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13th Five Flavours Film Festival

Retrospective: Fruit Chan

A review of works of the Hong Kong visionary who uses an original way of combining political topics with eroticism, crosses the borders of aesthetics and astonishingly portraits the multiethnic, modern-traditional, eastern-western society of the metropolis.

The chief provocateur of Hong Kong cinema has visited Warsaw in 2019. This was the first opportunity in Poland to meet this rebellious and always up-and-coming artist and see the key films for the period of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

Fruit Chan appeared in the Hong Kong cinema in the least expected moment (in the second half of the 90s) and in an unusual way for this cinematography (as an independent artist). The groundbreaking "Made in Hong Kong", shown at the 11th Five Flavours in 2017, was filmed on the leftovers of the film, on which he assisted. The picture had no budget or stars, but it had something that was more and more often lacking in Hong Kong films - the soul and the furious energy of the vibrating city that was soon to be returned to China. The authenticity of "Made in Hong Kong" delighted audience, the film became a sensation and was sprinkled with prizes, which opened the way for Chan to further his career. His subsequent films show Hong Kong and its inhabitants at the threshold of great changes. Chan willingly and with great sentiment looks at people from the margin of society, also criminals. However, this is a much more intimate look at gangsters than the one his older colleagues such as John Woo and Ringo Lam got used audience to.

The complicated relationship between Hong Kong and China is the background of his famous trilogies of the late 1990s: the trilogy of transformation and the trilogy of prostitution. In 2004, Chan was invited to create one from the novels of the horror "Three ... Extremes" in an excellent company of Takashi Miike and Park Chan-wook. His segment was also released separately under the title "Dumplings" and heralded a turnaround to more mainstream cinema. Fruit Chan returned to the subject of Hong Kong's identity in 2018 with the film "Three Husbands", which we will show as part of his retrospective. The mixture of unrestrained imagination, black humour and social commentary is sometimes shocking, but his cinema certainly remains uncompromising.

Fruit Chan's films are not only an outstanding cinema, but also a valuable document of the era, which allows to understand the specificity of Hong Kong and the emotions of its residents not only at the turn of the century, but also in 2019, when the streets of the city became a place of widespread social protests.

The Five Flavours retrospective includes six titles - from the legendary "Made in Hong Kong" (1997) - presented after 4K restoration, to the latest, most provocative film "Three Husbands" (2018). Other films were screened on 35mm prints. 

Fruit Chan’s Master Class 

On November 17th, in Kino Muranów, the festival audience had a unique opportunity to participate in the masterclass with Fruit Chan. The artist, who rarely travels to European festivals, also met with the audience after the screenings of his films. 

Partners of the retrospective - Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Berlin, Create HK, HK Film Development Fund and Asian Film Awards Academy. 

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© Fundacja Sztuki Arteria
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