Films tell their stories in countless ways but mainstream movies often follow the conventions and norms of narration, ending with a clear-cut finale. With the emergence of new wave movies, filmmakers produced films more creatively and approached old tales in a new way. Following on from the popular "Critics' Choice" of the past few years, the Hong Kong Film Critics Society has selected six feature films which were pioneers or style-setters in the history of cinematographic narrations. The screenings will be accompanied by seminars and workshops for audiences to gain a comprehensive understanding of film narrative.
"Critics' Choice 2013 - Film Narrative in Perspective" is presented by the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and organised by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. The films selected cover three different perspectives on film narrative. "Mystery and Truth" features director Michelangelo Antonioni's "L'Avventura" (1960) and Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" (1974); "Memoirs and Portraits" features director Hou Hsiao-hsien's "Good Men, Good Women" (1995) and Julien Duvivier's "Dance Programme" (1937); and "New Waves: New Ways of Storytelling" will show Kuroki Kazuo's "Silence Has No Wings" (1966) and Jacques Rivette's "Celine and Julie Go Boating" (1974).
The six classics will be shown from May 11 to July 20 at the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum. Seminars will take place after the screening of "L'Avventura" on May 11, "Good Men, Good Women" on June 12 and "Silence Has No Wings" on July 1, with film critics Lau Yam, William Lau, Law Kar, Bryan Chang, Fung Mo, Ernest Chan, Li Cheuk-to, Matthew Cheng, Shu Ming and Yip Man Fung speaking variously on "Film Narrative in Perspective", "Memoirs and Portraits" and "New Waves: New Ways of Storytelling". All seminars will be conducted in Cantonese and admission is free.
To complement the screenings, a series of six workshops on film narrative with different themes will be held in Function Room on the fourth floor of the Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre on Saturdays (June 8, 15, 29 and July 6, 13, 20). Except for the workshop on June 15, which will be held from 7pm to 9pm, all other workshops will be held from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Film critic Ka Ming will talk about the history of film development and introduce film appreciation in terms of film narrative. All the workshops will be conducted in Cantonese.
"Antonioni broadened the horizon of film and his 'L'Avventura' introduced film narration to the world of modernism, changing the art forever." - Bryan Chang
Detective or suspense films might not tell the audience what is actually happening. Beginning with a search for a missing person, "L'Avventura" looks at how one reacts in the face of loss and love. With a dramatic structure, the film’s tension builds over various mysteries in the course of the search before the truth is revealed. A milestone of modernism, "L'Avventura"'s influence was huge. The film won the Jury Prize in the Cannes Film Festival 1960.
"Subverts the stereotypes of the hardboiled detective, the femme fatale and the triumph of good over evil." - Fung Mo
Directed by Polanski and starring Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson and John Huston, in "Chinatown" a wife engages a private investigator to find out if her husband, the chief engineer of the Department of Water, is having an affair. In the course of the investigation, the chief engineer dies, the real wife shows up and the detective uncovers a conspiracy of corruption and land speculation. An American classic of the 70s, "Chinatown" reveals the ills of degeneracy and power using film noir as the vehicle. As with "L'Avventura", the film has no neat ending. It won Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards 1975 and Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the Golden Globe Awards 1975.
"A mesmerizing waltz. The regrets of spent youth. Duvivier's depiction of life's cruelty is minutely exact. A classic." - Wong Ain-ling
In "Dance Programme", the ravishingly beautiful heroine loses her husband and decides to visit the 10 men she danced with 15 years before at a ball. Each visit is then told in the style of a different film genre, resembling a rich and unpredictable span of life. Director Julien Duvivier's trademarks - scrutiny of human nature and a femme fatale - are both present in this rarely seen gem. The film won Best Foreign Film at the Venice Film Festival 1937 and Best Foreign Language Film at the Kinema Junpo Awards 1939.
"With its actress-heroine, the film draws a comparison between city and country, present and past, through a story within a story; four different dimensions of space and time intertwine to build a structured world, leaving one of Hou Hsiao-hsien's particularly impressive signatures." - Li Cheuk-to
"Good Men, Good Women" is the last of the "Taiwan Trilogy" and one of director Hou's special works. Traversing several dimensions of time and space, it features an actress who plays a leftist in the 1940s in a film based on memory. As the actress' past, present and acting lives intermingle, the experiences of a fictional and a real female belonging to different ages finally merge to embody the spirit of an era. The film won Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Effects at the Golden Horse Awards 1995 and Special Jury Award at Fribourg International Film Festival 1996.
"Experimental and groundbreaking, yet poetic and lyrical, 'Silence Has No Wings' is a profound portrayal of Japan's turbulent post-World War II period." - Shu Ming
A forgotten treasure of the Japanese New Wave, "Silence Has No Wings" features a butterfly caterpillar linking locations in Kyushu, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Hokkaido, and reeling off stories about Japan's World War II culpabilities, the A-bomb and the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty. With highly refined images, the film uses poetic narration to level accusations at those who forget their responsibility for war.
"A magical and mysterious labyrinth of film blurring the line between the real and the imagined. The work is not only Rivette's experimental inquiry about the narrative language of film, but also a review of the entire history of film." - Wong Sui-kei
Director Rivette's signature film, "Celine and Julie Go Boating", is a romantic documentary on filmmaking involving two Parisian girls. They pretend to be each other or share one identity at times and take the audience back to the days when the art of film was taking shape. Rivette instills the film with a freeflowing rhythm and unexpected, whimsical plot twists. The film was awarded Special Prize of the Jury at the Locarno International Film Festival 1974. The film shows what can be achieved using an avant-garde narrative style.
All films have Chinese and English subtitles and they will be shown in 35mm.
Tickets for all screenings and workshops, priced at $55 and $80 respectively, are now available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk .
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the leaflet distributed at all URBTIX outlets. For enquiries, please call 2734 9009 or browse the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2013cc/2013cc_index.html .
Ends/Friday, April 19, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:18
Film still of "Chinatown" (1974).
Film still of "Dance Programme" (1937).
Film still of "Good Men, Good Women" (1995).
"Silence Has No Wings" (1966) - ©1967 TOHO CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved
Film still of "Celine and Julie Go Boating" (1974).