Independent Filmmaking

Shanghai Panic, 2001

Based on a banned novel by underground writer Mian Mian entitled Welcome to Panic, Andrew Cheng’s socially relevant, but technically uneven digital video pseudo-documentary follows a close-knit group of rootless, young adults (apparently played by Mian Mian and her circle of friends) in the urban jungle of Shanghai as a male friend – perhaps struggling… read more »

Durian Durian, 2000

A sweet little girl from the the city of Shenzhen in mainland China named Fan (Mak Wai-fan) recounts with innocent reflection her father’s early dawn ritual of dressing in complete darkness, preparing his meal, and rolling his portable cart to the train station, as he makes his exhausting daily commute to Hong Kong to buy… read more »

Little Cheung, 2000

Little Cheung (Yiu Yuet-Ming) has learned that money and existence are inextricably connected to each other: “I’ve known from an early age, money is a dream. It’s a fantasy. It’s also a future.” His doting grandmother, a former Chinese opera actress, spends her afternoons gambling at a mah jong parlor. His grandmother’s affable and religious… read more »

The Longest Summer, 1998

A public broadcast on March 31, 1997 officially announces the disbanding of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps – the cadre of Chinese soldiers serving in the British garrison on the island – as images of regimental exercises leading to the final lowering of the sovereign flag cuts to a shot of a young boy… read more »

Made in Hong Kong, 1997

Autumn Moon (Sam Lee) describes with resigned disaffection his aimless life in the urban jungle of Hong Kong: playing street basketball with other underemployed, high school dropouts in the city park; collecting loansharking debts for a mob boss named Big Brother Wing (Chan Sang); coming to the rescue of a defenseless, mentally disabled friend named… read more »

Love Streams, 1984

A dashing, successful writer of lurid romance novels named Robert Harmon (John Cassavetes) arrives home in the middle of the day – still stylishly dressed in formal evening attire – to find an odd assortment of vivacious, attractive young women engaged in frivolous activities as they bide time awaiting his return. Attempting to engage one… read more »

A Woman Under the Influence, 1974

When does neurotic behavior lapse into madness? In A Woman Under the Influence, we are introduced to an inscrutable, emotionally vulnerable woman named Mabel (Gena Rowlands) as she goes through the rituals of everyday life: preparing for an evening alone with her husband Nick (Peter Falk), flirting with a receptive bar patron, meeting her children… read more »

Faces, 1968

Richard (John Marley) goes into the screening room of his office where female assistants attend to him – coffee, cigarettes, whatever he needs. He is the CEO of a powerful financial institution, and his latest investment is a movie. The film title momentarily flashes Faces, and that is all the introduction the venerable improvisational director,… read more »

The World’s Greatest Sinner, 1962

Iconic character actor and inimitable personality Timothy Carey’s eccentrically flawed, indescribably lowbrow, and madly egocentric, yet indelible satire, The World’s Greatest Sinner, is a commendable exposition on opportunism, moral bankruptcy, and idolatry as a bored insurance salesman, Clarence Hilliard, re-invents himself as a youth attuned, hip-gyrating pop star in order to gain public exposure and… read more »

Nathaniel Dorsky: Winter and Sarabande (2008)

Bookending with representations of twilight – an opening shot of light transmitted through a foregrounding grating, and a closing shot of the sun setting below a line of trees – Nathaniel Dorsky’s Winter and Sarabande convey forms of progression: a movement from dawn to dusk, shadow to light, grey tones to color, emptiness to space…. read more »