, from Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train) is travelling through Asia, ostensibly looking for good, authentic food. In the spectacular yet intimidating glass and concrete spires of Hong Kong he meets fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Wai, who takes him to her favourite restaurant (McDonald's), then home to eat her grandmother's cooking. What unfolds is a story about the clash and appropriation of cultures, the differences between languages and isolation, both social and personal.

Both charming and moody, comic and touching, it tells the tale of a young girl sharing the tenuousness of first love with a new friend, while he, jaded and cynical, searches for a meaning in his life which will transcend aimless wandering.

Atmospheric and cool, the film captures Hong Kong's distinctive beauty, charting the city's moods, caught between vestiges of ancient Chinese traditions and the pull of the twenty-first century: a world of fading memories where life is something to be observed through the video camera viewfinder.

Deeply moving, but not at the expense of laughter, Autumn Moon taps into all our journeys of self-discovery.

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