Old School Kung Fu Fest

Hot off their excellent New York Asian Film Festival program, the folks at Subway Cinema have announced the lineup for their Old School Kung Fu mini-festival playing at the Metrograph in August. The theme this time is “Wonder Women of the Martial Arts” with seven features, five of which will be playing on 35mm. Every one of the films is a bona fide classic, and I’ve written or podcasted about all of them at one time or another of the last few years. Here’s an index:

Hapkido (Huang Feng, 1972)
The Fate of Lee Khan (King Hu, 1973)
My Young Auntie (Lau Kar-leung, 1981)
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (Chor Yuen, 1972)

Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1966) Also podcast
A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1971)
Yes, Madam! (Corey Yuen, 1985)

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Johnnie To: Cops and Robbers

This week the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art begins an outstanding series of Johnnie To films, running through August 6. It focuses almost exclusively on his crime-related films and includes a number of movies which, even if they’re not outright inspirations for or films inspired by his work, certainly share a similar sensibility. I’ve written or podcasted about several of the films in the series over the last few years, here’s an index, listed in the order in which they’re showing.

Drug War (Johnnie To, 2012) (Podcast)
The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
Three (Johnnie To, 2016)

Blind Detective (Johnnie To, 2013) (Further Notes)
Office (Johnnie To, 2015)
Exiled (Johnnie To, 2006)

That last entry, for Exiled, is the episode of the They Shot Pictures podcast we did on To way back in March of 2013. While the episode focuses primarily on that film alongside Throw Down and My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, I believe we discuss most of the other films playing in the SFMOMA series at least a little bit. The idea behind that episode was to counter the all-too-frequent division in studies of To’s work between his crime films and his comedies, something which this series unfortunately perpetuates (and, to be fair, which To has frequently encouraged, at least in discussing his films from the early 2000s).

I have to say it’s also a bit odd that the only films being offered as contextualization for To’s work are European and American crime dramas (and one Seijun Suzuki film), rather than films by his contemporaries like John Woo, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark, or even something like Infernal Affairs, which both shows the influence the early Milkway films and in turn influenced his later crime films like Breaking News and the Election series.

But this is of course the difficulty I have with Johnnie To: there’s simply too much to discuss, too much context. His filmography is too vast to cover with any kind of concision, his network of collaborators and his impact on Hong Kong cinema too broad, his set of precursors too wide-ranging, to summarize with a mere handful of films. My chronological Johnnie To project became bogged down in contextualization, branching out in all directions through cinema past and present, even though it was confined only to Chinese language film. The SFMOMA series is great, and I’m extremely jealous we’ll likely never see anything like it here in the Seattle area. But it’s only a fraction of an ever-expanding whole that is the cinema of Johnnie To.

The 2017 New York Asian Film Festival

As we here in the Seattle area get a handful of Hong Kong films for Handover weekend, on the other side of the country the New York Asian Film Festival begins. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be contributing a bit to InReview Online‘s festival coverage, and I’ll link to that here when it posts, but in the meantime here are some reviews I’ve written about some of the films that are playing in the festival over the next two weeks.

SoulMate (Derek Tsang, 2016)
The Taking of Tiger Mountain (Tsui Hark, 2014)
Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back (Tsui Hark, 2017)

This Is Not What I Expected (Derek Hui, 2017)
Mad World (Wong Chun, 2016)
Vampire Cleanup Department (Yan Pak-wing & Chiu Sin-hang, 2017)

Duckweed (Han Han, 2016)
The Village of No Return (Chen Yu-hsun, 2017)

At InReview Online:

Extraordinary Mission (Alan Mak & Felix Chong, 2017)
Blood of Youth (Yang Shupeng, 2016)
The Gangster’s Daughter (Chen Mei-juin, 2017)
This Is Not What I Expected (Derek Hui, 2017)
Someone To Talk To (Liu Yulin, 2016)
Godspeed (Chung Mong-hong, 2016)

SIFF 2017 Index

This is an Index of my coverage of the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival. All the writing was at Seattle Screen Scene.

Full Reviews:

Cook Up a Storm (Raymond Yip, 2017)
Vampire Cleanup Department (Yan Pak-wing & Chiu Sin-hang, 2017)
Mr. Long (Sabu, 2017)

Capsule Reviews:

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016)
My Journey through French Cinema (Bertrand Tavernier, 2016)
Manifesto (Julian Rosefeldt, 2015)
God of War (Gordon Chan, 2017)
Landline (Gillian Robespierre, 2017)
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017)
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena, 2017)
Have a Nice Day (Liu Jian, 2017)
Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)

Podcasts:

The Frances Farmer Show #12: SIFF 2017 Part One

Previews:

SIFF 2017: Week One Preview
SIFF 2017: Week Two Preview
SIFF 2017: Week Three Preview
SIFF 2017: Week Four Preview 

List:

SIFF 2017 Rankings

VIFF 2016: Index

This is an index of my writing on the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Introduction and Proposed Schedule – Sept 20, 2016
Toni Erdmann – Oct 4, 2016
Never Eat Alone and The Last Poems Trilogy – Oct 4, 2016
Maudite Poutine and Pop Song – Oct 4, 2016
Crosscurrent – Oct 4, 2016
Yellowing – Oct 5, 2016
Things to Come – Oct 15, 2016
After the Storm – Oct 15, 2016
Hermia and Helena – Oct 15, 2016

Festival Recap
VIFF 2016 Rankings

VIFF 2016: Introduction and Proposed Schedule

I’ll be back at the Vancouver International Film Festival this year, and we’re planning extensive coverage over at Seattle Screen Scene. This year’s lineup looks like it might be the best since 2012, packed with promising European titles, the best selection of Asian films on the North American festival circuit and a renewed emphasis on cutting-edge Canadian cinema. All of my reviews this year are going to be over at SSS, but I’ll have an additional index of them over here, and I figured this would be a more appropriate home for my proposed schedule.

These are the films I’m hoping to see. Showings that conflict with each other are listed without a space in-between, with the film I’m leaning toward attending listed first.

Continue reading

SIFF 2016 Index

This is an Index of my coverage of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. All the writing was at Seattle Screen Scene.

Reviews:

Report #1: Sunset Song, Concerto: A Beethoven Journey, A Scandal in Paris, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle, Love & Friendship
Report #2: The Big Road, The Island Funeral, Heaven Can Wait, The Final Master, My Beloved Bodyguard
Report #3: The Bitter Stems, Thithi, Trivisa, The Mobfathers, Tag

Podcasts:

The Frances Farmer Show #6: SIFF 2016 Preview, The Long Day Closes and Tokyo Sonata
The Frances Farmer Show #7: SIFF 2016 Midpoint Report
The Frances Farmer Show #8: SIFF 2016 Wrap-Up

Previews:

Week One
Week Two
Week Three and Beyond