Get reel: Hong Kong gets its fair share of art-house films

Yvonne Teh, Film Editor

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 June, 2013, 10:48pm

It's that time of the year when the heat and high humidity make Hongkongers want to stay indoors. Many will gravitate to shopping malls, a few others to museums - and film fans will contemplate the conditions outside and think, "Here's one more good reason to go to a cinema to watch a movie."

Film-wise, this summer is shaping up to be another of those with a big share of Hollywood blockbusters. Some would say that the season began in late April with the arrival of Iron Man 3 in our cineplexes. Since then, we've seen the appearance of big budget works The Great Gatsby and Star Trek Into Darkness.

While it can sometimes seem like the big-name productions are hogging cinema screens, the Hong Kong cinematic landscape continues to include its share of smaller-scale, non-English language offerings.

At the Hong Kong Film Archive, the Cinematic Matrix of Golden Harvest programme that began in late March with a screening of Bruce Lee's The Way of the Dragon is in its final month. The Sai Wan Ho facility is also playing host along with the Hong Kong Science Museum to the Film Programmes Office's Critics Choice 2013 - Film Narrative in Perspective selection, and is continuing to co-host screenings of the multiyear 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies series with Broadway Cinematheque.

Although The Grand Cinema, with its vibrating seats, is generally home to large, loud productions, this month also sees two mini film fests taking place at the West Kowloon multiplex.

First up will be the 2013 Hong Kong Japanese Film Showcase that runs from June 11 to 26. Among the six films in its programme is medical-themed drama A Terminal Trust. The first fictional feature in six years by Masayuki Suo, it reunites the director and stars of the original Shall We Dance?, a sublime film that's infinitely superior to the Hollywood remake that starred Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.

From June 14 to 20, The Grand Cinema also plays host to "Russia Through the Big Screen", Hong Kong's first Russian film festival. Its opening film, Legend No 17, a sports biopic about Soviet-era ice hockey legend Valeri Kharlamov, was a blockbuster hit in Russia. But in places where it's shown with subtitles, it is more likely to be viewed as an art house production.