Geneva Anderson digs into art

Alex Law’s nostalgic charmer “Echoes of the Rainbow” screens Sunday, September 25, 2011 at the new Hong Kong Cinema series at San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema

Alex Law’s Echoes of the Rainbow, the winner of the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival Crystal Bear will screen this Sunday at the inaugural Hong Kong Cinema series, September 23- 25, 2011, at the San Francisco Film Society’s new theatrical home, San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema (1746 Post Street, San Francisco) alongside 5 other new films that represent Hong Kong’s current film scene.   Dynamic and global, this film scene includes directors born and raised and shooting in Hong Kong as well directors from elsewhere who are shooting in Hong Kong as well as directors from Hong Kong who are shooting elsewhere—it’s all very dynamic.   And the content is anything but predictable—Hong Kong films are widely known and loved for their action-packed spectacle, but the industry is equally adept at matters from the heart as the Film Society’s first edition of Hong Kong Cinema demonstrates. 

Echoes of the Rainbow (Shui yuet sun tau)(2010) is a tender family saga which evokes the nostalgia of late 1960’s Hong Kong in a story focused on two brothers in a tightly-knit working class family beset by a misfortune that interrupts their family life forever.  Anchoring the story is young actor Buzz Chung, who lights up the screen as the indefatigable eight-year-old Big Ears whose curiosity and sense of play─he walks around with a fish bowl over his head like an astronaut─delight everyone he comes in contact with.   Aarif Lee plays his handsome older brother Desmond who is a star athlete and experiencing the first pangs of love.  The family is poor─the father is a cobbler and his mother works alongside her husband in their modest shop atop which sits their home─but they are happy.  When a storm threatens to trash their store and home, all hell breaks loose as things start to crumble.  Set to the nostalgic music of the Monkeys, and bathed in beautiful light, the film is sure to win the hearts of those who are old enough to remember more innocent times.

Written by Alex Law. Photographed by Charlie Lam. With Buzz Chung, Aarif Lee, Simon Yam, Sandra Ng, Ann Hui. (117 min. In Cantonese, Mandarin and French with subtitles, Mei Ah Entertainment)  Screens Sunday, September 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm.   (Subtitles are easy to read.)

For complete program information visit

Friday, September 23  Opening Night
6:30 pm Merry-Go-Round

Codirector Clement Cheng in person
Clement Cheng, Yan Yan Mak (Dongfeng po, 2010)
Two women of different generations travel from San Francisco to Hong Kong in this observational drama about the possibility of changing one’s life. Eva is a successful herbalist who returns home when her grandfather dies. Nam is a young woman facing personal difficulties who relocates to pursue a relationship with a man she meets online. As their stories intermingle, we learn about Eva’s first love, Nam’s odd interest in death and an elderly mortuary worker who has important knowledge to pass on to both women. Written by Yan Yan Mak, Clement Cheng. Photographed by Jason Kwan. With Nora Miao, Teddy Robin Kwan, Ella Koon, Lawrence Chou. 124 min. In Cantonese with subtitles. Distributed by Dragonfly J Production.

9:00 pm Opening Night reception with delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine at Superfrog Gallery at New People.

9:45 pm Mr. and Mrs. Incredible  U.S. Premiere
Vincent Kok (San kei hap lui, Hong Kong/China 2011)
Being a retired superhero is a little dull for the protagonists of this delightful action comedy. After cracking a robbery case, Flint and Rouge decide to hang up their masks, move to a remote village and perhaps raise a family. When a martial arts competition comes to town with a supervillain in its midst, the couple must decide whether to resume their old identities. With the playful chemistry of Louis Koo and Sandra Ng, this movie offers entertainment the whole family can enjoy.  Written by Vincent Kok, Fung Min-hun. Photographed by Peter Ngor. With Louis Koo, Sandra Ng, Chapman To, Li Qin. 100 min. In Cantonese with subtitles. Distributed by We Distribution.

Saturday, September 24
1:30 pm City Under Siege

Benny Chan (Chun sing gai bei, 2011)
Hong Kong Cinema’s nuttiest entry tells the story of a circus troupe whose members are exposed to a chemical toxin left behind by the Japanese in WWII. The mysterious substance gives its victims superhuman strength, and the performers use their new powers to rob banks and wreak havoc, all except the terminally put-upon clown, Sunny (played with comic flair by Aaron Kwok). With standout action, high-tech special effects and cops with secret powers of their own, this is genre-defying entertainment at its best. Written by Benny Chan, Ram Ling Chi Man, Carson Ling Lau Shun Yin. Photographed by Anthony Pun. With Aaron Kwok, Shu Qi, Collin Chou, Wu Jing, Zhang Jingchu. 110 min. In Cantonese with subtitles. Distributed by Universe Films Distribution.
4:00 pm Merry-Go-Round  see 9/23
7:00 pm All About Love   
Ann Hui (De xian chao fan, Hong Kong/China 2010)
This surprising film takes on weighty matters of gender, sexual preferences and childbirth in a playful story of two female lovers who are both pregnant. Twelve years after their initial breakup, successful lawyer Macy and executive assistant Anita reconnect in pregnancy class. Elegantly photographed, with an eye toward the physical and emotional dance that happens between new lovers, Hui’s latest shows that Hong Kong and San Francisco share a similar laissez-faire attitude when it comes to sexual politics. Written by Yeeshan Yang.  Photographed by Charlie Lam.  With Sandra Ng, Vivian Chow, Eddie Cheung, William Chan. 105 min. In Cantonese with subtitles. Distributed by Mega-Vision Pictures.
9:45 pm Punished
Law Wing-cheong (Bou ying, 2011) A powerful businessman and his devoted bodyguard go up against a ruthless group of criminals in this gritty thriller produced by Johnnie To. When the wealthy Mr. Wong’s daughter Daisy is kidnapped, he marshals all his forces to find her. Using his loyal bodyguard, he attempts to root out the perpetrators while also going along with their demands. Through the film’s suspenseful turns, Punished also explores the limitations of vengeance and the difficulties of parents connecting with their kids amid the messiness of divorce. Written by Fung Chih-chiang, Lam Fung. Photographed by Ko Chiu-lam.  With Anthony Wong, Richie Ren, Maggie Cheung Ho-yee, Janice Man, Candy Lo. 94 min. In Cantonese and Mandarin with subtitles. Distributed by Indomina Releasing.

Sunday, September 25
2:00 pm Mr. and Mrs. Incredible
  see 9/23
4:15 pm Echoes of the Rainbow see above

The San Francisco Film Society has played a pioneering role in introducing Hong Kong cinema to Bay Area audiences through its San Francisco International Film Festival, which has shown over 70 Hong Kong films, beginning in 1959 with the screenings of The Kingdom and the Beauty and Tragedy of Love.  The works of leading filmmakers—Fruit Chan, Peter Chan, Teddy Chen, Tsui Hark, Ivy Ho, Stanley Kwan, Clara Law, Andrew Lau, Run Run Shaw, Johnnie To and John Woo—have been featured, and superstars—Jackie Chan, Andy Lau—have been Festival guests.  The championing of Hong Kong cinema will be further augmented by the introduction of Hong Kong Cinema to the Film Society’s Fall Season and the .

Tickets:  San Francisco Film Society members $11; General Admission $13; Student/Senior/Disabled $12.  Tickets can be purchased at San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco, or SFFS members can pre-purchase tickets online at

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