4 March 2024 (Hong Kong) – The 48th Hong Kong International Film Festival is proud to welcome Víctor Erice, who will be visiting Hong Kong for the first time.  The esteemed Spanish director will present his latest film, Close Your Eyes, and share his artistic vision through a masterclass.

Hailing from a small town in Biscay during the Franco regime, the 83-year-old Erice has released only four feature films throughout his career spanning over five decades.  Yet, all of them are considered masterpieces, and he is revered as one of the most distinctive artists of our time.  The festival’s tribute programme, titled Víctor Erice: The Returning Gaze, will showcase all four of his films, comprehensively appreciating his cinematic works.

After a hiatus of 30 years, Erice returns in 2023 to direct Close Your Eyes, a profoundly reflective and expertly crafted tale about an ageing director who embarks on a quest to uncover the decades-old mystery surrounding an actor’s disappearance.  Delving into failed relationships and a fading artistic legacy, the director indirectly addresses his absence and return.

This latest work resonates deeply with Erice’s 1973 debut feature, The Spirit of the Beehive, widely regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films ever.  Through the eyes of a young girl, this sublime and atmospheric piece captures the essence of childhood imagination, serving as a sad allegory of historical trauma.  Simultaneously vivid and enigmatic, the imagery has become Erice’s signature style.

His second feature, El Sur, was released a decade after his feature debut.  With painterly cinematography reminiscent of Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro technique, this poignant post-war tale explores family secrets and evokes profound emotional depth and the enchantment of memory.  Although it remains an unfinished masterpiece due to an abrupt budget cut, it is still shrouded in intrigue.

Through a collaboration with Spanish realist painter Antonio López García, Erice transcends traditional documentary conventions and creates an evocative portrait of the artist in The Quince Tree Sun.  This minimalist work, which won the Cannes Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize, reflects on the creative process while offering profound reflections on time, life, and art.

The HKIFF48 will take place from 28 March to 8 April, spanning 12 days.  The festival will announce its complete programme later this month and commence advance ticket sales.

The works of Víctor Erice included in HKIFF48 are as follows: –

  • The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
  • El Sur (1983)
  • The Quince Tree Sun (1992)
  • Close Your Eyes (2023)

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