The 1st of July marks fifteen years since Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty and to commemorate that special occasion, the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, London, and Terracotta Festival have teamed up to hold a film festival which will showcase the best of Hong Kong films past and present, and pay tribute to one of the most vibrant sources of films in the world.
The ‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ launches on the 2nd of July 2012 at the Odeon Covent Garden, London and it will run for a fortnight until 14th July. Fifteen films have been carefully selected and like the Terracotta Festival there will be guests attending.
The festival organisers have detailed the films which will be shown:
The diversity of Hong Kong cinema will be represented through a panorama of films divided in three sections: ‘Currents’, ’15 Years Review’ and ‘Shaw Brothers Classics’.
The Festival will open with multi-award-winning drama, A Simple Life by acclaimed director Ann Hui, starring Hong Kong star Andy Lau and a comeback performance from the highly decorated Deanie Ip who won the Best Actress at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. The event will be attended by Roger Lee, the producer and writer whose life story the film is based on.
Other highlights of the ‘Currents’ section include Life Without Principle by prolific filmmaker Johnnie To and The Bounty by Fung Chi Chiang.
Made in Hong Kong, directed by Fruit Chan, is a groundbreaking film which found great local and international acclaim for its release 15 years ago. It remains an uncommon Hong Kong example of a true independent film and will open the ‘15 Year Review’section to lead the way for other highly influential contemporary Hong Kong directors such as Pang Ho Cheung, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak.
‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the legendary Shaw Brothers Studios and, as an homage to the most significant film production company in the history of Hong Kong Cinema, festival goers will be able to indulge in two martial arts masterpieces on the big screen: 1967 blockbuster One Armed Swordsman and one of the greatest Kung Fu film, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978).
Other cultural tributes for the occasion will take place such as the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday 1st July in London and the screening of Big Blue Lake at the Cornerhouse in Manchester on Friday 6th July.
Visit the festival website for regular Festival updates and ticket information: http://hk15filmfestival.com/
‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ full programme:
A Simple Life – by Ann Hui
Big Blue Lake – by Jessey Tsang Tsui-Shan
White Vengeance – by Daniel Lee
Life Without Principle – by Johnnie To
The Bounty – by Fung Chi Chiang
The Detective 2 – by Oxide Pang
East Meets West 2011 by Jeffrey Lau
Wu Xia – by Peter Chan
I grew up on Hong Kong films like Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Police Story, and In the Mood for Love (no Wong Kar-Wai in the festival? Really?) and the line-up is pretty good. My recommendations?
- A Simple Life, which I have not seen but I know that it swept the awards on last year’s festival/award circuit and has collected excellent reviews.
- Made in Hong Kong was pretty powerful so if you want something challenging you can check that out. I can’t remember being happy when the film finished but it’s definitely atmospheric and emotionally moving.
- Infernal Affairs – it’s a great cinematic experience (especially if you have NOT seen The Departed) and it features strong performances from Tony Leung, Andy Lau, and Anthony Wong.
Check out the festival website for more information!