Hong Kong has a rich cinematic heritage and enjoys widespread global success. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s new programme, "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies", will feature 100 films from 1916 to 1999, including silent movies, documentaries with historical significance, films of different political views, studio works and independent films for viewers to experience some of the best movies made in Hong Kong.
Renowned actor Mr Simon Yam has accepted the HKFA's invitation to be the programme ambassador of "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies". Film buffs can enjoy these 100 essential movies from October onwards. The films will be screened on the second and the fourth Saturdays of each month at the Cinema of the HKFA.
One of the programmes celebrating the HKFA's 10th anniversary, "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" was launched today (September 19) by the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng; the programme ambassador, Mr Simon Yam; and the Head of the HKFA, Mr Richie Lam, as officiating guests. Other guests included directors Ms Ann Hui, Mr Alex Cheung, Mr Wong Jing, Mr Kam Kwok-leung and other filmmakers.
Dr Ng pointed out at the press conference that the films were selected mostly on artistic grounds, and availability for screening was another criterion.
All the titles on the list have been made available for screening, and to complement the selections there will be showings of reference films and talks by scholars and film critics to encourage more discussion on Hong Kong's cinematic heritage and appreciation of films from different perspectives, he added.
Mr Yam said with his more than 20 years of participation in the Hong Kong film industry, he has a deep feeling of both the vitality and enchantment of Hong Kong cinema. The city's outstanding and wonderful films are not only timeless but are the accomplishments of many dedicated filmmakers.
"I'm honoured to be the ambassador for '100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies'. As a member of the film industry, I felt the great importance of my mission to promote Hong Kong film. I hope the screening of these 100 good movies will encourage more young viewers to appreciate the brilliant achievements of Hong Kong movies," he said.
Among all the art forms practised in Hong Kong, film has undeniably had the most profound impact in the rest of the world. This is especially true of the martial arts films, which inspired much imitation. There are many good movies in the history of Hong Kong, yet this rich tradition remains largely unrecognised, ignored or considered irrelevant.
"100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" aims to change misguided perceptions and give audiences a better understanding and appreciation of Hong Kong cinema's amazing accomplishments. One hundred films representing Hong Kong cinema from its early years to the end of the 1990s will be featured in the programme, chosen by a panel of six experts well versed in the history of local cinema. The turn of the century was used as a cut-off point.
The panellists are renowned writers and researchers Mr Law Kar and Ms Wong Ain-ling; the Dean of the School of Film and Television of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Mr Shu Kei; the Artistic Director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Mr Li Cheuk-to; the HKFA's Programmer, Mr Sam Ho; and the HKFA's Research Officer, Mr Po Fung.
The 100 titles include works by 58 directors produced in different eras, including Benjamin Brodsky's "A Trip Through China", made in the early years of the past century, and works from the 1930s and '40s including Lai Man-wai's "A Page of History" and Zhu Shilin's "Sorrows of the Forbidden City". Brilliant works from the 1950s and '60s include Lee Tit's "In the Face of Demolition", Chun Kim's "Parents' Hearts", Griffin Yue Feng's "Golden Lotus", Fung Fung's "The Kid", Tso Kea's "The Sorrowful Lute", Evan Yang's "Forever Yours", Lee Sun-fung's "It Was a Cold Winter Night", Doe Ching's "Our Sister Hedy", Wong Tin-lam's "The Wild, Wild Rose", Li Han-hsiang's "Empress Wu Tse-tien", Chor Yuen's "The Pregnant Maiden", King Hu's "Come Drink with Me" and Patrick Lung Kong's "Story of a Discharged Prisoner".
Films from the 1970s to the '90s include Tong Shu-shuen's "China Behind", Tsui Hark's "Dangerous Encounter - 1st Kind", Ann Hui's "The Secret", Allen Fong's "Ah Ying", John Woo's "The Killer", Alex Cheung's "Man on the Brink", Ching Siu-tung's "A Chinese Ghost Story", Mabel Cheung's "An Autumn's Tale", Kam Kwok-leung's "Wonder Women", Derek Yee's "C'est la Vie, Mon Cheri", Jeff Lau's "A Chinese Odyssey", Wong Jing's "God of Gamblers", Patrick Tam's "Nomad", Yim Ho's "Homecoming", Peter Chan's "Comrades, Almost a Love Story", Wong Kar-wai's "Days of Being Wild", Stanley Kwan's "Rouge", Fruit Chan's "Made in Hong Kong" and Johnnie To's "The Mission".
The first two films, to be shown on October 8 and 22 respectively, are director Lee Sun-fung's "It Was a Cold Winter Night" (1955) and Tsui Hark's comedy "Shanghai Blues" (1984). World War II destroys a marriage in the former but brings about romance in the latter. Adapted from Ba Jin's novel, "It Was a Cold Winter Night" is widely and deservedly recognised as one of the best Hong Kong films of all time. Complemented by the superb performance of Ng Cho-fan, the film shows the art and craft of Cantonese cinema at its best. In "Shanghai Blues", Tsui Hark animates the Shanghai of the 1930s and '40s with equal measures of nostalgia for old China and a projection of Hong Kong's modernity, executing the story with a mix of romantic naiveté, cartoonish comedy and ironic sarcasm. The film stars Kenny Bee, Sylvia Chang and Sally Yeh.
Director Ng Wui's "The Seventh Heaven" (1956) and Kam Kwok-leung's "Wonder Women" (1987) will be screened on November 12 and 26 respectively. Based on a Hollywood adaptation of the play by Austin Strong, "The Seventh Heaven" is not only one of the first odd-couple films but also one of the best. Marked by great performances by Patrick Tse and Ng Wui, the film is an inspired blend of social realism and comedy. The best-known odd-couple film, Chun Kim's comedy "My Intimate Partner" (1960), will be shown on November 12 as a reference film. The film is so endearing and influential that its Chinese title has become synonymous with the notion of buddies with radically different personalities.
Starring Carol Cheng, Cecilia Yip and Michael Wong, "Wonder Women" conveys the vibrant urbanity of Hong Kong in all its neon glamour and shallow frivolity. The tone of the film is by turns engaging and ironic, fortified by genuine pathos for the common woman. Carol Cheng captures her character in all her beauty and silliness, showing strengths and weaknesses as well as nobility and vulgarity.
"The Kid" (1950) and "The Way of the Dragon" (1972), both featuring Bruce Lee, will be shown on December 12 and 24 respectively. Adapted from a serialised comic strip, director Fung Fung's "The Kid" revolves around Lee's character, an orphan raised by a poor teacher but on the verge of plunging into a future of depravity. At the tender age of 10, Bruce Lee proves he is a gifted actor and a star with natural charisma. "The Way of the Dragon" is the only film directed by Lee, expanding on his earlier kung fu movies' themes and concerns such as the code of humility and a sense of national pride tinged with anger.
Screening schedule of the other films will be announced later.
All the films have Chinese and English subtitles except for the reference film "My Intimate Partner", which will screen in Cantonese. Screening details of other films will be announced later.
Tickets for "It Was a Cold Winter Night" and "Shanghai Blues" are available now at all URBTIX outlets. Tickets for "The Seventh Heaven", "Wonder Women" and "My Intimate Partner" will be available from October 12 onwards, and tickets for "The Kid" and "The Way of the Dragon" will be available from November 10 onwards. Tickets are priced at $30, with half-price concessionary discounts 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 distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011ms100/2011ms100_index.html.
Ends/Monday, September 19, 2011
A film still from "Wonder Women" (1987).
A film still from "The Kid" (1950).
A film still from "The Way of the Dragon" (1972).
The "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" press conference was held today (September 19) at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA). The photo shows (from left) director Mr Alex Cheung; adviser of the HKFA Mr Cheung Tung-jo; the programme ambassador, Mr Simon Yam; the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng; the Head of the HKFA, Mr Richie Lam; the Programmer of the HKFA, Mr Sam Ho; director Ms Ann Hui; the Dean of the School of Film and Television of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Mr Shu Kei; director Mr Wong Jing; director Mr Kam Kwok-leung; the Research Officer of the HKFA, Mr Po Fung; and son of director Mr Lai Man-wai, Mr Lai Shek, at the ceremony.
Attending the "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" press conference at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) are (from left) the programme ambassador, Mr Simon Yam; director Ms Ann Hui; the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng; the Head of the HKFA, Mr Richie Lam; the Dean of the School of Film and Television of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Mr Shu Kei; and the Programmer of the HKFA, Mr Sam Ho.