- Hong Kong!
From November 9 through December 5, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the series “Hong Kong!” in cooperation with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York. This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the 1997 handover, by which Hong Kong returned to the jurisdiction of China. It’s time to celebrate the longevity and continuing creative evolution of influential players in Hong Kong’s ever-changing film world with nine films, new and older, all made within the past pivotal decade-and-a-half.
For their invaluable assistance the Film Center thanks: Anita Chan, Claudia Yeung, Melissa Ng, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York; Jon Soo, Tai Seng Entertainment; Li Cheuk-to, Hong Kong International Film Festival; Sam Prime, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Joshua Lo, China Lion Film Distribution, Inc.; Sonia Pachmayer, Focus Features; Sunny Helali, Indomina Media, Inc.; Gary Palmucci, Kino Lorber; Chris Chouinard, Park Circus; and Dylan Marchetti, Variance Films.
Saturday double-bill discount!
Buy a ticket for the first “Hong Kong!” film on any Saturday during the series, and get a ticket for the second “Hong Kong!” film that day at this discount rate (tickets must be purchased at the same time): General Admission $7; Students $6; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount rate available only at the Film Center box office.)
- LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE
- (DUO MING JIN)
- 2011, Johnnie To, Hong Kong/China, 107 min.
- With Ching Wan-lau, Denise Ho
“Zesty, manic energy.”
—Leslie Felperin, Variety
“Sharply observed…a dark projection of what happens when the cash runs low in an already wild and desperate world.”
—Toronto International Film Festival program
Low-key action but high-stakes manipulation of people, institutions, and cash characterize acclaimed auteur Johnnie To’s tense but lively riff on the global financial crisis. The lives of a bank’s customer service rep angling to boost her commission, a gullible senior citizen, a housewife lusting after a pricey condo, and a gangster’s henchman intersect and spin out of control in the wake of greedy schemes fueled by Hong Kong’s nonstop rags-to-riches ethos. In Cantonese with English subtitles. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
- (MAN JEUK)
- 2008, Johnny To, Hong Kong/China, 87 min.
- With Simon Yam, Kelly Lin
“Never less than engaging.”
—Derek Elley, Variety
“Whimsical…a thing of true beauty.”
—Jay Seaver, eFilmCritic.com
Johnnie To turns the tables on the gangster genre with sly humor and trickster moves displacing kinetic violence. Suave professional pickpocket Kei (Yam) is thrown off his game by a stylish dame (Lin), who targets him for something other than romance. A jazzy percussion-driven score suits the mood, and To’s characteristically playful visual choreography culminates in a beautiful but sinister homage to UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. In Cantonese with English subtitles. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
- (XIN SHAO LIN SI)
- 2011, Benny Chan, Hong Kong/China, 131 min.
- With Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Jackie Chan
“Directed with feeling…packs a genuine emotional wallop.”
—Maggie Lee, Hollywood Reporter
In the chaos following the 1912 fall of the Qing dynasty, double-crossed warlord Hou (Lau) seeks redemption for his pillaging ways in the sanctity of a Buddhist temple now threatened by the army he once led. Old-fashioned kung fu action, comic relief (Jackie Chan in an entertaining supporting role), and pathos to the max make this reworking of the 1982 SHAOLIN TEMPLE a satisfying addition to the genre. In Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
- (XINHAI GEMING)
- 2011, Jackie Chan and Li Zhang, Hong Kong/China, 99 min.
- With Jackie Chan, Bingbing Li
“History is written by the victors--or Jackie Chan.”
—Edmund Lee, Time Out Hong Kong
“A milestone film…packs in an impressive cast.”
—James Mudge, BeyondHollywood.com
Jackie Chan’s 100th film, and his first as a director in more than a decade, is a startling change of pace for the venerable action star. This sprawling battlefield epic commemorating the 1911 Xinhai Revolution, which preceded the fall of the brutal Qing Dynasty, features Chan in a rare serious dramatic role as Huang, military mastermind to revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen (Winston Chao) and the nemesis of the cruelly clueless empress dowager (Joan Chen). In Mandarin with English subtitles. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
- (DAI JUK HEI KEK)
- 2012, Pang Ho-cheung,
- Hong Kong/China, 92 min.
- With Chapman To, Ronald Cheng
“Played with boisterous charm…naughty flourishes.”
—Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
“Includes no on-screen sex, and not even any nudity…what happens just off camera is much bawdier.”
—Mark Jenkins, NPR
Leave it to Hong Kong’s most iconoclastic new comedy director to make a film hilariously raunchy enough to live up to its title. Framed by a soft-core filmmaker’s ribald off-color Q&A session at a film school, VULGARIA proceeds to flashback its way into a story that lampoons money-laundering gangsters, bestiality, casting couch etiquette, and the entire film production process itself when a producer desperate to raise cash for alimony goes into business with a mobster with a unique sexual preference. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
- DETECTIVE DEE AND
- THE MYSTERY OF
- THE PHANTOM FLAME
- (DI RENJIE ZHI TONGTIAN DI GUO)
- 2010, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong/China, 119 min.
- With Tony Leung Ka-fai, Chao Deng, Carina Lau
“An extravaganza…a bewitching fantasy.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“An inventive marriage of ancient China and Agatha Christie.”
—Justin Chang, Variety
When it comes to the action-packed historical Kung Fu epic, nobody kicks butt like Tsui Hark, going all the way back to early hits like PEKING OPERA BLUES and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA. Based on the mystery novels of Robert van Gulik, DETECTIVE DEE creates mind-boggling spectacle as it pits the wily Tang Dynasty sleuth (Leung) against court traitors and supernatural forces in order to save the imminent coronation of mercurial empress Wu Zetian (Lau). In Cantonese with English subtitles. DCP widescreen video. (BS)
- ZU WARRIORS
- (SHU SHAN ZHENG ZHUAN)
- 2001, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong/China, 104 min.
- With Ekin Cheng, Louis Ku, Sammo Hung
Tsui Hark reworked the story of his 1983 ZU, WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN in this updated fantasy set once again in the mythical kingdom of Zu, where the immortals hone their martial arts skills over the millennia. It’s a wild and colorful ride of a chaotic story, with characters including King Sky, Dawn, Enigma, and White Eyebrows (the great Sammo Hung) joining forces to battle encroaching evil with magic swords. In English. 35mm widescreen. (BS)
Please note: we will be presenting the English-dubbed version at both screenings, not in Cantonese with English subtitles as originally announced. We apologize for any inconvenience.
- IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
- (FA YEUNG NIN WA)
- 2000, Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/China, 98 min.
- With Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Maggie Cheung
“Has a movie ever smoldered more ravishingly with the promise of sex?...The film’s sublime, closer-than-a-kiss intimacy will sweep you away.”
—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“The most breathtakingly gorgeous film of the year.”
—Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
The promise and the tension of forbidden attraction suffuses this steamy love drama that swept the Hong Kong Film Awards and won two prizes at Cannes. Two lonely people set adrift by the adultery of their respective spouses meet daily in the rabbit-warren hallways of a cramped Hong Kong tenement circa 1962. She (Cheung) is a ripe beauty made haughty and fragile by her abandonment; he (Leung) is a wounded romantic. Their intense, lingering glances set the screen on fire. Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- HAPPY TOGETHER
- (CHUN GWONG CHA SIT)
- 1997, Wong Kar-wai,
- Hong Kong/China, 96 min.
- With Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-wai
“Stylistically brash, pulsing with life.”
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Surprisingly wistful and wise.”
—Scott Tobias, The Onion
Wong Kar-wai flouted Hong Kong sensibilities but earned worldwide acclaim, including Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, for this moody story of a doomed gay love affair set in the seedy back streets of Buenos Aires. Stars Cheung and Leung strip down to the essentials for the graphic grappling that punctuates the relationship of two men stranded in a foreign land and trapped in a punishing cycle of emotional abuse. Christopher Doyle’s cinematography teases a lush world of erotic shadows and beckoning possibilities from the spare microcosm of a bedroom. In Cantonese with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)