2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the “Ten Brothers” of Cantonese Cinema. To commemorate the special occasion, the Hong Kong Film Archive is screening these filmmakers’ works. In association with Cantonese Opera Day 2013, we have chosen two films by the ‘eighth brother’ Wong Hok-sing.
Wong Hok-sing (1913-1994) – also known as Wong Kam-yan – picked up his craft at the Guangdong Professional Union for Cantonese Opera Performers. With experience under Sit Koksin and Ma Si-tsang’s respective troupes, Wong was an up-andcoming opera performer with a bright future during the pre-war days. While touring in the United States, Wong was unable to return to Hong Kong due to the Pacific War. As a result, he began working as a director for the San Francisco-based Grandview Film Company, directing films like White Powder and Neon Lights (1947), one of the first color films made by a Hong Kong director. He returned to Hong Kong in 1948 and continued his stage work. As Cantonese Cinema became popular, Wong’s career focus naturally turned to films. Up to his retirement from filmmaking in the late 1960s, Wong made over 100 films, most of them Cantonese films. His most renowned titles include Seven Phoenixes (1961), Romance of the Phoenix Chamber (1962) and The Pitiless Sword (1964), as well as many contemporary films and comedies. Wong’s career embodied the lively spirit of the Hong Kong entertainment world. It was normal for entertainers to take up multiple positions, including performers who were also filmmakers. Multi-talented entertainers like Wong were able to bring together the old and the new, east and west, and of course, Cantonese opera and film. Between the 1930s and the 1960s, Hong Kong provided an ideal environment for the two worlds to come together, nuturing unique filmmakers like Wong Hok-sing.
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