重庆森林 | Chungking Express

Chungking Express

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops, both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Brigitte Lin, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, London Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

新同居时代 | In Between

In Between

Three directors deliver three stories about the love of in the modern world. Three love stories are presented: A man who cannot give up his freedom despite the fact that he loves his girlfriend, a naive man who learns love and loss in an adulterous relationship with the wife of his boss, and a man who develops a friendship with his girlfriend who gets pregnant after a night of passion with him. The irony of the modern society’s relationships living in the same place does not mean living together works out tastefully.

Directed by Sylvia Chang, Yonfan, Leung Chun ‘Samson’ Chiu | Starring : Maggie Cheung, Sylvia Chang, Winston Chao, Chien-lien Wu, Nicky Wu | Presented at Pusan Film Festival

诱僧 | Temptation of a Monk

Temptation of a Monk

Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers who then becomes emperor. Shi retreats to a monastery, perhaps to hide, perhaps to plan a coup. When his loyal troops as well as the princess he desires are slain, he seeks refuge in a remote, abandoned monastery where an aged abbot schools him with practical, earthy teachings. The emperor’s forces pursue Shi: first a woman, then a general seek to overpower him with lust and might. Over the course of the film, the reds of battle give way to blues of meditation.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Joan Chen, Hsing-kuo Wu, Fengyi Zhang, Lisa Lu, Ming-yang Li | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival

霸王别姬 | Farewell My Concubine

Farewell my Concubine

Farewell My Concubine is a 1993 Chinese film directed by Chen Kaige, is one of the central works of the Fifth Generation movement that brought Chinese film directors to world attention. Similar to other Fifth Generation films like To Live and The Blue Kite, Farewell My Concubine explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of individuals, families, and groups, in this case, two stars in a Peking opera troupe and the woman who comes between them. The film is an adaptation of the novel by Lilian Lee. Lilian Lee is also one of the film’s screenplay writers.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, You Ge, Wenli Jiang | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, New York Film Festival

秋月 | Autumn Moon

Autumn Moon

Twentysomething Japanese tourist, Tokio, comes to Hong Kong looking for good cusine. He does all that the tourist is expected to do, but is disappointed with the food so far. By chance, he meets 15-year-old Pui Wai. She’s been left behind with her eighty-year-old Granny, her parents too busy with their immigration problems in Canada. Differences in culture, language and age serve as no barrier, as Tokio finds a soulmate in Granny, Hong Kong cook extraordinate. He discovers the secret to Granny’s cooking and learns that she’s known all along that her family will not be taking her to Canada when they leave.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Masatoshi Nagase, Pui-Wai Li, Choi Siu Wan, Maki Kiuchi, Suen Ching Hung | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival

阮玲玉 | Center Stage

Center Stage

In the 1930s, in China, there was a woman film-actress who was tagged as “the Chinese Garbo.” She was a wildly popular performer who made her first film at age 16 and died by her own hand at age 25. Ironically, she was famous for playing tragic heroines, and her own life mirrored the kinds of situations she portrayed onscreen. In this biopic, Ruan Ling-yu is riding high in her career when the press decides to take her down a notch or two, bitterly criticizing her for an affair with a married man. This situation is unbearable for her, and she kills herself, but not before uttering the words “Gossip is a terrible thing.” In addition to the central drama, scenes from actual films starring the actress are included, and the actors in this biopic occasionally step out of character to address the camera, recounting some significant fact about the individuals whose lives they are playing, and the nature of those times in China.

Directed by Stanley Kwan | Starring : Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Han Chin, Carina Lau, Lawrence Ng | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Transilvania Film Festival

边走边唱 | Life on a String

Life on a String

A blind master wanders through a mythic landscape of a terrific beauty to play his songs and sing his ballads. His whole life he’s had one hope, one dream of another world: According to a prophecy he shall be able to see, if he has broken 1000 of his banjo strings. His blind disciple, on the contrary, doesn’t want to rely on one hope. He longs for a woman’s love… Does sight await the saint when the 1000th string breaks? Can the disciple’s strength of character overcome provincial prejudice to win the hand of his love and a place in the village?

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Zhongyuan Liu, Lei Huang, Qing Xu, Ling Ma, Erga Yao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival

阿飞正传 | Days of Being Wild

Days of Being Wild

Set in 1960, the film centers on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she refuses to divulge the name of his real birth mother. The revelation shakes Yuddy to his very core, unleashing a cascade of conflicting emotions. Two women have the bad luck to fall for Yuddy; one a quiet lass named Su Lizhen who works at a sports arena, the other a glitzy showgirl named Mimi. Yuddy passively lets the two compete for him, unable or unwilling to make a choice. As Lizhen slowly confides her frustration to a cop named Tide, he falls for her. The same is true for Yuddy’s friend Zeb, who falls for Mimi. Later, Yuddy learns of his birth mother’s whereabouts and heads out to the Philippines.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival

滚滚红尘 | Red Dust

Red Dust

Red Dust tells us the story of writer Shao Hua during the period 1935-1950. The story starts from a very personal point of view, by depicting the days when Shao Hua used to write alone, locked up in the attic by her father, then slowly unfolds to the wider reality of a country suffering poverty and persecution, because of the Japanese first, because of the clashes between the nationalists and the communists later. However, it’s not a sad movie: Shao Hua has love and friendship to care about, and indeed the movie is more of a journey of her heart, as she climbs through the ups and downs of life, with moments of laughter and glee following or giving way to moments of disappointment and insight. Alongside, as she is a writer, we also get to see as the steps of her existence influence the developing of her novel.

Directed by Ho Yim | Starring : Brigitte Lin, Han Chin, Maggie Cheung, Richard Ng, Josephine Koo | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival

爱在别乡的季节 | Farewell China

Farewell China

Hong Kong acting legends Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Maggie Cheung star as a Chinese couple separated by the painful, arduous and risky process of illegal immigration to America. A year after his wife leaves for New York City, Leung Ka-Fai follows, but discovers his wife’s been lost in the crush of poverty, hardship and urban decay. Gritty and unsentimental, Farewell China was nominated for Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Award.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Hayley Man, Chun Liao, Peter Yip | Presented at Torino Film Festival

客途秋恨 | Song of the Exile

Song of the Exile

In Song of the Exile, renowned Hong Kong director Ann Hui tells us a sentimental story that is partially based on her own life story. The film, made in 1990, stars acclaimed actress Maggie Cheung, Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actress Lu Hsiao-fen, and Hong Kong actor Waise Lee. The highly acclaimed film received several nominations in the Hong Kong Film Awards, and won Best Original Screenplay at the 27th Golden Horse Awards for Wu Nien-jen’s script. Shot in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and the UK, the film is a sweeping tale of love and understanding between a daughter and her mother. After the World War II ended, Japanese girl Aiko married a Chinese military officer against the wish of her family, but her husband soon moved to Hong Kong, leaving her alone in China. Aiko’s relationship with her elder daughter Hueyin had been estranged, until they visited her hometown in Japan together for the first time, when Hueyin finally understood what it felt like to be an exile in a strange land.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Maggie Cheung, Hsiao-fen Lu, Waise Lee, Feng Tien, Kentarô Kaji | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival

秦俑 | A Terra-Cotta Warrior

A Terracotta warrior

China 3000 years ago. It’s the time of the Qin dynasty. The emperor seeks immortality by busily letting his alchemists search for a formula and building the famous terracotta army from the bodies of outlaws and the condemned. This is the time Mong Tiang Fong and court lady Twon fall deeply in love. Such a thing is not tolerated at the court and when their relationship is discovered both are sentenced to death. In the meantime the alchemists have discovered the formula of immortality, but decide to destroy their work. However Twon gets possession of one immortality pill which she manages to give to Tiang Fong before he’s made a terracotta warrior too. China 1930. While on location a film crew discovers parts of the grave of emperor Qin guarded by the terracotta warriors. Tiang Fong, being immortal, awakes.

Directed by Siu-Tung Ching | Starring : Li Gong, Yimou Zhang, Rongguang Yu, Suk Bung Luk, Tian-Ming Wu | Presented at Chicago Film Festival

杀手蝴蝶梦 | My Heart Is That Eternal Rose

My Heart is That Eternal Rose

Rick and Lap are star-crossed lovers whose initial romance was torn apart by the murder of her father. Years later, they meet once more, but circumstances have changed. Rick is now a suave hitman for hire, while Lap is the girlfriend of powerful crime boss Shen. The years and distance have taken their toll on the lovers, but their passion still burns, drawing the two back together. Their treachery does not escape the notice of Shen, nor Shen’s right-hand man, played by Shaw Brothers legend Gordon Liu. Rick and Lap’s only ally may be Cheung, a mousy triad who carries his own torch for Lap. With few options left to the lovers, and with Shen in hot pursuit, the stage is set for a violent, blood-drenched finale…

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Kenny Bee, Joey Wang, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wai-Man Chan, Chia Hui Liu | Presented at N/A

喋血双雄 | The Killer

The Killer

A stylish triumph for genre fans and film fans alike, As Tears Go By more than lives up to its billing as the first film from celebrated director Wong Kar Wai. Andy Lau is Ha Tau, a small-time triad leader whose responsibility for the pathological Fly threatens to be his downfall. While Ha Tau struggles with his troubles on the streets, he finds solace in a surprising intimacy to his cousin, Ah Ngor. Their tender interludes give Ha Tau a welcome respite from his violent life, but not for long. Fly grows more and more self-destructive, and soon Ha Tau can no longer avoid the brutal calling of the triad underworld. Mixing stylish MTV-style filmmaking with potent triad melodrama, As Tears Go By is an exemplary genre film, and an intriguing beginning to Wong Kar-Wai’s celebrated filmography

Directed by John Woo | Starring : Yun-Fat Chow, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kong Chu, Kenneth Tsang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

旺角卡门 | As Tears Go By

As Tears Go By

A stylish triumph for genre fans and film fans alike, As Tears Go By more than lives up to its billing as the first film from celebrated director Wong Kar Wai. Andy Lau is Ha Tau, a small-time triad leader whose responsibility for the pathological Fly threatens to be his downfall. While Ha Tau struggles with his troubles on the streets, he finds solace in a surprising intimacy to his cousin, Ah Ngor. Their tender interludes give Ha Tau a welcome respite from his violent life, but not for long. Fly grows more and more self-destructive, and soon Ha Tau can no longer avoid the brutal calling of the triad underworld. Mixing stylish MTV-style filmmaking with potent triad melodrama, As Tears Go By is an exemplary genre film, and an intriguing beginning to Wong Kar-Wai’s celebrated filmography

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Alex Man, Ronald Wong | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

胭脂扣 | Rouge

Rouge2

Starring late Hong Kong legends Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, Rouge from acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kwan tells a sad and enchanting love story about passion, dedication, fate, and karma. Fleur is the blue angel in one of Hong Kong’s “flower houses” – bordellos and night clubs of the 1930’s. A detached and beautiful performer, she falls in love with Twelfth Master Chan, heir to a chain of pharmacies. They agree to a suicide pact. Jump ahead 50 years to modern Hong Kong: Fleur’s ghost appears in Yuen’s newspaper office, wanting to place an ad to find Chan, who never arrived in the afterlife. Yuen, and his equally bewildered girl friend, An Chor, are captivated by Fleur and her story.

Directed by Stanley Kwan | Starring : Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Alex Man, Emily Chu, Irene Wan | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival

最后胜利 | Final Victory

Final Victory

Patrick Tam, director of the award-winning After This Our Exile, first made his name for creating artistically acclaimed movies with his daring 1982 work Nomad. His 1987 movie Final Victory is definitely worth re-visiting. Internationally renowned director Wong Kar Wai, yet to make his directorial debut at the time, co-wrote the script of Final Victory with Patrick Tam and Winnie Yu. Also a Hong Kong New Wave director, Tsui Hark stepped down from his director’s chair to take up the male lead alongside Eric Tsang, now one of the most representative actors in Hong Kong, and sexy actress Loletta Lee. Eric Tsang stars as the shy and timid Hung who has to choose between brotherhood and love. Tsui Hark portrays triad gangster Bo, who asks Hung, his younger sworn brother, to take care of his two mistresses, Ping and Mimi. But Hung soon falls in love with Mimi, and he realizes that their romance, if known to Bo, will end their brotherhood which he also treasures.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Eric Tsang, Loletta Lee, Tien-Lang Li, Hark Tsui, Lui Kam | Presented at N/A

英雄本色 | A Better Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow

Two friends, Ho and Mark, are triads in a counterfeiting operation who end up doing ‘one more job’ and what do you know, this one more job gets messier than they had hoped. Mark returns as a cripple and Ho ends up doing some porridge. This is further complicated as Ho’s younger brother Kit is an aspiring young police officer. As the violence escalates, the lines between lawful and otherwise start to blur if favour of heroic loyalty between brothers.

Directed by John Woo | Starring : Yun-Fat Chow, Leslie Cheung, Lung Ti, Emily Chu, Waise Lee | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

最爱 | Passion

Passion

A funny, light weight comedy from Sylvia Chang. We all know that yawning is contagious, but to the Chen family contagiousness extends to taking on an extra-marital affair. Gua Ah-leh is at the movie’s centre: she shines as Lung’s wife, who finds she has a thing or two to learn from the gigolo after Lung blithely. Lang Hisung plays old dentist for broad comedy (showing a different side from his starring roles in Ang Lee’s films); he is sixty years old but still physically fit and full of charisma. He wants to be able to experience the vitality of a burning passion for one last once. leaves her. The extra-familial affair is discovered.

Directed by Sylvia Chang | Starring : Sylvia Chang, George Lam, Cora Miao, Man Huang, King-fai Chung | Presented at N/A

似水流年 | Homecoming

Homecoming

In Yim Ho’s Homecoming, a beautiful, modern woman makes a long visit to the small Chinese village in which she was raised. The air of the film is anything but nostalgic, since its stunning heroine, Shan Shan, has a ruefulness bordering on despondency. Her life in Hong Kong is successful by many standards, and she has the poise, the wardrobe and the bad habits to prove it. The visit home forces her to contrast all this with the simple family life enjoyed by two of her childhood friends.

Directed by Ho Yim | Starring : Josephine Koo, Gaowa Siqin, Weixiang Xie, Yun Zhou | Presented at Berlin Film Festival

烈火青春 | Nomad

Nomad

Louis  is a lovely young man from a rich family and misses his ‘passed-away’ mother very much. He has a good friendship with his cousin Kathy. Louis and Kathy later meet Tomato, who becomes Louis’ girlfriend, and Pong, who becomes Kathy’s boyfriend. The four live a casual life together, hang out aimlessly, and share their dreams and difficulties with one another on frequent trips to Hong Kong’s outlying islands. But Kathy’s past returns to haunt her. She once lived in Japan, and had romance with Shinsuke Takeda, a Japanese who is the member of Japanese Red Army. Shinsuke Takeda is bored of the life as a Red Army member and wants to quit the organization. This leads to a vow of revenge by the organization and Shinsuke Takeda runs to Kathy to ask for help. However, he was eventually found by the killers dispatched by the Red Army and both Kathy and Shinsuke are killed, while Louis and Tomato, who is pregnant with Louis’s kid, survive the crisis.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Leslie Cheung, Cecilia Yip, Pat Ha, Ken Tong, Sai-Kit Yung | Presented at Hong Kong Film Festival

父子情 | Father and Son

Father and Son

Holding on to his son’s certificate of graduation from an American university, a man dies from a heart attack. The son returns and recollects his past. The unsuccessful father had placed his hopes on his only son. The story has strong autobiographical overtones from Allen Fong. He used an amateur actor, depicting nostalgia for Hong Kong in the 1960’s.

Directed by Allen Fong | Starring : Yu-Ngor Cheung, Hong Zhu, Ke-Wei Cheng, David Lo, Lei Shih | Presented at N/A

爱杀 | Love Massacre

Love Massacre3

Set in a surprisingly minimalist San Francisco, Patrick Tam’s stylish slasher movie manages to evoke both Antonioni and Mario Bava in this tale of a ravishing young co-ed whose studly boyfriend turns into a demented stalker after the suicide of his sister.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Brigitte Lin, Kuo-Chu Chang, Charlie Chin, Tina Lau, Deannie Yip | Presented at N/A

疯劫 | The Secret

The Secret

The mangled bodies of a couple are discovered. It is said that the deceased woman appears and disappears from her grandmother’s house. A nurse who lives next to the house decides to pursue the mystery as if haunted by a desire for the truth, and finally discovers the woman’s secret. This is a monumental film which broke new ground for the director and announced the arrival of a new wave movement in Hong Kong cinema.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Sylvia Chang, Angie Chiu, Norman Chu, Hai-shu Li, Zhuozhuo Li | Presented at N/A