It was a Cold Winter Night
(aka Cold Night)
Dir/Scr: Lee Sun-fung
Orig Story: Ba Jin
Cast: Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin, Wong Man-lei
Hong Kong / 1955 / B&W / 35mm / Cantonese / Chi & Eng subtitles / 137min
It was a Cold Winter Night is an emblem of the Cantonese cinema's 1950s Golden Age. It was directed and written by Lee Sun-fung, one of the cinema's bests, at the height of his creativity. He was in turn supported by professionals, cast and crew alike, who had matured collectively in the increasingly prolific post-war years. They also benefited from the industry's determination to better itself, represented by the fabled The Union spirit fostered by a select group of top filmmakers, Lee himself among them, so upset over the poor qualities of the industry's yields that they had banded together to come up with better products.
Adapted from Wintry Night by the influential writer Ba Jin, It was a Cold Winter Night tells the story of a man, his wife and his mother during and after the war, the difficulties of their relationship coalesced from the weight of traditions, the devastations of war and the clash of personalities. The film makes effective use of the family melodrama's genre conventions, harvesting heartwrenching emotions with vivid characterizations, evocative mise-en-scene and performances by turns broad and nuanced by Ng Cho-fan, Pak Yin and Wong Man-lei in the lead roles.
This current print was restored by the Hong Kong Film Archive in 2004. It was among the earlier lots of films restored by the Archive, at a time when we were limited in resources and experience. Only minor repair was performed, which involved cleaning up scratches and striking a new print. The result is far from ideal, yet it represents the first step of our continued commitment to preserving the heritage of Hong Kong cinema and sharing it with the public.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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