Preserving cinematic heritage is the primary goal of film archives. The Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) new series "Restored Treasures" features films from all over the world that have undergone different forms of restoration. The forthcoming screenings in August and September are director Chor Yuen's first Mandarin martial arts film "Cold Blade" (1970) and "The Story of Wong Fei-hung (Part I)" (1949), the inaugural chapter of a film series on the kung fu master.
"Cold Blade" will be shown on August 1 and "The Story of Wong Fei-hung (Part I)" on September 5 at 2.30 pm at the Cinema of the HKFA. Both films have English and Chinese subtitles.
The response has been enthusiastic to the HKFA's "Restored Treasures" series, which was launched with the screening of the restored classics "Metropolis" (1927), "Confucius" (1940), "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "It was a Cold Winter Night" (1955). The HKFA will continue to screen a restored film on the first Sunday of every month, featuring a mix of works from Hong Kong and abroad.
Chor Yuen's "Cold Blade" is a film of great importance as it marks the turning point in the career of the great director. Chor had enjoyed a successful career in Cantonese cinema. After the success of this film, he went on to make a string of similarly stylised swordplay films that are considered exemplary works of martial arts cinema.
The film was considered lost when a print, in which a segment had no sound, was discovered a few years ago. The HKFA was fortunate to have located another print with a complete soundtrack, safeguarded in France by the collector Marie-Claire Quiquemelle. It was thus able to restore the film to a condition much closer to that of the original. The restored print was also made with extensive colour grading.
Directed by Wu Pang, "The Story of Wong Fei-hung (Part I)", is the first instalment in the film series on the kung fu master, a series with the largest number of instalments in history. The casting of the main characters, like Kwan Tak-hing as Master Wong, was a stroke of genius, the actors embodying their roles and growing with them through the series in ways that greatly influenced the development of martial arts cinema. The Master's character in the beginning is very different from the heroically upright demigod that would define much of the series.
The film print was restored by the HKFA in 2002 at a time of limited resources and experience. A set of duplication negatives was made from a loaned 16mm print and colour grading was done to generate the current print. A discussion hosted by film critic Po Fung will be held after the screening.
Priced at $40, tickets for "Cold Blade" are available now at all URBTIX outlets, while tickets for "The Story of Wong Fei-hung (Part I)" will be available from August 5. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 53" distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. Reservations can be made by phone on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk . For enquiries, please call 2739 2139/ 2734 2900 or browse the websites: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp .
Ends/Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A film still of "Cold Blade" (1970).
A film still of "The Story of Wong Fei-hung (Part I)" (1949).