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"Capturing Light and Shadow" exhibits the art of two master cinematographers

    With fleeting light and shadow, cinematographers produce moments of inspiration that capture the heart of audiences. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) is launching a first-of-its-kind exhibition titled “Capturing Light and Shadow” featuring two master cinematographers in Hong Kong film history. Ho Look-ying and Bill Wong belong to two eras-- one bold and one dainty--that are decades apart but are united in creative spirit and technical aspirations.

    This exhibition adopts a “cross-generation” approach to the appreciation of their cinematic art, inviting Bill Wong to re-examine and offer his insights on the achievements of Ho Look-ying, while a younger photographer, Kwan Pun-leung, is invited to analyse and comment on the cinematography of Bill Wong. Also on display are video interviews of Ho and Wong talking about their own work and sharing their experiences on how to make magic with light and how to cope with the challenges they faced working with different stars and film directors.

    The exhibition, “Capturing Light and Shadow”, partnering with the Film and TV Department of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), will run from now until November 14 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA. Admission is free.

    To demonstrate how different moods and emotions can be created via precise and imaginative lighting, Bill Wong and his students at the HKAPA produced a video using one set and three scripts to create four different moods. The video is an eye-opener for those who want to find out about camerawork during a film shoot.

    An excerpt from a documentary produced by the HKAPA, titled “Landscape from the Other Side: Hong Kong Cinematographer Bill Wong” is also being shown at the exhibition. The documentary includes interviews with directors and film clips and stills from Bill Wong’s work.

    From handheld camera, black-and-white to colour photography, 35mm film to digital movie making, Ho Look-ying and Bill Wong flexed their creative genius behind the lens for seven decades combined. With imaginative lighting and a distinctive aesthetic, precise and effective photography, immaculate compositions and persistence in experimenting with new camera movement, both mastered the craft of cinematography and created stunning visual effects for the film industry at different times. Their paths crossed only in the late 1970s. Many of their works from the 1940s to 1990s have become classics of Hong Kong cinema.

    Born in 1913, Ho Look-ying photographed from war documentaries to films in Hong Kong in 1980s. His films were charged with tension and an ever thickening spine-chilling air. He was an expert at using light and shadows to create suspense and mystery in black and white movies, especially night scenes with light and shadows wavering and flickering over the water. In his colour film “Enchanting Shadow (1960)”, a ghost story with many night scenes, he created a spooky feeling and a sense of terror through the use of shadows and a variation in colour and lighting.

    Film stars, including Li Lihua, Fong Yim-fun, Linda Lin Dai, Betty Loh Ti, Michelle Yim and Kara Hui, all look beautiful and enchanting in Ho’s photography. He was named Best Cinematographer at the 7th Asian Film Festival and the 2nd Golden Horse Film Festival. He passed away in 2003.

    Born in 1945, Bill Wong started his career in television, working with New Wave directors such as Ann Hui, Patrick Tam, Tsui Hark, and Stanley Kwan. In the same pioneering spirit, he created a signature imprint all his own. He continues to reinvent his style and inspire across genres, his humble claim of having no signature style testifying to his experimental excellence. Wong’s images are subtle and refined and his stories are imbued with lyrical and delicate changes of light, colour and camera movement.

    Wong is an important member of the fabled New Wave, excelling in film and helping to establish an international reputation for Hong Kong cinema. In “Nomad”, a monument in the Hong Kong New Wave, director Patrick Tam’s formalist impulses are complemented by Wong’s erotically charged photography. In the ghost classic “Rouge”, Wong orchestrated subtle plays of colours and shadows, capturing the drama with tender precision.

    He lensed over 40 films in the 1980s and 1990s, four of which earned him Best Cinematographer at the Golden Horse Awards. He was also awarded Best Cinematographer at the 3rd Hong Kong Film Awards.  

    In addition to the exhibition, a free screening of the documentary “Landscape from the Other Side: Hong Kong Cinematographer Bill Wong” will be held on August 29 at 7.30pm and September 26 at 6.30pm. Two seminars, “Ho Look-ying and Bill Wong, Master Cinematographers” at 2.30pm on August 29 and “Wong on Wong” at 4.30pm on September 26, will be held at the Cinema of the HKFA. The documentary screening and seminars are in Cantonese.

    A screening programme “Capturing Light and Shadow – A Tribute to Two Master Cinematographers” is showing 25 films of the two masters from now to September 26 at the Cinema of the HKFA. The selected works by Ho are “The Dawn of China’s Revolution” (1953), “Blood in Snow” (1956), “The Autumn Phoenix” (1957) and “The Enchanting Shadow” (1960). The selected films by Wong comprise: “Nomad” (1982), “The Story of Woo Viet” (1981) “Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain” (1983); “Rouge” (1988), “The Christ of Nanjing” (1995) and “A Queer Story” (1997). All the films above have English subtitles.

    Tickets priced at $30 for the screenings are available at all URBTIX outlets. 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. For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. Reservations can be made by phone on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at .

    Detailed programme information can be obtained in the “ProFolio 53” distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139/ 2734 2900 or browse the websites: or .

Ends/Monday, August 9, 2010



Picture shows the film stills at the exhibition entitled "Capturing Light and Shadow ".


Picture shows part of the exhibition entitled "Capturing Light and Shadow ".


Picture shows the videos of film set at the exhibition entitled "Capturing Light and Shadow ".





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