Restored Classics from Robert Bresson and Mike De Leon at the 41st HKIFF


The 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival (April 11th – 25th, 2017) announced that they will screen newly restored classics from Robert Bresson and Mike De Leon.

Robert Bresson, born in 1901, is a world renowned French director, who spare and ascetic style turned the everyday into a spiritual transcendence. A good example of his unique style can be seen in “A Man Escaped” (1956), in which tales the true story of a man trying to escape from prison becomes a pilgrimage of redemption. The movie won the Best Director Award at the 1956 Canned Film Festival. Another masterpiece that will be screen is “Pickpocket” (1959), which tells the story of a pickpocket eager to refine his technique in thievery to perfection. In his first color film “A Gentle Woman” (1969), Bresson portrays the loneliness of an alienated woman who finally brings out her inner feelings. “Money” (1983) awarded for Best Director at Cannes, was his last movie and it was inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s story that unveils his profound feeling of despair on lost human values. Along with the screening of these films, Cine Fan will launch a retrospective of his films in its May to July programmes.

Mike De Leon, born in 1947, along with Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, is considered as a filmmaker who brought the new Filipino Cinema to the international spotlight during the 1970s. He surprised world cinema with his celebration of stylistic camerawork to probe the national history of the Philippines. The HKIFF will present a triptych of De Leon. In “Moments in a Stolen Dream” (1977) he portraits the contradictions in the family and society through a bitter love story. In “Will Your Heart Beat Faster?” (1980), a romantic comedy, he skewer with the deep political twists and turns of globalization, underground economies and cultural betrayal. On “An Indivisible Heaven” (1985) the director focuses on family problems taking audiences into complex worlds of bourgeois love and sexuality, imbued with criticisms of class and gender.

More information about the films:


A Man Escaped by Robert Bresson – France | 1956 – 100 min.

Captured French Resistance fighter Lieutenant Fontaine awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison. Facing malnourishment and paralyzing fear, he must engineer an extraordinary escape, complicated by the questions of whom to trust, and in the absence of options, how to kill? (Sam Spector)

Opening Scene



Pickpocket by Robert Bresson – France | 1959 – 79 min.

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival. (IMDB)




A Gentle Woman by Robert Bresson – France | 1969 – 88 min.

A young woman kills herself, leaving no explanation to her grief-stricken pawnbroker husband. We learn in flashback about how they met, married, and how she failed to adapt her lifestyle to his. Disgusted with his attempts to dominate her, she considered murdering him, but found herself unable to do it… (Michael Brooke)




Money (L’Argent) by Robert Bresson – France | 1983 – 87 min.

A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into the hands of a genuine innocent who doesn’t see it for what it is – which will have devastating consequences on his life, causing him to turn to crime and murder…




Moments in a Stolen Dream (Kung mangarap ka’t magising) by Mike De Leon
Philippines | 1977

It’s the coming-of-age story of a young college student, Joey (Christopher de Leon) who has lost all sense of direction and meaning in life, waking up every morning to the same old day that went before; fruitless, senseless, lifeless. He’s a carefree kind of guy who just bums around with his friends. The only thing that inspires him is music. The problem is, he has yet to finish writing a song, which turns out to be the movie’s theme song, and the theme song of his awakening. Then Joey meets Ana (Hilda Koronel) and she immediately sweeps him off his feet. A very sweet friendship develops between the two. All of a sudden Joey’s world is turned upside down, and his mornings are never the same again. (Georgeous Me)

Trailer (No English translation)



Will Your Heart Beat Faster? (Kakabakaba ka ba?) by Mike De Leon
Philippines | 1980 – 104 min.

Foursome lovers Johnny (Christopher De Leon) and his flame, the flight steward Melanie (Charo Santos), and Johnny’s friend Nonong (Jay Ilagan) and his sweetheart Nancy (Sandy Andolong), unwittingly get involved with warring Japanese and Chinese drug syndicates . Embroiled in the fracas, the two pairs of lovers uncover a plot by the syndicate that baffles them all.




An Indivisible Heaven (Hindi Nahahati ang langit) by Mike De Leon – 1985 | Philippines



To know more about this festival please go to the Festival Profile or to the Official Website.


* – Photo of Mike De Leon in cover taken by Richard Reyes (Inquirer)

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