Maria’s home has always been the Empire Hotel, in the traditional neighborhood of Macao, where clothes hang between neons, and an entangled net of electric wires takes over streets flooded with vapour. With her aging father, the burden of keeping the decrepit hotel running stands on her shoulders. She sings Fado in a Casino where gambling and prostitution go hand in hand, but money is scarce and real estate speculators become insistent. That is when Chu arrives, a mysterious young man with an obsessive interest in Maria. Disillusioned dreams, greed and decadence: a chronicle of Macao today, 20 years after it’s return to China.
Ivo M. FERREIRA was born in Lisbon in 1975. His appetite for cinema came early : after finishing high school in an Arts School, with a Photography and Audiovisual Communication diploma, he enrolls at the London Film School and the University of Budapest, and then began traveling. On a trip through Asia, he reached Macau, where he directed and produced his first documentary. He was then invited by EXPO98 to direct a second film. A brief but remarkable passage through Angola in 2000, while working with the Elinga Theater, sparked his interest for the country and PALOPS, where he directed anthropological documentaries. In addition to shorts and documentaries, Ivo directed two feature films: APRIL SHOWERS in 2009, premiered at Rotterdam Film Festival and EM VOLTA (2002) presented at the Bangkok International Film Festival. He currently lives in Macau, P.R. of China, where he founded a production company. LETTERS FROM WAR, his former feature, based on the book by António Lobo Antunes, premiered at Berlinale 2016 – Official Competition. EMPIRE HOTEL, entirely shot in Macau, is his fourth feature film.