Screenings of the restored version of director Fei Mu’s lost classic “Confucius” (1940) in April and May met with an overwhelming response. So much so that Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) will present “Return of the Restored: Confucius”, showing the film at 2.30pm on the third Saturday of August, September and October.
To complement the three screenings, there will be two seminars to foster dialogue on the film and Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. Film critics Shu Kei, Wong Ain-ling and Professor Lau Chor-wah will discuss the aesthetic significance of the film in the seminar at 4.30pm on August 15 (Saturday), while renowned writer Leung Man-tao will share his views on the cultural significance at the seminar at 4.30pm on September 19 (Saturday). Both seminars will be conducted in Cantonese. Admission is free.
“Confucius” is an important film to study not only from the perspectives of film history and aesthetics, but also those of Chinese history, culture, art history, musicology and other disciplines.
The film is a remarkable artifact from the Orphan Island period, an extraordinary production of the Chinese film industry during that time and a work of great significance in the oeuvre of Fei Mu, who has been regarded as one of the best directors in the history of Chinese film. The discovery and subsequent restoration of the long-lost “Confucius” filled an important void in Chinese cinema and will surely contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the film in future.
The HKFA is dedicated to collecting and preserving film material and to lay the foundation for studying the history and cultural heritage of Hong Kong Cinema. “Confucius” had been lost for many years and its nitrate negatives were recently discovered and restored by the HKFA.
The film will be shown in its original Movietone format, with a 1:1.16 aspect ratio. Restoration work involves copying onto safety stock the damaged nitrate material. Parts of the sound track are missing, but Chinese and English explanations based on research conducted by the HKFA will be presented in subtitle form to help audiences follow the story. The restored film together with nine minutes of loose footage will also be shown with Chinese and English subtitles, put together after extensive research conducted by scholars commissioned by the HKFA.
The Archive is currently conducting research into putting the film back in its original narrative order and fitting the break-off scenes back into the film. This is a laborious process and once it is completed, the Archive will share the fruits of its efforts with the public at a later time.
Tickets priced at $30 for all screenings 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 by phone on 2734 9009, or on the internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Programme information is available in the “ProFolio 48” distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or 2739 2139 or browse the website: www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Thursday, July 16, 2009