男人四十 | July Rhapsody

July Rhapsody

Jacky Cheung plays Lam Yiu Kwok, a Hong Kong secondary school teacher who is facing a mid-life crisis. While he has only his pride and Chinese poetry to fall back on, his peers are successful businessmen and professionals who flaunt their extravagant lifestyles at reunion dinners. After all these years, Lam is still living in a modest apartment with his wife, Man Ching and two teenage sons. However financial stagnancy is not his only problem. An old flame of Man Ching (who was the couple’s former schoolteacher) returns to Hong Kong and uncovers old wounds. Man Ching feels obliged to help her ex-lover. Meanwhile Yiu Kwok faces another dilemma: Choy Lam, a precocious student, has a crush on him and the ‘forbidden fruit’ looks more and more tempting in the light of his wife’s ‘infidelity’. Will he succumb to young charms and let history repeat itself?

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, Kar Yan Lam, Eric Kot, Shaun Tam | Presented at Changchun Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival

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东邪西毒 | Ashes of Time

Ashes of Time

Ou-yang Feng lives in the middle of a desert, where he acts as a middle man to various swordsmen in ancient China. One of those swordsmen is Huang Yao-shi, who has found some magic wine that causes one to forget the past. At another time, Huang met Mu-rong Yin and under the influence of drink, promised to marry Mu-rong’s sister Mu-rong Yang. Huang jilts her, and Mu-rong Yin hires Ou-yang to kill Huang. But then Mu-rong Yang hires Ou-yang to protect Huang. This is awkward, because Mu-rong Yang and Mu-rong Yin are in reality the same person. Other unrelated plot lines careen about. Among them is Ou-yang’s continuing efforts to destroy a band of horse thieves. Oy-yang recruits another swordsman, a man who is going blind and wants to get home to see his wife before his sight goes completely. The swordsman is killed. Ou-yang then meets another swordsman (Jackie Cheung) who doesn’t like wearing shoes. Oy-yang sends this man after the horse thieves, with better results. We then find out what a man must give up to follow the martial path.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka Fai | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Rotterdam 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

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