Can you believe it's been ten years since the turnover of Hong Kong back to China, specifically to the Chinese Communist government of the mainland? Well it has, and to commemorate what is more formally called "the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," the Film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting 10 Years and Running: Recent Hong Kong Cinema.
This series of thirteen films will follow right on the heels of the retrospective of Cathay Studio films (which ends tonight) and will run from October 17-25, 2007. Many people, including myself, feel that the Hong Kong film industry has seriously deteriorated since shortly before the return of the former "Crown Colony" when many leading filmmakers left for greener, and freer, pastures in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Still, as this series demonstrates, there have been several fine films that have come out of Hong Kong in recent years. Opening night will showcase Triangle, a collaboration by three well known directors, who also happen to be long term friends : Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To.
To, of course, is currently Hong Kong's hottest director. His Exiled just got selected as Hong Kong's entry for consideration as best foreign film at next year's Oscars, though I must say it has a snowball's chance in hell of being one of the nominees. Three films he helmed on his own will also be included in the series: Election, Triad Election, and The Mission, the latter being somewhat of a precursor for Exiled, what with much the same cast and plot device.
Art house fave Wong Kar Wai will be represented by 2046, a "sort-of sequel" to his In the Mood for Love and by Happy Together. Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs will be screened, as will two other of their films. (Martin Scorsese's The Departed, while admittedly a fine film, doesn't quite measure up to Infernal Affairs, upon which it was based.)
For further info about the complete series, click here.
And check back at AsianCineFest for reviews of some of the films in the coming days.
Update 10.17.07: I came across an intesting news item about London's Institute of Contemporary Arts recent tribute to the Hong Kong cinema since the turnover. For the link to the VarietyAsiaOnline.com article, click here. By the way, VarietyAsiaOnline.com offers a free daily Variety Asia e-zine. Signing up for it is easy on the sidebar to the right of the article.