|Hong Kong Hero: A Tribute to
Director Johnny To
These films will screen at the Egyptian June 3 - 5, 2005.
Hong Kongs contemporary cinema is graced by a number
of filmmakers who are gradually becoming better known and appreciated by an international
circle of critics and fans, including Stephen Chow, Ringo Lam, and particularly Johnnie
To. Also credited as To Kei-fung or Du Qi Feng (and his first name is alternately
spelled "Johnny" or "Johnnie"!), To is best known for his tough,
violent cop and gangster movies such as the phenomenal RUNNING OUT OF TIME and THE
MISSION. But hes also directed an impressive range of films in other genres
including martial arts fantasies, melodramas, and ironic, anti-sentimental dramas. To
began his career in television in the 1970s; he directed his first film in 1980 and
eventually created his own production company, Milky Way Image, in 1994 with screenwriter,
director and producer Wai Ka-fai.
The American Cinematheque is thrilled to present the first-ever Los
Angeles Tribute to this versatile and gifted director showing some of his best films (THE
MISSION and RUNNING OUT OF TIME I and II) along with juicy novelties (HELP!
and RUNNING ON KARMA). We will also be premiering his newest film, BREAKING NEWS
(this film will screen at The Egyptian only). The series also includes a
terrific documentary on contemporary Hong Kong cinema directed by Postif
journalists Hubert Niogret and Lorenzo Codelli.
Friday, June 17 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Premiere!!
HONG KONG CINEMA, 2001, 59 min. An illuminating
documentary on recent HK cinema from Positif journalists Hubert Niogret
and Lorenzo Codelli, who compile a fascinating diary of interviews with the
islands most influential filmmakers and producers including Johnnie To, Peter
Chan, Wong Kar Wai, Tsui Hark, Bay Logan, Riley Ip and Tony Leung.
THE MISSION (CHEONG FENG),
1999, Milky Way Image Co., 81 min. Dir. Johnnie To. Probably Tos best
action film, THE MISSION brings together an all-star HK cast, including Francis Ng,
Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Jackie Lui Chung-yin, Roy Cheung, Suet Lam, Simon Yam, Tin Lam
Wong and Eddy Ko. Five professional killers are hired to protect a Triad boss who has
just escaped an assassination attempt. One of the bodyguards ends up having an affair with
the bosss wife, and the plot becomes breathtakingly intense when the ganglord asks
his companions to eliminate him. The movie includes many remarkable sequences, in
particular a long, kinetic shoot-out in a shopping mall.
>> Also playing at the Egyptian on June 3.
Saturday, June 18 - 7:30 PM
RUNNING OUT OF TIME (AAU
CHIN), 1999, Tai Seng, 93 min, Dir. Johnnie To. Realizing he has only a few
weeks left to live, professional killer Cheung (Andy Lau from HOUSE OF FLYING
DAGGERS) seeks revenge for his father, and in the process, challenges a masterful cop (Lau
Ching Wan) to capture him. A typically violent Johnnie To cop vs. gangster action movie
that is also sometimes a comedy. Hero and anti-hero are pictured as two faces of the same
coin, and, in the never-ending chase, the two men form the typical To portrait of what is
good and bad in human beings. A 1999 Hong Kong film award nominee that was presented at
the Berlin Film Festival the same year and established Johnnie Tos international
reputation. A must see!! With Shiu Hung Hui and Yo Yo Mung.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2 (AAU CHIN 2),
2001, Tai Seng, 95 min, Dir. Johnnie To. This sequel once again stars the great Lau
Ching Wan as Inspector Ho Shong Sang, this time opposed by Ekin Cheng (HELP!) as a
criminal who steals a precious art object for ransom and challenges the police department
to capture him. Although some argue the merits of the original vs. the sequel, this
contains some of Tos most astonishing sequences, including the crazy and hilarious
bike ride through the dark, narrow streets of Hong Kong. Also starring Kelly Lin and Shiu
>> Also playing at the Egyptian on June 4.
Sunday, June 19 - 6:00 PM
HELP! (LAT SAU WUI CHEUN), 2000, Tai
Seng, 92 min. Dirs. Johnnie To, Ka- Fai Wai. Ekin Cheng, Jordon Chan and Cecilia
Cheung are three dedicated young doctors trying to cope with the apathy and opportunism of
their colleagues in this hilarious and sarcastic comedy on the conditions in Hong Kong
hospitals. Director To touches peaks of Bu˝uelian surrealism as he tackles a serious
social problem, and, in the process, shows how brilliantly he is able to jump from genre
>> Also playing at the Egyptian on June 5.