Actresses Tam Sin-hung and Yam Bing-yee, both from Macau and born in the same year, learnt their craft under the tutelage of opera luminary Yam Kim-fai. The two have over a century of experience between them on both the stage and the screen, having assumed different roles in a wide variety of films. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Morning Matinee" series in October and November will screen eight films to show their performances on the silver screen.
The films are "Wong Fei-fu's Rebellion, Part One" (1957), "The Lion's Roar" (1959), "Fun in the Factory" (1963) and "Seven Years Itch" (1987) starring Tam Sin-hung, and "The Merry Phoenix" (1958), "The Golden Cat" (1961), "The Funny Thief" (1963) and "The Revenge Battle" (1964) starring Yam Bing-yee.
Best known to audiences for her gracious role as a maid in the TV drama series "A Kindred Spirit" (1995-99), Tam Sin-hung entered showbiz at the tender age of 13. Her fascination with Cantonese opera compelled her to join a troupe to play bit parts while studying under superstar Yam Kim-fai. Gradually working her way up the opera ranks, she also crossed over into film and made her screen debut in 1953.
Tam appeared in a wide variety of films including opera flicks, comedies and martial arts movies. Representative works include "The Lion's Roar" and "The Ghost with Six Fingers" (1965). Tam joined with eight supporting actresses to become sworn sisters, united as the Nine Ladies. She retired from Cantonese cinema in 1970, only to return in 1987 for "Seven Years Itch", at which point she started her fruitful second career as a character actress.
In "Wong Fei-fu's Rebellion, Part One", starring Kwan Tak-hing and Tang Bik-wan, Tam played a villainess for the first time in her film career - the notorious beauty Daji. In "The Lion's Roar", she is the nice innocent girl being used as a pawn in a complicated web of love between Yam Kim-fai and Pak Suet-sin. As a spy in the comedy "Fun in the Factory", Tam proves herself an outstanding comedienne. In "Seven Years Itch", Tam gives a wonderful performance as a loud, pushy and over-protective mother. These four films will be shown on October 7, 14, 21 and 28 respectively.
Tam will share with the audience her acting experience after the screening of "Wong Fei-fu's Rebellion, Part One" on October 7.
Yam Bing-yee entered Cantonese opera at age 11. Trained under her cousin Yam Kim-fai, she started with small roles, eventually earning the sobriquet "The Queen of Second Lead Actresses". She made her film debut in 1948 and appeared in over 200 films, many of them opera films with historical settings. She has a versatile acting range and often played the second lead role, such as the loyal maid or an ignored cousin. Her representative works include "The Legend of Purple Hairpin" (1959), "The Fairy of Nine Heaven" (1959), "The Funny Thief" and "The Revenge Battle".
Films featuring Yam Bing-yee will be shown on November 4, 11, 18 and 25. Yam plays a loyal maid pulling strings secretly between Fong Yim-fun and Yam Kim-fai in "The Merry Phoenix". Using her acrobatic skills, she plays an agile fighting woman in "The Golden Cat", and she is an action heroine in "The Funny Thief", which is her favourite film. "The Revenge Battle" is a showcase of Yam Bing-yee's skill in playing a complex character.
Yam will meet the audience after the screening of "The Merry Phoenix" on November 4.
The post-screening talks will be conducted in Cantonese. All films are in Cantonese and only "Seven Years Itch" has Chinese and English subtitles. All films will be shown at 11am on Fridays.
Priced at $20, tickets for "Wong Fei-fu's Rebellion, Part One", "The Lion's Roar", "Fun in the Factory" and "Seven Years Itch" are available now at URBTIX outlets. Tickets for "The Merry Phoenix", "The Golden Cat", "The Funny Thief" and "The Revenge Battle" will be available from October 4. 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 on 2111 5999 or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in "ProFolio 59", distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011mm/2011mm_film.html.
Ends/Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A film still from "The Lion's Roar" (1959).
Film stills from "Seven Years Itch" (1987).
A film still from "The Funny Thief" (1963).