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The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society's Cine Fan programme will mark Italian cultural icon Pier Paolo Pasolini's birth centenary with a 16-film retrospective in November and December.


Complementing Pasolini’s subversive and controversial works in this edition is a selection of psychological thrillers replete with the wicked charm of fictional adaptations of Patricia Highsmith, the American novelist once dubbed "the poet of apprehension" by Graham Greene.


Paying homage to the Italian filmmaker, poet, writer, and intellectual, From Sexuality to Sanctity: Fiction Film Retrospective of Pier Paolo Pasolini will showcase all his 12 fictional features and four short films, offering audiences a comprehensive overview of the auteur’s distinctive cinema, known for its compelling, provocative and transgressive vision of the contemporary world.  Starting with his 1961 directorial debut Accattone and Mamma Roma (1962), Pasolini's empathy with the socially deprived was evident in these brutally realistic depictions of the poverty and squalor of slum life in Rome.    




A non-orthodox Catholic Marxist, Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) is hailed as one of the best films ever made about Christ.  Ironically, he was imprisoned for blasphemy for his short film Curd Cheese from the anthology Ro.Go.Pa.G (1963).  His use of eroticism, violence, and depravity as vehicles for his political and religious allegories against neo-capitalist ideology in Theorem (1968) and Pigsty (1969) also brought him harsh rebuke. 


Turning his focus to medieval literature, he constructed his award-winning Trilogy of Life – The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974) – as sexual romps to rail against social hypocrisy and political repression.  Explicitly linking sadism with fascism, his notorious final film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, revolting as it is thought-provoking.


Acclaimed for her intricate thrillers, Highsmith weaved a world with twists and irrationality, delving into the nature of guilt and innocence, good and evil.  Her novels inspired some of the best films in cinema history, from Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) to René Clément’s Purple Noon (1960) and Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley.  Adapted from her autobiographical romance The Price of Salt, Todd Haynes’ Carol (2015) brings alive a devastatingly passionate story with brilliant performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. 





This year also marks the centenary of the birth of Jonas Mekas, one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking.  Cine Fan celebrates his life and works in the Cinema Heritage section, showcasing two of his highly personal diary films, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972) and Lost Lost Lost (1976), that exemplify his inestimable impact on independent cinema.

Rounding off the programme are two films by American-Scottish director Alexander Mackendrick – his gleefully sinister crime caper The Ladykillers (1955), featuring the incomparable Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, and the stylishly seedy film noir Sweet Smell of Success (1957).





Cine Fan’s November/December edition will return to a free-seating arrangement for all in-cinema screenings, offering patrons greater convenience and flexibility.  Tickets to all screenings can be purchased from URBTIX from 19 October, and CINE FAN ONLINE passes (https:/cinefan.hkiff.org.hk/en) are available from 4 November. 


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