French Ballet Drama 'Polina' to Open Inaugural Macao Film Festival

The Hollywood Reporter

French ballet drama Polina will open the inaugural International Film Festival and Awards - Macao, organizers of which were shocked by the sudden resignation of festival director Marco Mueller on Sunday.

The festival is set to take place Dec. 8-Dec. 13 in the special administrative region on the south coast of China.

Polina, about a young woman who travels to Moscow to join the Bolshoi Ballet, will have its Asian premiere at the festival. Directed by French helmer Angelin Preljocaj, Polina stars Anastasia Shevtsova and Juliette Binoche and was released in France in May.

Japanese director Takashi Miike's The Mole Song - Hong Kong Capriccio will also get a world gala premiere at the festival, while Korean director Park Jung Woo's Pandora will get its international premiere. The newly restored Immortal Story, by Hong Kong director Yonfan, will also be screened at a gala premiere to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its initial release. The film was shot in Macau in 1986.

The Macao festival will screen 11 films in its competition section. They include Britain's Trespass Against Us, by Adam Smith and starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson; India's Gurgaon, by Shanker Raman; Brazil's Elon Doesn't Believe in Death, by Ricardo Alves Jr.; Britain's Free Fire, by Ben Wheatley, starring Oscar winner Brie Larson; China's Hide and Seek, by Liu Jie; France's 150 Milligrams, by Emmanuelle Bercot; Russia's Queen of Spades, by Pavel Lungin; Portugal and France's Saint George, by Marco Martins; Argentina and France's The Winter, by Emiliano Torres; Macau's Sisterhood, by Tracy Choi; and Japan's Survival Family, by Shinobu Yaguchi.

Another Macau film, Seventeen, by director Emily Chan, will open the Hidden Dragons sidebar of the festival. The sidebar is focused on the latest trends of contemporary Asian genre cinema.

In addition, 12 classic titles from Italy, Spain, Britain, France and India were chosen by major East Asian directors, including John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Johnnie To, Sono Sion, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Park Chan Wook, Choi Dong Hoon and Lu Chuan, for the Crossfire sidebar.

Award winners from film festivals around the world will be showcased in the Best of Fest Panorama sidebar, such as Pablo Larraín's Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, which won the best screenplay award for Noah Oppenheim at the Venice Film Festival; Olivier Assayas' Personal Shopper, which won the best director award at Cannes Film Festival; and Sundance debuts Indignation and Manchester by the Sea, by James Schamus and Kenneth Lonergan, respectively.

The festival will shine a light on Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei and hold a three-film retrospective of her work, including the new film Foret Debussy, Secret (2007) and The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011).

Read more: Marco Mueller Exits Macao Film Festival