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50 Years of the Hong Kong Film Production and Distribution Industries: An Exhibition (1947-97)

Preface

The Hong Kong Film Archive has, in 1995 and 1996, held two exhibitions, titled 'The Early Days of Hong Kong Cinema (1896-1950)' and 'An Exhibition on the Superstars of Cantonese Movies of the Sixties' respectively. Building on our experience and results of the last two exhibitions, we are holding another large-scale exhibition this year of photographs, artifacts, and literary materials. The exhibition covers the period of the last fifty years of Hong Kong cinema's development, with a focus on film production and distribution.

The exhibition is divided into six sections:
1. Hong Kong film studios;
2. Hong Kong production companies;
3. Co-productions of Hong Kong;
4. The local market;
5. The overseas market;
6. Location shooting outside Hong Kong.

All these six sections will outline various aspects of Hong Kong film production and distribution over fifty years through printed materials and photographs.

Another focus of the exhibition is on the rare artifacts and literary materials, such as film contracts, film magazines (launch issues), awards, costumes, and props, etc. The exhibition segment on superstars, directors, and classic films will exhibit artifacts and photographs of Bruce Lee, Kwan Tak-hing, Jackie Chan and the movie, Tragedy of the Poet King.

There will be a projection room in the exhibition hall, which will show two videos specially prepared and edited by the Hong Kong Film Archive: A Tour of the Studios and Interviews with Eminent Film Distributors. The first video will take viewers on a tour of three studios; the latter will show interviews with several important personalities of the distribution industry.

In our catalogue, we have tried to cover everything about the exhibition, but because of lack of space, we can only select the best out of the hundreds of exhibits. In order to enrich the contents of the catalogue, we have invited scholars and experts to write articles on topics related to the exhibition.

Mr Stephen Sze's article 'The Creation of "Social Realism" in Hong Kong's Cantonese Cinema', analyses the several levels of 'realism' seen in Hong Kong cinema. He explores with depth the simplistic concepts that 'shooting on the set equals fabrication' and 'shooting on location equals realism'. Apart from giving a perspective of the aesthetic achievements of the Hong Kong New Wave, Mr Cheuk Pak-tong's article 'The Hong Kong New Wave: Its Characteristics in Creativity, Production, Distribution, and Completed Works', also provides an analysis of the more practical aspects of distribution and other departments. Fashion designer Mr William Tang's article 'From Yu Lai-chen Onwards', gives a personal nostalgic view of the way film costumes have influenced our lives and how fashion in general plays a role in society. Tang's article has added a dimension of time to our exhibits of costumes.

We would like to thank all our friends from all sectors for their support and help. Without them, this exhibition and this catalogue would not have been made possible.


Hong Kong Film Archive

 

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