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Part of SFFILM Festival

First Night Nerves

Directed by Stanley Kwan

Hong Kong | Fiction Feature | 100

11 Apr
Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm
BAMPFA 2155 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
13 Apr
Sat, Apr 13 at 7:30 pm
SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater
19 Apr
Fri, Apr 19 at 1:00 pm
More tickets may become available during Daily Noon Ticket Releases; check this page for updates.

Guests Expected

Director Stanley Kwan is expected to attend the April 11 and April 13 screenings.


Festival favorite Stanley Kwan is one of cinema’s great directors of women, and his deliriously entertaining new film offers an almost entirely female cast. When transsexual playwright An hires two feuding actresses to star in her latest work, she has little idea of the battles for center stage that will ensue. Starring Cantopop queen Sammi Cheng as Xuling and Gigi Leung as the younger and hipper Yuwen, First Night Nerves flips effortlessly between play rehearsals and the behind-the-curtain heartbreaks and secret affairs of the squabbling stars, offering glorious melodrama throughout.

“Audiences looking for the next Crazy Rich Asians might take some delight in Stanley Kwan’s diva-licious First Night Nerves, a Feud-like behind-the-scenes rivalry which forces center stage all the drama between high-maintenance Hong Kong actresses Yuan Xiuling (Sammi Cheng) and He Yuwen (Gigi Leung) … One of Hong Kong’s only openly gay directors, Kwan has crafted a movie that’s nearly Almodóvarian in the appreciation and respect it showers upon ladies of all classes—not just the city’s Ferrari-driving super-elite, but also the loyal assistants who cook [for] and console our dueling stars.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

Director Stanley Kwan

After getting his start as an assistant director, Stanley Kwan made his feature directing debut in 1985 with Women. Other films include Love Unto Waste (1986); Rouge (1987, Hong Kong Cinema 2016), the winner of seven Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; Full Moon in New York (1989), winner of eight Golden Horse Film Awards, including Best Feature Film; Center Stage (1991, Hong Kong Cinema 2016); Red Rose White Rose (1995); Hold You Tight (1997); Lan Yu (2001), for which Kwan won a Golden Horse award for Best Director; Song of Everlasting Regrets (2004); and Showtime (2010). In 1999, Kwan received the Frameline Award from the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

Film Details

Year 2018

Language Cantonese, Mandarin

Runtime 100

Country Hong Kong/China

Director Stanley Kwan

Producer Katie Kwan, Zhang Qun, Wu Xinxin

Writer Jimmy Ngai

Editor William Chang, Shirley Yip

Cinematographer Wang Boxue

Music Yu Yat Yiu, Edgar Hung

Cast Sammi Cheng, Gigi Leung, Bai Baihe

Original Language Title Ba Ge Nuren Yi Tai Xi