Presented in collaboration with Aint it cool News.com
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
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 3 7:30 PM
BREAKING NEWS (DAI SI GEIN), 2004, Palm Pictures, 90
min. Dir Johnnie To. This most recent To movie is once again a jaw-dropping
combination of social-cultural critique and rocket-fueled action. The power of the media
rules our society and is capable of deciding the life and death of anyone, including even
the police. A group of five robbers get away after a bank robbery, and despite the media
coverage, investigator Cheung manages to find their hideout while the news programs
manipulate everyone and everything in sight in their voracious hunger for a story.
Starring Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung, Siu-Fai Cheung and Shiu Hung Hui. The film will be
released by Palm Pictures this Fall/Winter.
>> Egyptian Exclusive!
Friday, June 3 9:30 PM
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.
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, Bey Logan, Riley Ip and Tony Leung.
>> Also playing at the Aero on June 17
Saturday, June 4 7:00 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 Hung Hui. >>
Also playing at the Aero on June 18.
Sunday, June 5 5:00 PM
RUNNING ON KARMA (DAAI CHEK LIU), 2003, Tai Seng, 93
min Dir. Johnnie To. The great and intense Andy Lau again stars, this time
as an ex-monk turned exotic male dancer (!), who teams with a female cop (Cecilia Cheung)
to capture a crazed serial killer in this wonderfully crazy mix of martial arts,
supernatural and comic elements. The plot will eventually reveal different incarnations of
both main characters and drag the spectator into a world of paranormal tension. Andy Lau
proves once more to be one of the most talented and versatile performers in Asian cinema. An
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 to genre.
>> Also playing at the Aero on June 19.