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HONG KONG – After recruiting the British Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom Hooper to preside over its competition jury next month, the Shanghai International Film Festival is now bringing in another famed British cineaste to star in its 16thedition – Alfred Hitchcock.
Nine of the thrill-master’s black-and-white silent films from the 1920s will be screened at the festival as part of its annual Tributes to Masters showcase, which has previously featured the works of Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Chang Cheh.
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Starting with Hitchcock’s 1925 debut The Pleasure Garden, the series will also include eight other films he made before 1929: The Lodger, The Ring, Downhill, The Farmer’s Wife, Easy Virtue, Champagne,The Manxman and Blackmail. His second film, The Mountain Eagle (1926), has been deemed lost.
The result of a painstaking and costly restoration program initiated by the British Film Institute, this nine-film package will also be making appearances in the U.S. next month (starting with screenings at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival on Jun. 14) and also from Jun. 29 to Jul. 6 at Il Cinema Ritrovato, the classics-driven festival at Bologna where the films will be shown on 35mm prints rather than DCP (as will be the case in Shanghai and the U.S.).
In Shanghai, The Lodger, Downhill and The Ring will be screened with a musical soundtrack. The screening of Blackmail, meanwhile, will be backed by live music from the electronic group FM3 as a collaboration between the festival, the new Shanghai Film Museum, the British Film Institute and the British embassy’s cultural and education section.
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Now into its 20th year, the Shanghai International Film Festival was the first of its kind in mainland China until the Beijing authorities — in a gesture smacking of one-upsmanship against its rival metropolis — launched a version of their own two years ago.
The Shanghai festival runs from Jun. 15-23 this year, and features a competition for the Golden Goblet Award. The other members of the jury are yet to be named.
Retrospectives in the festival also include that of the late Hong Kong singer-actor Leslie Cheung and Chinese director Tang Xiaodan, who died last year at the age of 101. There will also be showcases of films by Yasujiro Ozu and Oliver Stone. Other sections are dedicated to national cinemas, restored films, as well as 3-D productions, documentaries and a Panoramic China showcase.
There will also be a three-day film market, hosted in the middle of the festival from Jun. 17-19.
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