Friday, November 27, 2015

Hong Kong films The Killer (喋血雙雄), Fallen Angels (墮落天使), at Row House Cinema, December 4 - 10.

The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will show two classic Hong Kong films in a "France vs Hong Kong New Wave" series from December 4th through 10th. The series will include The Killer (喋血雙雄) and Fallen Angels (墮落天使), in addition to two French films.

A 1991 New York Times review provides a summary of the 1989 John Woo film The Killer:
Set in contemporary Hong Kong, "The Killer" tells the story of Jeff Chow, a hired gun with a heart of gold who falls in love with a nightclub singer named Jennie, whom he has accidentally blinded during a shoot out. Determined to make enough money to give up his violent ways and pay for the cornea transplants that could restore Jennie's sight, Jeff accepts one final deadly assignment. Having completed the assassination, he speeds off from the scene of a crime in a spectacular motorboat chase with the police.

The chase is the first move in an extended game of cat and mouse with his pursuer, Inspector Lee, who eventually becomes his ally when the two of them face down the entire Hong Kong underworld in an apocalyptic shootout.
And a 1998 Roger Ebert review says of the 1995 Wong Kar-Wai film Fallen Angels:
To describe the plot is to miss the point. "Fallen Angels" takes the materials of the plot--the characters and what they do--and assembles them like a photo montage. At the end, you have impressions, not conclusions. His influences aren't other filmmakers, but still photographers and video artists--the kinds of artists who do to images what rap artists are doing to music when they move the vinyl back and forth under the needle.

The people in his films are not characters but ingredients, or subjects. They include a hit man and his female "manager," who share separate dayparts in a hotel room that seems only precariously separate from the train tracks outside. (She scrubs the place down before her shift, kneeling on the floor in her leather minidress and mesh stockings.) There is also a man who stopped speaking after eating a can of outdated pineapple slices (pineapple sell-by dates were also a theme in "Chungking Express"). He makes a living by "reopening" stores that are closed for the night, and has an uncertain relationship with a young woman who acts out her emotions theatrically. There is another woman wandering about in a blond wig, for no better purpose, I suspect, than that "Chungking Express" also contained such a character.

Show times and ticket information is now available at the Row House Cinema website. The theater is located at 4115 Butler Street (map).