Character actors are the unsung heroes of film. Their contributions often neglected and yet they are indispensable. Indeed, their presence in films not only supplements the stars but provides an easy reference point for the audience, allowing them to quickly identify narrative situations. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s new programme, entitled "Four Characters: A Tribute to Lee Hong-kum, Helena Law Lan, Lui Ming and Wang Lai", celebrates the work of four familiar faces in Hong Kong film history.
Sixteen films from Lee Hong-kum, Helena Law, Lui Ming and Wang Lai will be shown from July 8 to September 13 at the Cinema of the HKFA.
Lee Hong-kum is undoubtedly the best-recognised villain in Cantonese cinema, though she enjoyed a rejuvenation in career and image in the television era of the 1970s, often playing a good wife or caring mother. Lee's films selected for the programme include "The Stormy Night" (1960), "Holy Snake and Flying Tiger" (1961), "Dial 999 for the Three Murderers" (1965) and "Enjoy Longevity-300 Years" (1975). She will meet the audience after the screening of "The Stormy Night" on July 8.
Helena Law is nothing less than a legend in Hong Kong cinema. In the early stages of her career she played loose women, scheming mistresses or mean concubines. In the 1990s, she gained popularity as "Dragon Grandma", a figure who traverses the domains of the living and the dead. She reached the summit of her career with "Bullets over Summer" (1999), which won her Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2000. The selected films include "Beware of the Husband" (1964), "The Childless Wife" (1964), "July 13th" (1996) and "Bullets over Summer".
Often stereotyped as a villain during his film career, since withdrawing from the screen Lui Ming has been versatile in his showbiz endeavours, which have included participation in film production and distribution. The programme will screen Lui's "Many Aspects of Love" (1961), "Driver No. 7" (1958), "The Seven Tigers" (1964) and "Ten Brothers" (1959). He will share with the audience his acting experiences after the screening of "The Seven Tigers" on July 29.
Fondly nicknamed the "Actress of a Thousand Faces", Wang Lai is one of Mandarin cinema's most important character actresses. She specialised in character roles, from mothers to gal-pals and from nosy neighbours to brothel madams. Four-time winner of Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, Wang enjoyed a prolific career in Shaw Brothers' films as well as those of other companies. Wang's selected films include "Golden Lotus" (1957) starring Lin Dai, "Her Tender Heart" (1959) starring You Min, director Ang Lee's "Pushing Hands" (1992) and "Tiger Killer" (1982), directed by Li Han-hsiang.
To complement the screenings and pay homage to some of Cantonese cinema's character actors of the 1950s and 1960s, an exhibition entitled "Faces of Endearment: A Tribute to Supporting Actors", will be held from July 15 to October 30 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA.
The films are mostly in Cantonese or Mandarin. "July 13th", "Bullets over Summer" and "Tiger Killer" have English and Chinese subtitles.
Tickets priced at $30 are available now 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. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information is available in the leaflet "ProFolio 58" distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the websites www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Friday, June 24, 2011
A film still from "Enjoy Longevity-300 Years" (1975).
A film still from "Dial 999 for the Three Murderers" (1965).
A film still from "Beware of the Husband" (1964).
A film still from "The Childless Wife" (1964).
A film still from "Bullets over Summer" (1999).
A film still from "The Seven Tigers" (1964).
A film still from "Golden Lotus" (1957).
A film still from "Her Tender Heart" (1959).
A film still from "Pushing Hands" (1992).