With Mother's Day on May 13 and Father's Day on June 17, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Morning Matinee" series on Friday mornings in May and June will respectively show films that portray beloved mums and dads on-screen. The films will feature Lin Ching, Hong Wei, Lai Man and Lee Yuet-ching, who are renowned for their screen careers as iconic mothers in supporting roles, as well as Wong Cho-shan, Lok Kung, Li Ciyu, Yang Zhiqing and Shi Lei, who came to epitomise the ethos and pathos of Chinese fatherhood on the silver screen.
"To Mothers with Love" will be held on May 4, 11, 18 and 25 at the Cinema of the HKFA. The films to be shown are "The Young Rebel" (1975), a gripping story starring Lin Ching and John Chiang; "Mimi-Private Eye" (1965), with Hong Wei and Jeanette Lin Tsui playing mother and daughter; "Three Young Girls" (1968), featuring Lai Man as the devoted mother for Connie Chan and Suet Nei; and "From Here to Eternity" (1969), featuring Lee Yuet-ching as a mother with an indomitable spirit.
The 95-year-old actress Lin Ching is one of Hong Kong cinema's favourite mothers. In director Tommy Ti Lung's "The Young Rebel", an exciting story of how the unfailing love of a mother saves her son from his evil ways, Lin offers a beautiful display of motherly love through an emotionally charged exchange between mother and son.
Hong Wei, an accomplished actress who passed away last October, gained a reputation for playing characters older than her own age. Despite the notable shortage of surviving films featuring Hong's credit, the HKFA has salvaged a crown jewel to include "Mimi-Private Eye" in the programme as a tribute to the consummate professional and devoted mother. In this heart-warming comedy, she brings the maternal qualities of patience, understanding and affection to her role as the mother of a curious daughter played by Jeanette Lin Tsui, an amateur detective.
"Three Young Girls" features Lai Man, who established herself as the best loved of screen mothers in Hong Kong cinema, as a doting mother who never fails to shower her five troubled and troublesome children, including Suet Nei and Connie Chan, with love and affection. Lee Yuet-ching is another iconic mother on-screen. In "From Here to Eternity", a story of a widowed wife who battles illness to care for others, Lee encompasses the opposing traits of a tender nurturer and a firm disciplinarian, melding the two into a flesh-and-blood character with ease and setting an extremely tough act to follow.
To celebrate Father's Day, the HKFA will screen the following films on June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 respectively: "Parents' Love" (1953), starring Li Ciyu, Shek Hwei and Kung Chiu-hsia; "Her Difficult Life" (1954), featuring Wong Cho-shan, Cheung Ying and Yuen Siu-fai; "Between Tears and Laughter" (1960), starring Yang Zhiqing, Wang Lai and Peter Dunn; "A Good Match" (1965), in which Lok Kung turns in one of his most touching performances as a tender father; and "Father and Son" (1981), with Shi Lei bringing depth and sensitivity to a parent-child relationship.
Starring the veteran actor Li Ciyu, the heart-wrenching film "Parents' Love" is a glorious story of how parental love triumphs over all. Li plays a sacrificing father and part-time rickshaw puller who sweats and toils to put his dutiful daughter through school, while the girl tries to supplement the family income by finding work at a playground.
In "Her Difficult Life", Wong Cho-shan gives a brilliantly nuanced and deeply stirring performance as an ailing father who dies in poverty-stricken circumstances after being coaxed into selling all family properties by his wayward son, played by Cheung Ying, who wants to finance his life of debauchery in the city.
Yang Zhiqing was a prized character actor at the MP & GI and Shaw Brothers studios. He was gifted with a chameleon-like knack for playing a wide range of roles and matured through the years to embody the persona of a loving father. In "Between Tears and Laughter", Yang plays a father who abandoned his wife, played by Wang Lai, and sickly son years earlier, but is compelled by pangs of conscience to visit the child in hospital.
In director Chor Yuen's "A Good Match", Lok Kung turns in his most arresting and touching performance as a tender, delightful father who is a beacon of light to his son. It is under the auspices of the elder that the fate of a doomed romance between a rich girl and a poor boy is changed and the course of true love smoothed out.
Allen Fong's debut feature "Father and Son" won Best Director and Best Film at the first Hong Kong Film Awards. The film is an evocative family portrait, beautifully painted with an internal rhythm that flows through the relationship of a father and his son. Pinning all hopes on a ne'er-do-well son, a salesman father played by Shi Lei uses his every means to send the son to study abroad, even sacrificing his daughter's marriage in the process.
The two series, "To Mothers with Love" and "To Fathers with Love", are guest curated by film researcher Yuen Tsz-ying.
"The Young Rebel" and "Between Tears and Laughter" are in Mandarin, "Mimi-Private Eye" is in Mandarin and Cantonese, "Parents' Love" is dubbed in Cantonese and all other films are in Cantonese. "Mimi-Private Eye" and "Three Young Girls" have Chinese and English subtitles, and "From Here to Eternity" has English subtitles.
Tickets for "To Mothers with Love" are now available at URBTIX outlets. Tickets for "To Fathers with Love" will be available from May 1 onwards. Tickets are priced at $20. 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 at 2111 5999 or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk .
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the programme leaflet, which is distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011mm/2011mm_film.html .
Ends/Thursday, April 19, 2012
A film still from "Three Young Girls" (1968).
A film still from "From Here to Eternity" (1969).
A film still from "Her Difficult Life" (1954).
A film still from "A Good Match" (1965).