Hong Kong Film Festival to Put Spotlight on Sylvia Chang (The Hollywood Reporter)

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hong-kong-festival-sylvia-chang-769036

Hong Kong Film Festival to Put Spotlight on Sylvia Chang

Award-winning actress-director-screenwriterSylvia Chang has been named the “filmmaker in focus” at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

The 39th edition of the festival will screen 13 of her films to celebrate her career. Among the screenings will be the world premiere of her latest directorial work, Murmur of the Hearts, and her earlier work 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 appear in person at a “Face to Face” seminar on April 5 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to talk about film, art and her life.

Chang was born in 1953 in Taiwan’s Chiayi City. Along with her family, she moved to Hong Kong and New York and returned to Taiwan when she was 15. She made her screen debut in The Flying Tiger (1973), and subsequently won the best supporting actress award at the Golden Horse Awards for her work in Li Hsing‘s Posterity and Perplexity (1976). She starred in Li Han-hsiang‘s The Dream of the Red Chamber (1977) and King Hu‘s Legend of the Mountain.

She also turned her attention to work behind the camera, working as assistant director on Lung Kong’s Laugh In (1976). She later co-founded Unique Films. The company financed Ann Hui‘s feature film debut The Secret (1979), which was one of the milestones of the Hong Kong New Wave Cinema.

Chang made her directorial debut with Once Upon a Time (1981), stepping in after the original director Tu Chung-hsun was killed in a car accident. In 1986, Chang wrote, direct, and starred inPassion. Her screenplays for Siao Yu (1995), Tonight Nobody Goes Home (1996) and Tempting Heart (1999) won awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and Hong Kong Film Awards.

Chang has starred in almost a hundred films in her four-decade-long career, including blockbuster Aces Go Places (1982), as well as English-language productions Soursweet (1988) and The Red Violin (1998). She has won the Golden Horse best actress award twice, for her performances in My Grandfather (1981) and Passion. And she won the Hong Kong Film Awards best actress honor for Passion and Forever and Ever (2001).

Chang has also served as vice chair of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (2010–2013), president of the Taipei International Film Festival (2011–2014) and chairwoman of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (since 2014).

China’s female film directors (Time Out Hong Kong)

Source: http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Books__Film-Film_features/11712/Chinas-female-film-directors.html

China’s female film directors

The women at the heart of China’s film industry

First published on 9 May 2013. Updated on 4 Apr 2014.

As a slew of independent works by female Chinese directors hit festivals,Time Out speaks to the women at the heart of the industry about feminism and film.

‘There are just not many films about the middle class female experience,’ says Yang Lina, discussing the impetus behind her latest film Longing for the Rain. There are films about the lives of poor people in the countryside and the urban nouveau riche, the 41-year-old director says. But this dichotomy both nullifies the nuance of contemporary society – people are well educated or not, they have social status or they don’t – and reinforces such patterns. Making a film examining the complexities and frustrations of being a well-off woman in China is, Yang hopes, a challenge to a culture imbued with latent patriarchy. Continue reading “China’s female film directors (Time Out Hong Kong)”

Tackling the taboos of sex and desire in Hong Kong (SCMP)

Source: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/books/article/1036715/tackling-taboos-sex-and-desire-hong-kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 12:26pm
Ethics Sex and Desire in Hong Kong by Petula Sik Ying Ho and A. Ka Tat Tsang HKU Press 4 stars Hannah Hodson

Sex and Desire in Hong Kong – by Petula Sik Ying Ho and A. Ka Tat Tsang (HKU Press)

Hannah Hodson

Subjects many of us are familiar with but dare not speak about are challenged in this refreshingly candid anthology. Petula Ho Sik-ying, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, and A. Tsang Ka-tat, a professor at the University of Toronto, have compiled 15 years of community-based sexual research, giving a deeper understanding of these taboo subjects.

Split into five sections, we are provided with an insight into: Discourse, The Body, Identity, Relationships and Desire. Each section gives a rare glimpse into the intimate lives of those who took part in the studies, which are then analysed and supported with academic and scientific research.

When looking at discourse, the conflict of everyday language versus academic and professional language is taken into account.

Continue reading “Tackling the taboos of sex and desire in Hong Kong (SCMP)”

Hong Kong Female Directors Speak Out (CNN)

Source: http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/none/chat-hong-kongs-female-directors-661577

Hong Kong female directors speak out

Hong Kong’s hottest female directors, Ivy Ho, Clara Law and Heiward Mak, let us know what it’s like to be the talk of the entertainment industry’s old boys’ club

It’s the year of Hong Kong female directors. Leading the pack is Ivy Ho, director of the year’s big ticket film “Crossing Hennessy,” starring Cantopop King Jacky Cheung and comeback kid Tang Wei.

Ho has scripted 12 movies that span multiple genres in the past 24 years, among them the box office hits “Comrades: Almost a Love Story” and “July Rhapsody.” Her 2009 indie flick “Claustrophobia” also turned out to be a big hit.

Another Hong Kong female director to watch is 24-year-old Heiward Mak who wowed audiences and critics with her breakout debut “High Noon,” a raw examination of Hong Kong’s disaffected youths. Her latest work is “Ex,” starring a post-sex scandal Gillian Chung.

Finally, Clara Law is an established Hong Kong female filmmaker with a large body of work that mainly explores Asian migration and the identity of Hong Kong people. She typically appears with her partner and screenwriter Eddie Fong and the two often speak together in public appearances. Law’s notable works include critics’ favorites “Farewell China” and “Autumn Moon,” while her eleventh and latest film “Like a Dream” was nominated for the best director and best screenplay awards at the Taipei Golden Horse Awards in 2009.

CNNGo hears from the directors about their insights on just what it’s like to work as a female in Hong Kong’s film industry, dominated by testosterone-fueled martial arts flicks. Continue reading “Hong Kong Female Directors Speak Out (CNN)”

Agnès Varda hits out at European cinema’s failure to recognise women (The Guardian)

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/14/agnes-varda-european-film-awards

Agnès Varda hits out at European cinema’s failure to recognise women

Veteran French director makes impassioned plea at European film awards for more women to be celebrated across cinema

Agnès Varda, the veteran French film director best known as the mother of the new wave, has made an impassioned plea to see more women celebrated across cinema.

Accepting a lifetime achievement award at the European film awards, Varda, 86, who has been an outspoken feminist throughout her six-decade career and created some of the most interesting female protagonists in 20th-century cinema, said she was honoured to receive the award but ws disappointed by the lack of women being recognised alongside her.

“What I have noticed is that it is very sweet to receive this award but when I see the nominees here, I feel there are not enough women,” she said. “I think more women should be included. I know a lot of very good female directors and women editors and I would like them be more represented and helped by the European film academy.”

Held in the Latvian capital, Riga, the awards were a kitsch ceremony more reminiscent of the Eurovision song contest than the Oscars with the evening’s eccentricities including the host, German comedian and author Thomas Hermanns, donning pink legwarmers and doing a dance routine to Maniac on the Dancefloor.

However, a strong political current ran through the event, with an empty chair left for Crimean director Oleg Sentsov, who was recently imprisoned Russia for criticising its actions in Ukraine, while Hermanns, who is gay, told the audience: “Other countries not far from here could put me directly in jail. So I am very happy to be on this side of the Russian-Latvian border.”

The big winner of the night was Polish film Ida, which claimed five of the night’s awards including best film. The last two winners of the award, The Great Beauty and Amour, have gone on to claim the Oscar for best foreign-language film, but Pawel Pawlikowski, who also picked up the award for best director for Ida, refused to speculate on his film’s chances.

Ida, shot in black and white, tells the moving tale of a young orphan nun in 1960s Poland who visits her last remaining relative before she takes her vows and discovers her parents were Jewish and murdered in the holocaust.

Eric Abraham, one of Ida’s producers, dedicated the awards to the surviving relatives of the 3 million Polish Jews who died. Both Rebecca Lenkiewicz, the British playwright who co-wrote the screenplay for Ida with Pawlikowski, and Ewa Puszczynska, Ida’s other producer, also echoed Varda’s comments about women in cinema.

“There are a lot of women directors not recognised yet who I believe are very talented,. The same with cinematographers,” said Puszczynska. “There are various reasons why there are less women. We have families, we give birth to children, and that’s usually what keeps us back from being in the mainstream of our professions. In this industry it is still very difficult to leave to have a family and then come back. So very often it is a matter of sacrificing something, and that has lead to there being less women in the film industry than there should be.”

Lenkiewicz, who is based in London, said that for women working in both theatre and film “there is a certain arena and you have to get your boxing gloves on and be quite tough”.

“Traditionally it has been a man’s world but I think there is a wave of exciting change,” she added. “Not that we must stop fighting, we must keep the fight up because there is inequality in many areas and sexism rife throughout the industry. But I do think there is a certain energy, force and intelligence that is proclaiming ‘the women are coming and have been here for many years’, as Agnès Varda is a testament”.

The award for best actor went to Timothy Spall for his acclaimed depiction of Turner in Mike Leigh’s biopic of the artist, a role which already won the British actor best actor at the Cannes film festival and has led to him being tipped for an Oscar.

Discussing the complexities of playing a character he described as being of “implosive intellect and implosive emotion”, Spall said: “It is the most challenging role I’ve played, it’s always challenging with Mike but in a good way because he asks you to contribute and co-create the character with him. Obviously in this case we were creating a very complex and very incongruous man, different to what people expect after they see his work. It was very important to me that we found the real character inside the genius of his painting … the whole process of working with Mike Leigh is one of research and improvisation.

“There was a period after the film where I couldn’t look at a paintbrush without feeling sick but that’s because it was so much about trying to inhabit the character … The grunting is the steam that comes out of Turner’s soul.”

He added: “I’ve always drawn and doodled mad things from my head. I draw and paint a lot of angels I invent from my head. The only difference between them before and after the film is that they are much better.”

Asked after the ceremony about how he saw his chances at the Oscars, Spall said thinking about them made him feel sick.

“I don’t know about that and one doesn’t want to tempt fate,” he said, laughing. “Look, the Oscars are a big word with a small statue. It’s a lovely thing if you get one but when you boil it down to the bare essentials it’s an in-house industry award. It’s the equivalent really of Latvian businessman of the year, it just happens to be for actors in huge movies so is amplified a billion times.”

12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen also accepted the prestigious award for European achievement in world cinema. In a video tribute, actor Michael Fassbender, who has starred in all three of McQueen’s features, paid tribute to the genius and “fantastic humanity” of the director.

McQueen also spoke for the first time about his next feature film, which will be an adaptation of the 80s British television heist thriller Widows.

“It’s a great story and it’s four women lead characters, which is very different from any gangster movie I could think of or any heist movie I could think of,” he said. “I just loved the idea of working with four strong women as leads in a feature film.” He also said he had begun writing and working on his planned series with the BBC about the black experience in Britain from the 1960s to the present day, and said the project was “ticking over as we speak”.

The best actress awardwent to Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night while best comedy went to Italian film The Mafia Only Kills In Summer.

This article was amended on 15 December 2014 to correct the screenplay credit for Ida.

China’s ‘Blind Massage’ Wins Big at Golden Horse Awards

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/11/23/chinas-blind-massage-wins-big-at-golden-horse-awards/

China’s ‘Blind Massage’ Wins Big at Golden Horse Awards

2:39 pm HKT   Nov 23, 2014 CHINA REAL TIME

The Chinese film “Blind Massage” was the big winner at the 51st Golden Horse Awards on Saturday night, snatching up six trophies out of seven nominations, including the top prize for best feature film.

Directed by Chinese auteur Lou Ye, “Blind Massage” explores the lives of a group of blind massage therapists in Nanjing. The film also picked up awards for best new performer (actress Zhang Lei), adapted screenplay, cinematography, film editing and sound effects.

Hong Kong’s Ann Hui won best director for her historical epic “The Golden Era,” starring actress Tang Wei as the early 20th-century writer Xiao Hong. It was Ms. Hui’s third Golden Horse best-director win, following the 1999 film “Ordinary Heroes” and 2011’s “A Simple Life.” Continue reading “China’s ‘Blind Massage’ Wins Big at Golden Horse Awards”