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Hong Kong Film Festival: "Office"

This screening is held at National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. 3D screening! According to the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, if Johnnie To “were an American, his name would fall from lips as easily as Martin Scorsese’s.” This masterful director of more than fifty films, including such classics as Election and PTU, has never applied his signature fluid camerawork to a full-blown musical . . . until now. Based on Design for Living, a popular stage play by Sylvia Chang (who stars in the movie alongside the eternally suave Chow Yun-fat), Office depicts the ups and downs—romantic and financial—of a financial firm’s staff during 2008’s global economic turmoil. Full of sparkling song and dance numbers performed in an abstract set of glass walls and tubes of light, this “visually inventive romp . . . charmingly mines humor, romance and no shortage of eccentric lyrics from the world of spreadsheets and stock portfolios” (Justin Chang, Variety). (Dir.: Johnnie To, Hong Kong/China,… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, July 30, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "Ip Man 3"

This screening is held at National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater. Donnie Yen versus Mike Tyson? Yes, please! In the third installment of this popular franchise, Yen reprises his role as the real-life kung fu master best known for having trained a young Bruce Lee (as seen here in the first of many fight scenes choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo-ping). In this edition, which was nominated for eight Hong Kong Film Awards, Ip is settling into life as a family man, but he’s soon called to protect Hong Kong from a ruthless American businessman (with surprisingly strong boxing skills) who is trying to make a land grab. Yen brings his customary grace and gravitas to the title role, while director Wilson Yip suffuses the film with rich period detail. (Dir.: Wilson Yip, Hong Kong, 2015, 105 min. DCP, Cantonese with English subtitles) Images courtesy of Well Go USA. Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, July 31, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "The Blade"

This screening is held at National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater. The Blade is Tsui Hark’s masterful tribute to the martial arts films of his youth. A reimagining of director Chang Cheh’s 1967 wuxia landmark The One-Armed Swordsman, this phantasmagoric action film moves like an out-of-control freight train. Featuring rapid cutting, berserk camera movement, frenetic choreography, and compositions bursting with detail, The Blade shows one of the world's best directors at the top of his game. Description courtesy of Subway Cinema. (Dir.: Tsui Hark, Hong Kong, 1995, 100 min. 35mm, Cantonese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, August 6, 2016, 1:00 PM.

Hong Kong Film Festival: "A Terra-Cotta Warrior"

This screening is held at National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater. Inspired by everyone from Kurosawa to Spielberg, A Terra-Cotta Warrior is a feast for the senses. Two and a half years in the making, it was one of the most exquisite fantasy films to come out of Hong Kong in the 1990s, featuring a unique blend of romance, swashbuckling action, and comedy.  Zhang Yimou and Gong Li—then China’s cinematic power couple—star as an imperial soldier and the woman who brings him back to life after he’s spent centuries encased in clay in the emperor’s tomb. Description courtesy of Subway Cinema. (Dir.: Ching Siu-tung, Hong Kong, 1990, 97 min. 35mm, Cantonese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, August 6, 2016, 3:30 PM.

Film and Discussion: "The Red Wolf"

This event is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater. In person: Bobby Samuels The first African American to be inducted into the Hong Kong Stuntman’s Association, Bobby Samuels worked with some of Hong Kong’s biggest movie stars during his career there in the 1990s. Join him to close out the festival with a screening and discussion of one of his films, the action-packed hostage drama The Red Wolf, directed by legendary stunt-master Yuen Wo-ping. (Dir.: Yuen Wo-ping, Hong Kong, 1995, 92 min. DVD, Cantonese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Free. Sunday, August 7, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Mountains May Depart"

This screening is held at National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater. Mainland master Jia Zhangke scales new heights with Mountains May Depart. At once an intimate drama and a decades-spanning epic, Jia's new film also is an intensely moving study of how China's economic boom and the resulting materialism have affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love. The “cumulative impact,” writes Scott Foundas in Variety, is “enormously touching, highlighted by Jia’s rapturous image-making and a luminous central performance by the director’s regular muse (and wife), Zhao Tao.” (Dir.: Jia Zhangke, China/France/Japan, 2015, 131 min. DCP, Cantonese, Mandarin and English with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Bros. Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, August 20, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang"

This screening is held at the National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles (Central Station, The Motorcycle Diaries) accompanies the prolific Chinese director Jia Zhangke on a walk down memory lane as Jia revisits his hometown and other locations from his ever-growing body of work. At each location, the two directors visit Jia's family, friends, and former colleagues. Their conversations range from his mother's tales of Jia as a young boy to amusing remembrances of schooldays and film shoots to memories of his father. They also discuss the fact that, if not for pirated DVDs, much of Jia's work would go unseen in China. The confluence of storytelling, intellect, and politics informing all of Jia's work is brought to light in this lovely, intimate portrait. (Dir.: Walter Salles, France/Brazil, 2014, 99 min. Blu-ray, Mandarin with English subtitles) Images copyright Walter Salles. Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Sunday, August 21, 2016, 4:30 PM.

Broken Pots, Broken Dreams: Working in Jingdezhen’s Porcelain Industry

In person: Maris Gillette, director Anthropologist Maris Gillette’s documentary about ceramists in Jingdezhen complements ideas about mass production presented in Chinamania. China’s turn to a market-based economy has affected the personal and professional lives of ceramists in Jingdezhen, a global center of porcelain production for more than a thousand years. Gillette gives a short talk before the screening. Afterward, Lee Glazer, curator of American art, joins her for a moderated Q&A session with the audience. (Dir.: Maris Gillette, United States, 2009, 27 min. DVD, Mandarin with English subtitles). Venue: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Event Location: Sackler sublevel 1, southeast galleries. Cost: Free. Saturday, October 1, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "No Regrets for Our Youth"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Setsuko Hara worked just once with the legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Fittingly, the result is the only film in Kurosawa’s substantial body of work featuring a female protagonist. Hara gives a remarkable performance as Yukie, who, in the militarist years leading up to World War II, evolves from a bourgeois student to the wife of a dissident author to a committed social activist. “Her rejection of the class and gender roles assigned to her, and her transformation from genteel, middle-class young girl to uninhibited woman are at the heart of this remarkable film” (Elliott Stein, Village Voice). (Dir.: Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1946, 110 min. B&W, 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, October 8, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Late Autumn"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Watch the trailer.  Setsuko Hara’s performances in the films of Yasujiro Ozu are among her most mesmerizing. This supreme example of Ozu’s pared-down, emotionally stirring late style is no exception. It is essentially a remake of their first collaboration, 1949’s Late Spring (showing at the AFI Silver Theatre in November). In the earlier film, Hara played a daughter under pressure from her widowed father to get married. In Late Autumn, she plays the parent trying to marry off her daughter so she can wed one of her own suitors. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian calls it “another gem from the Ozu canon, a masterpiece of tendernesss and serio-comic charm, as tonally ambiguous and morally complex as anything he ever made.” (Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1960, 128 min. DCP, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 9, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Repast"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. In this film by Mikio Naruse, Japan’s foremost cinematic portraitist of women buffeted by fate, Setsuko Hara gives a brilliantly nuanced performance as an Osaka housewife. Feeling trapped in her marriage to a stockbroker, she is galvanized by a surprise visit from her husband’s niece, who is on the run from her parents. She takes the troublesome young woman back home to Tokyo—and contemplates never returning. Profound and subtle, this is “one of Naruse’s finest works,” wrote critic Audie Bock. Film description courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre. (Dir.: Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1951, 97 min. B&W, 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 16, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "The End of Summer"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Setsuko Hara is as radiant as ever in her final collaboration with director Yasujiro Ozu. She plays the daughter of a sake company owner, who is trying to find suitable husbands for his two daughters. Meanwhile, the family business is in danger of going under, and the father restarts an affair with a former mistress, much to his children’s horror. Like Ozu’s other late films, The End of Summer takes a wise, moving look at generational conflicts within families, resulting in one of his “most deftly modulated blendings of comedy and tragedy” (Criterion Collection). The film seems especially poignant today: two years later, Ozu was dead, and Hara entered her self-imposed exile from the public eye, never to be seen onscreen again. (Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1961, 103 min. 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 16, 2016, 4:30 PM.

Film: "A Ball at the Anjo House"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Watch a clip.  In the New York Review of Books, Robert Gottlieb praised A Ball at the Anjo House as one of Setsuko Hara’s “greatest films”—so great, in fact, that writer Susan Sontag once traveled from New York to Boston just to see it. Hara’s extraordinary performance is at the heart of this drama about a wealthy family devastated by Japan’s defeat in World War II. They hold one final glamorous ball before they have to give up their mansion and, with it, their way of life. This rarely screened gem has been compared to such great works as Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, and Satyajit Ray’s The Music Room, and it was named by Japanese film critics as the greatest film of 1947. (Dir.: Kozaburo Yoshimura, Japan, 1947, 89 min. B&W, 16mm, Japanese with English subtitles) Image ©1947 Shochiku Co. Ltd. Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, October 22, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Daughters, Wives and a Mother"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Watch the trailer (Japanese). With great performances by an A-list cast, this film stars Setsuko Hara as Sanae, a recent widow who has returned to the family home with a sizeable sum of insurance money. Her arrival triggers discord in a family already coming apart at the seams. Daughters, Wives and a Mother contrasts Sanae's virtuous daughter against her scheming, cash-strapped, and self-centered relatives, highlighting the mismatch between how families ought to be versus how they actually behave. Mikio Naruse's usual grim outlook on modern society is no less tarnished by this film's resplendent color and Toho Scope cinematography: the vibrancy only enhances the loathsome quality of human nature. Film description courtesy of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. (Dir.: Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1960, 123 min. 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles) Image ©1960 Toho Co. Ltd. Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 23, 2016, 2:00 PM.