In the film set during the Occupation during World War II, matinee heartthrob Jean-Paul Belmondo is a country priest who finds himself drawn to a cynical young widow (Emmanuelle Riva), who has abandoned religion for Communism.Melville was part of the French Resistance during the war, so he knew the Occupation inside and outside.The screening Sunday, July 16, at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive is a good opportunity to pay tribute to Riva.Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley.
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MAY 02, 2013
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2013 - ENTERTAINMENT NOW INC.
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In the two decades since launching his own production company, Milkyway Image, To (pronounced “Dough”) has directed 38 films — nearly two a year — a string of energetic, visually creative genre films, mostly the action flicks he is known for as well as romantic comedies, that feature strong characters and often eye-popping sequences.[...] unlike some of his Hong Kong brethren, he has fit seamlessly into the mainland Chinese system that dominates that region’s box office and is working at as high a level as ever.The 27-film lineup features 17 films directed by To and 10 films by other directors who have been among his primary influences.The series begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 20, with To’s favorite filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, directing the 1949 cop film “Stray Dog,” followed at 8:45 p.m. by To’s exciting 2013 thriller “Drug War.”Like his spiritual mentors — Kurosawa, Jean-Pierre Melville, Francis Ford Coppola and even the Wachowski siblings, all represented in the series — To’s strength might be his memorable and believable characters.“The best movies have really memorable characters,” To told The Chronicle in 2004.Louis Koo is a drug lord turned who becomes a police informant after his arrest to avoid the death penalty.Best of all is a harbor scene in which an undercover cop gets an entire fishing fleet to set sail at once — no computer effects here! — an example of how To can rise to the challenge of any sequence.In “Running Out of Time” (8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22), a cop played by Lau Ching-wan is led on the ultimate cat-and-mouse game by a dying criminal played by Andy Lau.“Where a Good Man Goes” (2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 23) is a remarkably tender story of a newly released ex-con (again, the great Lau Ching-wan) whose quest for revenge is sidetracked when he becomes involved with a single mother and her adorable son.The third movie from that year remains To’s masterpiece: “The Mission” (Aug. 5) is a wild ride about an oddball assortment of hired guns quickly slapped together to protect a mob boss targeted for assassination.Melville’s 1959 “Two Men in Manhattan” is followed by To’s 2009 film “Vengeance,” in which he bizarrely casts 66-year-old iconic French singer Johnny Hallyday as a former gangster turned restaurant owner who flies in from Paris and goes on a rampage in Hong Kong and Macao after his daughter’s family is murdered and his daughter (Sylvie Testud) is badly hurt.