Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
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Hong Kong master film director featured in San Francisco film series (with photo)

Johnnie To, a highly regarded Hong Kong film director, is being featured in Modern Cinema, a film series co-presented by SFFILM and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (HKETO), this season of Modern Cinema, entitled “Johnnie To: Cops and Robbers”, is running from July 20 to August 6.

The series is dedicated to the cross-genre work of To and its impact on world cinema, particularly the modern crime film. To attended the last weekend of the series and joined the VIP reception hosted by HKETO on August 3. The reception was immediately followed by “An Evening with Johnnie To” in the Phyllis Wattis Theater of SFMOMA.

The evening’s dialogue featured an in-depth discussion of To’s films and career. Moderated by SFFILM’s Executive Director, Mr Noah Cowan, To discussed the evolution of his unique aesthetic, his exceptional ensemble of writers and actors, and how he captured those “How did he do it?” shots that have amazed audiences.

“Johnnie To’s meticulous deconstruction and unique re-imaging of the crime film places him among the most important artists of the late 20th century in any genre,” Mr Cowan said. “Seeing his films in context with other masters of the craft is both a fascinating look at this beloved cinema genre and a rip-roaring good time for all.”

Speaking at the VIP reception, the Director of the HKETO, Mr Ivanhoe Chang, said that he was pleased to see that SFFILM has chosen to highlight To’s work in the third season of Modern Cinema.

“Hong Kong has more than a century's history in filmmaking and has one of the largest and most dynamic film entertainment industries in the world. The city has a reputation as the ‘Hollywood of the East’ and master filmmakers like Johnnie To definitely made a contribution to that,” Mr Chang said. “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will continue to promote film development by encouraging more Hong Kong-produced film productions for commercial release, nurturing production talent, promoting film appreciation and showcasing Hong Kong films in events like this.”

The well-regarded filmmaker To has directed or co-directed more than 70 films over four decades. He has shown six films at the Cannes Film Festival and received countless other nominations and awards. His films embody the sociopolitical life, criminal codes and law enforcement conduct of Hong Kong, while simultaneously resonating with the greatest films in the genre. Many of his works are included in this season of Modern Cinema, including “A Hero Never Dies” (1998), “PTU” (2003), “Drug War” (2012) and “Three” (2016).

Apart from “An Evening with Johnnie To”, To will also appear in person at several screenings this weekend.

A total of 17 productions by To are included in the series. The films by other directors presented alongside To’s work illuminate his cinematic inspirations and his impact on crime films made all over the world.


Hong Kong master film director featured in San Francisco film series (with photo)


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