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Film - "Made in Hong Kong" series - 2011

(adapted from the Freer Gallery's website)

Sixteenth Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival

The 2011 edition of the Freer’s popular annual festival is cosponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

Bodyguards and Assassins
Friday, July 8, 7 pm
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Donnie Yen (Blade II, Ip Man, Hero) stars in this gripping martial-arts blockbuster set in the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong in 1905. The revolutionary movement has spread throughout China, but the Qing dynasty will do anything to hold on to its power. As Sun Yat-Sen prepares for a historic meeting that will shape the future of the country, a motley crew is entrusted to protect him from deadly assassins determined to kill him. Winner of eight Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, and featuring an hour-long battle sequence unlike anything attempted before, it’s a pivotal action epic hailed as “a satisfying mix of politics, personal sacrifice and death-or-glory combat” (Richard Kuipers, Variety). Description courtesy of Indomina Releasing. (dir.: Teddy Chen, 2009, 139 min., Cantonese with English subtitles)

Fire of Conscience
Friday, July 15, 7 pm
Sunday, July 17, 2 pm
Captain Manfred (Leon Lai) must solve a brutal murder to prove his partner’s innocence and expose the truth behind Hong Kong’s police force. The investigation brings him to an unlikely collaboration with sly, man-of-the-world Inspector Kee (Richie Ren) from the Narcotics Bureau, whose motives are not what they seem. Dante Lam, one of Hong Kong’s top action directors, spices up this thriller plot with spectacular action sequences, including an audacious final shootout that will astound even the most experienced Hong Kong movie connoisseur. Description adapted from Indomina Releasing. (dir.: Dante Lam, 2010, 106 min., Cantonese with English subtitles)

Friday, July 22, 7 pm
Sunday, July 24, 2 pm
This taut thriller comes from the directing team behind the internationally acclaimed Infernal Affairs trilogy, which inspired Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed. Two cops stumble upon a juicy bit of insider trading information during a surveillance job, and see no harm in trying to make a quick (but illegal) killing on the stock market. Their personal and professional lives begin to unravel when the plan backfires, and they find themselves in the crosshairs of a deadly criminal gang. Overheard is hailed by Time Out Hong Kong film critic Edmund Lee as “a character drama so sleek in its plotting that you’d be hard-pressed to find a genuinely frivolous scene.” (dirs.: Felix Chong and Alan Mak, 2009, 100 min., Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles)

The Beast Stalker
Friday, July 29, 7 pm
Sunday, July 31, 2 pm
A straight-arrow cop seeking redemption pursues a vicious killer who is slowly losing his sight, while a determined prosecutor seeks vengeance on the man who stole her daughters. Action-master Dante Lam’s thriller includes kidnappings, shootouts, car chases, and tragic twists of fate—and that’s just in the first few minutes. This hostage drama balances gunplay and stunts with the kind of nuanced characterizations that are usually missing from standard action films. “It's over the top and ingeniously plotted . . . and never stops moving,” raves film critic G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Lam pulls out all the stops with a movie that lives and breathes in excess.” (dir.: Dante Lam, 2008, 109 min., Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles)

La Comédie Humaine
Friday, August 5, 7 pm
Sunday, August 7, 2 pm
This high-energy buddy comedy stars Chapman To as Spring, a hit man from the mainland who falls ill while on assignment in Hong Kong. He is nursed back to health by geeky screenwriter Soya (Hong Kong TV star Wong Cho-lam), who discovers him on the roof of his apartment building. Even though Spring vows to kill his annoying rescuer as soon as he recovers, the two bond over a mutual obsession with movies and Soya’s romantic difficulties with his tempestuous girlfriend. Spring, meanwhile, finds use for his tough-guy skills when he befriends a feisty pregnant teen seeking revenge on the man who did her wrong. Bursting with movie references, rapid-fire jokes, and charismatic performances, this is Hong Kong comedy at its best. (dirs.: Chan Hing-kai and Janet Chun, 2010, 100 min., Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles)

Echoes of the Rainbow
Friday, August 12, 7 pm
Sunday, August 14, 2 pm
Alex Law took inspiration from his own childhood for this sweetly nostalgic evocation of working-class Hong Kong in the 1960s. Through the eyes of eight-year-old “Big Ears” (charmingly portrayed by child actor Buzz Chang), we witness the everyday trials and triumphs of a poor family. Its members are a hardworking shoemaker (Simon Yam), his street-smart wife (Sandra Ng at her fast-talking best), and Big Ears’ older brother, an athletic teen in love with a girl from the rich part of town. Grounded in the reality of its times but playing like a modern-day fable, Echoes of the Rainbow is “at once tastefully old-fashioned and spontaneously heartwarming” (Edmund Lee, Time Out Hong Kong). (dir.: Alex Law, 2009, 117 min., Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles)

Drunken Master
Friday, August 19, 7 pm
Sunday, August 21, 2 pm
The film that established Jackie Chan’s career is also a perfect example of the movies that influenced hip-hop’s pioneers. It mixes comedy, amazing martial arts action sequences, and the kind of charismatic, athletic performance that has made Chan a superstar. He plays the aimless Wong Fei-hung (an actual Chinese folk hero), whose father employs a fearsome martial arts master to discipline him through instruction in the mysterious “drunken boxing” technique. (dir.: Yuen Wo-ping, 1978, 110 min., Cantonese with English subtitles)

Saturday, August 20, 2 pm
Hop Fu: Hip-hop meets Kung Fu
DJ IXL and DJ Excess of the Kolabz Crew, also known as Hop Fu, memorably rocked the Meyer Auditorium in 2007 with their live score for Prodigal Son. They now return to perform a live score for the classic Hong Kong film Super Ninjas. Watch as a Chinese kung fu family faces off against a squad of deadly ninjas—accompanied by the hard-hitting sounds of a turntable duel. Great costumes and an array of special weapons make this film a must-see, and Hop Fu’s battling beats take the hip-hop/kung fu connection to a whole new level. Stay afterward for a Q&A with the DJs and a hands-on scratching lesson.

The Hip-hop/Kung Fu Connection: A Panel Discussion
Sunday, August 21, 4 pm
Following the screening of Drunken Master, join a panel of experts for a lively discussion of the long-running relationship between martial-arts movies and rap music.

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