CITIES OF LAST THINGS—the fifth feature by director Ho Wi Ding—follows a haunted police detective through a reverse-narrative spiral. Reminiscent of the gorgeous neon-and-noir dreamscapes cinematographer Christopher Doyle created for Wong Kar-Wai, the Taipei triptych opens with a suicide in the year 2056, then works its way back to 2019 and the 1990s.
Jack Kao (61 years old), Lee Hong Chi (29), and young Hsieh Chang Ying play Zhang Dong Ling over the course of three crucial nights in the character’s life. The film was shot in 35mm for a wonderfully grainy sheen—Jean Louis Vialard was the director of photography. This award-winning Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival selection screens Monday night in Los Angeles.
Douglas Sirk’s ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) and MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954), part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center series Emotion Pictures—International Melodramas, will screen on New Year’s Day.
A potent influence on Fassbinder, Wong Kar-wai,Todd Haynes and many others, these masterpieces (along with Sirk’s Written on the Wind and Imitation of Life) are the high-water mark of overwrought Hollywood melodrama.
“Setting arch-American characters and tales in lurid tableaux of riotous colors and tangled shadows, catching the frozen moments of contemplative self-horror of furiously dynamic characters and the stifled energies of reflective ones, Sirk plays ironic variations on American themes.” — Richard Brody*
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, Monday, January 1, at 7 pm.