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Celebrating Vietnamese Cinema: "The Children of the Village"

In person: Thuy Hang, actress In a village in central Vietnam, twenty years after a wartime massacre decimated its population and destroyed its bridge to the opposite riverbank, former guerrilla leader Mr. Thap (Trung Anh) cannot forget the pain of war. As head of the small riverside hamlet—and a survivor of that massacre—he constantly reminds his fellow villagers of the importance of revenge. But for the next generation of villagers, including Thap’s own daughter, matters are less clear cut. Through trials and tribulations, the stubborn village elder finally discovers that community preservation instead may require building bridges and repairing old wounds. Description courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art. (Dir.: Nguyễn Đức Việt, Vietnam, 89 min. DCP, Vietnamese with English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Saturday, July 11, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Celebrating Vietnamese Cinema: "The Prince and the Pagoda Boy"

In person: Quách Ngoc Ngoan, actor This lush historical drama recounts the life of Ly Cong Uan (Quách Ngọc Ngoan), from his youth as a Buddhist disciple to his ascension to emperor of Vietnam in 1010 CE. Raised in a pagoda, kind and compassionate Ly Cong Uan dreams of serving in the royal court to help his country and people. His dream comes true, and on his first day, he befriends Long Dinh (Vu Dình Toàn), one of the princes of Vietnam. When King Le Dai Hanh passes away, his three sons skirmish for the throne. Long Dinh betrays his brothers to become king. The violence shatters Ly Cong Uan’s vision of a righteous dynasty, but he realizes that he must serve the new king to bring peace to his country. Will a boy from the pagoda be able to save Vietnam from fighting meaningless wars? The Prince and the Pagoda Boy was released in 2010 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Thang Long Imperial City (on the site that is now Hanoi) and was Vietnam’s 2011 entry for a Best Foreign Language Oscar. Description… Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, July 12, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Dearest"

Watch the trailer. The winner of two Hong Kong Film Critics’ Society Awards, this gripping, morally complex drama is based on a true story of  divorced parents spending years searching for their missing child. When they finally track him down, he is with a poor woman who has no idea that her now-deceased husband abducted him, and the boy has no memory of his real parents. “The reason I became attracted to this story—other than that it’s stranger than fiction—is they are all victims,” said director Peter Chan. “There are no bad people in the movie—there are just bad situations.” (Dir.: Peter Chan, Hong Kong/China, 2014, 130 min. DCP, Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Friday, July 17, 2015, 7:00 PM.

Film and Conversation: Inspired by Forough Farrokhzad

Renowned composer, vocalist, and performance artist Sussan Deyhim presents excerpts from her stage production The House is Black Media and her art installation Dawn of the Cold Season. Both productions were inspired by the work of legendary feminist poet Forough Farrokhzad (1935–1967). Following a screening of Farrokhzad’s groundbreaking documentary The House is Black (Iran, 1962, 22 min.), Deyhim talks about her own ongoing projects and Farrokhzad’s enduring influence on Iranian art and culture. Deyhim developed these productions through fellowships at Robert Rauschenberg Residency at the Rauschenberg Foundation and CAP UCLA Residency, as well as with a grant from the Farhang Foundation. Presented as part of Contemporary Iran through Film, a series highlighting prominent figures in contemporary Iranian art, in conjunction with Shirin Neshat: Facing History at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Related Exhibition: Abbas Kiarostami: Five Inspired by Ozu and Shirin Neshat: Facing History. Saturday, July 18, 2015, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Golden Chickensss"

Watch the trailer. The brilliant comic actress Sandra Ng returns to her iconic role in this reboot of the popular Golden Chicken series. In the first two films, Ng played a fast-talking prostitute. Ten years later, she now runs her own crew of high-class escorts, including Ivana Wong in a performance that earned her awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best New Performer at the 2015 Hong Kong Film Awards. Beginning with a spoof of the famous opening scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey—which explains how prostitutes came to be known as “chickens” in Hong Kong slang—the film’s goofy plot strings together a series of hilarious gags and dirty jokes. A host of cameo performances by Andy Lau, Donnie Yen, and Louis Koo, among others, adds to the fun. (Dir.: Matt Chow, Hong Kong, 2014, 100 min. DCP, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "From Vegas to Macau"

Watch the trailer. Hong Kong megastar Chow Yun-fat is at his comedic and charismatic best in this action-comedy from Wong Jing. Starring alongside Chapman To and Nicholas Tse, Chow plays the suave gambler “Magic Hands” Ken, who teams up with his protégés to take down an international crime ring. “This glossy, reassuringly campy production serves up a boisterous mix of goofy humor and kinetic action, in which the crew and cast—led by Chow Yun-fat at his most waggish—cruise along so smoothly that the ridiculous story radiates an infectious sense of fun” (Maggie Lee, Variety). (Dir.: Wong Jing, Hong Kong/China, 2014, 93 min. DCP, Cantonese and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Friday, July 24, 2015, 7:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Martial Club"

Followed by a Chinese Lion Dance performed by the Wong People Kung Fu Association, and a demonstration and discussion with martial arts masters Dennis Brown, Oso Tayari Casel, Vincent Lyn, Bobby Samuels, and Ron Wheeler, moderated by producer and martial artist Bey Logan. Watch the trailer. This “pure, unfiltered example of the classic kung fu movie” (Mark Pollard, Kung Fu Cinema) about a rivalry between two kung fu schools stars Gordon Liu as the legendary hero Wong Fei-hung. The film’s fight scenes, with their fidelity to classic martial arts technique and etiquette, make it the perfect lead-in to a cross-cultural discussion of movies and martial arts. (Dir.: Lau Kar Leung, Hong Kong, 1981, 110 min. Digibeta, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, July 26, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "The Midnight After"

Watch the trailer. Named both Best Film and Best Director by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Fruit Chan’s science-fiction comedy follows a group of Hong Kong denizens on a late-night trip. When they emerge from their minibus, the travelers discover they are the only people left in the city—the first of many disturbing realizations. Featuring a great cast that includes Simon Yam, Kara Hui, and rocker Jan Curious (who at one point launches into an appropriately goofy version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”), “Midnight is an intensely local but exhilarating comedy-horror that shows Chan firing on all pistons with his indie energy of old” (Derek Elley, Film Business Asia). (Dir.: Fruit Chan, Hong Kong, 2014, 124 min. DCP, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Friday, July 31, 2015, 7:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Full Throttle"

Watch the trailer. Included in the Freer|Sackler’s first Made in Hong Kong Film Festival in 1996, this fast-paced action movie stars Andy Lau as Joe, who rides his motorcycle in illegal street races. Joe befriends a professional racer sponsored by his estranged father, which spurs a familial rivalry with high-speed stakes. LoveHKfilm.com praises this classic as an “entertaining action drama … that's well produced and involving, with great visuals and superior atmosphere.” Film print supplied by the Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department. (Dir.: Derek Yee, Hong Kong, 108 min. 35mm, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, August 2, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Gangster Payday"

Watch the trailer. “In every department, from casting to cinematography,” raves Richard Kuipers in Variety, “Gangster Payday taps into the spirit of the 1980s and ’90s golden age of Hong Kong crime movies”—making it a perfect addition to this year’s festival. Anthony Wong gives a terrific performance as an aging mob boss who helps a feisty young restaurateur stand up to greedy property developers. This “unapologetically Hong Kong film … basks in its own cinematic legacy” (Elizabeth Kerr, Hollywood Reporter). (Dir.: Lee Po-cheung, Hong Kong, 2014, 97 min. DCP, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Friday, August 7, 2015, 7:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "The Long Arm of the Law"

Watch the trailer. Presented in a rare 35mm print, Johnny Mak’s directorial debut is a seminal film that established the Hong Kong gangster movie genre and is now one of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies. Lam Wai plays Tung, the leader of a gang of former soldiers living on the edge of poverty in mainland China. Desperate to change their situation, they hatch a plot to rob a Hong Kong jewelry store and return to China with their spoils. This dream of easy riches falters upon the gang’s arrival in Hong Kong, where they are pursued by enemies on both sides of the law. Film print supplied by the Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department. (Dir.: Johnny Mak, Hong Kong, 1984, 100 min. 35mm, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, August 9, 2015, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: Choose Your Jackie!

As a gift to our longtime Made in Hong Kong Film Festival fans, we’re letting the audience choose which of four classic action hits starring Hong Kong icon Jackie Chan will be shown on Friday, August 14. Cast your vote on our Facebook page (voting opens June 22) or in person at a festival screening through July 26. If you vote in person for the winning film, you’ll be entered to win a prize! Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Friday, August 14, 2015, 7:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Diva"

In person: Heiward Mak Watch the trailer. For the final screening of our twentieth-anniversary festival, we look to the future by inviting young filmmaker Heiward Mak to present her behind-the-scenes showbiz drama Diva. Set in the Hong Kong pop music world, it stars real-life pop star Joey Yung as a singer who loses her voice in the midst of a concert. While she lays low on the mainland, striking up a relationship with a blind masseur, her fast-talking manager (Chapman To) casts his eye on a talented young singer to take her place. (Dir.: Heiward Mak, Hong Kong/China, 2012, 101 min. DCP, Cantonese and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles). Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Sunday, August 16, 2015, 3:00 PM.