Cover M+ Cinema House 1 (Photo: Lok Cheng and M+, Hong Kong)

The visual culture museum’s new cinema boasts of a lineup of nearly 100 screenings, including 70 Hong Kong classics, rarely seen films, and documentaries in which Angelina Jolie and Tilda Swinton talk about filmmaking. Here’s everything you need to know

M+ Cinema, the centrepiece of M+’s Moving Image Centre, will open on June 8. Designed in harmony with the museum’s exhibitions and collections, the film programme features films, documentaries, experimental cinema, video art, restored classics, and newly discovered or rarely seen films.

Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the cinema comprises three houses with 180 seats, 60 seats and 40 seats respectively. All are equipped with digital and analogue 16mm and 35mm projection facilities and a Dolby 7.1 sound system to ensure that films are screened as closely as possible to their original formats.

The opening films will be the 4K restored version of the 1990 drama Days of Being Wild by Wong Kar-wai, known for being Wong’s earliest film that shows his swooning signature style; and the 1998 film Xiao Wu by Jia Zhangke, the Chinese auteur’s first feature about a pickpocket in the People’s Republic of China. Both restored films will have their Hong Kong premieres at M+ Cinema this summer.

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The full inaugural programme also includes several series of different genres. The “Hong Kong: The Establishing Shot” series, to be launched on June 10, focuses on the city’s disappearing landscapes and collective memories, everyday stories from different communities, and action films. Opening in July is “Performing the Image”, which comprises six screening programmes that explore contemporary artists’ performative interventions (art as protest) and gender-related issues. Highlighted artists and directors include Nam June Paik, the Korean American artist recognised as the founder of video art; Tracey Moffatt, the Indigenous Australian artist who represented Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale; and Hong Kong artist Wong Ping, who creates disturbing narratives that challenge conventional concepts of human desire.

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Further down the pipeline are large-scale film projects from overseas, including Women Make Film (2018), a documentary that spans 13 decades and five continents and looks at filmmaking by women such as Tilda Swinton, Angelina Jolie and Jane Campion; and DAU. Natasha (2020) and DAU. Degeneration (2020), an epic project whose rebuilt Soviet research facility became the largest film set ever constructed in Europe.

There will also be public programmes, such as dialogues between filmmakers and curators, performances, and a film course after some of the screenings.

Doryun Chong, M+’s deputy director, curatorial and chief curator, writes in a press statement, “Featuring both historic and contemporary works, M+ Cinema programmes … spark an exciting dialogue between moving image and the adjacent fields of visual culture, such as visual art and design and architecture. We hope to inspire our audience’s curiosity and understanding of the moving image as one of the most dynamic aspects of contemporary visual culture.”

Tickets will go on sale on May 20 on M+’s website. M+ patrons and members can enjoy priority booking from May 17.

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