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Hong Kong Panorama

June 5 – 15, 2014

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In collaboration with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a selection of ten films from the deeply-rooted cinema of Hong Kong, which is now undergoing a revival.Among the films in the program is “Tales from the Dark 1,” the first installment in the horror series “Tales From the Dark” based on an anthology by the author of “Farewell My Concubine,” a popular work in Hong Kong literature. The film features prominent actors of Hong Kong cinema Jeannie Chan, Dada Chan, and Kelly Chen. The selection also includes “Black Coal, Thin Ice”, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014; Won Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster”, a nice essay on the history of kung fu which was the opening film at the Berlin Film Festival last year; and “Love Me Not”, a film about the unusual love between a gay man and a gay woman.
 

 

TALES FROM THE DARK Part 1, 2013

Hong Kong |DCP, Color, 114’ | Cantonese
Directors:  Simon Yam, Chi-Ngai Lee, Fruit Chan
Cast: Simon Yam, Jeannie Chan, Dada Chan, Kelly Chen, Tony Leung

Having made its world premiere in New York Asian Film Festival(2013), “Tales From The Dark Part 1” features three different cautionary ghost stories that adapted from writings by Chinese author Lilian Lee with the directing of three different directors.
The first story “Stolen Goods” is directed by Simon Yam and the lead role played by him. Kwan lives in a shabby room full of children’s toys. He is haunted by ghosts and after he gets fired from his job, he decides to make money by stealing the urns of ashes and blackmailing the families into buying them back from him.
The second story is directed by Lee Chi-Ngai and titled “A Word in the Palm”. Mr. Ho is a fortune teller and he has the ability  to see ghosts. He starts to investigate the mystery of a teenage ghost who’s haunting her former swim teacher.
And the final story is titled “Jing Zhe”, directed by Fruit Chan. A fortune-teller is asked by a woman to perform a ritual that curses the people who deceived her.

"This somewhat uneven but engrossing mini-triptych should please fans of Asian horror without necessarily scaring their pants off". – Variety Magazine

 

THE GRANDMASTER (Yi Dai Zong Shi), 2013

Hong Kong | DCP, Color, 110’ | Cantonese

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhang Jin, Wang Qingxiang

Story of the life and times of legendary wing chun master Ip Man, who also trained Bruce Lee. Nominated for two Oscars and returned from 2014 Asian Film Awards with seven awards including Best Film and Best Director, “The Grandmaster” shows a Chinese era full of chaos, division and war.

“Wong Kar-wai's martial arts epic, the 2013 Berlinale's opening-night film, is equal parts existential melancholy and gravity-defying action.” – The Hollywood Reporter

 

BLACK COAL, THIN ICE (Bai Ri Yan Huo), 2014

Hong Kong | DCP, Color, 106’ | Cantonese

Director: Diao Yinan
Cast: Liao Fan, Gwei Lun Mei, Wang Xuebing, Wang Jingchun, Yu Ailei

Detective Zhang inaptly closes a serial murder case and is suspended from the job. When similar murders take place again, Zhang starts to investigate the murders under his own initiative. The evidence points to a young woman and when he starts to observe her and Zhang finds himself in love and quickly, his life drifts into danger. A good film noir that tours along parody and seriousness. The movie won the Golden Bear in 2014 Berlin International Film Festival with the Silver Bear for the Best Actor.

“Chinese director Diao Yinan sets a stylish film noir among ordinary people in the provinces.” – The Hollywood Reporter

 

THE FIG, 2013

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 97’ | Cantonese
Director: Vincent Chui
Cast: Jenny Li, Eliz Lao, Lo Chun Yip, Stiffany Lo, Carson Chung

From the first IFVA* award winner director Vincent Chui, a unique and canorous drama that made its world premiere in 2013 Hong Kong Independent Film Festival. After a tragedy, Ka leaves her husband. And when she meets Man, a man blaming his father for the death of his mother, Ka finds herself in an unexpected friendship that makes her realize how  family bonds can break and get tied again and how much people need to connect with one other.

*The Incubator for Film and Visual Media in Asia, organised by Hong Kong Arts Centre

 

THE LAST TYCOON,(Da Shang Hai )  2012

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 118’ | Cantonese
Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Chow Yun-fat, Huang Xiaoming, Sammo Hung

An official selection of the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival, the film tells the story of a crime lord in 1930s Shanghai. “The Last Tycoon” mixes nostalgic Hong Kong action films with Hollywood style drama and romance. Set up by the police, Businessman Cheng leaves everything behind to start a new life. When he enters Shanghai’s criminal underworld, he gets stuck between the love of his life, the Japanese army and the local secret service.

“Helmed with musty solemnity by Wong Jing, this expensively furnished production unfolds scene after scene of slow-burning chamber drama, punctuated by potent but never jaw-dropping action”
 – Variety Magazine

 

MY SASSY HUSBAND, 2012

Hong Kong | DCP, Color, 107’ | Cantonese
Director: James Yuen
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Charlene Choi,Zhang Xinyi, Izz Tsui, Joyce Cheng

An entertaining romantic comedy starring Hong Kong’s famous actors. Sam and Yo Yo have a big age gap and they get married to fulfill a promise to their parents. But within ten years’ time, they fall in love with each other. When Sam goes through a middle-age crisis and Yo Yo continues acting in a headstrong manner, they cannot resist each other anymore. Finding out the secret behind their wedding, they start a new life.

 

DIVA (DIVA Hua Li Zi Jun), 2012

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 102’ | Cantonese
Director: Heiward Mak
Cast: Joey Yung, Chapman To, Hu Ge, Meg Lam, Carlos Chan

J is propelled to be a diva by her manager Kin-sun. After she loses her voice during a concert, she disappears and gets into an unexpected relationship with a blind masseur. Meanwhile, Kin-sun becomes interested in another singer Red, who has to choose between career and love. When J returns and supports Red, she finds herself under pressure to continue her own career.

 

LOVE ME NOT, 2012

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 92’ | Cantonese
Director: Gilitte Leung
Cast: Afa Lee, Kenneth Cheng, Rebecca Yip, Siu Wu

 As an official selection of many film festivals, including 2013 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, “Love Me Not” takes you to a touching journey with intensive love complications and blurred sexuality. Dennis works in a painting studio and Aggie is a photographer. They are friends since childhood and both are gay. When Dennis intends to make an arranged marriage, Aggie feels jealous and revises her relationship with him.

 

COLD WAR (Hon Zin),  2012

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 102’ | Cantonese
Director: Lok Man Leung, Sunny Luk
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung, Charlie Young,  Andy Lau

A thriller about corruption, power struggle and political games. After receiving an anonymous call that reports the disappearance of a highly equipped police van which is carrying five officers, Hong Kong police department starts a rescue operation. Clock starts ticking and the lives of the hostages and the reputation of the police are left in the hands of the two rival deputy commissioners. With the heavyweight cast and the powerful directing, “Cold War” won eight awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, in 2013 Hong Kong Film Awards.

“Overstuffing the plot to the point of confusion early on, Hong Kong thriller "Cold War" warms up considerably thereafter.” – Variety Magazine

 

THE WAY WE DANCE, 2013

Hong Kong | Blu-ray, Color, 110’ | Cantonese
Director: Adam Wong
Cast: Cherry Ngan, Babyjohn Choi,Janice Fan, Tommy “Guns” Ly

Having premiered in 2013 Hong Kong Film Festival, The Way We Dance is a romantic drama full of dancing, style and youthful energy. Fleur has just started university and her ambition is to become a dancer. She enters the dance crew Bomba and their only purpose is to defeat the rival crew Rooftoppers in a competition. But after being teased because of her dancing style, she leaves the crew and a Tai Chi Club recruits her. With an unexpected accident, Fleur hits the bottom but at that moment, the leader of Rooftoppers appears and reveals her the secret of their success.

"A cracking spectacle that showcases some of Hong Kong’s best street dancers" – Hollywood Reporter

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