The 10th Osian's-Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema will open with a Hong Kong film The Sparrow, directed by the maverick filmmaker Johnnie To Kei Fung, starring Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam, Hoi-Pang Lo and Kenneth Cheung.
Sparrow is slang in local Hong Kong street language for pickpocket. It is an unusual story about a beautiful woman and three professional pickpockets coming together in search of an elusive key. The plot is efficient and To's skill and virtuosity is evident through the film. The film will be screened on July 11 at Siri Fort.
"Like a sparrow, the camera swerves through the forgotten alleyways and old buildings intent to reveal something new…..For me, film has always been a medium that documents a specific place and time. Sparrow is an embodiment of that spirit", says Johnnie To.
His filmography is an eclectic collection of films from almost every genre and he is considered the de facto hallmark of quality filmmaking in Hong Kong. His film Breaking News was shown at Osian's-Cinefan in 2005.
Born in Hong Kong in 1955, Johnnie To began his film career in 1973 as a producer for Television Broadcast Ltd.
Following his directorial debut with the martial arts fantasy The Enigmatic Case, To's career gained recognition in the late 1980s.
Through the trademark realism of his company, Milky Way Films, the maverick filmmaker created a new tone in Hong Kong cinema, which instilled a creative energy into a stagnant Hong Kong genre.
If there's one name that has kept Hong Kong cinema alive from its post-handover hangover to today, it's Johnnie To.
From comedies to romantic melodramas, gangster shoot-em-ups to bizarre fantasies, To has made nearly fifty films in his illustrious career, often at a rate of three or four a year. He's living proof that the best genre films are now made in Hongkong.