Helsinki Cine Aasia happens for the 9th time, this year online, followed by additional theatrical screenings during the summer.
Due to the pandemic situation and existing restrictions, the 2021 Helsinki Cine Aasia film festival goes online, and will be held from Friday, April 16th of April until Sunday April 18th.
The only film festival of contemporary Asian cinema in Finland cares about the safety and well-being of its audience. During these challenging times the hunger for culture is larger than ever, and Helsinki Cine Aasia will offer everyone in Finland the chance to enjoy Asian culture safely and responsibly in their own homes.
“These are tough times for everyone. Even though culture is snubbed in politics, it is just what we need right now to feed our souls. Every nation over the world is bound into their homes inside the borders of their countries but through films we can have a little trip to the other side of the world.”
-Eija Niskanen, Artistic Director
Mysterious poetry and an ode to cinema
Even though the program of the three day online festival will be more concise than usual, it still presents the best that Asia can offer. First reveals from the upcoming program are Sono Sion’s Japanese Red Post on Escher Street (Eschaa dori no akai posuto, 2020) and Malu (2020) by Malesian directer Edmund Yeo.
Many may already know Sono Sion for example from his cult hit Love Exposure (2008). Sion’s film The Land of Hope (2012) was shown at the very first Helsinki Cine Aasia back in 2013. Red Post on Escher Street (Eschaa dori no akai posuto, 2020) highlights the importance of an individual and it dives deep behind the scenes of film making.
A popular film director holds an open casting for his upcoming film. Countless aspiring actors turn up, craving a chance to star in the film. Naturally there are not enough leading roles for everyone, so some of the actors will be cast as extras. In the course of the film complex and hurtful relationships and feelings are revealed.
Edmund Yeo’s Malu (2020), a co-production between Malaysia and Japan, is a poetic and mysterious portrayal of two sisters who have been separated from each other. Their lives are seen in different times and places, but the film asks if it is possible to truly find each other. Cinematographer Pahurac Kong’s impressive shooting style combines realism with artistry.
Malu premiered at Tokyo International Film Festival last year, where Yeo also previously won the Best Director Award in 2017.
Return to the silver screens
It has always been important for Helsinki Cine Aasia to bring the latest and brightest works from East and Southeast Asia to the big screens in Finland, and we are planning to do just that in 2021 also. The festival together with Cinema Orion will be arranging a series of theatrical screenings including films from our online festival lineup and other new releases. The screenings will be held at Cinema Orion in Helsinki when the restrictions allow, and it is yet again safe to convene. Helsinki Cine Aasia and Cinema Orion will release the program and timing of the series on their website and social media accounts once it is confirmed.
The full program of the online festival will be published on Monday 29 March 2021.
Joonas Koivula, publicist