The inaugural Hong Kong Cinema Festival will be held from September 23rd to the 25th at the Film Society’s new stomping grounds, the New People Cinema, San Francisco’s best secret theater, located in the heart of Japantown. The seven-film line-up for this event includes a little bit of everything from comedy to romance to action-thrillers that we’ve come to expect from the region. Expect VCinema coverage of what we hope will end up being an annual event starting next week.
Then, not more than a few weeks later, from October 14th to the 16th, to be exact, the San Francisco Film Society is hosting the third annual Taiwan Film Days at the New People Cinema. Past events have featured some of the most provocative cinema from the region that all but gets ignored by cinema fans outside of the “Big Three” (Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Tsai Ming-liang) and this year’s eight-film line-up looks to have some gems that we will surely share with you.
For complete program information visit sffs.org/Screenings-and-Events or check out the press releases after the bump.
The San Francisco Film Society in association with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco presents the inaugural Hong Kong Cinema Festival, September 23–25 at the Film Society’s new theatrical home, San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema (1746 Post Street). This exciting showcase highlights one of the world’s major filmmaking hubs and features recent films showcasing Hong Kong’s range of cinematic storytelling with works by both internationally known filmmakers as well as up-and-coming talents.
“The Hong Kong Cinema program provides a cogent snapshot of an industry that has established a global reputation for crowd-pleasing genres such as comedy, romance, historical drama and action,” said Film Society Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. “We first played a film—two, in fact—from Hong Kong at the third San Francisco International Film Festival in 1959, and it’s a pleasure to launch a festival devoted wholeheartedly to this dynamic filmmaking hub with the help of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, a partner of SFFS for over a decade.”
“Filmmaking is the flagship of Hong Kong’s booming creative industry. The city is driven by talented people and is uniquely positioned as the hub where East meets West,” said Jeff Leung, director of HKETO, San Francisco. “We are excited to present Hong Kong Cinema to Bay Area audiences this fall.”
The San Francisco Film Society has played a pioneering role in introducing Hong Kong cinema to Bay Area audiences through the San Francisco International Film Festival, which has shown over 70 Hong Kong films, beginning in 1959 with the screenings of The Kingdom and the Beauty and Tragedy of Love. The works of leading filmmakers—Fruit Chan, Peter Chan, Teddy Chen, Tsui Hark, Ivy Ho, Stanley Kwan, Clara Law, Andrew Lau, Run Run Shaw, Johnnie To and John Woo—have been featured, and superstars—Jackie Chan, Andy Lau—have been Festival guests. The championing of Hong Kong cinema will be further augmented by the introduction of Hong Kong Cinema to the Film Society’s Fall Season.
Hong Kong films are widely known and loved for their action-packed spectacle, but the industry is equally adept at matters from the heart as the Film Society’s first edition of Hong Kong Cinema demonstrates. The beloved and prolific Johnnie To departs from his usual fare with Don’t Go Breaking My Heart depicting a love triangle while equally popular filmmaker Benny Chan brings us City Under Siege, a genre-defying delight about a circus troupe infected with a powerful toxin. Independent work from Hong Kong is also showcased with the Opening Night film, the moving, multi-strand drama Merry-Go-Round, partially shot in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Film Society in association with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco presents Taiwan Film Days, October 14–16 at San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street. This exciting showcase highlights the best of contemporary Taiwanese cinema and provides Bay Area audiences with unique opportunities to view bold new Taiwanese films and engage with visionary filmmakers.
“Hats off to the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco. TECO provides us with extremely valuable support, and we feel honored to collaborate with them once again,” said Film Society Programmer Sean Uyehara. “True to form TECO has helped us to locate the most urgent Taiwanese films of the past year, and I am excited to present this program to Bay Area audiences.”
The San Francisco Film Society has long been a proponent of Taiwanese cinema and has played a pioneering role in introducing it to Bay Area audiences through the San Francisco International Film Festival, which has shown over 40 Taiwanese films over the years. The works of the leading figures—Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang and Edward Yang—have been featured, and prominent actor Lee Kang-sheng was a Festival guest in 1998. In January 1999 the Film Society partnered with the Asian Art Museum to present the unique retrospective An Unfolding Horizon: the Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien. Now in its third year, Taiwan Film Days has become an essential part of the Film Society’s Fall Season and a cinematic highlight for the local Chinese-speaking community and bold cinephiles of all stripes.
From opener Formosa Mambo, a multistrand abduction thriller, to Honey Pupu, a social networking melodrama that explores the lives of twenty-something Taipei hipsters, to the environmental documentary Taivalu, which examines coastal communities amid climate change, Taiwan Film Days 2011 showcases the breadth of style and subject of this vibrant filmmaking industry, while providing a snapshot of contemporary Taiwanese society and culture.