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Hong Kong Festival 2011: grows in August

Aucklanders get a week to recouperate between the closing of the opening leg of the NZFF and the arrival of an expanded Hong Kong Festival. The third edition of the HK event sees an expansion in the film programme plus other more business-focused events.

Rather than focus purely on recent releases, this year’s 13-film programme takes a broader look at Hong Kong cinema, reaching back to the 60s and spanning the growth of HK cinema from martial arts and musical films to its present, much broader, offering.

As the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed last year between Hong Kong and New Zealand, comes into effect this year, the festival also offers a programme of business events focused on what Hong Kong has to offer beyond being an international financial centre and a gateway to China.

The festival will also acknowledge the Hong Kong government’s NZ$1 million donation to the Canterbury earthquake appeal, auctioning off a selection of HK-related items, including return flights to HK from sponsor Cathay Pacific, with the proceeds going to Canterbury.

The two classic films on offer will be Inoue Umetsugu’s Hong Kong Nocturne (1967) (trailer); and Liu Chia-liang’s The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1977) (trailer). Both are out of the extensive Shaw Brothers catalogue, with Hong Kong Nocturne featuring Cheng Pei=Pei, recently seen here in Roseanne Liang’s My Wedding and Other Secrets.

The remainder of the programme comes from the last two years. Films from 2010 are Dante Lam’s thriller The Stool Pigeon, for which Nicholas Tse won Best Actor at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards; Derek Kwok’s Frozen (trailer); Manfred Wong’s biopic Bruce Lee, My Brother (trailer), the fourth in a recent crop of Hong Kong and Chinese films celebrating what would have been the martial artist and actor’s 70th birthday; Ann Hui’s drama All About Love; and Yan-yan Mak and Clement Cheng’s drama Merry-Go-Round (trailer).

This year’s crop, several of which opened in March’s Hong Kong International Film Festival, are Calvin Poon’s drama Hi, Fidelity; Oxide Pang’s action thriller The Detective 2 (2011), a follow-up to his 2007 The Detective – Pang is best known in the the west for Bangkok Dangerous featuring Nicholas Cage, a reworking of his award-winning 1999 film of the same title; Jing Wong’s comedy Treasure Inn (2011); Derek Tsang’s romance Lover’s Discourse (2011) (trailer); and Yan-chi Lai’s 1+1 (2011) (trailer). Not all trailers have English subtitles.

More information on schedules will be available soon from the festival website. Films screen at the Rialto in Auckland 11 – 17 August.

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