Lee Byung-hun as Choi Myung-kil in The Fortress (2017)
Lee Byung-hun as Choi Myung-kil in The Fortress (2017) (Source: Soompi.com)

The organizers of the 2nd London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) have just shared the slate of guests attending the cinema fest, and boy are we excited!

The 11 day celebration that begins on the 19th of October will not just showcase enchanting stories from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, China and Southeast Asia, it will also play host to some of the biggest names representing the cinema of these countries – a never before opportunity for fans to hobnob with their favorite stars.

A still from The Fortress (2017)
A still from The Fortress (2017) (Source: Hancinema.net)

To delve deeper into the questions that cinephiles have about their favorite films and filmmakers from East Asia, flying to London from across the world are actors like the international star Lee Byung-hun (I Saw The Devil, Inside Men), Park Hae-il (Memories of Murder, Doomsday Book), Lee Je-hoon (Anarchist from Colony, The Phantom Detective) and Jung Eun-chae (The King) and directors like Hwang Dong-hyuk (The Crucible), Li Ruijun (Walking Past the Future), Derek Tsang (Soul Mate) and Kim Jong-kwan (The Table). Lee Byung-hun, Park Hae-il and Hwang Dong-hyuk will be presenting their new highly-anticipated period drama The Fortress, which opens the festival.

Already a major event in the film lovers’ calendar in its 2nd year, LEAFF 2017 will see seven strands running from the 19th through to the 29th of October, including Official Selection, Stories of Women, Festival Focus, Retrospective, Competition and Special Highlights Screenings.

Andy Lau in Shock Wave (2017)
Andy Lau in Shock Wave (2017) (Source: LEAFF 2017)

The final strand, called Hong Kong: Now and Then (1997 – 2017) celebrates the special relation that the UK has with the island, with films covering the last twenty years of HK cinema to mark the 20th anniversary of the inception of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Highlights include Johnnie To’s madcap Triad caper Triad Election; Herman Yau’s latest explosive thriller Shock Wave; Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s venerated double-crossing police thriller Infernal Affairs; and Wong Kar Wai’s kaleidoscopic love letter to martial arts The Grandmaster, shown in 3D for the first time in the UK.

Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung in The Grandmaster
Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung in The Grandmaster (2013) (Source: LEAFF 2017)

Some other major screenings across the different strands are the terrifying Korean horror film The Mimic, the surreal Vietnamese drama The Way Station, legendary artist Osamu Tezuka’s 1970 anime film Cleopatra, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, Lee Joon-ik’s powerful Korean period drama Anarchist from Colony and Park Hoon-jung’s politically charged thriller VIP. LEAFF’s 45-plus feature and short films screened across prominent venues around central London will include 7 international premieres, 7 European premieres and 13 UK premieres. The closing film will be Takeshi Kitano’s latest yakuza movie Outrage Coda.

Takeshi Kitano in Outrage Coda (2017)
Takeshi Kitano in Outrage Coda (2017) (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

LEAFF is a non-profit arts organization set up in 2015 to champion the growing collaboration and diversity in East Asian filmmaking. For more information on the fest, to book tickets and to avail of special passes, please visit the festival website.

(Source: LEAFF 2017)