Crossfire: A retrospective of cinema from Kubrick to Kurosawa

The Crossfire feature of the IFFAM will showcase six master films selected by renowned filmmakers. The pictures will be shown on the big screen at The Cinematheque Passion, from December 8 to 12.


English actors Dennis Price and Sir Alec Guinness star in this 1949 black comedy. Price plays the lead role of Louis d’Ascoyne Mazzini, ninth in line to succeed a British dukedom. He systematically eliminates the eight members of the d’Ascoyne family – all played by Guinness – separating him from the title. Imprisoned for another crime he did not commit, he starts writing his own memoirs.

English director Robert Hamer worked on war documentaries during World War II, after which he helmed several movies until his death in 1963. Acclaimed actor Guinness was a former star of Shakespearean theatre before moving to blockbusters (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Star Wars and Bridge on the River Kwai) after the war. Price was also known for the 1960s television adaptations of PG Wodehouse’s stories.


Hotshot Inspector Ho seeks out his former boss Bun for help in cracking a serial murder case. Bun, a gifted criminal profiler, went mad years ago and now lives in seclusion with his wife. As the film goes on, Bun’s unorthodox approach sows doubt in Ho’s mind.

The Mad Detective is played by television actor Lau Ching-Wan, who has appeared in over 100 movies since his silver screen debut in 1986. The film is produced and directed by Johnnie To – a film festival veteran known for crime movies such as Election (2005), Exiled (2006) and Vengeance (2009) – and Wai Ka-Fai. The duo formed independent film company Milkyway Image in 1996 and worked together on Mad Detective. Wai’s credits include The Shopaholics (2006) and Written By (2009).


Mongkok, Hong Kong: a densely populated hotbed of criminal activity. Mainland Chinese farm boy Lai Fu is a hired killer who enters the neon-lit underbelly of this infamous district. When he rescues a call girl from gangsters, the two must go on the run from policemen and triads alike.

Derek Yee acted in more than 40 Shaw Brothers films before becoming a director in the mid-1980s. Beside One Nite in
(2004), Yee has made crime films such as Full Throttle (1995), Protege (2007) and Shinjuku Incident (2009), as well as several comedies and action movie Sword Master (2016). Protagonist Lai Fu is played by Daniel Wu, a Hong Kong actor, director and producer; call girl Dandan is played by Cecilia Cheung, an award-winning actress and Cantopop singer.   


A summertime meeting between a samurai, his wife and a thief goes sour when passion and violence lead to tragedy. At the subsequent trial, the incident is recounted from four radically different points of view – the three protagonists and a woodcutter who claims to have discovered the crime.

Rashomon marked Japan’s world cinema debut and won critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival and Academy Awards. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made. Director Akira Kurosawa helmed 30-odd films – including Seven Samurai (1954), Yojimbo (1961) and Kagemusha (1980) – that influenced generations of directors around the world before his passing in 1998. Leading man Toshiro Mifune – also considered one of Japan’s greatest actors – starred in almost 170 feature films, 16 of which he made with Kurosawa.


This award-winning psychological thriller stars Jodie Foster as FBI trainee Clarice Starling and legendary Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins as incarcerated cannibal Dr Hannibal Lecter. Starling is sent to interview Lecter, also a former psychiatrist and murderer, to gain insight into the manhunt for serial killer Buffalo Bill, who abducts and skins the corpses of young women. As Starling and Lecter race to catch Buffalo Bill, the cannibal uncovers troubling secrets about her past.

American-born Demme entered mainstream cinema in the late 1970s and worked there – eventually making The  Manchurian Candidate (2004) and Philadelphia (1993) – until his death in 2017. The Silence of the Lambs won Demme the Oscar for Best Director, while Hopkins and former child star Foster took home Best Actor and Actress, respectively.


Stage actor Keir Dullea, together with the voice talents of Douglas Rain, stars in this 1968 adaptation of a short story by sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr Dave Bowman – played by Dullea – and four other scientists go on a mission to Jupiter, their ship’s computer HAL 9000 begins to display disturbing behavior and sends the astronauts on a mind-bending trek through space and time.

One of the most influential figures in film history, American director Stanley Kubrick started out with independent films before his studio debut in 1956. Before his passing in 1999, he made numerous masterpieces including Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr Strangelove (1964), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

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