Hong Kong Director Patrick Lung Kong Celebrated by Museum of the Moving Image in Film Series, 7/15-24

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Hong Kong Director Patrick Lung Kong Celebrated by Museum of the Moving Image in Film Series, 7/15-24

Patrick Lung Kong will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Tsui Hark to open this nine-film series, with rare titles screened for the first time in New York.

Drawing from a rich legacy of Cantonese films, while promoting a strong sense of singularity through his formal inventiveness, director Patrick Lung Kong (b. 1935) had a profound impact on following generations of filmmakers, including John Woo and Tsui Hark, and remains widely acknowledged as one of the great pioneers of Hong Kong cinema. To pay tribute to the achievements of this prodigious filmmaker, Museum of the Moving Image will present Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong, a nine-film screening series featuring rare titles imported from Hong Kong, from August 15 through 24, 2014. The series is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office New York and presented with support from the New York Asian Film Festival/Subway Cinema.

On the opening night of the series, Friday, August 15, Lung Kong will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from director Tsui Hark, before a screening of The Story of a Discharged Prisoner, Lung Kong's influential film that was remade by Tsui Hark and John Woo as A Better Tomorrow. The two directors will participate in a conversation with Grady Hendrix of the New York Asian Film Festival/Subway Cinema and Hong Kong programmer-critic Sam Ho. Lung Kong and Tsui Hark will also appear in person together on Saturday, August 16, for a screening of A Better Tomorrow.

Tickets for these special events are $15 public / $9 Museum members and free for Silver Screen members and above. Advance tickets are available online at movingimage.us or by phone at 718 777 6800. Tickets for other screenings in the series are free with Museum admission ($12 adults / $9 seniors and students) and free for Museum members. For more information about membership, visit http://movingimage.us/support/membership.

In addition, Lung Kong will participate in discussions after all screenings during the opening weekend of the series August 15 through 17. Of the nine films in the series, seven were directed by Lung Kong (the others are A Better Tomorrow, directed by John Woo, and Love Massacre, directed by Patrick Lam and produced by Lung Kong).

Upholding his vow to change the face of Cantonese film in the late 1960s, Patrick Lung Kong is revered for his visionary and unapologetic portrayals of sensitive social matters, and for bringing a new formal inventiveness to genre filmmaking. In addition to the fourteen films he wrote and directed between 1966 and 1979, Lung Kong also had a prolific acting career, starring in 60 films between 1958 and 2002. Despite the enduring acclaim for Lung Kong's career worldwide, the work of this influential director is rarely shown outside of Hong Kong.

"Patrick Lung Kong's fervent personal convictions as a filmmaker and the body of work in which they are actualized deserve a commemoratory reexamination. For many, this series will also serve as an important introduction to a greatly underappreciated auteur," said Aliza Ma, the Museum's Assistant Curator of Film, who organized the series.

Despite being born into a family of entertainers (his father was a Cantonese opera singer), and demonstrating an early passion for cinema, Patrick Lung Kong's film career began by chance. While working as a stockbroker, Lung Kong was recruited by a Catholic priest for a film project, which led to his discovery by director Chow Sze Luk, who was head of the Shaw Brothers's Cantonese Division. Lung Kong began acting in the 1950s with Shaw Studio, where he also learned the filmmaking craft by observing and assisting Chow and other key directors of the time. By the age of 30, Lung worked his way through acting, screenwriting, producing, marketing, and distribution. In 1966 Lung Kong graduated to directing with his first feature, Prince of Broadcasters, which shook up the Cantonese film system with its sensational and youthful tone and editing style. However, it was the style and subject of his second film, The Story of a Discharged Prisoner (1967), which placed Lung Kong on the map as an emerging and influential voice. The film, which expresses sympathy for an ex-convict who tries to avoid being pulled back into crime, was the first to be shot in the slums of Hong Kong, and proved to be an important harbinger for the director's portrayal of seldom addressed social matters and his uncompromising agenda: to alter the landscape of Cantonese cinema. The Story of a Discharged Prisoner was reimagined decades later by its admirers John Woo and Tsui Hark as A Better Tomorrow (1986), itself a watershed film in the emergence of Hong Kong action cinema.

Lung Kong went on to make many of the critically acclaimed films of the period, each with a unique social dimension, including Teddy Girls (1969), an enthralling youth-in-revolt film; Hiroshima 28 (1974), which addressed the tragic effects of the atom bomb; and Mitra (1976), a love story set amidst a Middle Eastern backdrop. Lung Kong ran into immense controversy and censorship with Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1977), a film loosely based around Albert Camus's 1947 novel The Plague, which depicts the apocalyptic horrors resulting from a deadly epidemic spreading within a city. Taken as an allegory of Hong Kong's postwar milieu, and bringing forth issues such as the state of public health, sanitation, and urban planning, it created a clash between critics and censors.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office New York, and supported by the New York Asian Film Festival/Subway cinema. Special thanks to the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

SCHEDULE FOR 'YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW: THE CINEMA OF PATRICK LUNG KONG,' AUGUST 15-24, 2014

Screenings will take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria, and are included with Museum admission and free for Museum members unless otherwise noted.

The Story of a Discharged Prisoner
With Patrick Lung Kong and Tsui Hark in person
FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 7:00 P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1967, 119 mins. Digibeta. With Patrick Tse, Patrick Lung Kong. Patrick Lung Kong's breakthrough action-melodrama is the first Hong Kong film shot on-location in the slums, profoundly reinvigorating the genre, and reimagined decades later by its admirers John Woo and Tsui Hark as A Better Tomorrow (1986). Patrick Tse (in a star-making performance) plays Lee Cheuk-a prisoner released after years of incarceration to find his family estranged and his ex-fiancée the mistress of powerful triad boss. In the rapidly modernizing streets of Hong Kong, Cheuk tries to stay straight as he faces harassment from the violent triads and the hardened police. A vital film in the revival of post-war Cantonese-language cinema, The Story of a Discharged Prisoner has been celebrated by Time Out Hong Kong as one of the 100 greatest Hong Kong films of all time.
Tickets: $15 public / $9 Museum members and free for Silver Screen members and above. Advance tickets available online at movingimage.us or by phone at 718 777 6830.

Teddy Girls
With Patrick Lung Kong in person
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1969, 107 mins. Digibeta. With Josephine Siao, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Nancy Sit Kar-yin, Patrick Lung Kong. A revenge thriller unlike any other, Lung Kong confronts themes of reform and revenge by turning his focus to the subject of disaffected youth. Young Josephine, an audacious performance by a 22-year-old Josephine Siao, is sentenced to an all-girl reform school on the periphery of Hong Kong after a violent bar brawl. Along with a few accomplices, she escapes from the intolerable administration, only to find the streets an even more hostile environment, driving the girls to blood-soaked vengeance. An enthralling youth-in-revolt film from the rare perspective of its female protagonists, shot in indelible widescreen color photography, Teddy Girls is one of Lung Kong's most enduring triumphs.

A Better Tomorrow
With Patrick Lung Kong and Tsui Hark in person
SATURDAY, AUGUST16, 7:00PM
Dir. John Woo. Produced by Tsui Hark. 1986. 97 mins. 35mm. With Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung. Produced by Tsui Hark, John Woo. This reimagining of The Story of a Discharged Prisoner became an international sensation, making Chow Yun-fat an icon and catapulting Chinese action cinema onto the world stage. After a deal goes sour, triad member Sung is imprisoned and his best friend Mark is crippled. Released from prison three years later, Sung reconnects with Mark for some bloody score-settling.
Tickets: $15 public / $9 Museum members and free for Silver Screen members and above. Advance tickets available online at movingimage.us or by phone at 718 777 6830.

Hiroshima 28
With Patrick Lung Kong in person
SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1976, 98 mins. Archival 35mm print from Hong Kong Film Archive. With Josephine Siao, Charlie Chin, Chiao Chiao, Patrick Lung Kong. Filmed on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Hiroshima 28 was the first all-Hong Kong crew to make a feature in Japan. Lung Kong anchors a bittersweet melodrama in the historical milieu in the months following the horrific events of August 6, 1945. Josephine Siao-a star whose career had become synonymous with the filmmaker's work over the past decade-plays a young tour guide to a Hong Kong reporter researching the tragic effects of the atom bomb, their journey forming an odyssey through the city's ruins.

Love Massacre
With Patrick Lung Kong in person
SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 6:00P.M.
Dir. Patrick Tam. 1981, 91 mins. Restored 35mm print from the Hong Kong Film Archive. With Brigitte Lin, Kuo-Chu Chang, Charlie Chin, Ann Hui. Produced by Patrick Lung Kong. A vivid example of Hong Kong New Wave's artistic ambitions and formal inventiveness, Lung Kong teamed up with celebrated director Patrick Tam to produce this highly stylized slasher-thriller with an all-star cast in San Francisco. Brigitte Lin plays a vivacious student whose boyfriend turns into a dangerous stalker after the suicide of his sister. Painting the city's coastline in striking Rothko palettes-aided by William Chang, later responsible for the ravishing mise en scene of many Wong Kar-wai films, including In the Mood for Love-Tam evokes the minimal geometry of Antonioni's landscapes and the forceful dramatic suspense of Mario Bava in this tale of deranged love.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
SATURDAY AUGUST 23, 2:00P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1970, 72 mins. Digibeta. With Paul Chang Chung, Chang Yang, Nancy Sit Kar-yin. Inspired by Albert Camus's The Plague, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow is perhaps Lung Kong's grandest vision, and a testament to his uncompromising humanist convictions. From a rat infestation in the slums, a fast-spreading virus grips Hong Kong, inducing panic when the government is slow to react. Mercilessly cut down by censors for its frank portrayal of class and political conflicts at the time of its release, the film found new critical acclaim in during the SARS outbreak decades later. In 2011, it was placed on Hong Kong Film Archive's list of the 100 must-see Hong Kong films of all time.

The Window
SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 4:00 P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1968, 106 mins. Digibeta. With Patrick Tse Yin, Josephine Siao, Patrick Lung Kong. Lung Kong's first color feature expands on thematic concerns supplanted in The Story of a Discharged Prisoner made one year before, situating issues of social reform within an impassioned romantic melodrama. The relationship between a career criminal and a blind girl (a stunning performance by Josephine Siao) form a portrait of marginalized life in a rapidly-modernizing Hong Kong. The profound chemistry between Patrick Tse and Josephine Siao onscreen served as the primary inspiration for the famed hit man-blind girl pairing in John Woo's award-winning film The Killer (1989).

Pei Shih
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 3:00P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1972, 115 mins. Digibeta. With Chen Chen, Charlie Chin, Patrick Lung Kong. Lung Kong collaborated with accomplished novelist Meng Junto pen the script for this tale of heartbreak and doomed romance. The mounting despair of two solipsistic characters headed towards an emotionally shattering break-up is depicted through an elliptical series of flashbacks.

Mitra
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 6:00P.M.
Dir. Patrick Lung Kong. 1977, 81 mins. Digibeta. With Alan Tang, Sylvia Chang, Melinda Chen Manling, Patrick Lung Kong. Mitra was the first Hong Kong film to be made in Iran and the last of Lung Kong's directorial works to be released theatrically. Made in an act of courage and of opportunism with a small crew on the occasion of the director's sojourn to the Tehran International Film Festival to premiere Hiroshima 28, the film tells a love story set upon the expansive desert backdrops of the Middle East.

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