Japan Italy: Far East Film Festival

There is a very special event from April 26 to May 4, we are talking about the Far East Film Festival, an event dedicated to Asian cinema that will fill the city of Udine and the Teatro Nuovo “Giovanni da Udine”.

At its twenty-first edition, the Far East Film Festival 2019 once again follows the Silk Road. Opening on April 26 with a world premiere will be Birthday, directly from Korea. The story is about the sinking of the Sewol ferry which marked a “before” and an “after” in the history of South Korea. The film tells the pain of two parents who lost their son and a nation that lost more than 300. It tells the present that, despite everything, becomes tomorrow. Always. With Birthday the FEFF pays tribute to that enormous wound (human, political, social) so difficult to heal.

Someone who remembers the very first FEFF is surely one of the super guests of this year, who in 1999 accompanied the legendary Beast Cops by Gordon Chan-Dante Lam to Udine and returned here to accompany two films: My Name Ain’t Suzie di Angie Chan, with its the now distant debut title (1985), and the magnificent Still Human by Oliver Siu Kuen Chan. We are, of course, talking about Anthony Wong, the star and legend from Hong Kong, who will collect the Golden Mulberry for his career joining the names of other giants such as Jackie Chan, Joe Hisaishi and Brigitte Lin in the Udine hall of fame.

For an extraordinary Hong Kong icon, an extraordinary Chinese icon: the beautiful Yao Chen, diva (the media like to compare her to Angelina Jolie) and legend (80 million followers), great actress and tireless activist, who will take the stage at FEFF to present the social thriller Lost, Found by Lue Yue (produced by Feng Xiaogang). A vivid reflection on civil rights and the condition of women in contemporary China that finds in Yao Chen the “politically” perfect protagonist. Time Magazine has included her among the 100 most influential people in the world.

With 76 titles on the program (51 in competition) from 12 countries, a retrospective, a monograph, a tribute to the new independent Korean cinema, 2 “strange couples”, a world-premier restoration and more than 100 thematic events organized in the heart of Udine, the Far East Film Festival is the perfect setting for a new connection between Asia and Europe and more specifically, Italy.

A real “island of cinema” where cinema is not only celebrated – 3 world premieres, 12 international, 18 European – but it is also declined to the future. This 2019 marks the choice of 15 projects chosen for Focus Asia, the Festival market, and 10 for Ties That Bind, the international Asia/Europe workshop. Over 200 industry professionals are expected in Udine, from 36 countries, and there is an important innovation to highlight: the Co-Production Day, set for May 1st. A large working table that will gather European and Asian filmmakers and producers, to analyze and develop the Italy/China co-production agreement of 2018.

Today’s films and the ones of “tomorrow”, movies that speak the language of current affairs, often directly from the news, starting with the collective story Ten Years (after Hong Kong, the narrative axis moves to Japan and Thailand) and with 14 first works included in the line-up. Films that sometimes investigate the same theme from completely different angles, like the three wonderful senile ballads Only The Cat Knows by Syoutarou Kobayasi, Romang by Lee Chang-Geun, Heaven’s Waiting by Dan Villegas: a Japanese, a Korean, a Filipino. How does the perception of reality change from country to country?

A fascinating “game of differences” that does not end here and not only in the long-awaited Korean remake of Perfect Strangers (by Intimate Strangers by JQ Lee), thanks to which the FEFF 21 built on a special segment, The Odd Couples, edited by mister Roger Garcia. Four “strange couples” of cinema twins where the East is measured with its western “double” and vice versa (My Name Ain’t Suzie by Angie Chan/The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Quine and City On Fire by Ringo Lam/Le Hyenas by Quentin Tarantino, a tribute from the Festival to the recently deceased dear Hong Kong friend.

If the contemporary Korean cinema selected by the Festival will range from the epic action (The Great Battle by Kim Kwang-Sik) to the police comedy (the irresistible Extreme Job by Lee Byeong-heon), passing by the most entertaining zombies of the year (The Odd Family by Lee Min-jae), even Japan, ready to enter the New Era – Reiwa -, will enjoy spacing between genres. From the unmissable documentary Kampai! Sake Sisters by Mirai Konishi, in Udine as a world premiere, up to the surprising Melancholic by Seiji Tanaka (one of the 14 debut features we have already talked about), passing by the European premiere of Fly me to the Saitama (Tonde Saitama) by Takeuchi Hideki a comedy film based on famous manga of the 80s with the same name written and illustrated by Mineo Maya, Every Day on Good Day by Tatsushi Omori that we can consider the last, beautiful, greeting of Kirin Kiki.

China will be represented, as always, by very strong titles (we mention Dying to Survive by Wen Muye, which puts the spotlight on the market for drugs for terminally ill patients, and The Rib by Zhang Wei, an unexpected family transgender-themed drama), while Hong Kong will field all the creative energy of the “old school” thrillers (Project Gutenberg by Felix Chong) as well as all the subversive force of the independent scene (Fruit Chan’s Three Husbands), without forgetting the return of Herman Yau (A Home With a View).

And on the Southeast Asian front, where genre cinema dominates (in Udine, among the various titles, we will see the excellent Malaysian horror film Two Sisters), there will be two guests that the audience will particularly enjoy: Chito Rono and Joyce Bernal, dear and affectionate friends of the Festival.

A network of friends, old and new, literally scattered around the world, a magic circle that opens and closes year after year. It means getting away from your center, traveling, moving, exploring, raising the threshold of curiosity and then returning with something new inside your eyes. A precious different look, this is the Far East Film Festival 2019. We are waiting for you!

How to Participate?

You can watch the screenings by purchasing a ticket or by accreditation.

The accreditation is recommended to all those who have a professional or cultural interest in Asian cinema and wish to attend as many screenings as possible at an advantageous price.


The screenings start at 9.00 am and end late at night. The program includes two screenings in the morning, two in the afternoon and two or three films at the end of the day, in the evening.
Entry is forbidden to children under 18, as films are not subject to Italian censorship visas.

Where to buy tickets

Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine & Cinema Centrale
Morning shows (weekdays): € 6.00 per film (or 10.00 for both films).
Morning shows (holidays): € 10.00 per film (or 15.00 for both films).
Afternoon performances (weekdays): € 6.00 per film (or 10.00 for both films).
Afternoon performances (holidays and pre-holidays): € 10.00 per film (or € 15.00 for both films).
Evening shows: € 10.00 per film (or € 15.00 for both films).
Night show: € 6.00.
A daily ticket will also be available at a cost of € 25.00 which allows you to attend all the shows on the day of issue.

Presale: at the Teatro Nuovo ticket office

Opening time:
Friday 26 April: from 11.00 am until the beginning of the last screening of the day
from Saturday 27th April: from 8.30 am until the beginning of the last screening of the day

The presale for the projections of the following days is suspended during the movie start times. For information (from 24 April): tel. 0432-248484