Hong Kong Cinema at San Francisco Film Society | The San Francisco Film Society
When and Where
14/11/2014 - 16/11/2014
3290 Sacramento Street
Hong Kong film-lovers unite! The San Francisco Film Society presents the fourth annual Hong Kong Cinema, November 14-16 at Vogue Theatre! Tag along for a wild ride in Fruit Chan’s. The Midnight After, travel back to the Ming dynasty with the riveting The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom, and don’t miss Ann Hui’s Venice Film Festival closer The Golden Era. Celebrate the 20th anniversary screening of Wong Kar-wai’s evergreen Chungking Express. Oh, and be sure to snag a seat to see a very suave Chow Yun-fat in opening night’s From Vegas to Macau!
Here’s more about the films to be shown:
From Vegas to Macau
Hong Kong/China 2014
Writer-director Wong Jing and actor Chow Yun-fat re-team in this genre-twisting and box office-busting tale that recalls their collaboration in one of the most influential Hong Kong films of all time, 1989�s God of Gamblers. In From Vegas to Macau, Chow plays an unbeatable gambler named Ken whose goofiness is a terrific foil to his otherwise James Bond-like persona. Also known as �The Magic Hand� for his supposed ability to be able to read a playing card simply by feel, Ken has returned to Macau from Las Vegas where he served as head of security to a number of the world�s largest casinos. He looks forward to retirement but becomes embroiled in a con with a Robin Hood-like merry band who steal from criminals (and give to themselves) led by Nicholas Tse and given comic relief by Chapman To. Equal parts action film and farce, nothing dealt by this movie should be taken at face value, where traps, pranks, gags and subterfuge are the rule.
(93 min. In Cantonese and English)
Friday, November 14 (Opening Night)
5:30 pm Opening Night reception at Paul Mahder Gallery (3378 Sacramento Street)
Saturday, November 15 1:30pm
The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom – North American Premiere
Hong Kong 2014
Combining the choreographic beauty of traditional kung fu films with the latest visual effect marvels, The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom updates one of the most enduring love stories of modern Chinese literature. Serialized in the Hong Kong newspaper Sin Wun Pao in the mid-1950s as Baifa Mon� Zhuan, author Liang Yushen�s tale has inspired countless retellings of the star-crossed love of Zhou Yihang and Jade Raksha. Amidst a rampant famine, Jade Raksha, daughter of a witch, misunderstood and feared throughout the Ming dynasty, uses her power to help feed the downtrodden and shelters them in the safety of her walled off Lunar Kingdom. The regional government, aiming to keep the villagers powerless, attempts to frame Jade Raksha for the murder of a government official. Zhou Yihang, the new leader of the fierce Wudang clan, is sent to investigate and bring Jade Raksha to justice. But, upon meeting her, Zhou immediately senses the goodness in Jade Raksha, first developing deep respect and then love for her. Set against the forces of corruption, Zhou and Jade Raksha must use all of their strength and wits to outsmart the opposition, but at what terrible price?
(104 min. In Mandarin)
Friday, November 14 9:15pm
Sunday, November 16 1:00pm
Chungking Express – 20th Anniversary
Hong Kong 1994
Wong Kar-wai�s Chungking Express (1994) is now twenty years old and remains one of the greatest Hong Kong films ever made. Told in two distinct parts, the film unmistakably renders the bittersweet melancholy and romantic energy one feels while going through a breakup. Each part�rendered in Wong�s iconic style�centers on one of two policemen recently jilted by their lovers, and the strange and charming strategies each chooses to deal with heartache. In part one Takeshi Kaneshiro plays He Qiwu, also known as �Cop 223,� who gives himself a month to get over his breakup. As he meticulously counts down the days until his ex returns or is gone forever, he begins a tenuous, platonic relationship with a blond-wigged drug smuggler played by Brigitte Lin. In part two Tony Leung plays �Cop 663,� whose former girlfriend leaves an ostensible �Dear John� letter for him at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand. New stand employee and ball of delightful energy Faye (played by Faye Wong) takes special interest in �Cop 663,� setting off a relationship full of longing and heartbreak.
(98 min. In Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Japanese, Hindi)
Saturday, November 15 3:45pm
Uncertain Relationships Society – US Premiere
Hong Kong 2014
Focusing on the intersecting emotional lives of five young people, Uncertain Relationships Society poignantly renders the familiar joys and misfires of early love, friendship and sexual stirring. Beginning with the end of the characters� high school years and depicting them moving into their early careers, the film smoothly presents the deep and complex bonds uniting them all, giving audiences full insight into their bittersweet triumphs and regrets. Hong Kong tween idol Anjo Leung plays Lam Yat Min, a talented musician who is stifled by the commercialism and absurdity of the advertising business. His star-crossed friendship with classmate Li Ling is tested by their mutual attraction for one another. Meanwhile, Li Ling has an equally ambivalent relationship with Lee Choi-wa, a boy who becomes a hairdresser and whose best friend and eventual roommate is Ho Yip, a photographer that is clearly attracted to Lee Choi-wa as well. To appropriately complicate matters further, we add the dark and brooding Leung Wai On, whose suspicion and pessimism towards all things love-related will be recognized by anyone who went through adolescence. Through this complicated and realistic web of tensions and delights, the film delivers a pitch-perfect and nostalgic rendering of youth in the midst of awakening.
(120 min. In Cantonese)
Saturday, November 15 6:00pm
The Midnight After
Hong Kong 2014
Buckle up for director Fruit Chan�s wild, campy, sometimes brutal mindbender. Adapted from an online novel gone viral by the author Pizza, the film begins when a minibus driver agrees to take over his buddy�s late night shift, a drive from Mongkok (the busiest part of Kowloon) to Taipo (a suburb in the New Territories). Once all sixteen seats are filled, the minibus sets forth on a journey that will arrive in another dimension, a parallel universe, purgatory or wherever they are�a place that appears to be Taipo, minus all the people and plus a deadly virus. The minibus survivors comprise a motley crew including a former soccer star and foodie, a drug addict, a bookish new age conspiracy buff, teen delinquents and an attractive hunk. Banding together, they attempt to find some answers. But, given scant clues such as beeping phone calls and men who appear from nowhere wearing gas masks, they instead resort to murder, mayhem and bike rides, generating more questions and fewer answers.
(124 min. In Cantonese)
Saturday, November 15 9:00pm
The Golden Era – Best Foreign Film Oscar Submission
Hong Kong/China 2014
Selected as the closing film of this year�s Venice Film Festival, The Golden Era is master filmmaker of the Hong Kong New Wave, Ann Hui�s, exhilarating and tragic biopic of underappreciated female novelist Xiao Hong. The film follows Xiao Hong�s much-too-short life marked by her unrelenting independent spirit and emotional bravery. Born in Manchuria in the 1930s, Xiao Hong was beset by an abusively controlling father and overbearing traditional values. Fleeing to the city of Harbin, Xiao Hong searches for fulfillment amidst the new openness of urban life, but soon finds herself in hot water with an unwanted pregnancy and crushing debt. As a last resort, she writes an open letter to a local journal seeking assistance. It is through this chance event that she meets the acclaimed novelist Xiao Jun, a man destined to become Xiao Hong�s intellectual ally and combatant. As they bond, Xiao Hong and Xiao Jun will together develop a progressive writing style and politics that will place them as the most important progressive Chinese writers of their era, while their turbulent relationship and competitiveness will continually inspire and bedevil them both.
(178 min. In Mandarin)
Sunday, November 16 3:15pm
Hong Kong 2014
A classic ensemble tale full of tension and bursts of humor, Aberdeen centers on the bonds and divisions within the robust Cheng family and is an allegory of the makeup of Hong Kong itself. Patriarch Dong, struggling to keep his family intact, is himself at a crossroads. The fishing business that established his family�s wealth has dried up and he has become a Taoist priest performing funereal rites. Dong�s children are torn between Hong Kong�s past and present; daughter Ching clings to the superstitions of Hong Kong�s traditional past, while son To embraces western capitalistic tastes. Both siblings� spouses add to pressures pulling the family asunder. Ching�s husband, a doctor, navigates an extramarital affair with an eager young nurse, while To�s wife, a model in the twilight of her career, negotiates age in an unforgiving business and dodges her husband�s suspicions that he is not the father of their daughter. Aberdeen harbor, whose Chinese namesake is �Little Hong Kong,� is the perfect setting for the family�s myriad contradictions�between traditions and modernity, superstitions and materialism, family and individuality�and mirrors the forces constituting contemporary Hong Kong.
(97 min. In Cantonese)
Sunday, November 16 6:45pm
Hong Kong/China 2014
A sequel in name only, Overheard 3 effectively stands alone and one need not have seen its prequels to enjoy this hardboiled and dizzying tale of power, loyalty and corruption set amidst the high-stakes and shady business of real estate development in Hong Kong�s New Territories. Centered primarily on three friends, Luk, Law and Joe, the story takes myriad unexpected turns as the men�s bonds are tested. Capitalizing on a botched governmental plan to encourage real estate growth prior to the Hong Kong handover of 1997, Luk attempts by any means necessary to acquire land rights that had been granted to each male resident. Paving the way to construction of tall apartment buildings in the New Territories, Luk�s move also solidifies his wealth and power, and those who oppose him quickly find that he will go to violent lengths to ensure his plans are seen through. Law, once a loyal employee of Luk�s, has served prison time for the Luk clan, but now that he has regained his freedom, he longs to make an honest go of it. But, drawn back into Luk�s orbit, Law enlists Joe to wiretap Luk�s communications in a desperate move to find a way to get out.
(132 min. In Cantonese and Mandarin with subtitles)
Sunday, November 16 9:00pm