HKIFF48 to Present Hamaguchi Ryusuki’s GIFT as One-Off Live Performance

The 48th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF48) will be hosting the Asian premiere of GIFT, the latest collaboration between Academy Awards winner Hamaguchi Ryusuke and composer Ishibashi Eiko. A single performance of GIFT, which will only ever be screened with Ishibashi’s live music accompaniment, will take place at Hong Kong City Hall on 30 March.

Director Hamaguchi Ryusuki

Following the immense success of Drive My Car, Hamaguchi initially made GIFT as a silent film project to accompany Ishibashi’s captivating live performance.  From the same project, the Japanese auteur derived Evil Does Not Exist, which then went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Venice International Film Festival.  With a similar narrative, both ecopolitical thrillers revolve around a man and his daughter whose peaceful rural lives are about to be disrupted by the construction of a glamping site. 

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As the composed and wordless counterpart to Evil Does Not Exist, GIFT offers an alternative perspective by utilising the same footage and scenario, delivering a mesmerising experience.  Ishibashi’s captivating live score intensifies viewers’ emotional connection and contemplation of the clash between man and nature, as well as good and evil.

GIFT - Composer Ishibashi Eiko
Composer Ishibashi Eiko

Hamaguchi ‘s Drive My Car received widespread critical acclaim with praise towards its direction and screenplay, with many declaring it the best film of 2021. It was nominated for four awards at the 94th Academy Awards, winning Best International Feature Film, and received numerous other accolades. Drive My Car was the first Japanese film to receive a Best Picture nomination. It has since been regarded as one of the best films of the 2020s.

HKIFF48 will take place from 28 March to 8 April, spanning 12 days. The festival will announce its complete programme in March.