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Statistics :
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The Rise of Johnnie To
From fanboy favorite to internationally acclaimed filmmaker 6/6 - Page 7
Author(s) : Marie Jost
Date : 28/2/2011
Type(s) : Analysis
Food for thought
 Intext Links  
People :
Ringo Lam Ling Tung
Yves Montmayeur
Johnnie To Kei Fung
Tsui Hark
Movies :
Breaking News
Election 2
The Election
Help !!!
Johnnie Got His Gun !
Mad Detective
The Mission
Running On Karma
Running Out Of Time
The Sparrow
< Previous
Page 6 : Return to Noir: A Rising Star on the International Festival Circuit
Next >
Page 8 : Johnnie To and the Critics

The definitive turning point for Johnnie To and his rising fortunes in the West came in 2005. That was the year that his latest film, Election, was shown in competition at Cannes. While To had shown Breaking News the previous year at Cannes, it had not been in competition and was screened as a midnight show. With the Cannes premier of Election, To moved into the rank of elite internationally recognized filmmakers. This consecration by the world’s most prestigious film festival contributed to his rising profile, beyond the ranks of critics specializing in Asian and genre film, and helped him gain greater international distribution of his recent films in theaters and on DVD. Shortly after the Cannes festival, the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles celebrated a five-film retrospective, Hong Kong Hero: A Tribute to Johnnie To. It featured a cross-section of Johnnie To films since 1999: The Mission, Running Out Of Time, Breaking News, Running on Karma and Help !!!

Breaking News, © Milkyway Image (HK) Ltd., Media Asia Films, China Film Group


2006 saw two new films programmed in European festivals: Exiled screened in competition at Venice and Election 2 screened out-of-competition at Cannes. The following year Mad Detective was shown in competition at Venice and Triangle (a portmanteau film directed by To, Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam) premiered out-of-competition at Cannes. The Rotterdam Festival mounted a major retrospective of To’s films, showing 19 in all.

The pace of film retrospectives dedicated to Johnnie To increased to a fever pitch in 2008. Virtually concurrently the Cinémathèque Française (French Film Archive) in Paris and Institute Lumière in Lyon mounted retrospectives on Johnnie To. From March 5 to April 14,, 2008, the Cinémathèque Française showed a total of 22 titles directed by Johnnie To. In Lyon from March 7 to April 27, 2008, seven films were screened. At Berlin, Sparrow was shown in competition and To was a jury member at the Venice Film Festival. Furthermore, in Australia, the ACMI mounted a retrospective of 12 of To’s films and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkley, California mounted another featuring nine films.



Introduction to Johnnie To for a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française (French Film Archive) in Paris in March 2008.

Johnnie To in Paris in March 2008. Photo © David-Olivier Vidouze for HKCinemagic.com

In 2009 To’s latest film, Vengeance, was screened in competition at Cannes and on May 18, 2009, To was inducted as an officer in the National Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication. That same year the Pusan International Film Festival presented a 10-film Johnnie To retrospective. Finally in 2010 Johnnie To was the subject of an hour-long documentary, Johnnie Got His Gun !, by documentary filmmaker Yves Montmayeur. This documentary was making the rounds of film festivals in the last quarter of 2010.

Johnnie Got His Gun! (Photo © Crescendo Films)

Yves Montmayeur shooting behind the scene of Breaking News for Johnnie Got His Gun! Photo © Yves Montmayeur, used with permission.

Page :  1  2  3  4  5  6  7   8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Top
Previous :
Page 6 : Return to Noir: A Rising Star on the International Festival Circuit
Next :
Page 8 : Johnnie To and the Critics

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