盲探 | Blind Detective

Blind Detective

He used to be a highly gifted police detective but was forced to retire after getting blinded on duty. Since then he earns his living by solving cold cases for the police. She is an up-and-coming hit team detective who has been feeling guilty ever since her childhood friend went missing after she refused to go out with her ten years ago. On witnessing how brilliantly he solves a case, she decides to seek his assistance to find her friend. He accepts the invitation with his own personal agenda in mind.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Tao Guo, Ying-Ting Yiu, Hoi-Pang Lo | Presented at Cannes Film Festival

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桃姐 | A Simple Life

A Simple Life

Based on a true story, the film centres on Ah Tao, an amah who has worked for the Leung family for four generations. She lives with and takes care of Roger, a film producer who is the only member of the Leung household still living in Hong Kong. Roger returns home one day and finds Ah Tao unconscious after a stroke. Convinced she has becoming a burden, Tao resigns and moves into a retirement home. But upon her arrival, she continues to be taken care of by Roger, who realizes just how important she is to him. He decides to do his best to watch after the person who has nurtured him all his life. But Ah Tao’s health is fast deteriorating. Hui has always excelled when telling stories of everyday life. In A Simple Life, she delivers a rich and heartwarming drama that not only deals with the many abandoned old people in Hong Kong, but also exquisitely captures the unique relationship between the amah and the family for which she cares. In an age when loyalty between employers and employees is fast disappearing, A Simple Life highlights a culture that has almost ceased to exist in Hong Kong: one in which a person devotes their life to serving a family, and in return is cherished as much as any other relative.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Andy Lau, Deannie Yip, Hailu Qin, Fuli Wang, Paul Chun | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Okinawa Film Festival, Durban Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Portland Film Festival

复仇 | Vengeance

Vengeance

What is vengeance if you can’t remember who it is you’re avenging? Isn’t memory what vengeance is all about? Vengeance is always personal, and usually results in at least a few more deaths than originally intended, many of them more than a little mordantly ironic. That’s part of what makes a revenge thriller thrilling, and Johnnie To’s terrific, slow-burn triad actioner Vengeance, adds a memory glitch to those thrills. Vengeance is a rich, fragrant reduction of To’s favorite themes (male bonding and codes of loyalty, the triad underworld, vengeance) trademarks (slow-motion clouds of blood, unforgettable set-pieces, impossibly sleek cinematography, brooding men, black humor) and actors. One splendid difference: Vengeance stars French actor and singer Johnny Hallyday (adding a nice tip of the chapeau to the French noirs of the ‘60s, when Hallyday had his rock and roll heyday). Hallyday plays François Costello, a Parisian restaurant owner who is in Macau at the request of his daughter—to avenge a savage attack on her family. Costello crosses paths with a crack team of triad hit men, whom he then hires to carry out his own revenge plan—a plan growing increasingly hazy due to his deteriorating memory. The craggy, lived-in face of Hallyday is as riveting as To’s mad scenes of mayhem, which include a fierce nighttime shootout as clouds pass over the full moon and—shootouts being To’s stock in trade—an epic battle in a junkyard that has to be seen to be believed. Vengeance, indeed, is a dish best served by Johnnie To.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Johnny Hallyday, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Ka Tung Lam, Simon Yam, Suet Lam | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Oldenburg Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival

文雀 | Sparrow

Sparrow

From the acclaimed director of The Mission, Election, and Exiled, Johnnie To. “Sparrow’ is a common word used in Hong Kong street slang for pickpocket. The term refers to the special dexterity needed to pluck people’s wallets from their pockets… and possibly also to the necessity of having to flutter away quickly should one be discovered. Kei is one such ‘sparrow’ – and a very professional one at that. He and his three partners earn a good living from digging deep into the pockets of oblivious passers-by moving along the crowded urban canyons of Hong Kong. As far as Kei’s concerned, it’s all he needs to live a carefree life. Whenever he is not going about his business he loves to ride about the city on his bicycle photographing street scenes with his Rolleiflex camera. One day the gorgeous Chun Lei comes into his sights. Kei is fascinated. But behind Chun Lei’s good looks lurks a mysterious past. Kei falls in love with her – and he is not the only one. After having managed to turn the heads of his three colleagues, she reveals her true intentions: the sparrows must steal something of great importance to her.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam, Hoi-Pang Lo, Suet Lam | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival

神探 | Mad Detective

Mad Detective

2007’s largest grossing film at the Hong Kong box office – Mad Detective – is one of the freshest and most satisfying films from that country in a decade. The traditional Hong Kong police film is turned on its head: the imaginative twist being our hero – Detective Bun – who has the ability to ‘see’ people’s inner personalities or “hidden ghosts”. Breaking new ground and establishing new cinematic rules, Johnnie To’s latest giddily entertaining collaboration with Wai Ka Fai radically raises the level of storytelling in modern film. Detective Bun was recognised as a talented criminal profiler until he sliced off his right ear to offer as a gift at his chief’s farewell party. Branded as ‘mad’ and discharged from the force, he has lived in seclusion with his beloved wife May ever since. Strangely, Bun has the ability to ‘see’ a person’s inner personality, their subconscious desires, emotions, and mental state. When a missing police gun is linked to several heists and murders, hotshot Inspector Ho calls on the valuable skills of his former mentor Bun to help unlock the killer’s identity. However, Bun’s unorthodox methods point to a fellow detective and take a schizophrenic turn for the worse…

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Ching Wan Lau, Andy On, Ka Tung Lam, Kelly Lin, Kwok-Lun Lee | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Maine Film Festival

出埃及记 | Exodus

Exodus

After the artistic breakthrough and acclaim of Isabella, maverick director Edmond Pang Ho Cheung returns to black comedy territory with his new film Exodus. From Men Suddenly in Black, Beyond Our Ken, You shoot I shoot, Pang’s films often spin gender issues into wry commentary, and he takes this “battle of the sexes” concept to the next level with Exodus. Black comedy, suspense thriller, and male mid-life crisis drama all rolled into one, Exodus throws out a seemingly ridiculous premise – women are conspiring to kill men! – and challenges both the protagonist and the audience into amused belief. A low-ranking cop often relegated to desk duty, middle-aged Tsim Kin Yip lives a stable, mundane life with his young yoga instructor wife Ann. The monotony is broken one day when he interrogates Kwan Ping Man, a nervous, profanity-spouting man caught spying in the women’s bathroom. Kwan, who seems to have more than a few screws loose, confides to Tsim a shocking secret: a ring of women conspiring to murder men. Everyday, plans are whispered in restrooms and deaths are carefully engineered, so that men die unnoticeable from “accidents” that are anything but. Tsim initially dismisses Kwan’s conspiracy theory, but then clues crop up suggesting there is something fishy at work. Both his marriage and life could be at stake as Tsim becomes increasingly obsessed with cracking the case.

Directed by Ho-Cheung Pang | Starring : Simon Yam, Annie Liu, Nick Cheung, Irene Wan, Maggie Siu | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival

放逐 | Exiled

Exiled

Set in a Macau, China, that resembles more a Mexican town than anything Chinese, this film by the acclaimed director Johnnie To starts as four mysterious outlaws descend on the house of a fellow criminal Wo, who is living a quiet life with his wife and baby. Two of the hoods, Blaze and Fat, have come to kill Wo, on the orders of their Boss, while the other two, Tai and Cat, have come to save him. Both sides know each other well, having grown up together, and soon the group decides to save Wo’s life, and run from the Boss’ hired guns.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Francis Ng, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung, Richie Ren | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, New Zealand Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival