"Youth is Gold", "Here comes Chan Po-chu!" The silver screen of the 1960s in Hong Kong was filled with rebellious youthful energy. It was an era when Hong Kong began to be pervaded with Western music and dance, fashion and popular culture, such as idolising film stars. On screens were dramatic love stories played by actresses in colourful mini-skirts mixed with fairytale heroines wearing black rose masks robbing the rich to help the poor.
Hong Kong in the 1960s was full of conflicts, agitation and social unrest. While the tide of economic prosperity rose, it was also marked by industrial action and class antagonism. The cinema steered clear of politically sensitive topics but offered a sanctuary for dream makers.
To revive the memory of the roaring 1960s, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) presents "An Emerging Modernity: Looking Back on the Cinema of the 1960s" exhibition to be held from tomorrow (August 2) to October 26 at the HKFA's Exhibition Hall.
With historical photos, films, videos and oral accounts, the exhibition aims to examine Hong Kong in the 1960s against its historical and social spectrum to inspire new dialogue on Hong Kong's unique experience via moving images.
Starting with the "1960s time tunnel", the exhibition brings back memories of some major social and cinematic events in the 1960s: water rationing, the visit of The Beatles and a fresh wave of youth films.
In the "Youth Energies in 1960s Films" section, Nancy Sit, Connie Chan Po-chu, Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Lui Key showed audiences how well-behaved teenagers enjoyed life with sports, picnics and cycling. The term "youth" became a pop symbol, conjuring images of independent, smart girls, mini-skirts, dancing a-go-go, super factory girls and creating a youth music fad with Hong Kong's film idols.
In the "Martial Arts" section, the heyday of martial arts films in the 1960s are illustrated by dramatic film stills and selected film footage. Increasing importance was given to action choreography in the 1960s. With an assortment of new weapons, fight sequences were created with stunts and special effects like hand-drawn swords being hurled through the air, ultrasonic waves, and spirits of all shapes being shown in the "Buddha's Palm" series.
There was also a change from the upright character to youth culture in martial arts films. Warriors in films in the mid and late 60s were young, passionate and even romantic. Fu Che in "The Jade Bow" was witty and cunning while Kenneth Tsang in "The Green-eyed Lady" was a flippant dandy.
In "Oral History Highlights", numerous renowned filmmakers and actors, including producers Wong Cheuk-hon and Law Bun, directors Ho Meng-hua, Pan Lui, Ling Wan and Wong Yiu, scriptwriters Szeto On and Yip Yut-fong, film stars Suet Nei, Patrick Tse Yin, Helena Law Lan, Woo Fung and Nancy Sit, will share their personal experiences on making or acting in films in the 1960s.
As a special treat, memorabilia of the 1960s borrowed from the public will be on display at the gallery.
To tie in with the exhibition, a new book in Chinese, "Oral History Series (5) An Emerging Modernity: Hong Kong Cinema of the 1960s" will be published. With oral history from film veterans, articles and photos, readers can revisit the urban modernity and lifestyle in the 1960s.
A programme entitled "An Emerging Modernity: The Roaring 60s" will also be held from August 15 to 31 at the Cinema of the HKFA. Ten local films of the 1960s will be screened. They are "The Young Swordsman Lung Kim-fei, Part Four", "The Student Prince", "Song of Orchid Island", "Girls Are Flowers", "The Strange Girl", "Winter Love", "The Jade Raksha", "The Single-Armed Holy Nun", "The Youth" and "Yesterday Today Tomorrow".
Admission to the exhibition is free. Tickets priced at $30 for all screenings are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-priced tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or 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.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 43" distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Friday, August 1, 2008
"An Emerging Modernity: Looking Back on the Cinema of the 1960s" exhibition will be held from tomorrow (August 2) to October 26 at the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong Film Archive. Picture shows the new style "cheong sam" of the 1960s. The picture was taken by Mr Yau Leung.
"An Emerging Modernity: Looking Back on the Cinema of the 1960s" exhibition will be held from tomorrow (August 2) to October 26 at the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong Film Archive. Picture shows a film still from "Spring Love" (1968).