The 7th London East Asian Film Festival

The London East Asia Film Festival returns for its seventh edition on October 19th. I take a look at everything that’s on offer.

Once again, the festival is divided into strands, not including its two galas. Opening the festival will be the North Korean-themed thriller Hunt (October 19), by first-time director but long-time acting icon Lee Jung-jae. Lee also stars as a Korean officer tasked with hunting down North Korean spies who have infiltrated his country.

The Official Selection is once again LEAFF’s signature strand, and features movies by respected filmmakers and some of the biggest Asian hits of the last year. On October 20th, there’ll be two Korean films: plane-based disaster movie Emergency Declaration (starring both Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun) and The Roundup, in which Ma Dong-seok plays a policeman who goes to Vietnam to find a murderer who’s been targeting tourists. The following day there’s Hommage, which includes a Q&A with both its star and director,deals with a film director who finds herself in between the present and the past while restoring the Korean drama classic A Female Judge, and history-spanning Chinese drama A New Old Play. On the 22nd, there’s three Japanese films worth checking out: Offbeat Cops, Wandering, and Love Life, as well as two Taiwanese films: Fantasy World and Goddamned Asura. Following this are Ann Hui’s latest drama Love After Love, and Daigo Matsui’s Just Remembering.

Jumping ahead to the 29th onwards, we’ll also get to see Dennis Law’s latest crime movie A Murder Erased, the Chinese vengeance film The Coffin Painter, and Japanese family drama It’s All My Fault.

This year’s actor spotlight is, naturally, opening gala’s director Lee Jung-jae. On top of his latest film mentioned above, the festival will also screen an eclectic mix of his works: 1994’s The Young Man, goofy 2010 drama The Housemaid, crime thriller New World, and Deliver Us from Evil.

The Competition strand this year looks to be pretty heated, with a tonne of great-looking films. The first is Chinese comedy-drama Manchurian Tiger (October 20th), which won the Shanghai International Film Festival; the 22nd will see Taiwanese crime thriller The Abandoned, with Q&A with director Tseng Ying-Ting; and we’ll see two on the 23rd: Taiwanese romantic drama Mama Boy , Japanese missing person mystery Missing. A few dramas follow, including Virgin Blue (October 24th),   Pretty Heart (October 25th), A Hundred Flowers (October 25th and 27th),Hong Kong legal drama The Sparring Partner (October 25th) and Apartment with Two Women (October 28th). Rounding it up is Mongolia-based lumberjack story Anima with Q&A with Cao Jinling on the 29th.

The festival will close on the 30th, just before Halloween – though that won’t stop a number of horrors from being screened: Warning from Hell (October 21st), The Funeral (October 23rd) Tales from the Occult 2 (October 26th and 28th) – and will end with the sci-fi action film Warriors of the Future, in which an alien threat arrives on Earth, and only Louis Koo can stop them.

The Festival runs from October 19th to the 30th, and tickets are available here.

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