5 Picks from the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival

The HIFF List

The 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival

209-42-5: No, that's not our high school locker combination. It's a breakdown by the numbers for the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival. Starting tomorrow, 209 films from 42 countries will be screened in theaters throughout the state. Today, we present HIFF's top 5 picks, all top-notch films you won't want to miss.

The Rocket

The Rocket (Drama, Australia-Laos)

Ten-year-old Ahlo, the surviving twin of a difficult birth, is believed to be a source of bad luck by superstitious neighbors and even his own family. Displaced by the construction of a dam, Ahlo decides his only hope at redemption is in the Rocket Festival: a riotous, dangerous annual competition where huge bamboo rockets are set off to provoke the rain gods. Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Consolidated Koko Marina, and Friday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 20, at 11 a.m. at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises (Animation, Japan)

Animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki illustrates the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the real-life visionary designer of the famed Zero fighter-bomber. Inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world's most innovative and accomplished airplane designers, living through the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan's plunge into war. Tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.

Cold Eyes

Cold Eyes (Action, South Korea)

Ha Yoon-joo is the newest member of an elite police unit that specializes in the surveillance of high-profile criminals and shows great promise, especially when shadowing a target. Her skills are immediately put to the test when the team begins tracking James, the enigmatic leader of a gang of vicious bank-robbers. As the crimes escalate, Ha realizes her on-the-job training could prove fatal. Friday, October 18, at 9 p.m and Saturday, October 19, at 12:30 p.m. at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18, and Sunday, October 20, at 4:30 p.m. at Consolidated Koko Marina.

Why Don't You Play in Hell?

Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Action, Japan)

Gang leaders Muto and Ikegami have a long-standing hatred for each other. Fast-forward a decade and Muto's only passion in life is to fulfill his wife's dream to have their beautiful daughter, Michiko, play the starring role in a feature film. Ikegami's only passion in life now also appears to be Michiko. When Michiko runs away and forfeits her chance at a cinematic debut, Muto will resort to anything to get her film made. Friday and Monday at 9:30 p.m. at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.

La Maison de la Radio

La Maison de la Radio (Documentary, France-Japan)

Making a film about a radio station doesn't sound like the most visually compelling of projects, but director Nicolas Philibert takes on the challenge. He spent half a year wandering the endless corridors of Radio France's "round house" on the banks of the Seine, filming those who dedicate themselves to radio and capturing the rich diversity of programs that air. Thursday, October 17, at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, October 18, at 3:30 p.m. at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.

$12 general admission, $10 for students, seniors, military and children, and $8 for HIFF Ohana members and organized groups of 10 people or more. For a complete list of HIFF films and their screening times and locations, go to www.hiff.org.