The film "Nobody's Child" (1960) received an overwhelming response when it was first released, and its rendition of a popular ballad on motherly love, sung by 11-year-old Josephine Siao, remains well known to this day. Directed by renowned director Bu Wancang and starring Siao and Wang Yin, the film is the latest restored treasure of the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA). The newly restored version will have its world premiere during the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) in April.
The HKFA recovered a 16mm print from Taiwan last year and sent it to L'Immagine Ritrovata film restoration laboratory in Italy for a high-definition scan and digital restoration. This restored work, which can be screened in digital or 35mm, will be shown in April.
The first screening will be held at 3pm on April 1 at the Theatre of Hong Kong City Hall. The screening is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) in collaboration with the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society. Another screening will be held at 2pm on April 4 at the Cinema of the HKFA. Mr John Chu, the son of the film's producer Mr Chu Shu-hwa, will meet with the audience before the screening on that day.
A seminar entitled "Chu Shu-hwa and 'Nobody's Child" will also be held at 4.30pm after the screening on April 4 with film critic Law Kar and film actor Yueh Hua sharing their views on the life of Chu Shu-hwa and the film's achievements. The seminar will be conducted in Cantonese with free admission.
Josephine Siao started her filming career at the age of 7. She won a "Best Child Star" award for "The Maiden Girl" when she was 8 and producer Chu Shu-hwa later cast her to perform in "Nobody's Child" as a wandering girl looking for her long-lost mother. In the film, the story kicks off with Siao living with a loving mother and, as the plot progresses, she soon finds out that she was left unattended on the streets during wartime and picked up by her mother. She is later sold by her father to a street performer (played by Wang Yin) and becomes determined to look for her birth parents.
Partly shot in snowy Hokkaido, the interpretation of the oft-adapted tale by director Bu Wancang emphasised the orphan girl's strong will to survive her hardships. Siao, at just 11 years old, managed to hold her own as the girl and the result made her a household name. A scene with Siao, a monkey, a dog and Wang became one of the most sentimental parts of the film. Also featuring outstanding performances by Chen Yan-yan and Butterfly Wu, "Nobody's Child" was one of the most popular films of its time.
The film is in Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets for the screening on April 4 at the HKFA are priced at $50. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Counter bookings will be available at all URBTIX outlets from March 4. Tickets for the screening on April 1 during the HKIFF are priced at $65 and the arrangements will follow those of the festival with postal booking from February 23 to March 1 and online booking at the HKIFF website (www.hkiff.org) from February 23 to March 6. Counter bookings at all URBTIX outlets, Internet bookings at www.urbtix.hk and credit card bookings at 2111 5999 will be available from March 7.
Detailed programme information can be found in "ProFolio 67" or the 37th HKIFF booking folder distributed at all performing venues of the LCSD. For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage at www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp .
Ends/Thursday, February 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:35
A film still of "Nobody's Child" (1960).