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Movie magic in Macau: first International Film Festival and Awards Macao promises to bring exclusive screenings and film masterclasses to the city

Film buffs rejoice: the 1st Macao International Film Festival and Awards (IFFAM) will take place from December 8 to 13 at venues throughout the city.

From Hollywood stars to European auteurs, the inaugural IFFAM is expected to attract a host of luminaries of the movie world to Macau, and offers visitors the chance to attend exclusive screenings of upcoming releases, and remastered classics.

IFFAM ambassadors include award-winning filmmaker Ann Hui, director of such hits as Summer Snow and A Simple Life, and Hong Kong director Johnnie To (Breaking News, Election, Three, Mad Detective), who held a film appreciation masterclass in Macau in October.

The festival will open with the Asia debut of Polina, directed by French choreographer turned director Angelin Preljocaj. Anastasia Shevtsova and Juliette Binoche star in this drama about a young woman who travels to Moscow to join the Bolshoi Ballet.

The gala event features three works by some well-known masters of Asian cinema. It will be the world premiere of controversial Japanese director Takashi Miike’s The Mole Song – Hong Kong Capriccio, which it’s safe to say will not be an experience for the faint of heart.

Pandora, the new thriller by South Korea’s Park Jung-woo, will get a premiere showing, and there will be a screening of Hong Kong director Yonfan’s Immortal Story, newly restored 30 years after its first release.

Dozens more special screenings and film-related events are being lined up for IFFAM, so for all the latest announcements make sure you check out their website: www.iffamacao.com

Sites to see

Even the most determined film enthusiast needs a break from the silver screen. To rest those eyes, take a trip to one of Macau’s most picturesque areas: the historical Carmo Garden.

Built in 1855, the garden is redolent with symbols of Macau’s Portuguese heritage – as reflected by the statue and fountain dedicated to the great 16th century poet Luís de Camões.

Close by are the Taipa Houses Museum, comprising five fully restored colonial buildings dating to 1921, and Our Lady of Carmel Church. From here you’re just a short walk to old Taipa Village, an area rich with cultural heritage, art and unique architecture.

Food fancies

If you fancy a snack, you’d be missing out if you didn’t take the opportunity to try Macau’s legendary egg tarts. It may surprise some to know that these delicious bites are in fact a twist on a traditional Portuguese pastry, and that they were devised by Andrew Stow, a British pharmacist-turned-baker, in the 1980s.

Macau is home to a world-class restaurant scene, and a stand-out among the new offerings is La Chine, at the newly opened Parisian Macao. La Chine is located in The Parisian’s own half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower, and as you’d expect from the name, it offers Chinese delicacies with a French inflection.

Among the dishes here are such treats as steamed rice roll with crispy lobster, and crispy duck marinated in black pepper and mandarin peel with orange black pepper sauce.

Le shopping

You’ve indulged in film and food, so now it’s time to make the most of another Macanese preoccupation: fashion. Take the opportunity to explore Shoppes at Parisian and you’ll find that, while they boast many of the big-name brands you’d expect to find elsewhere, they also offer a lot more than that: here you can find Paris-based stores and French brands that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Asia.

The experience is less like a conventional shopping mall, and much closer to that of strolling the Parisian streets – you’ll even see the Champs-Élysées and Place Vendôme as you make your way among the boutiques and cafes.