You may only know Chow from his Hollywood films. You may only know Chow from his Hong Kong actioners. But you don’t know Chow Yun-Fat at all. On March 31st and April 7th, see Chow Yun-Fat as you’ve never seen him: Chow the hero and clown in “God of Gamblers;” and, for the ladies, Chow the lover in “An Autumn’s Tale.” Event details below.
Dashing and ebullient, Chow Yun-Fat has been likened to all sorts of round-eye stars. The enlivening Cary Grant of the great comedies is a good place to start — the guy who always gets Katherine Hepburn because he’s such great fun to hang with. But Chow can also resemble the glamorously conflicted Alain Delon of the Jean-Pierre Melville gangster films, expiring from gunshot wounds in perfect evening clothes. For film scholar Paul Fonoroff, at least, Chow Yun-Fat remains “the best actor in Asia.”
The breadth of Chow’s appeal has no equivalent in this country. No American star has ever been hugely popular as a clown, a lover and a fighter simultaneously. Imagine the most engaging qualities of Jack Lemmon, Robert Taylor and Steve McQueen somehow magically co-mingled, with a pinch of Al Pacino on the side, only Chinese, and you may begin to get the drift. In every kind of role Chow’s presence conveys boundless pleasure, and his exuberance is contagious.
In 1973, Chow, 17, was ushered into a free training program offered by the HK-TVB television network, and a year later the network owned his services for three more. He first achieved wide popularity in 1976, as the necessary young hunk on a prime time soap called Hotel. He consolidated his winnings as a crime boss in a white tropical suit in the 1980 series Shanghai Bund. Chow worked incessantly in TV, and on top of his heavy video workload he began making features on the side, because he needed some extra money to buy his mother a new house. The first film he says he actually thought was good was Ann Hui’s THE STORY OF WOO VIET in 1981.
Chow Yun-Fat has made 70+ movies, 12 in 1988 alone. His entree into Hollywood began with THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, followed by THE CORRUPTOR and his first mainstream love drama with Jodie Foster, ANNA AND THE KING. His next film Ang Lee’s CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is set for a Summer 2000 release. Who is this man crowned the God of Actor on thousands of fan sites? There’s only one way to find out; come to the Laemmele’s Santa Monica to see the films that showcase his unique talent.
The Low Down
The Asian Film Foundation is a non-profit corporation, based in Los Angeles, California. The Foundation was created to further the multi-cultural spirit of Los Angeles through the presentation of Asian and Asian-themed cinema.
The event will be held at the Laemmle Santa Monica 4th Plex, 1332 – 2nd Street, Santa Monica. Show times: March 31st : “An Autumn’s Tale” at 8 pm; “God Of Gamblers” at 10 pm. April 7th: “An Autumn’s Tale” at 10 pm; “God of Gamblers” at 12 midnight. General Admission: Autumn $8, God $8; Student Price: Autumn $5; God $5.
For event coverage, sponsorship opportunities and ticket information go to www.asianfilm.org or send e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Film notes by David Chute
LAEMMLE’S SANTA MONICA
1332 2nd St., Santa Monica CA
General Admission $8
Directed by Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting; Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Cherie Chung Cho-Hung, Danny Chan Bak-Keung, Gigi Wong Po-Yi, Wong Man
Cantonese with English subtitles
Directed by Wong Jing; Cast:
Chow Yun-Fat , Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Joey Wang, Charles Heung, Cheung Man
Cantonese with English subtitles