Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My (belated) 34th HKIFF schedule and picks 電影節心水推介

I'm pretty late for posting this as my favourite event of the Hong Kong calendar has started 2 days ago, but better late than never. If there are any fellow bloggers/internet lurkers/members of the public/stalkers who would like to catch a film together and have a coffee/debate/fight afterwards, feel free to send me an email!

Films that I've bought tickets:
Symbol 睡衣男異次元空間 6/3 2:30pm (Asian Film Awards screening)
Those who have seen Dai Nipponjin (aka Big Man Japan) 大日本人 and are expecting more deadpan surreal antics from Hitoshi Matsumoto 松本人志 will be surprised (and possibly disappointed) by his new curio. Do expect another bizzare deus ex machina though. Review coming up.
Story of a Discharged Prisoner 英雄本色 - 19/3 5:30pm (19FA3M3R)
You've seen that classic John Woo adaptation, why not see the original? Sincere social-realist melodrama along with some impressive action sequences (minus the bloodshed), it also sports a delicious performance from everyone's favourite villain Sek Kin 石堅.
Teddy Girls 飛女正傳 - 21/3 12:30pm (21FA3M1R)
The Joys and Sorrows of Youth 冷暖青春 - 21/3 3:30pm (21FA3M2R)
Police, Adjective 字典與警鎗 - 22/3 7:15pm (22GC3E1)
From the director of 12:08 East of Bucharest 布加勒斯特以東午後8分, this FIPRESCI and Un Certain Regard winner is another fine film from the Romanian New Wave, and with a barbed denouement that fully justifies its careful pace. Review coming up.
Father of My Child 爸爸的肥皂泡 - 22/3 9:30pm (22GC3E2)
Fans who caught Mia Hansen-Løve's subtle but touching debut All is Forgiven 寬恕與原諒 in French Cinepanorama 2008 have no reason to miss this one out, and those who missed out can now catch this new talent from France. Review coming up.
Enter the Void 死心不息 - 23/3 9:00pm (23SM3E2)
Provocateur Gaspar Noe (Irréversible 無可挽回) brings another predictably graphic, controversial and divisive work, but with its hypnotic cinematography this is one that has to be seen on the big screen. Supplemental drug use optional.
Petition (Director's Cut) 上訪(導演版) - 26/3 5:45pm (26SP3E1)
If there's one documentary about the injustices happening in China that you have to watch, then it has to be this one. One of the highlights of Cannes 2009, this world premiere of a 5-hour director's cut will certainly elaborate further the lives of individuals that seek to have their cases heard. Keep an eye out for a public seminar with director Zhao Liang after a screening of the 2-hour international version on April 2nd.
Mundane History 俗物人間 - March 27th 6:00pm (27UQ3E1)
Fans of Apichatpong 'Joe' Weerasethakul (Syndromes and a Century 世紀症候群) would want to catch this mysterious and metaphysical feature debut by indie helmer Anocha Suwichakornpong. (Fans of 'Joe' should be aware his new short A Letter to Uncle Boonmee is part of the Avant Garde Programme II  前衛短片選輯(二):虛中有實 - thanks gar~*!)
Spring in a Small Town 小城之春 - March 28th 2:30pm (28FA3M2R)
A chamber drama, an adult love story of irrepressible emotions, a film ahead of its time, a landmark in Chinese cinema. Simply a must-see.
Lola 嫲嫲對婆婆 - 29/3 7:15pm (29UL3E1) and Kinatay 男孩看見血地獄 - 29/3 9:45pm (29UL3E2) 
This Cannes Best Director winner Brillante Mendoza (Serbis 我們這一家影院…服務周到, Slingshot 丫丫叉叉) double bill should be interesting: the first about two grandmothers struggling with grief and poverty; the second a brutal tale about a fresh police cadet committing an irreversible act of evil.
Vincere 獨裁者的情婦 - 31/3 9:45pm (31GC3E2)
Marco Bellocchio's (The Wedding Director 婚禮大導, and subject of a HKIFF retrospective in 2003) operatic tale about Mussolini's mistress was well received in Cannes 2009 despite failing to win any awards. (Note this will be released in Hong Kong by First Distributors, date unknown.)
Metropolis 大都會(終極修復版) - 1/4 8:00pm 
With 30 minutes of unseen footage rediscovered in 2008, this latest restoration sheds new light on Fritz Lang's masterpiece. An essential work in silent cinema, German expressionism and the sci-fi genre (a direct influence to another sci-fi classic Blade Runner) and a must-see in this year's HKIFF. 
Don't be misled by the inappropriate 'The Avatar of the 1920s' reference in the adverts though: at best it's a testament to its awe-inspiring scale and ambition (time will tell whether Avatar is a genuine groundbreaker in technology or merely a record in box office history motivated by mass hype and fanboydom), at worst it's an ironic insult (Metropolis tanked on release and never recuperated its massive production costs).
La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet 舞動花都 - 2/4 3:00pm (02AC4M3)
Frederick Wiseman returns to his love of ballet with this observational documentary. I was surprised that the two initial screenings sold out quickly (surely not that many Hong Kongers have the patience to endure Wiseman's lengthy and unassuming works?), but then I realised: girls laden/spoilt with ballet lessons have idols to aspire to, and women can revisit their childhood fantasies and drool at the pretty clothes and pretty people. No offence intended. 
Around a Small Mountain 小山36景 - 2/4 9:15pm (02KG4E2) 
82 year-old Jacques Rivette's lifelong obsession with the interplay between life and art continues in this light gem starring Sixties icon (and forever Mrs. Gainsbourg) Jane Birkin. I'm curious why this was allocated a single screening, whereas fellow Nouvelle Vague director Alain Resnais gets three... 
The Dust of Time  時光微塵 -6/4 12:30pm (06KG4M2)
This and Theo Angelopoulos' other works, with his magisterial long takes and compositions, simply deserve to be seen on the big screen. 
White Material 白鬼 - 6/4 6:00pm (06CT4E1)
Claire Denis had a great 2009 with 35 Shots of Rum 巴黎日和 and this film (starring the fearless Isabelle Huppert) marks a return to Africa, where she was raised and shot her debut Chocolat.  
Lourdes 神蹟疑雲 - 6/4 9:00pm (06SM4E2)
A wheelchair-bound non-believer experiences a religious miracle- or doesn't- in this acclaimed FIPRESCI-winning feature starring Sylvie Testud.
The Travelling Players 流浪藝人 - 10/4 2:15pm (10AC4M2X)
Thirst 求之不得 - 11/4 3:30pm (11SP4M2X)
This is a rare opportunity to catch a masterpiece by Guru Dutt, the 'Orson Welles of Bollywood'.
Landscape in the Mist 霧中風景 - 18/4 9:20pm (18SM4E2X)
Love Massacre 愛殺 - 30/4 7:30pm
Having missed this twice in two separate Film Programmes Office/Hong Kong Film Archive seasons, now's the time for me to catch this seminal Hong Kong New Wave classic by Patrick Tam 譚家明 (After This Our Exile 父子). And gaze admiringly at Brigitte Lin 林青霞.
Yesterday Today Tomorrow 昨天今天明天 - 8/5 12:30pm
Lung Kong's 龍剛 government-supported adaptation of Albert Camus' The Plague was vociferously criticised by leftists in the aftermath of the 1967 riots. With our experiences during the SARS epidemic, this film is ever more visionary and haunting.
Hiroshima 38 廣島廿八 - 8/5 3:00pm
Lung Kong's ambition reaches its peak with this anti-war, anti-nuclear weapons feature. As it portrays a Japanese family played by Chinese stars sympathetically, the film predictably suffered from the wrath of leftists and nationalists at its release. One must admire Lung Kong's earnest efforts in tackling a global issue, something rarely seen in contemporary Hong Kong cinema.

Films that I'm waiting to purchase due to scheduling issues: 
Dogtooth 狗牙
Avant Garde Programme II 前衛短片選輯(二):虛中有實
The Happiest Girl in the World 今天應該很高興
Spring Fever 春風沉醉的夜晚
Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl 金髮奇女子
After All These Years 其後 
Oxhide II 牛皮貳
La Pivellina 天降B女
Hadewijch 戀戀耶穌
Mr. and Mrs. '55 55年的夫妻
Paper Flowers 紙 花 
The Hunters 獵人
Days of '36 三六年的歲月
Journey to Cythera 塞瑟島之旅
The Suspected Step of the Stork 鸛鳥踟躕
Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow 悲傷草原
Okoto and Sasuke 春琴抄
The Lights of Asakusa 淺草之燈
So Goes My Love 從愛到愛

Films that I'll miss and recommend (excluding those that are due to be released):
Any retrospective events I have missed out
Apart Together 團圓
Eighteen 十八微風少年
The Secret in Their Eyes 謎情追兇
Wild Grass 野草  
Sweet Rush 我懷念的
Kanikosen 蟹工船
Like You Know It All 電影節桃花劫
Life During Wartime 感情線上腦交戰
Confucius (2010 Version) 孔夫子(2010年最新修復版)
Karaoke 你卡拉,我OK 
Adrift 慾念起錨 
To The Sea (Alamar) 男孩與海
I Killed My Mother 殺死我阿媽
Eastern Plays 索菲亞的天空
The Red Shoes 紅菱豔  
Honeymoons 蜜月勿越
Lebanon 黎巴嫩
Independencia 大獨立
Double Take 雙面希治閣
Bluebeard 藍鬍子
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno 緊張大師的無間地獄
A Town Called Panic 笑震震小鎮
Between Two Worlds 超時空戰紀
The Portuguese Nun 葡萄牙修女