The Dangerous Women of HIFF

7 Murders Forgiven

Photo: Courtesy HIFF

A Web Exclusive

The Hawaii International Film Festival opens today, and this year’s Spring Showcase flaunts the high level of diversity we’ve come to expect from HIFF. Three films, though, are linked by one overarching characteristic: dangerous women. The powerful leading ladies of Helldriver, 7 Murders Forgiven and The Whistleblower demonstrate strength in the murky situations into which they are thrust, often redefining “good” and “evil” in the process.

The first femme to look out for is Helldriver’s Kika (Yumiko Hara), the last hope of a country plunged into apocalypse-mode after a mysterious, alien-born mist suddenly and inexplicably spreads over Japan’s northern half, morphing all who breathe it into flesh-eating zombies. Kika’s artificial heart may make her seem an unlikely heroine, but don’t be fooled. The device serves as a power supply for a chainsaw sword with which this high-schooler leads a secret government mission to find and kill the zombie queen Rikka (Eihi Shiina). If your own heart is faint, be warned: this horror flick brandishes a new level of gore. April 1, 9 p.m.

Saturday is your first chance to catch the alluring Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (Priyanka Chopra), whose love life is the focus of 7 Murders Forgiven. Based on Ruskin Bond’s short story, this tale is anything but concise. Spanning 35 years, this Bollywood drama revolves around the deaths of six of Susanna’s seven husbands. The mysterious details of these events lead viewers to an internal struggle of their own as they try to decide whether Susanna is a serial killer or merely a woman plagued by tragedy. You won’t know whether to fall in love with her or run away from her. April 2, 12:30 p.m. and April 6, 3:30 p.m.

For a story straight from real life, check out The Whistleblower. Former Nebraska police officer Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is a recent hire of the U.N.’s peacekeeping force based in volatile former Yugoslavia at the turn of this century. While investigating sexual assaults through the U.N. Gender Office, Kathryn discovers overwhelming evidence of a human trafficking, but her colleagues largely ignore her questions about it. This unrelenting thriller depicts Kathryn’s struggle to pull the plug on the shady business, despite threats against her life and a boys’ club of fellow peacekeepers who try to stand in her way. April 2, 4 p.m. and April 5, 4 p.m.

For tickets and more information, visit