The work of Evan Yang, renowned director of the 50s and 60s, is characterised by lively musicals, sensibility of modern city life and intimate portrayal of women and their inner world.
The exhibition “In the Name of Love: Exhibition on Evan Yang” is putting together a variety of archival objects including Evan Yang’s personal diaries on filmmaking and family life, archival photos, manuscripts, calligraphic works, film footage from classic movies, oral history interviews, posters and precious personal items, all incorporated into multi-media settings within the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA).
The exhibition, which goes with screenings, seminars and a publication, is a tribute to commemorate the director’s life achievements, and will be held from today (March 28) to June 7 at the HKFA. The 100 archival items, some of which have been donated or loaned by Yang’s family, will take audiences down memory lane, looking at a life of hard work plus scenic glamour portrayed by the elegant Lucilla You Min, the Mambo Girl Grace Chang, the energetic Jeanette Lin Tsui, the sensual Helen Li Mei, the languid Julie Yeh Feng and the charming Roy Chiao.
The exhibition will also show the out-of-the-studio life of the late director, his philosophy of filmmaking and his grooming of different talents into sparkling stars in his films. Admission is free.
Guests at tonight’s (March 28) opening reception include Yang’s children: Michael Yang, Julia Yang and Catherine Yang together with film veterans.
Yang, a filmmaker with an indelible personal style, had put his name on an impressive canon of films, many of which remain as charming today as they were when first released.
He was not only a film director and scriptwriter, but also a novelist, journalist and lyricist. Born in 1920, Yang was raised on Chinese classics and later studied Western literature and acquired a fondness for Hollywood films. A respected newspaper editor and writer before entering the film industry, he debuted as a director with “The Secret Life of Lady So Lee” (1953).
His early films were mostly sombre and melancholic, with moods that resonated with the weariness of the post-war years. He later joined MP & GI (Motion Picture & General Investment Company), where he found a new voice in the studio’s modern city style and scripted and directed a series of charming musicals and romantic comedies that embodied the optimism of the 1950s. His capacity as a man of letters equipped him well to keep pace with the times.
Yang’s early training in Chinese classics ingrained in him a yearning for idyllic romanticism. Always professional but never perfectionist, he was an artist of moments. He was in love with being in love and most of his memorable moments were those of a man and a woman engaging each other in the name of love. His films were often endearing and touching with moments that coalesced into a distinctive narrative voice and a personal touch of understated drama but stirring emotions.
The revised edition of the out-of-print HKFA publication “The Cathay Story” carries three additional interviews with movie stars Grace Chang, Kelly Lai Chen and Peter Dunn. English translations of articles in the publication come with a CD-ROM. The expanded edition together with a new book “Evan Yang’s Autobiography” has been released in a box set to give readers a better insight into the memorable Cathay era in Hong Kong film industry.
Two seminars are scheduled at 2.30pm tomorrow (March 29) and at 4.30pm on April 11. Both seminars will be conducted in Cantonese. Admission is free.
Twenty-six titles of Yang’s works from the 1950s to 1970s will be shown from today to May 17 at the Cinema of the HKFA, including well-known comedies and musicals “Mambo Girl”, “It’s Always Spring”, “Our Dream Car”, “Happily Ever After”, and “Bachelors Beware”; popular romantic melodramas “Forever Yours”; films directed or scripted by Yang for various companies: “The Little Girl Named Cabbage”, “Blood Will Tell” and “Halfway Down”.
Tickets for all screenings priced at $30 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Reservations can be made at 2734 9009 or on the internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the “ProFolio 46” or the “33rd Hong Kong International Film Festival programme and booking folder” distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 / 2734 2900 or browse the websites: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Saturday, March 28, 2009
The opening reception of "In the Name of Love: The Films of Evan Yang" was held tonight (March 28) at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA). Photo shows the officiating guests (from left), director Yang's children: Mr Michael Yang, Ms Julia Yang and Ms Catherine Yang together with the Head of HKFA, Mr Richie Lam at the opening ceremony.
"In the Name of Love: Exhibition on Evan Yang" will be held from now (March 28) until June 7 at the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong Film Archive.
Picture shows some of the film stars' photos.