22 March – 5 April

CRYING ON THE INSIDE: THE EMPATHETIC STARDOM OF TONY LEUNG CHIU-WAI

Quiet and introspective as a child and outcast by his parents’ separation, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (1962–) never aspired to much. In 1982, while working as an appliance salesman, Leung was encouraged to take up acting by his childhood friend Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer). After a year of training, Leung landed his first television role. Within two years he was cast in leading roles, primarily in comedy, most famously in the mid-1980s TV series Police Cadet, alongside Maggie Cheung, Chow Yun-Fat and Carina Lau (who married Leung in 1989). Leung’s breakthrough international role was in Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City of Sadness (1989). He has since become one of the most sought-after actors in the wider Asia region, working with many of the great directors of his time across a wide range of genres, from highly stylised action blockbusters – John Woo’s Hard Boiled (1992), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs (2002), Zhang Yimou’s Hero (2002) – to subversive arthouse classics like Hou’s Flowers of Shanghai (1998), Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution (2007) and Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together (1997) and In the Mood For Love (2000). Following in the footsteps of fellow compatriots Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen, Leung recently broke into Hollywood playing the villain in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). Widely considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, Leung brings a compelling sense of interiority and melancholy to all his roles, a sensibility comparable to the work of Marcello Mastroianni and Montgomery Clift. This season presents a selection of Leung’s most notable roles – often as part of stellar ensemble casts – showcasing his diverse range and deeply empathetic screen presence.

Wednesday 22 March

7:00pm FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI
Hou Hsiao-Hsien (1998) 113 mins – Unclassified 15+

Hou’s beautiful adaptation of a late 19th century novel set in the “flower houses” of Shanghai’s European concession is an extraordinarily hermetic and dreamlike portrait of its circumscribed characters (including Leung in a stellar performance). Hou’s slow dance-like film has a languid, almost-elastic quality, drawing us into the lost and melancholy world of the brothels and their inhabitants as they make their way through the intimate, intricate, ritualised interiors. In this remarkable, atmospheric, somnambulistic film – shot entirely in Taiwan by the great Lee Ping-Bin – the past is indeed another country.


9:10pm HERO
Zhang Yimou (2002) 120 mins – M

Zhang’s bracingly revisionist wuxia features Leung among an ensemble cast of megastars including Maggie Cheung and martial arts legends Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Zhang Ziyi. Set during the historical warring states period preceding the unification of China under the Qin dynasty, the film is divided into five parts, each dominated by a specific colour. Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, the film offers conflicting accounts of battles with heroic assassins. Features cinematography by Christopher Doyle and action choreography by Ching Siu-Tung (Shaolin Soccer).

35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.

Wednesday 29 March

7:00pm IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
Wong Kar-Wai (2000) 98 mins – PG

Exquisite, dance-like account of the never-quite-consummated relationship between two lonely married people who suspect their spouses of having an affair. A rondo of glances, meticulously rendered gestures, and the graceful orchestrations of everyday life, Wong’s opus is one of the 21st century’s greatest films, a totally engulfing but distanced portrait of a long-vanished time and place (1960s Hong Kong). Wong’s extraordinary choreography of music, body and image provides the perfect platform for Leung and Maggie Cheung’s intimate, towering performances.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.


8:55pm A CHINESE GHOST STORY III
Ching Siu-Tung (1991) 104 mins – M

The third instalment in the hugely influential “Chinese ghost story” series returns to the “roots” of the original 1987 film as a monk (Leung) is seduced by a ghost (Joey Wang) resurrected by the Tree Devil. Produced, co-written and partly directed by Tsui Hark, this playful, often spectacular action-comedy-fantasy-horror-romance features kinetic stunts, garish costumes and lively direction and choreography by Ching. Eric Henderson claimed it was like “a Kwaidan remake directed by the Evil Dead-era Sam Raimi”. With Jacky Cheung.

35mm print.

Wednesday 5 April

7:00pm HARD BOILED
John Woo (1992) 126 mins – R 18+

This is one of the pinnacles of Hong Kong action cinema and director Woo’s last hurrah before being swallowed up by Hollywood. Deliriously hyperkinetic and balletic action sequences take centre stage as a policeman (Chow Yun-Fat) teams up with a hit man (Leung iconic in his second film with Woo) to do battle with a gang of arms dealers. Woo’s Melvillian preoccupation with male bonding and the close connection of characters on opposite sides of the law help create a soulful, comic, frenetic and hypnotic modern classic. With Teresa Mo and Anthony Chau-Sang Wong.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.


9:20pm CYCLO
Tran Anh Hung (1995) 123 mins – R 18+

Tran’s dreamy, expressionistic ode to neorealism and Wong Kar-Wai, shot on location in Saigon and riffing on the plot of De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, casts Leung as a poet moonlighting as a gangster and in love with the sister of the titular orphaned hero. While not the preeminent showcase of his acting talent – Leung spoke no Vietnamese and learned his minimal dialogue phonetically – Tran and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme utilise his dark, brooding interiority to lend a captivating glamour to his enigmatic villain, completely stealing the film from its putative, non-actor lead.

35mm print.

CTEQ ANNOTATION
Cyclo (Tran Anh Hung, 1995)
by Andrew Le

7 February
OPENING NIGHT 2024

7 February – 21 February
FROM THE BOULEVARDS OF PARIS TO THE DOCKS OF CHERBOURG: LANDMARKS OF THE FRENCH FILM MUSICAL

28 February – 13 March
"LIVING MAY BE TRAGIC, BUT LIFE ISN'T": THE FILMS OF THE TAVIANI BROTHERS

20 March – 3 April
IN THE AFTERGLOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF GLORIA GRAHAME

Wednesday 10 April
MAN OF THE CINEMA: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN FLAUS AT 90

17 April – 1 May
KEEP ROLLING: ANN HUI'S COUNTER-CINEMA

8 May – 22 May
"ALL ART IS ONE": THE VISIONARY CINEMA OF MICHAEL POWELL AND EMERIC PRESSBURGER

29 May – 12 June
WRITING WITH HER EYES: SUSO CECCHI D'AMICO, SCREENWRITER AS OBSERVER

19 June – 3 July
THE HOUSE THAT MOHSEN BUILT: THE FILMS OF SAMIRA MAKHMALBAF, MARZIEH MESHKINI AND MOHSEN MAKHMALBAF

10 July – 24 July
THE PAIN OF LIVING: JEAN EUSTACHE, BEING CINEMA

Wednesday 31 July
BETWEEN THE WAVE AND REVOLUTION: THE RETURN OF RIVETTE’S LEGENDARY L’AMOUR FOU

4–18 September
BLIND BEASTS, RED ANGELS AND HOODLUM SOLDIERS: THE IRRESISTIBLE CINEMA OF YASUZO MASUMURA

25 September – 9 October
JIŘÍ MENZEL: MAKING COMEDIES IS NO FUN

16–23 October
OF MEN AND MONSTERS: THE CINEMA OF NIKOS KOUNDOUROS

Wednesday 30 October
CONTESTED HISTORIES: THE DOCUMENTARIES OF JENI THORNLEY

6–20 November
THE FIRST AND LAST OF ENGLAND: THE QUEER LEGACIES OF DEREK JARMAN

Wednesday 27 November
PARADING THE PAST: RECENT ERNST LUBITSCH RESTORATIONS

4–11 December
THE SEEDS OF CHANGE: THE DOCUMENTARIES OF TOM ZUBRYCKI

Wednesday 18 December
CARLTON AND BEYOND: THE MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY FILM SOCIETY IN THE 1960s