Office by Johnnie To is the opening film of Helsinki Cine Aasia 2016

This dazzling, highly stylized musical from Hong Kong will not leave anyone cold.

It is the year 2008 and Lehman Brothers has just gone into administration. This is followed by a global financial crisis, the effects of which are also felt in Asia – exactly at the moment when mainland Chinese financial company Jones & Sunn is getting ready for its initial public offering.

Our guide to the dreams and aspirations behind the scenes of authoritarian capitalism is Lee Xiang who is still on probation, portrayed by Wang Ziyi. The true star of the film however, is Sylvia Chang who plays the CEO of Jones & Sunn Winnie Chang. Sylvia Chang is also responsible for the screenplay which is based on her successful stage play Design for Living. The veteran star of Hong Kong action films Yun-fat Chow is also brilliant in his role as the lover of Winnie Chang and the Chairman of Jones & Sunn, whose wife is left comatose in a hospital. The close-to-perfection production design is the work of William Chang who is perhaps best know for his collaborations with another Hong Kong auteur, Wong Kar-Wai.

Office (2015, Hong Kong), which has been selected by the New York Times as “one of the best-directed movies that you can see right now”, will be shown at Kinopalatsi on Thursday 3 March.

Over four days until Sunday 6 March, Helsinki Cine Aasia will showcase the best of contemporary East and Southeast Asian Cinema. Also on the bill – a director guest and a festival club night at Dubrovnik.

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