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City Nights Open House

Experience the art of the modern city in its best light: at night! Immerse yourself in the urban jungle of the 1870s. Stroll through scenes of Tokyo as seen in Kiyochika: Master of the Night before it closes July 27. Discover 19th-century London in An American in London: Whistler and the Thames. Mingle with curators and don a dandy hat and mustache. Listen to popular music of the time played on the koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument, and learn the art of kimono dressing. At 8 pm, watch Tokyo Twilight, which showcases Tokyo as a city of shadows and silhouettes reminiscent of Kiyochika’s work. Evening Tour Schedule 6 pm: Chigusa and the Art of Tea , 6:15 pm: Kiyochika: Master of the Night , 6:30 pm: An American in London: Whistler and the Thames , 7 pm: Chigusa and the Art of Tea , 7:15 pm: Kiyochika: Master of the Night , 7:30 pm: An American in London: Whistler and the Thames. Categories: After Five. Venue: Freer Gallery. Sackler Gallery. Event Location: Freer and Sackler. Cost: Free. Related Events: Screening of Tokyo Twilight, 8 pm. Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM.

City Nights Open House Screening: Tokyo Twilight

Celebrate the closing of Kiyochika: Master of the Night with Yasujiro Ozu’s powerful drama about Shukichi (Chishu Ryu), a banker with two grown daughters. Takako (Setsuko Hara) has fled her abusive husband and moved back home along with her two-year-old daughter. Takako’s rebellious younger sister Akiko (Ineko Arima) is pregnant by her college boyfriend and hiding it from her father. When secrets about their mother, who left when they were children, begin to come to light, the strain on their family bonds grows even stronger. The wintry, nighttime Tokyo Ozu conjures is a city of shadows and silhouettes reminiscent of Kiyochika’s work, where tradition and modernity still come into conflict. As Michael Koresky writes, “Today the film retains an enormous dramatic power … with its shadowy downtown setting, populated by smoky mahjong parlors and Ginza bars, Tokyo Twilight feels like an entirely new milieu for the filmmaker. And its evocative, almost sinister, landscape is matched with an intense narrative that… Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Related Events: City Nights Open House. Related Exhibition: Kiyochika: Master of the Night. Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:00 PM.

Mr. Vampire

Watch the trailer. This wildly popular horror-comedy virtually established the jiang shi zombie genre, spawned numerous sequels, and served as the inspiration for Rigor Mortis (screening at 3:30 pm). In it, a feng shui expert and his bungling assistant make the mistake of agreeing to rebury a rich man’s corpse, and they find themselves under assault by hordes of hopping vampires attracted to human breath. “For viewers who think they've seen it all, or anyone wondering where Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon came up with the notion of pairing martial arts and bloodsucking villains, Mr. Vampire is a must-see” (Keith Phipps, The Onion AV Club). One of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies. © 2010 Fortune Star Media Limited (Dir.: Ricky Lau, Hong Kong, 1985, 96 min. Digibeta, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Sunday, July 27, 2014, 1:00 PM.

Rigor Mortis

Watch the trailer. A depressed former movie star moves into a cheap apartment building with the intention of committing suicide. When he is saved by another resident, he soon discovers that the building and its inhabitants are in thrall to supernatural forces. This directorial debut from actor Juno Mak was inspired by Hong Kong jiang shi movies: tales of zombies and vampires inspired by Cantonese folklore. It even stars Chin Siu-ho and Anthony Chan, who teamed up in one of the classics of the genre, Mr. Vampire (screening at 1 pm). J-Horror icon Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge) coproduced this stylish horror movie, completing its impressive pedigree. (Dir.: Juno Mak, Hong Kong, 2013, 105 min. Blu-ray, Cantonese with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Sunday, July 27, 2014, 3:30 PM.

Shanghai Blues

Watch the trailer. Full of slapstick gags and sparkling musical numbers, this charming screwball comedy from Hong Kong master director Tsui Hark features Sylvia Chang, Kenny Bee, and Sally Yeh in a love triangle that spans World War II. Kwok-man (Bee) and Shu-Shu (Chang) meet in 1937 while sheltering from a Japanese bombing raid on Shanghai, but they are separated by the war. Ten years later they meet again, but Kwok-man’s ditzy new girlfriend Stool (Yeh) is determined to hang onto her man. “Hark's colors have the almost startling intensity of old Technicolor; combined with his stroboscopic cutting, they make the film seem to fizz and sparkle on the screen” (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader). One of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies. (Dir.: Tsui Hark, Hong Kong, 1984, 103 min. Digibeta, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Co-sponsor: Print courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Friday, August 1, 2014, 7:00 PM.

The Way We Dance

Watch the trailer. Get a taste of Hong Kong’s thriving street-dancing scene with this high-energy, low-budget gem that took local box offices by storm. Cherry Ngam was nominated for a Golden Horse Award for her performance as Fleur, a young woman whose pop-locking daydreams propel her from her family’s humble tofu shop to college. There she joins a hip-hop dance crew and enlivens their routines with an injection of tai chi. "A cracking spectacle that showcases some of Hong Kong’s best street dancers" (The Hollywood Reporter). (Dir.: Adam Wong, Hong Kong, 2013, 110 min. D-Cinema, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Sunday, August 3, 2014, 2:00 PM.

3D Naked Ambition

Presented in 3D! Watch the trailer. Vulgaria star Chapman To tramples the rules of good taste once again in this unabashedly raunchy satire. He plays Wayman, an overeducated writer of cheap erotic fiction and avid aficionado of Japanese AV (adult videos) who decides he can make better porn than the pros do. The passivity and outright terror he displays in his very first sex scene make him a hit with female fans, and he inadvertently becomes one of the industry’s biggest stars—but will the pressure get to him? Featuring a platoon of actual Japanese AV idols and hilarious cameos by Louis Koo (as Wayman’s arrogant rival star) and Sandra Ng (reprising her famous Golden Chicken character), this comedy is as big-hearted as it is naughty. Intended for mature audiences. (Dir.: Lee Kung-lok, Hong Kong, 2014, 110 min. D-Cinema, Cantonese and Japanese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Friday, August 8, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Meet the Star: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai

Post-screening video Q&A with star Philip Ng Watch the trailer. Rising Hong Kong action star Philip Ng stars in this thrilling throwback to old-school kung fu movies. He plays Ma Yongzhen, a stunningly gifted martial artist from the sticks who moves to Shanghai. There he finds work with an ambitious crime lord, who sees in Ma a way to take down a rival gang. A feast for kung fu fans, this film boasts classic-style throwdowns between Ng, Andy On, and even veteran star Sammo Hung, in fights choreographed by the legendary brothers Yuen Cheung-yan and Yuen Woo-ping (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Matrix). “This is a throwback in the right way—a period-set exhibition of fighting skills featuring a bunch of guys who can really, really fight all under the watchful eye of one of the better young directors in the area” (Todd Brown, Twitch Film). (Dir.: Wong Ching Po, Hong Kong, 2014, 96 min. D-Cinema, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Sunday, August 10, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

Watch the trailer. Comedy masters Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) and Derek Kwok (Gallants) teamed up to direct this irreverent comic adventure. Inspired by a Chinese literary classic, Journey to the West features elaborately choreographed physical comedy, Chow’s trademark nonsense wordplay, and parodies of everything from Peking Opera to Shaw Brothers kung fu movies. It tells the tale of Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang), a naïve monk who tries, and mostly fails, to defeat demons through nonviolent means, much to the amusement of his rival, the rambunctious and beautiful Duan (Shu Qi). This “thoroughly entertaining action comedy” (Edmund Lee, Screen International) broke box office records in China. Chow also stars in A Chinese Odyssey 1 and 2, which are also inspired by Journey to the West and screen on August 17. (Dir.: Stephen Chow and Derek Kwok, China/Hong Kong, 2013, 110 min. D-Cinema, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Friday, August 15, 2014, 7:00 PM.

A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora’s Box

Watch the trailer. Jeffrey Lau directed this lavish send-up of the classic novel Journey to the West, which recounts the introduction of Buddhism into China. In part one, the Monkey King (the hilarious Stephen Chow), who was banished from heaven for trying to eat his master, the Longevity Monk, finds himself reincarnated five hundred years later as a clumsy bandit named Joker. Chow’s blend of martial arts mastery and slapstick comedy make this a bawdy, action-filled romp. Part two screens at 3 pm. One of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies. (Dir.: Jeffrey Lau, Hong Kong, 1995, 87 min. 35mm, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Related Events: A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella, 3 pm. Sunday, August 17, 2014, 1:00 PM.

A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella

Watch the trailer. The second part of Jeffrey Lau’s comic-action epic finds the bandit Joker (Stephen Chow) traveling back in time to discover his true identity as the Monkey King, save his immortal lover, and battle the evil King Bull and his army of giant fleas. As in A Chinese Odyssey Part One (screened earlier in the day), Chow’s over-the-top performance puts a modern spin on an oft-told tale. One of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies.  (Dir.: Jeffrey Lau, Hong Kong, 1995, 95 min. 35mm, Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free; walk-in. Related Events: A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box, 1 pm. Sunday, August 17, 2014, 3:00 PM.

Old Dog

Directed by native Tibetan novelist and filmmaker Pema Tseden, Old Dog centers on an aged shepherd on the Himalayan plains as he struggles to keep his Tibetan mastiff, an ancient breed desired by pet dealers and dog thieves. This film beautifully depicts contemporary Tibet, where rural society and traditional values clash with modernity. “A cleverly devised story, rich in allegory and social critiques with very little fat on its bones. Pema Tseden is a name you're going to be much more familiar with in the coming years” (indieWIRE). (Dir.: Pema Tseden aka Wanma Caidan, China, 2011, 88 min. DigiBeta, Tibetan with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Thursday, September 4, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Rock Me to the Moon

Go on a journey with Taiwan's most unusual rock band. Six middle-aged fathers, all with children suffering from incurable rare diseases, find comfort in their music. After forming the band Sleepy Dads, they undertake an impossible mission: to perform at the highly competitive Hohaiyan Rock Festival. Director Huang Chia-Chun first met Sleepy Dads in Taiwan's support group for children with rare diseases, where he noticed mothers greatly outnumbered fathers. Rock Me to the Moon won the audience award at last year's Taipei Film Festival and the prize for best original film song at the 50th Golden Horse Awards. (Dir.: Huang Chia-Chun, Taiwan, 2013, 115 min. DCP, Mandarin with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 5, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Stray Dogs

The latest feature from the celebrated filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang, Stray Dogs is a poetic portrait of an alcoholic father (played by Tsai's longtime partner Lee Kang-Sheng) and his two young children surviving in modern-day Taipei. They eat food left over from supermarkets and seek shelter in abandoned buildings—until one stormy night when they encounter a woman from the past. Tsai won the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Venice Film Festival and was named best director at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards for this film. "If nothing else, you're left with a master class in directing, and a film that anyone who's serious about cinema needs to make the time to see” (Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist). (Dir.: Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France, 2013, 138 min. D-Cinema, Mandarin with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 5, 2014, 7:00 PM.

The Jungle School

This drama follows Butet Manurung, Time magazine’s 2004 “Hero of Asia,” as she evolves from an anthropologist into an educator and, finally, an activist. While she works with indigenous people in Sumatra, Indonesia, Butet collapses from malaria. A tribal boy named Bungo comes to her aid, motivating her to teach the children in his remote clan. Her good intentions do not get the blessing of her employer or of Bungo’s clan members, who still believe learning to read and write could cause calamities. Despite the challenges, Butet, deeply inspired by Bungo’s intelligence and eagerness to learn, makes every effort to keep teaching him. When a dreaded disaster occurs to Bungo’s clan, Butet is forced to leave the jungle people she loves. Will she be able to return? (Dir.: Riri Riza, Indonesia, 2013, 90 min. DCP, Bahasa Indonesia and Orang Rimba dialect with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1:00 PM.

The Missing Picture

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, The Missing Picture is filmmaker Rithy Panh's personal quest to reimagine his childhood memories. Propaganda footage is the only recorded artifact that remains of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror over Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Panh uses beautifully detailed, sculpted clay figurines and elaborate dioramas to recreate the missing images from his memory. His recollections of his family and friends before and after the regime's rule are poignantly told through a narrator's poetic voice, as written by Panh. The Missing Picture captures a historical moment that never would have been recounted if not for the sheer creative mind of Panh and his innovative storytelling method. (Dir.: Rithy Panh, Cambodia/France, 2013, 92 min. D-Cinema). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 7, 2014, 4:00 PM.

Food and Film at the Freer: "Headshot"

In person: Pen-ek Ratanaruang 12:30 pm: Enjoy pre-film refreshments courtesy of the Royal Thai Embassy. Watch the trailer. In what Ratanaruang calls a “Buddhist film noir,” a straitlaced cop is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and loses his job. Disillusioned, he becomes an assassin for a shadowy syndicate dedicated to murdering fat cat politicians, corrupt businessmen, and others who hold themselves above the law. After taking a bullet to the head during a botched job, the former cop emerges from a coma with his vision literally turned upside down. Convinced that his condition is a form of karmic retribution, he sets out on a path of redemption, but his violent past won’t let him go. This stylish thriller moves back and forth in time with Hitchcockian double-crosses and intense action scenes. Intended for mature audiences. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2011, 105 min. D-Cinema, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Culinary Arts. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Saturday, September 13, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Monrak Transistor (aka Transistor Love Story)

In person: Pen-ek Ratanaruang Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang describes Monrak Transistor as “a piece of candy with just a taste of satirical poison at its center.” Adapted from a popular novel and dedicated to the late Thai singer Surapol Sombatcharoen (whose songs fill the soundtrack), this picaresque story follows Phaen, a country boy who marries a beautiful widow against his family’s wishes. After being drafted into the army, he goes AWOL and heads to Bangkok with the dream of becoming a singer. There, he becomes entangled with a possibly nefarious agent, while back at home his wife is tempted by a charming traveling salesman. Engaging performances and good humor characterize what Tom Dawson of the BBC calls “a colourfully shot illustration of life's unpredictable twists and turns.” (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2002, 90 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 14, 2014, 2:00 PM.

6ixtynin9

Watch the trailer.  A botched money drop leads to windfalls of cash and carnage in Ratanaruang’s second feature. Depressed after being laid off from her job, Tum wakes up one morning to find a box of money outside her door, accidentally left there by gangsters because a missing nail turned the 6 on her door into a 9. Tum’s decision to keep the money gets her mixed up with a host of bungling thugs, and she soon starts running out of places to hide the corpses piling up in her flat. Savagely funny and full of increasingly outrageous twists and turns, this comic thriller won awards at the Berlin and Hong Kong film festivals. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 1999, 118 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Last Life in the Universe

Watch the trailer.  Last Life in the Universe begins with Kenji (Japanese star Tadanobu Asano), a lonely librarian’s assistant attempting to hang himself in his Bangkok apartment. His plan is interrupted when his brother bursts in, pursued by a Japanese gangster who shoots him dead. Kenji kills his brother’s murderer and flees. Through a series of coincidences, he then ends up at the house of Noi, a rambunctious young Thai woman who is in every way his opposite. Beautifully shot by master cinematographer Christopher Doyle, this inventive mix of fantasy, reality, and hallucination “is a wistful mood piece whose contemplative tone is periodically punctured by eruptions of violence. A meditation on the mysterious symmetry of lives and the unlikely attraction of opposites, the movie … observes the off-kilter romance of one of the world's odder couples” (Stephen Holden, New York Times). (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2003, 112 min. 35mm; Thai, Japanese, and English with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Invisible Waves

Watch the trailer.  Ratanaruang’s second collaboration with star Tadanobu Asano and cinematographer Christopher Doyle is an even more global affair than the first (Last Life in the Universe). Asano stars as Kyoji, a Japanese hit man posing as a chef and living in Macau. After carrying out a job to poison his boss’s wife, Kyoji is sent on a cruise to Phuket. He finds himself in a dingy stateroom where nothing works right, being pursued by two mysterious characters who may have dastardly designs on him. The film’s top-notch international cast also includes Korea’s Kang Hye-jung (Oldboy) and Hong Kong superstar Eric Tsang. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2006, 115 min. 35mm, English, Japanese, Thai and Cantonese with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Ploy

In person: Pen-ek Ratanaruang Watch the trailer.  Ratanaruang set Ploy “in a time when you were too tired to stay awake but also too tired to go to sleep.” In the early morning hours, Wit and Dang, a married Thai couple who have been living in the US, arrive in Bangkok for their first visit in many years. Unable to sleep, husband Wit wanders to the hotel coffee shop, where he bonds with Ploy, a young woman he invites to his room to rest. This stranger’s intrusion—and Dang’s suspicions about her husband’s fidelity—leads them to reassess their seven-year-long marriage. Made after two major international projects with the Japanese star Tadanobu Asano (Last Life in the Universe and Invisible Waves, playing September 21 and 26), Ploy is a meditation on displacement, homecoming, and relationships. The film is “a tasty slice of cinema, by turns oneiric, erotic, funny and emotionally perceptive” (Lee Marshall, Screen Daily). Intended for mature audiences. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2007, 105 min.… Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 28, 2014, 1:00 PM.

Nymph

Watch the trailer.  When asked to describe this film, Ratanaruang replied, “It's a love triangle about a man, a woman and a female ghost …. The filmmakers have sided with the ghost in this film; therefore the humans in the film are scarier than the ghost.” Nymph begins with a virtuoso shot that lasts several minutes, establishing the film’s mysterious jungle setting and enigmatic tone. It then follows an unhappily married couple who try to repair their relationship with a vacation in the country. Little do they know that two men were recently murdered there, and a mysterious force is trying to draw the husband deeper into the jungle. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2009, 108 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 28, 2014, 3:30 PM.