Hawaii International Film Festival 2002

The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) took place from November 1 to 10, 2002. This is a nice festival. Besides the obvious advantage of location, you can get a pass to see all of the films if you become a member of the HIFF Ohana (Hawaiian for "family"). Having a pass gets you into screenings ahead of the crowd, and also lets you decide at almost the last minute what film you want to see.

Another advantage to HIFF is that Roger Ebert is a regular attendee. This year, as I gather he does every year at HIFF, he went through a film shot-by-shot. He calls this "democracy in the dark" because anyone there can ask to stop the film at any point to ask a question or make a comment. For 2002 the film was Citizen Kane. The process took six hours total, divided into three sessions over as many days. I was there for all of it. Surprisingly this was free and not full, although it did take place during normal weekday business hours.

One other seminar I attended was with Peter Pau, who was the Oscar-winning cinematographer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I hoped he would also talk about some of his earlier Hong Kong films, but he concentrated almost exclusively on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The seminars I saw were all at the Doris Duke at the Academy theater, at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, which is a bit of a pain to park at until you figure out the system. Of the films I saw, all but one was at the Dole Cannery 18, run by Signature Theatres. This is a nice theater, with stadium seating and high back seats, THX sound, validated parking, and no tiny theaters. The only downside is that about the most real food available inside the theater is hot dogs, although Strawberry Connection (gourmet food and deli—I would recommend the chicken curry) was right around the corner but was not open late enough [and sadly has since closed].

Of the well over 100 feature-length films shown at the festival, I saw 21. They are listed below approximately in descending order of preference, with links to my reviews.

Any comments on this page should be addressed to Mike Weston at mike@misosoup.com.

  1. Spellbound (4 stars, 2002, seen 11/3/2002, 1:35, unrated)
  2. Bowling for Columbine (3.5 stars, 2002, seen 11/9/2002, 2:00, rated R)
  3. Tongan Ninja (3.5 stars, 2002, seen 11/8/2002, 1:22, unrated)
  4. Intacto (3.5 stars, English title: Intact, 2001, seen 11/9/2002, 1:48, rated R, in Spanish with subtitles)
  5. He Died with a Felafel In His Hand (3.5 stars, 2001, seen 11/1/2002, 1:47, unrated)
  6. Nirgendwo in Afrika (3.5 stars, English title: Nowhere in Africa, 2001, seen 11/3/2002, 2:20, unrated, in English, German, and Swahili with subtitles)
  7. Searching for Paradise (3.5 stars, 2002, seen 11/4/2002, 1:28, unrated)
  8. Inside Story, The (3.5 stars, 2002, seen 11/5/2002, 1:25, unrated)
  9. Walking on Water (3 stars, 2002, seen 11/2/2002, 1:30, unrated)
  10. Russkij kovcheg (3 stars, English title: Russian Ark, 2002, seen 11/7/2002, 1:36, unrated, in Russian with subtitles)
  11. Pido nunmuldo eobshi (3 stars, English title: No Blood, No Tears, 2002, seen 11/6/2002, 1:56, unrated, in Korean with subtitles)
  12. Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira (3 stars, English title: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, 2001, seen 11/8/2002, 1:54, rated R, dubbed)
  13. Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (3 stars, 2002, seen 11/2/2002, 2:00, unrated, in Bengali, English, and Tamil with subtitles)
  14. Enan no musume (3 stars, English title: Daughter from Yan'an, 2001, seen 11/7/2002, 2:00, unrated, in Mandarin with subtitles)
  15. Who Are You? (3 stars, 2002, seen 11/7/2002, 1:44, unrated, in Korean with subtitles)
  16. Obaachan's Garden (2.5 stars, 1999, seen 11/3/2002, 1:34, unrated)
  17. Gyae-got-un nalui ohu (2.5 stars, English Title: A Hot Roof, 1996, seen 11/1/2002, 1:48, unrated, in Korean with subtitles)
  18. Wa dong ren (2 stars, English title: The Rules of the Game, 2002, seen 11/4/2002, 1:43, unrated, in Mandarin with subtitles)
  19. Princess D (2 stars, 2001, seen 11/5/2002, 1:37, unrated, in Cantonese and Mandarin with subtitles)
  20. Let's Love Hong Kong (2 stars, 2002, seen 11/7/2002, 1:22, unrated, in Cantonese with subtitles)
  21. Yok mang (1.5 stars, English title: Desire, 2002, seen 11/3/2002, 1:25, unrated, in Korean with subtitles)

External filmography links courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.

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Copyright © 2002-2003 by Michael S. Weston. All rights reserved.