The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, realising that many of the country's colour films were at risk, embarked on a project to preserve the colour film heritage of Australia in 2000. An impressive 50 films were restored over five years. The colour of the films was regraded, soundtracks digitally re-mastered, while scratches and flaws were removed. The Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) "Restored Treasures" series will feature two films from the project in April and May.
"The Man from Hong Kong" (1975), co-produced by Hong Kong and Australia about the adventures of a continent-hopping action hero, will be screened at 1.30pm on April 3 at the Cinema of the HKFA. "My Brilliant Career" (1979), to be screened at 2pm on May 1, is a renowned title from the fabled Australian New Wave, the intimate story of a young woman's journey of self-discovery.
To complement the screenings, two post-screening talks will be held. On April 3, the HKFA's programmer Mr Sam Ho, and the programmer of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Mr Quentin Turnour, will share their views in English on issues of film restoration and co-production. Another talk, conducted in Cantonese, will be held on May 1 with Mr Sam Ho and film critic Ms Joyce Yang as speakers. Admission is free.
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia partnered with Kodak and Atlab Australia in 2000 on the film preservation project. The Kodak/Atlab Collection, as the films are collectively known, consists of films from many different genres, some widely celebrated but some virtually unknown outside Australia.
Chinese James Bond! Kung fu craze in Sydney! East-West culture mash! "The Man from Hong Kong" was the first co-production between Hong Kong and Australia. It was made at a time when Australian cinema was coming into its glorious own, when Hong Kong cinema was punching and kicking its way into the world market, when Australia was positioning itself in the Pacific Rim, and when Hong Kong was reaching out beyond its boundaries. 1975 was also an exciting time and the film captures that excitement with abandon. Actors Jimmy Wang Yu and George Lazenby are, respectively, the pre-Bruce Lee star doing a post-Bruce Lee turn and the former James Bond going against the latest Bond.
"My Brilliant Career" is nothing less than an emblem of Australian cinema. It is the tale of a wilful, imaginative young woman in determined pursuit of a vague career, to which she assigns in description, with equal measures of wishful dreaminess and ironic self-deprecation, the evocative adjective in the film's title. Director Gillian Armstrong's remarkable debut feature is a distillation of her own talent and the energy of the New Wave, the wondrous moment that impressed upon the world a lineup of outstanding Australian films in the 1970s and 1980s. The film, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Miles Franklin, is a coming-of-age story with a feminist touch, arriving at a time when feminism was itself enjoying a coming of age.
The films are in English, with English subtitles in "My Brilliant Career".
Priced at $50, tickets for "The Man from Hong Kong" are available at all URBTIX outlets; tickets for "My Brilliant Career" will be available from April 1. 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. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be found in the "ProFolio 57" leaflet, distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139/2734 2900 or browse the websites: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Thursday, March 17, 2011
A film still from "The Man from Hong Kong" (1975).
A film still from "My Brilliant Career" (1979).