The only festival of contemporary Asian cinema in Finland, Helsinki Cine Aasia, drew to a close on Sunday 17th March. This year, the festival attracted 2250 people in total – more than ever before. During the festival, 18 films from 11 East and Southeast Asian countries were shown in a total of 32 screenings.
The most popular film at the festival was Masaaki Yuasa’s hallucinogenic animation Night Is Short, Walk on Girl. It and the warm-hearted drama Mori, The Artist’s Habitat by Shuichi Okita who also visited the festival, both sold out screenings.
Other Japanese films in the festival’s programme were also among festival-goers’ favourites. In addition, Hu Bo’s first and sadly also his last film, An Elephant Sitting Still, Bi Gai’s arthouse film Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Yoon Jong-bin’s spy drama The Spy Gone North were also hugely popular. Of Southeast Asian films, Leon Le’s Song Lang was the audience’s favourite.
Also visiting the festival was Mongolian director Bat-Amgalan Lkhagvajav whose film They Sing Up On The Hill explored the changing Mongolian identity through music.
Discussion events dealing with the themes of the films in the festival’s programme were also popular. The topics of the discussions ranged from the relationship between China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to North Korea, Rohingyas and to the social turning point of 1960–70s Japan and role of theatre and dance in Asian cinema.
The festival’s organizers would like to thank all visitors, our partners and our volunteers who helped to make the festival happen. Helsinki Cine Aasia will be held again in March 2020.