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Hong Kong Film Festival to Put Focus on Local Auteur Stanley Kwan

Vivienne Chow
·2-min read

Hong Kong auteur Stanley Kwan will be featured as the filmmaker-in-focus at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. It will run a retrospective screening of 13 Kwan-directed films, including the director’s cut of “Center Stage.”

“[Kwan] has developed a highly personal aesthetic style in his [portrayal] of the female psyche while capturing the nuanced transformation of the city and the era,” said Albert Lee, executive director of the HKIFF Society, in a statement.

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On staff at Television Broadcasts until 1979, before becoming an assistant director to New Wave filmmakers Ann Hui and Patrick Tam, Kwan has a career spanning more than 40 years. The retrospective retraces the steps of Kwan’s cinematic journey starting from his 1985 directorial debut “Women.” Starring Chow Yun-fat and Cora Miao, the drama earned 10 nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards including best film and best director.

Kwan quickly established himself as a director with a niche in female sensibilities with his following features such as “Full Moon in New York” (1989) and “Red Rose White Rose” (1994). His 1987 feature “Rouge,” starring the late Canto-pop superstars Anita Mui as a ghost in search of her lover, played by Leslie Cheung, whom she believes is still alive, became an instant classic and earned Kwan award at home and abroad.

Success was followed by “Center Stage” (1992), a biopic of China’s silent movie era screen icon Ruan Lingyu. The film won its lead actress Maggie Cheung the best actress awards at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Kwan is also open about his homosexuality and challenges gender norms in his work, most notably through documentary “Yang ± Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema” (1996) and critically acclaimed gay drama “Lan Yu” (2001), which won him best director at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Awards.

“Stanley has set benchmarks for LGBTQ films in Chinese-language cinema with his exploration of gender and sexuality issues. We are proud to acknowledge his unique and indelible contributions towards Hong Kong cinema,” Lee said.

The festival will run from April 1-12, 2021, in a hybrid format amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A book on the trajectory of Kwan’s cinematic career will also be published. He will meet the audience at a talk on April 5.

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