"Critics' Choice 2017" to feature six films centred on music (with photos)
The series, which is presented by the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and organised by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, will be held from May 27 to September 23 at the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum.
All screenings will be accompanied by post-screening seminars hosted by the six critics. In addition, the Assistant Director of the General Education Unit of the University of Hong Kong and radio guest host, Wong Chi-chung; jazz musician Barry Lam; Assistant Professor of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Grace Mak; music critic Fung Lai-chi; and Western and Chinese opera buff Tam Wing-pong will also share their interpretations of the films at the seminars, which will be conducted in Cantonese with free admission.
"Pennebaker captures not just the charisma of Dylan in his prime, but his complicated psyche as well." This comment was made by critic Matthew Cheng on DA Pennebaker's "Don’t Look Back" (1967). In this documentary, Pennebaker gets up close with Bob Dylan, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, capturing scenes on and off the stage during Dylan's United Kingdom tour of 1965. The film commences with Dylan's new music video at the time, "Subterranean Homesick Blues", which revealed his shift from folk to rock music. The film also records Dylan's co-operation with Joan Baez and Alan Price, the appearance of Allen Ginsberg, patriarch of the Beat Generation, and Dylan's performance at the Royal Albert Hall, singing "The Times They Are A-Changing", among five of his classic tunes. Audiences will also catch a glimpse of the inner world of Dylan, in addition to his irresistible charisma.
Commenting on Ken Russell's "Mahler" (1974), critic Lam Kam-po said "Mahler's life and music are analysed to show how a work of art is derived from the struggles of its creator." The film highlights the achievements and inner struggles of Mahler - the former Director of Vienna Court Opera – including clips taken on the last train journey he took before his untimely death. With eye-popping images, Russell describes how Mahler filled his symphonies with his love of nature and his traumatic childhood memories. He also hilariously depicts the episode in which Mahler renounced his Jewish roots in order to obtain a prestigious post at the Court Opera. The film won the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 1974.
Critic Bryan Chang describes Shirley Clarke's "The Connection" (1961) as "slang and wordless songs, junkies and method acting, fictional and mock-fictional, theatrical and cinematic: the penetration into the zeitgeist." The film, which is adapted from the popular and avant-garde play "The Living Theatre" in 1959, follows a filmmaker filming several jazz musicians jamming in a shabby room, where the musicians are drug addicts struggling for their lives. The musicians play freeform piano and saxophone in the story, making it a "classic" jazz movie.
"Finding the ultimate in art on the road. The soul of a nation in a song," said critic Cheng Chuen-wai of Im Kwon-taek's "Sopyonje" (1993). This was the first Korean film to attract over 1 million viewers in Seoul alone. Set in the mid-20th century in South Korea, Yu-bong - a troubadour singer of the traditional Pansori - wanders across the country with his adopted son and daughter and trains them harshly in his art. His adopted son subsequently runs away to make his own life. In consequence, Yu-bong blinds his adopted daughter so that she is forced to stay and learn his art. The sacrifices of the female lead deeply touch the audience.
"A wordless cinematic poem in minimal music and poetic imagery," said critic Joyce Yang of Godfrey Reggio's "Koyaanisqatsi" (1982). The film is Reggio's feature debut, and also the first part of his "Qatsi Trilogy". Reggio spent seven years with cameraman Ron Fricke travelling across America, capturing images that express the clash of nature with machinery. Philip Glass' iconic music is omnipresent in this wordless film, which combines with the breathtaking images to leave the audience speechless.
Commenting on Joseph Losey's "Don Giovanni" (1979), a film adaptation of Mozart’s classic opera, critic William Lau said, "Mozart's perfect opera re-imagined in the Renaissance architecture of the Veneto region." The wealthy and handsome Don Giovanni is a notorious Spanish womaniser who sweet-talks his way into the beds of countless women. He finally lands in trouble after killing the father of a noblewoman, where the living swear revenge and the dead will supposedly join them by making their way back from hell. The film features the Italian opera star of the time, Ruggero Raimondi, alongside a cast of top notch opera singers, complete with shots of awe-inspiring Renaissance architecture.
"Koyaanisqatsi" has no subtitles, while the other films have Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets priced at $55 are now available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk). For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. For programme enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp/en_US/web/fpo/programmes/cc2017/film.html.
Ends/Thursday, April 27, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:50
Issued at HKT 17:50