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Focus on Clara Law

February 16, 2023 - February 26, 2023

ACMI and the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) are co-presenting a focus season celebrating the cinema of Clara Law with five formative features selected by the director screening at ACMI in Melbourne February 16–26, followed by a bespoke program of events at the NFSA in Canberra.

Focus on Clara Law at ACMI will include the Melbourne premiere of Law’s latest film Drifting Petals (2021), as well as the NFSA’s full digital restoration screening of Floating Life (1996), with Law introducing selected sessions in person and participating in an in-conversation event. The Clara Law Retrospective at the NFSA March 3-4 will include a screening of The Goddess of 1967, and screenings of Floating Life and Drifting Petals followed by audience Q&As with Clara Law and her creative partner Eddie L.C Fong.

Macau-born, Hong Kong-raised and Melbourne based, Law has always considered filmmaking first and foremost an art. These spotlight seasons will cover the breadth of Law’s filmography, spanning four decades and multiple countries of production.

Alongside her ongoing creative partner and collaborator Eddie L.C Fong, Law will be in attendance for a series of film introductions across select sessions, plus a special Q&A following the NFSA’s full digital restoration screening of Floating Life (1996), along with renowned producer Bridget Ikin.

Five features and one short will screen as part of ACMI’s Focus on Clara Law season:

Floating Life (1996) – credited as one of the first examples of Asian-Australian cinema and Australia’s first submission in the Best Foreign Language (now International Film) category at the Academy Awards, Floating Life follows a migrant Hong Kong family grappling with their new Australian home. Deftly navigating humour and tenderness, and spanning multiple continents, vignettes and decades, Floating Life was recently recognised for its cultural significance by the NFSA with a full digital restoration.

The Goddess of 1967 (2000) – Acclaimed Australian actor Rose Byrne shines in her first leading role in Law’s mysterious road movie about a blind girl (B.G portrayed by Rose Byrne), an avid Japanese car collector (J.M played by Rikiya Kurokawa) and a 1967 Citroën DS. With Byrne going on to win Best Actress at the 2000 Venice Film Festival for her performance, the film follows J.M who gets more than he bargained for when B.G answers the door and hitches a ride with him to the outback opal mining town where she grew up. This screening is presented in partnership with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival.

Drifting Petals (2021) – Law’s ongoing collaboration with husband and creative partner Eddie L.C Fong has recently culminated in Drifting Petals (2021), a dream-like piece of alternate cinema made over five years. Shot on a microbudget with Law and Fong taking on the majority of the behind-the-camera roles themselves, Drifting Petals is the story of a filmmaker and a piano student who first meet in Australia, trying to make sense of a past imbued with mystery in Macau and an uncertain future in Hong Kong.

Autumn Moon (1993) – 15-year-old Chinese student Pui Wai (Li Pui Wai) is about to migrate from her native Hong Kong to join her parents in Canada, when she strikes up a friendship with Japanese tourist Tokio. An exploration of migration, culture and identity, Autumn Moon was Law’s breakout film into the international circuit and won the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival and Best Picture Award European Art Theatres Association.

They Say the Moon is Fuller Here (1985) – Law’s award-winning directorial debut and graduate film follows two lovers as they grapple with the incongruity between cultures. With Law acting in one of the lead roles, the feature length film explores the cultural gap between the East and West, establishing Law as a filmmaker to watch. The director’s short film Red Earth (2010) will also screen with this feature.

The NFSA’s Clara Law Retrospective will screen at Arc Cinema in Canberra on 3-4 March.


February 16, 2023
February 26, 2023
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