The Swallows' Return
Twice made into a film, Tong's libretto set the perfect stage for the cast to deliver a stellar performance. Whether playing an amorous womaniser or a wishy-washy son caught between mother and wife, Yam Kim-fai pulled off her roles with effortless ease and flair; in Sheung-hing, a virtuous mother facing oppression in a feudal society, Fong Yim-fun found a screen role custom-made for her singing and acting talents.
The 1958 period version centres on Sheung-hing (Fong Yim-fun) and General On-ling (Yam Kim-fai), who are celebrating the one-month birthday of their son Tin-shing when Sheung-hing's old lover Wai-leung drops by unannounced. Suspicious of her infidelity, On-ling's mother expels the pregnant Sheung-hing shortly after On-ling has left for war and only allows her to come home once a year to see her son. 18 years later when Tin-shing (Yam in dual roles) unwittingly falls in love with his long lost sister, Sheung-hing makes a dire attempt at breaking them up…
Tong's libretto got transposed to a contemporary setting in the 1953 version, starring the ‘Three Champions of the Opera World'. Donning modern attires, ‘The Queen of Huadan' Fong Yim-fun proved herself to be equally adept at both eras. ‘The King of Wenwusheng' (the principal male lead) Sun Ma Si-tsang got under the skin of the jealous husband, sharing the limelight with ‘The King of Chousheng' (the comic role) Leung Sing-po as Sheung-hing's elder brother. Tong's libretti stand the test of time with resounding universal themes, inspiring a host of adaptations – whether period or contemporary.
|28/5/2017 (Sun)||11:00am||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive|
|28/5/2017 (Sun)||2:00pm||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive|
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