The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society will spotlight masterpieces by two supreme stylists, Douglas SIRK and Rainer Werner FASSBINDER, in the next repertory Cine Fan Programme starting in May.
Hailed by many as the “godfather of camp”, SIRK elevated Hollywood cinema conventions to their most expressive potential by fashioning America's ironic view through his critical eyes as a German migrant. Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), and Imitation of Life (1959) are the perfect realisation of his aesthetics, exploring sexual repression and unfulfilled desire under lavish Technicolor visuals. Lurking beneath the façade of complacent bourgeois life, There's Always Tomorrow (1955), The Tarnished Angels (1957), and A Time to Love and A Time to Die (1958) reflect SIRK's cynical vision of American values and his blatantly artificial world full of dramatic contrasts.
Reawakened by SIRK's films, New German Cinema maverick FASSBINDER channelled his creative inspiration through melodramas that subverted the genre. In his iconic The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), he imbued his meditation of loneliness and shared kinship with SIRK's empathetic characters trapped by societal constraints.
Tracing the post-war history of West Germany through the perspectives of three remarkable women, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Veronika Voss (1982), and Lola (1981) constituted FASSINBER's BRD Trilogy. It garnered his greatest commercial success, marking the pinnacle of his cinematic career. Cine Fan's selection of 12 FASSBINDER films also includes Fox and His Friends (1975), in which the writer-director stars as the embittered hero, and his final work Querelle (1982). It offers a comprehensive overview of a tireless creator who often laid bare his soul for all to see, lived too fast, and died too young.
For this edition, audiences will have a chance to see two films by John M. STAHL: his 1934 version of Imitation of Life, which is far more than an evocative turn of phrase comparing to SIRK's later version, and his stunning Technicolor masterpiece, Leave Her to Heaven (1945), which continues to spark critical debate for its bold reinterpretation of established genres, is presented under Cinema Heritage, a new Cine Fan section featuring restored classics from The Film Foundation. Showcased in the Restored Classic section is Leo McCAREY's heart-wrenching Depression-era drama Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), which foreshadowed Ozu Yasujiro's Tokyo Story (1953).
Three magnificent Hollywood actresses impress with their outstanding performances in the two classics under the Golden Age section. Joan CRAWFORD won her only Academy Award in Mildred Pierce (1945), portraying a gallant woman who is hell-bent on freeing her family from economic hardship in Michael CURTIZ's eponymous noir melodrama. Katherine HEPBURN and Elizabeth TAYLOR, the two stars in Joseph L. MANKIEWICZ's Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), were both Academy Awards Best Actress nominees for their striking transformation of the grotesque characters in Tennessee WILLIAMS' psychodrama.
Matching their brilliance is Ellen BURSTYN, who gives an Oscar-winning performance in Martin SCORSESE's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), a witty blending of a road movie with women's self-realisation. Likewise, Kevin COSTNER stars as a dutiful farmer left musing over lost idealism in Phil Alden ROBINSON's Field of Dreams (1989), which offers a profound reflection on a father-and-son relationship.
The full programmes and ticket discounts are now available at official website. Tickets are on sale now at URBTIX.
The above contents are provided by Hong Kong International Film Festival Society