The Festival of Far East Film in Italy’s Udine will honor Chinese director Zhang Yimou with a lifetime achievement award, showcasing three of his films including his latest political thriller “Under the Light.” The festival’s lineup includes 74 films from 11 countries, with highlights such as “13 Bombs” from Indonesia, “The Goldfinger” from Hong Kong, and a selection of Japanese and South Korean films including “12.12: The Day” and “Alienoid.” The opening night will feature the mainland Chinese film “YOLO” and the Korean action comedy “Citizen of a Kind.”

The Whanau Marama: New Zealand International Film Festival will expand its screenings to six additional regions, bringing a selection of films to Hamilton, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Masterton, and Tauranga in August and September. This expansion adds to the previously announced screenings in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, and Christchurch starting from July. The festival aims to showcase a diverse range of films from New Zealand and around the world, reaching audiences in various regions across the country.

Zhang Yimou’s presence at the Festival of Far East Film highlights his contributions to Asian cinema over the years, with films like “To Live” and “Raise the Red Lantern” also being featured in the restored classics section. The lineup of 74 films in total includes a mix of genres and styles from different countries, providing audiences with a wide range of cinematic experiences. The festival aims to celebrate the richness and diversity of Asian cinema, bringing together filmmakers and audiences from around the world.

In addition to Zhang Yimou’s films, the festival will showcase works from other prominent Asian directors such as Angga Dwimas Sasongko from Indonesia, Felix Chong from Hong Kong, and Ning Hao from China. The selection of films from Japan and South Korea also adds to the variety of storytelling and filmmaking styles on display. With a mix of political thrillers, fantasy films, dramas, and action comedies, the festival offers something for every film lover.

The inclusion of films like “YOLO” and “Citizen of a Kind” on the opening night sets the tone for a diverse and exciting lineup at the Festival of Far East Film. The focus on bringing together films from different countries in Asia showcases the interconnectedness and shared cultural heritage of the region. By honoring veteran filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and highlighting emerging talents, the festival continues to celebrate the past, present, and future of Asian cinema.

The expansion of the Whanau Marama: New Zealand International Film Festival to additional regions reflects the growing interest in New Zealand cinema and the importance of bringing diverse and engaging films to audiences across the country. By showcasing a selection of films in different cities and towns, the festival aims to reach a wider audience and promote cultural exchanges through the medium of film. The inclusion of films from various genres and countries adds to the festival’s appeal and showcases the talent and creativity of filmmakers from New Zealand and beyond.

Overall, the Festival of Far East Film and the Whanau Marama: New Zealand International Film Festival celebrate the diversity and creativity of Asian and New Zealand cinema, respectively. Through their curated lineups and expanded screenings, both festivals provide platforms for filmmakers to showcase their work and for audiences to engage with a wide range of cinematic experiences. These celebrations of cinema serve as reminders of the power of storytelling and the importance of cultural exchange in bringing people together through the universal language of film.

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