Thanks to an enthusiastic audience response, Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) "Morning Matinee", which was launched in June, will increase screenings from two Friday mornings a month to every Friday morning, beginning January 2011.
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, the HKFA has selected four jolly films that were all originally released on New Year's Eve. All feature cartoon action and characterisation, with jokes for audiences of all ages.
"My Grandson", "Double Bliss", "Follow the Star" and "Itchy Fingers" will be shown respectively on January 28, February 11, 18 and 25. On February 4 the HKFA will be closed. "Double Bliss", "Follow the Star" and "Itchy Fingers" will be shown with Chinese and English subtitles.
Having a grandson is usually a delight for an old man, so why would his son keep it from him? In the family comedy "My Grandson" (1964), the son is afraid that his father will get mad over his choice of bride, and decides to enjoy his family bliss in the country, citing nature painting as the reason. But this way of life worries the old man, who hatches crazy plans to help his son land a girl, which only compels the son to fake madness.
Graduates returning to Hong Kong from England often bring back not just themselves but also their lovers. So why are the parents on both sides unhappy? "Double Bliss" (1970) is a war between rich and poor, featuring Cantonese comedian Leung Sing-po as the rich dad. The trouble snowballs when his daughter becomes stuck between her quarrelsome parents, and things get worse when the father of the poor family starts worrying about his son's musical talents. Can staging a death pact like Romeo and Juliet end the prejudice? This film is also noted as the final work of director Chum Kim.
Before he became a master of heroic action films, director John Woo was a master of comedy. In the hilarious action comedy "Follow the Star" (1978), his signature touches such as church settings and the spirit of chivalry are already in place. A loner mechanic, played by Roy Chiao, is fired for boozing while teen idol (Rowena Cortes) is pursued by scoundrels. When the two meet the slapstick fun begins. Even some animals and Woo, in a cameo, join in the act.
In "Itchy Fingers" (1979), Roy Chiao is paired with Richard Ng Yiu-hon, the former as a cop and the latter a thief, buddies who grew up together playing cat-and-mouse games. The film begins with a tribute to the black-and-white oldies, coloured only by whimsical narration. When the boys become guys, they get involved in an insurance scam cooked up by a rich man, framing the thief for the robbery of his own jewelery, and the cop has no choice but to help his buddy catch the real thief. This fast-paced, mischievously edited action drollery is the first comedy by New Wave director Leong Po-chih. The 1979 film not only became the year's box-office champion but also a prelude to the energetic cinematic magic of the 1980s.
Three films, "A Fan to Remember", "Sweet Girl in Terror" and "Two City Girls", starring the glamorous beauty Patricia Lam Fung, will be screened at 11am on January 7, 14 and 21 respectively at the Cinema of the HKFA. The three films are in Cantonese without English subtitles.
Starring Patricia Lam Fung and opera stars Law Kim-long and Lam Kar-sing, "A Fan to Remember" (1961) is based on the famous early Qing Dynasty play "The Peach Blossom Fan". Its animation of romantic love set against loyalty to the nation has long been a favourite for adaptation to stage, opera and film.
Patricia Lam Fung was groomed by the Shaw Bros in the late 1950s as the top diva of the studio's Cantonese division, starring in a series of films as the "Sweet Girl" of the title. Shot in Eastman colour, "Sweet Girl in Terror" (1958) is a genre blender, a campus romance doubling as a crime thriller with horror elements, encapsulating the dark side of the seeming innocence of youth.
"Two City Girls" (1963) stars two of the top Cantonese stars of their time, Ting Ying and Patricia Lam Fung. While Ting plays her usual traditional good girl, Lam stretches herself to play a vain, lazy housewife. The early 1960s was a transitional period for Hong Kong and the polar opposites represented by the title characters are the values waiting eagerly to be reconciled.
Tickets priced at $20 for the films "A Fan to Remember", "Sweet Girl in Terror" and "Two City Girls" are available now at URBTIX outlets. Tickets of the Chinese New Year films will be available from December 28. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 56" leaflet distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139/2734 2900 or browse the website: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Tuesday, December 28, 2010
A film still from "A Fan to Remember" (1961).
A film still from "Sweet Girl in Terror" (1958).
A film still from "Two City Girls" (1963).
A film still from "My Grandson" (1964).
A film still from "Follow the Star" (1978).
A film still from "Itchy Fingers" (1979).