13 items from 2015
Indian filmmaker and Busan juror Anurag Kashyap (“Bombay Velvet”), says that he is grateful to Korean cinema for being a major influence on his work. Speaking at the New Currents jury press conference on Friday, Kashyap singled out Korean director Park Chan-wook for his “J.S.A.: Joint Security Area” (2000) and “Oldboy” (2003). “I was first exposed to Korean cinema and the Busan festival 15 years ago, and it was a real eye opener,” Kashyap said.
The jury is headed by producer-director-actress Sylvia Chang who was elated with her best actress nomination Friday at Taiwan’s Golden Horse awards. She stars in Johnnie To’s “Office” (which plays in the festival’s Window on Asian Cinema), which she co-wrote as an adaptation of her stage play “Design For Living.”
Responding to media a question about her status as a pin up for a whole generation, fellow juror and actress Nastassja Kinski played down the compliment. »
- Naman Ramachandran
In her native Taiwan, Sylvia Chang was a wild child who quit school to become a radio DJ. After breaking her acting contract with Golden Harvest because she didn’t want to be pushed around, Chang instead became best friends with the studio’s legendary boss Raymond Chow. Now based in Hong Kong, she has a much quieter demeanor, but is a major force in Greater Chinese cinema as one of Asia’s most accomplished multi-hyphenates. The Busan Film Festival sees her as actress in Jia Zhangke’s “Mountains May Depart,” director and producer of “Murmur of the Hearts,” and writer, star and playwright of Johnnie To’s “Office.”
Which of the three movies came first?
- Patrick Frater
With his flair for elaborate choreography and sinuous camerawork, it was only a matter of time before that Hong Kong genre mixmaster Johnnie To got around to directing a full-blown musical. And he’s pulled it off with unsurprising elan in “Office,” a sparkling, visually inventive romp through the executive suites of a Chinese financial company immediately before and after the 2008 global financial crisis. Adapted by lead actress Sylvia Chang from her hit stage play “Design for Living,” this boardroom tuner charmingly mines humor, romance and no shortage of eccentric lyrics from the world of spreadsheets and stock portfolios, but its real achievement is a formal and conceptual one, conjuring a tongue-in-cheek vision of modern capitalism in splendidly Brechtian terms (and in widescreen 3D, to boot). An elaborate construct and a stylish treat for To’s fans, “Office” may prove too singular an operation to earn high profits outside Asia. »
- Justin Chang
★★★☆☆ Adapted for the big screen by writer-actor Sylvia Chang from her own play Design For Living, attempting to pigeonhole Johnnie To's latest effort Office (2015) is a case of multiple square pegs and even more round holes. Classifying the part-musical, part-satire, part-comedy, part-Orwellian tale of consumerism and capitalism would do a disservice to the integrity of the genre-warping whole. A pre-economic crash rhapsody, set in Hong Kong on the eve of the global calamity, it encapsulates the love, greed, individual agendas, corporate intrigue and ulterior motives held by employees of Jones & Sunn, a multi-billion dollar company readying itself to go public at the most inopportune of times.
- CineVue UK
In a wild change of pace, Hong Kong director Johnnie To delivers an all-singing, occasionally-dancing adaptation of Sylvia Chang's successful stage play, Design for Living. While the script has undergone numerous changes along the way, and boasts brand new musical numbers from Dayo Lu and Lin Xi, Office still charts the in-house dealings of billion-dollar company Jones & Sunn as they prepare to go public on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis. To covered similar territory previously - and better - in 2011's Life Without Principle, but his film does display a keen understanding of Hong Kong's workplace environment and rituals.Embracing the material's theatrical roots, To mounts a lavish production, filmed on a single evolving set, in which portions of Jones & Sunn become everything...
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Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
It’s easy to see why Ninotchka works as well as it does, and why it’s one of the best films from Hollywood’s golden age and of arguably Hollywood’s greatest year. Just look at the talent involved. Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and Walter Reisch were all seasoned writers, though with their best work admittedly still to come. Ernst Lubitsch had directed a number of excellent silent films in Germany, had hit the ground running once in Hollywood, making his first American film with no less a star than Mary Pickford (Rosita ), and after a series of charming musical comedies, many with Maurice Chevalier, directed the more sublime and sophisticated comedies for which he now best known, films like Trouble in Paradise (1932) and Design for Living (1933). While this was happening, Greta Garbo was working »
- Jeremy Carr
The latest batch of Criterion films offers Preston Sturges screwball romp The Palm Beach Story, Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom, and Martin Rosen’s animated adaptation of Watership Down and it seems there’s little connective tissue between them. So let’s start with The Palm Beach Story. Preston Sturges was in the middle of his incredible run at Paramount when he made 1942’s The Palm Beach Story (a run that includes Christmas in July, The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels and The Miracle at Morgan’s Creek), but as the supplements note, it was the beginning of the end. The film didn’t do that well at the box office, and Sturges - one of the first writer/directors - was no longer in favor on the lot. None of that is reflected in the finished product as the film itself is great, but that said, Sturges »
- Andre Dellamorte
Gazing into the crystal ball, Screen rounds up its Cannes predictions.
With the unveiling of Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection now exactly three weeks away buzz over the titles that Thierry Fremaux and his team will select for the 68th edition is hitting fever pitch.
Earlier the week, Cannes unveiled its poster featuring Ingrid Bergman to mark the centenary of the late big screen’s birth and it was announced that Stig Bjorkman’s documentary Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words would show in Cannes Classics as part of the commemorations.
For the rest of the Official Selection, except perhaps the opening film which is traditionally revealed in advance, Cannes watchers will have to wait for the announcement press conference in Paris on April »
With the world’s most prestigious film festival just around the corner, cineastes have been lasciviously salivating about what’s going to show up at Cannes, with wish lists appearing almost immediately after Berlin (a fest that had one of their most impressive line-ups ever) announced their awards. The remainder of the 2015 fest circuit looks to be a plentiful, diverse porridge, with many of the world’s most renowned auteurs’ sporting brand new titles. While many prognosticators will be sharing the same lists, more or less, hopes are incredibly high for a handful of sure bets, and a gaggle of hopefuls. The main competition always seems easier to postulate, though Thierry Fremaux always throws a few curves, (After the Battle in 2012, The Hunt in 2013 or last year’s Timbuktu, which won the Cesar for Best Picture recently, are a couple ready examples of under-the-radar titles).
Italy seems primed for saturation at the fest. »
- Nicholas Bell
"Art of the Real" is returning to the Film Society of Lincoln Center with a celebration of Agnès Varda (who will attend!) and more:
"The 2015 edition, taking place April 10-26, will again feature dozens of new works from around the world and in a variety of genres alongside retrospective and thematic selections. Opening Night will premiere new works by João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata (The Last Time I Saw Macao, Mahjong), Eduardo Williams, and Matt Porterfield (I Used to Be Darker), with all filmmakers attending the evening."
Above: For The Criterion Collection, kogonada's new video essay, "Mirrors of Bergman." Abderrahmane Sissako, the director of Timbuktu, will be heading Cannes' Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury. In his NY Times home video column, J. Hoberman writes on Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Richard Brody writes about Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of »
Johnnie To is defying expectations once again with this trailer from one of his latest projects, the film Design For Living. Design For Living is an adaptation of the 2009 musical and reunites To with stars Chow Yun Fat and Sylvia Chang. The trio last worked together on To's breakout drama All About Ah-Long in 1989. Eason Chan and Tang Wei also star.I am already in love with the production design in this film. I wonder how much of this comes from To's admiration of French New Wave cinema. We would not be surprised if Design For Living is part of the lineup at this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival next month....
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Exclusive: Projects include an omnibus about Hong Kong’s history that brings together eight of the territory’s leading directors.
Media Asia is unleashing a trio of Johnnie To projects at Efm, including an omnibus about Hong Kong’s history that brings together eight of the territory’s leading directors.
The as-yet-untitled project will include segments directed by To, John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Ringo Lam, Patrick Tam, Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo-ping. To will also produce through his Hong Kong-based Milkyway Image.
“The idea is that each of them will focus on one decade of Hong Kong’s history, although it may not end up being as strict as that,” explained Media Asia general manager and head of sales and international co-productions Fred Tsui.
Ann Hui has already started shooting her segment, set in 1940s Hong Kong, which delves into social commentary with a tale about kindergarten classes that were held on rooftops.
To is also »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
Taiwanese filmmaker and actress Sylvia Chang has been chosen as the Filmmaker in Focus at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff).
The festival (March 23-April 6) plans to screen 13 of Chang’s films, including the world premiere of her new work, Murmur Of The Hearts.
Other films to be screened include Legend Of The Mountain (1979), That Day, On The Beach (1983), Passion (1986), Queen Of Temple Street (1990), Tempting Heart (1999) and 20 30 40 (2004).
Chang will also attend a “Face to Face” seminar on April 5 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to share insights on her films, art and life.
Born in Chiayi City, Taiwan, Chang moved with her family to Hong Kong and New York before returning to Taiwan aged 15.
She made her acting debut in 1973 in Wei Lo’s The Flying Tiger and her directing debut in 1981 by completing Once Upon A Time, after the film’s original director, Tu Chung-hsun, died in a car accident.
In 1995, Chang »
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
13 items from 2015
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