Daily | Goings On | Lung, Guiness, Resnais

'The Story of a Discharged Prisoner' (1967)

‘The Story of a Discharged Prisoner’ (1967)

“Last summer,” begins Nick Pinkerton, writing for Artforum, “the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens hosted a complete retrospective of the films of Wong Kar-wai, with Wong in person, impossible to miss in his famous shades. Very few of his fans, however, recognized the beetle-browed, seventy-something man with jutting cheekbones whom Wong bowed before upon meeting, as a pupil bows before a master. This is a matter that MoMI intends to address with a retrospective of that very same figure: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong, running August 15th to 24th.”

“It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of regular readers of Twitch are very familiar with John Woo and Tsui Hark‘s A Better Tomorrow, the 1986 classic of Hong Kong action cinema,” writes Christopher Bourne. “But it’s an equally safe bet that far fewer are aware that A Better Tomorrow was a remake of a film which was made nearly 20 years earlier, the 1967 film The Story of a Discharged Prisoner.” Patrick Lung Kong “was a major influence not only on Woo and Hark, but on successive generations of Hong Kong filmmakers.”

And here’s Andrew Chan in Moving Image Source:

It’s hard to imagine Lung’s earnest melodramas about teenage delinquency, prostitution, public health, and war ever coming back into vogue, but viewers today who look beneath the moralistic veneer will find a window onto the anxieties that defined a transitional period in both Hong Kong society and cinema in the late 1960s and early ’70s—an era marked by newfound economic prosperity, swift Westernization, anti-colonial riots, and the rapidly dwindling presence of Cantonese filmmaking. Lung began directing with the hope of addressing these issues and raising Cantonese cinema’s profile at a time when Mandarin-language releases dominated the market, stalling the development of Hong Kong’s culturally specific film tradition. He stopped after only thirteen years and fourteen films—a small number by the local industry’s notoriously relentless production standards—but in spite of its brevity, his directorial career (which stands alongside his long filmography as an actor) remains a powerful example of how sociopolitical agendas, commercial impulses, and aesthetic ambitions can serve one another.

For more NYC screenings, see the L‘s recommendations. And if you’re in Queens, Nick Pinkerton‘s been scoping out the borough’s cinemas. He’s got extensive notes in his latest column for Film Comment.

San Rafael. The Alec Guiness at 100 program that ran in New York in June arrives at the Smith Rafael Film Center on Sunday and runs through September 28. And yes, new restorations of David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) will be screened, but for Cheryl Eddy, “the real attractions” are the “lesser-seen selections, including several post-war comedy classics made at London’s venerable Ealing Studios.”

San Francisco. Also in the Bay Guardian, Sean McCourt notes that fans of Mike Judge’s Office Space (1999) “are in for a treat this weekend when SF Sketchfest presents a special 15th anniversary screening in 35mm at the Castro Theatre, with actor Stephen Root—who plays the stapler-obsessed Milton—in person for the festivities.” And McCourt chats him up.

Seattle. Alain Resnais‘s Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968) screens tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday at Northwest Film Forum and, in the Stranger, Charles Mudede notes that this sci-fi film is “not about time itself but cinematic time, and the way it’s edited.”

Meantime, have you seen Robert Ham‘s annotated list of the some of the best Seattle movies?

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