• Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted

    Kanani Sato // June 6, 2022

    Upon first look, GIRL, INTERRUPTED (1999) appears to be the sister film of the critically acclaimed ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975). The way Lisa (Angelina Jolie) enters the ward, kicking and screaming, marks her as GIRL, INTERRUPTED’s McMurphy and the force that will upturn the institution as it stands. Despite their marked similarities, GIRL, INTERRUPTED (1999) is unique in its emphasis on self-diagnosing mental illness and moving forward. READ MORE >>> hiff.org/review-girl-interrupted/

  • Donbass


    Why We Like This Film: Anderson Le, HIFF Artistic Director
    DONBASS, an absurd, political satire that takes place during the wake of Russia’s 2014 invasion of the Eastern European region actually was released stateside in 2019 (after its debut at Cannes 2018). Watching it now as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unspooling on our TV screens on a daily basis, lends an unnerving, heightened resonance to the film, expertly directed by Sergei Loznitsa. And for its pre-2022 description of being…

  • A Tale of Love and Desire

    A Tale of Love and Desire

    Anderson Le /// March 1, 2022

    Lust is always a major factor in the typical coming-of-age story. It’s a tired trope that always falls into the usual cliches. Been there, done that. But rarely are they outlined with the same sincerity and sweetness as in Leyla Bouzid’s unashamedly tender and earnest A TALE OF LOVE AND DESIRE, which had its world premiere at Cannes last year.

    Overcoming shyness, cultural barriers, and using comparative literature class to amplify the chasteness of…

  • Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    NIGHTMARE ALLEY /// A Review by Kanani Sato
    See the original post on the HIFILM Blog hiff.org/nightmare-alley-a-review-by-kanani-sato/

    NIGHTMARE ALLEY (2021) is a monster of a movie standing at 150 minutes long. Despite being longer than most audiences are comfortable with - even fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have mixed feelings about films over 2 hours long - it is a dark, riveting piece with campy undertones.

    When the film opens with Stanton Carlisle, a down-on-his-luck man (Bradley Cooper), being…

  • Escape from Mogadishu

    Escape from Mogadishu

    Anderson Le  /// February 1, 2022

    When cineastes discuss South Korean cinema, especially in the context of hallyu (Korean wave), auteur names like Bong Joon-ho, Kim Jee-woon and Park Chan-wook are ubiquitously brought up. In 2021, Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of SQUID GAME is at the top of the world. And they should be. But, director Ryoo Seung-wan is barely mentioned, which is a crime. His track record of commercially viable, action thrillers ranging from ARAHAN, CRYING FIST, THE UNJUST,…

  • Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    This film is part of HIFF Selects Subscription Program hiff.org/hiff-selects-2/

    In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s triptych of short films, coincidence and chance encounters interrupt the fragile reality of waking life. Alternately playful, comedic, and cynical, WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY plumbs the theatrical depths hidden beneath simple stories: an unexpected love triangle, an attempt to seduce and blackmail a professor, and a meeting between two old friends. Hamaguchi’s eye for conversational nuances and gestures shows us just how much our daily interactions…

  • All About My Sisters

    All About My Sisters

    Wang Qiong’s dynamic debut as a director in ALL ABOUT MY SISTERS adds to the Chinese Doc New Wave led by the likes of Wang Bing and Jia Zhang ke. Turning the camera onto her own family, the result is a thought provoking film examines the stalwart one-child policy that was a tenet in China for many decades. Wang specifically focuses on her sister Jin, who was raised by her uncle and grandmother, as a result of the brutal non-negotiable…

  • Night Raiders

    Night Raiders

    As part of HIFF’s 2021 Film For Thought Program presented by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, join us for a special Conversation With Danis Goulet, director of NIGHT RAIDERS. Moderated by Bryan Kuwada, Professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


  • Dune


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Review by Kanani Lyons // Note from the author: In an attempt to bridge the cinematic aspect of DUNE with its social connotations, this will not just be a simple review that mines for cinematic gold and comments on cinematic language only. Instead, it will dissect the mastery of Denis Villeneuve’s film and bridge its themes to briefly connect to post-colonialism in Hawaiʻi. Fair warning: This review contains spoilers.

    While past efforts to adapt—or almost adapt—Frank Herbert’s DUNE by the…

  • Center Stage

    Center Stage

    Emerson Goo /// November 1, 2021

    “Stanley Kwan’s 1991 masterpiece is still the greatest Hong Kong film I’ve seen” - Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader

    CENTER STAGE, by HIFF41’s Hong Kong Filmmaker in Focus, Stanley Kwan, is a ravishing study of Chinese film history and collective memory seen through the life of Ruan Lingyu (played by the luminous Maggie Cheung), one of the most popular Chinese silent film actresses. Affectionately called the “Chinese Greta Garbo”, Ruan’s legendary status is hard…

  • Titane


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Now, I wouldn’t do this film justice without mentioning the queer lens that can be (and arguably, should be) viewed through when watching this film. On the surface it’s a stylish horror film of a car who impregnates a woman, but under its surface lies major themes of the fluidity of gender and sexuality. Though with the role of sexuality being a bit more implicit than explicit. For example, are the firefighters supposed to be gay in the film? They…

  • Ma Belle, My Beauty

    Ma Belle, My Beauty

    MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY was one of my top highlights at Sundance earlier this year. The feature directorial debut of Marion Hill is a sumptuous, alluring and sensual film that is all about longing: longing for connection, longing for artistic expression, longing what for what used to be. Trying to enter the past, thinking that what you are looking for is in the rear-view mirror, is a losing situation, as the three main characters, who once were a 'throuple,' discover.…