6 Films You Must Watch at HIFF 2015 Spring Showcase

The Hawai‘i International Film Festival’s 2015 Spring Showcase is almost here, and we can’t wait.

My Love, Don’t Cross That River

Sunday, April 12, 3:45 p.m., Thursday, April 16, 6:30 p.m.


What it is: Psst: You won’t want to miss this special “sneak peek surprise screening,” which will be of—surprise!—the South Korean documentary My Love, Don’t Cross That River, following 89-year-old Kang Kye-Yeol and 98-year-old Cho Byeong-Man through the final days of their loving marriage. This mountain-dwelling couple works hard at each others’ side and falls asleep holding hands, but the time has come for them to face the end of their life together. Are you tearing up yet?

Why we’re excited: This film killed it at the box office, becoming the most commercially successful Korean independent film of all time and reducing audiences to tears en masse. And judging from the trailer, we can see why. It was three minutes of pure adorableness and true love.

Buy tickets here


Slow West

Friday, April 10, 6 p.m. and Thursday, April 16, 8:30 p.m.


What it is: In the wild American west of yore, Michael Fassbender’s violent, shifty drifter, Silas, strikes a suspicious deal with Kodi Smit-McPhee’s (the now-grown up kid from The Road and Let Me In) naive, lovelorn European youngster, Jay. Their dangerous journey together promises “peril, betrayal and violence” and Jay’s realization “all too late that America takes no pity on the innocent.” Ooooh, right?

Why we’re excited: Call us old-fashioned, but despite a few silly spaghettis and passable parodies, we love the wild, dangerous, anything-goes feel of Westerns. Plus, Fassbender as a not-to-be-trusted gunslinger with style? How can you go wrong?

Buy tickets here


The Connection

Friday, April 17, 8:15 p.m. and Saturday, April 18, 8 p.m.


What it is: Based on the real events surrounding the infamous “French Connection” heroin scandal, the film follows Jean Dujardin’s Pierre Michel, family man and magistrate, as he takes on the heroin industry and wages a one-man campaign against an untouchable Mafia kingpin. He soon understands “that to get results, he will have to change his methods.” The film showed at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.

Why we’re excited: Is there anything more swoon-worthy than intrigue in ’70s France? It’s also worth going to just to check out the performance of lead actor Jean Dujardin, who won the world over with his Oscar-winning role in The Artist (although we also loved him in the goofy OSS 117, the French version of Austin Powers).

Buy tickets here


Gemma Bovary

Saturday, April 11, 6 p.m., Sunday, April 12, 12:45 p.m.


What it is: Drawing inspiration from, of course, Flaubert’s classic novel, Madame Bovary, this contemporary cinematic version based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds follows Gemma Arterton’s Gemma Bovary to the pastoral Norman countryside. There, she meets reserved, romantic, ex-Parisian, Flaubert fan Martin, who becomes fascinated with this real-life incarnation of one of his favorite characters. This free-spirited Gemma, however, isn’t interested in following a predestined plot.

Why we’re excited: Beautiful Gemma Arterton glows in equally lovely Normandy, but we’re especially intrigued by the thought of sweet Martin the baker witnessing the dramas of a flesh-and-bone Bovary unfold while being acutely aware of the plot of the original narrative. Talk about meta.

Buy tickets here


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Saturday, April 11, 8:15 p.m.

What it is: Greg is the typical, awkward high school senior who is already mentally checked out of high school. He spends time hanging with his pal, Earl, and creating bizarre, homemade versions of classic movies until his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a classmate who has been diagnosed with leukemia. The duo become unlikely friends, and when Rachel’s condition worsens, Greg world is changed.

Why we’re excited: Not only did this film win the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance, the special Hawai‘i premiere serves as a sneak peek before the commercial wide release in June.

Buy tickets here


The Dead Lands

Tuesday, April 14, 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, 8:15 p.m.


What it is: Described as evoking a feel similar to Apocalypto, this story, set in pre-colonial New Zealand, follows teenaged Hongi (played by BOY star James Rolleston) as he seeks help from a shadowy warrior in a forbidden and dangerous land in order to avenge his slaughtered tribe. This dramatic action epic showcases the famed and ferocious Maori armed martial arts and is deeply rooted in the tribal culture and values of the time (particularly the concept of mana).

Why we’re excited: The visceral, thrilling trailer offers a fantastic glimpse into the fascinating Maori culture through the eyes of one boy on his journey to manhood. We want more.

Buy tickets here