Having screened François Truffaut's "Day For Night" (1973) in early January, Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Restored Treasures" will show two more films about filmmaking by European film masters at 2.30pm on February 5 and March 4 at the Cinema of the HKFA.
The two arthouse films are Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt", a lament on the inherent conflict between art and commercialism in filmmaking, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Beware of a Holy Whore", which he considered his best film.
Starring the sexy Brigitte Bardot and with huge financial support, "Contempt" (1963) might be seen as a lavish commercial Hollywood production. Jean-Luc Godard, however, presents the film as a statement on the human struggles and trials of filmmaking. It is the story of a scriptwriter striving to make sense of his life while working on a film adaptation of Homer's "The Odyssey", simultaneously caught between a wily producer – a dedicated European director played by the great director Fritz Lang – and his disillusioned wife (Bardot). The film, which also reflects Godard’s real married life, is a provocative musing on the inextricable ties between art and life. The print is courtesy of Tamasa Distribution and the screened copy has recently been made from a new internegative in 2011.
Unlike Truffaut's love song to filmmaking, Fassbinder's "Beware of a Holy Whore" (1971) lingers on the frustration and anxiety of the filmmaking process, creating one of the most vivid satires about filmmaking and, as with all outstanding works of art, a profoundly scathing metaphor on the wider scheme of things. At once brutal and wickedly funny, the film is based on the director's own experiences while making "Whity" (1971). Fassbinder's genius lies in his very self-indulgence as he trains his camera on a group of filmmakers who, holed up in a hotel on the Spanish coast during a production, bicker and sleep with each other. The film’s director is an angry, egoistical tyrant, not above brutalising his cast and crew and manipulating them in the process. Print courtesy of the Werner Fassbinder Foundation.
Film critics Mr Bryan Chang and Mr Yung Tsz-kwong will host post-screening talks for "Contempt" and "Beware of a Holy Whore" respectively. Both talks will be in Cantonese.
"Contempt" is screened in French and English and "Beware of a Holy Whore" is in German. Both films have English subtitles.
Tickets for "Contempt" are now available at URBTIX outlets. Tickets of "Beware of a Holy Whore" will be available from February 4. Tickets priced at $50 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be found in "ProFolio 61" distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage: www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011rt3/2011rt3_film.html .
Ends/Friday, January 27, 2012
A film still from "Contempt" (1963).