Landlady To Sam-ku, Cheng Kwun-min posing as Elvis Presley, waiter Sai Kwa Pau, villain Mak Kay, inspector Lee Pang-fei, housekeeper Chan Lap-bun, fond mother Lee Yuet-ching, Taoist Ko Lo-chuen .... Character actors are the less heralded or even unsung heroes of film. While leading actors and actresses always take the limelight, performances by the supporting cast light up the stars and spice up the drama.
To pay homage to character actors, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s new exhibition entitled "Faces of Endearment: A Tribute to Supporting Actors" features some of the supporting heroes from 1950s and '60s Cantonese cinema. These veterans, who are old neighbours and friends in film buffs' collective memory, will reappear in their most celebrated personas.
The exhibition is being held from now until October 30 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA. Admission is free.
The exhibition consists of four sections: "Pigeon Cage", "Martial World", "Blue Nightclub" and "Family Doctrine". Familiar film characters from the 1950s and '60s including concierges, waiters, villains, fond mothers, socialites, the elderly, bullies, Taoists, Buddhist abbots, mystic monks and spirits will be featured.
Another free exhibition on the first floor of the HKFA will display film stills and biographies of four character actors: Lee Hong-kum, who is undoubtedly one of the best-recognised villain in Cantonese cinema; Helena Law, who often played mean concubines in the early stage of her career; Lui Ming, who is stereotyped as a villain in films; and Wang Lai, who is fondly nicknamed the "Actress of a Thousand Faces".
To celebrate the works of the four character actors, the HKFA's new programme, "Four Characters: A Tribute to Lee Hong-kum, Helena Law Lan, Lui Ming and Wang Lai", is screening 16 films from now until September 13.
The selected films include Lee Hong-kum's "The Stormy Night" (1960), "Holy Snake and Flying Tiger" (1961), "Dial 999 for the Three Murderers" (1965) and "Enjoy Longevity-300 Years" (1975); Helena Law's "Beware of the Husband" (1964), "The Childless Wife" (1964), "July 13th" (1996) and "Bullets over Summer" (1999), which won her Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2000; and Lui Ming's "Many Aspects of Love" (1961), "Driver No. 7" (1958), "The Seven Tigers" (1964) and "Ten Brothers" (1959). Lui Ming will share with the audience his acting experiences after the screening of "The Seven Tigers" on July 29. Wang Lai's films to be shown include "Golden Lotus" (1957), "Her Tender Heart" (1959), "Pushing Hands" (1992) and "Tiger Killer" (1982).
The films are mostly in Cantonese or Mandarin. "July 13th", "Bullets over Summer" and "Tiger Killer" have English and Chinese subtitles.
Tickets for the films are priced at $30 and 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, July 15, 2011