Monday, 18 April 2005

focus on wong kar-wai (hong kong)

ACMI is proud to present Australia's first major retrospective of the films from pre-eminent Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, opening with the Melbourne and Sydney premieres of his much-anticipated new feature 2046 at ACMI Cinemas (Melbourne, May 5) and Dendy Opera Quays (Sydney, May 14).

Screening in Official Competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, 2046 is the long-awaited companion piece to In The Mood For Love (2000), the latter described by The Guardian as one of the "most romantic movies in recent years". Flirting with time travel and sci-fi themes, 2046 centres on novelist Mo Wan (the ever-dashing Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and his dalliances with several women played by reigning Asian screen goddesses Gong Li, Ziyi Zhang (House of Flying Daggers), Faye Wong, Carina Lau and Maggie Cheung (in a brief cameo).

One of only a handful of Hong Kong Chinese directors whose name is readily recognised in the West, Wong Kar-wai's films have generated a massive global art-house following and international acclaim, especially at the Cannes Film Festival where his work has been awarded Best Director (Happy Together), Best Actor (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, In the Mood For Love) and received three Golden Palm nominations (2046, In the Mood For Love, Happy Together).

Influenced by the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, Akira Kurosawa and the French New Wave, Wong Kar-wai's lush and beautiful cinema style regularly attracts A-list Asian screen stars and canto-pop idols of the calibre of Tony Leung Chiu-wai (In The Mood for Love, Hero), Maggie Cheung (In The Mood for Love, Hero, Irma Vep), Leslie Cheung (Happy Together, Days of Being Wild) and Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Days of Being Wild).

"Wong is a transcendent filmmaker on two counts," says Stephen Teo, author of the book Wong Kar-wai, which will be launched as part of the Melbourne retrospective on Saturday 7 May.   "First, though his films have brought wider attention to the Hong Kong cinema, he is able to rise above his Hong Kong identity and excel beyond the pulp-fiction limitations of genre that seem to tie down much of Hong Kong cinema; second, as a post-modern artist in Western eyes, his films exceed facile stereotypes of the delicate and exotic East."

A true collaborator, Wong Kar-wai's key creative relationships include his long term working association with Australian-born cinematographer Christopher Doyle who has shot all of Kar-wai's films from 1991's Days of Being Wild right up to 2046.  With a shooting style synonymous with Hong Kong Chic, Doyle - whose other credits include Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American, the martial arts epic Hero and the forthcoming Merchant Ivory film The White Countess - forms the subject of the documentary Orientations, which will be presented as a special filmmaker Q & A screening in both cities.

"Wong Kar-wai's mesmerising filmmaking gives expression to the contemporary Hong Kong identity in all its East-meets-West complexity providing a valuable insight into the dynamics of our region as well as contributing significantly to the burgeoning interest in Chinese language cinema internationally." says ACMI Cinema Programs Manager and Focus on Wong Kar-wai curator, Clare Stewart. "ACMI is thrilled to play its part fostering artistic and industrial connections with Hong Kong and to bring Australian audiences films that engage with the Chinese experience." 
Focus on Wong Kar-wai will be a rare opportunity for both devotees and first timers to luxuriate in the passionate and vibrant work of the man Time Magazine has dubbed "the most romantic filmmaker in the world."

Focus on Wong Kar-wai is presented by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in association with Dendy Cinemas and Hopscotch. Supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

2046 releases nationally on May 26 through Hopscotch.

ACMI thanks Accent Film Entertainment and Dendy Films for their support in the promotion of Focus on Wong Kar-wai.


Feature films:
2046 (Melbourne Premiere on Thursday 5 May 7pm)
Days of Being Wild
In the Mood for Love
Chunking Express
Fallen Angels
Happy Together
As Tears Goes By
Final Victory
(script by Wong Kar-wai)

Curator's Note: Ashes of Time is not deliberately excluded from this program, it is currently unavailable for screening in this territory. Wong Kar-wai's elliptical riff on the swordplay epic is a magnificent reworking of the genre that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero popularised with Western audiences. Check it out anyway you can!

All films screened twice in Melbourne (except 2046 and Final Victory)


Buenos Aires Zero Degree: The Making of Happy Together
Orientations Chris Doyle-Stirred not Shaken unclassified 18+ - special filmmaker Q & A screening in Melbourne (Saturday 14 May, 4pm) & Sydney (Sunday 15 May, 7:30pm)

Other events (Melbourne only):

Book launch Wong Kar-wai: Auteur of Time (Saturday 7 May, 5pm)

Panel Discussion with Clare Stewart (ACMI Cinemas Program Manage), Philippa Hawker (Film Writer, The Age), Stephen Teo (Author of Wong Kar-wai: Auteur of Time) and Rick Farquharson (Director of Orientations) Saturday 14 May, 2:30pm

Screenings in ACMI Cinema Lounge: WKW: Ads and Music Videos (Daily 5 - 15 May)

Further information

Danielle Poulos, Communications Coordinator, ACMI ph 03 8663 2415 m 0417 540 543
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