Golden Harvest contributed as a pioneering film studio in Hong Kong for more than 30 years and its success has been attributed greatly to the company's boldness and strategic planning. With a vision focused on horizons stretching into the global market, a flexible mode of operation to outsource production and an impeccable eye for talent, it ushered in trends in multiple film genres ranging from action and comedy to artistic films. The company nurtured a number of internationally renowned superstars and directors, such as Bruce Lee, John Woo, Jimmy Wang Yu, Michael Hui, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and others. There is no doubt that Golden Harvest played a determining role in the 1980s golden age of Hong Kong cinema.
As a contribution to the 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has organised a retrospective, "The Cinematic Matrix of Golden Harvest", to showcase the studio's different glorious genres together with a special exhibition, a research publication and a series of seminars.
With the assistance of Fortune Star Media Limited (Fortune Star), the HKFA is able to access and screen 58 of Golden Harvest's films, with 40 of them having been converted from digitally remastered copies into DCP. Fortune Star has also agreed to the long-term preservation of these screening prints at the HKFA. Seventeen films will be shown during the HKIFF from March 22 to April 1 while the full catalogue of 58 films will be shown from April 4 to June 30. All screenings will be held at the Cinema of the HKFA.
The films to be screened during the HKIFF include films featuring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung such as "The Big Boss" (1971), "Fist of Fury" (1972), "The Way of the Dragon" (1972), "Enter the Dragon" (1973), "The Young Master" (1980) and "Encounter of the Spooky Kind" (1980). Also screening is "The Invincible Eight" (1971), one of the first Golden Harvest martial arts productions; "Hap Ki Do" (1972), featuring Korean martial arts; "Beach of the War Gods" (1973), directed by superstar Jimmy Wang Yu; and "The Himalayan" (1976), which is an overlooked martial arts gem from the 1970s. The first round of screenings also includes John Woo's early wuxia film "Last Hurrah for Chivalry" (1979) and his comedy "The Pilferers' Progress" (1977) as well as cutting-edge films from young visionary filmmakers such as Patrick Tam's "The Sword" (1980), Tony Ching Siu-tung's "Duel to the Death" (1983), Tony Au's "I Am Sorry" (1989), Anthony Chan's "A Fishy Story" (1989) and "A Queen's Ransom" (1976), a unique and daring gangster work from director Ting Shan-hsi.
To complement the screenings, an exhibition entitled "Golden Harvest: A Landmark in Hong Kong Cinema" will be held from March 23 to July 14 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA, offering an overview of the studio's development. The HKFA's new publication "Golden Harvest: Leading Change in Changing Times" focusing on the characteristics of Golden Harvest productions, with English edition on CD-ROM, will be released in late March.
Four seminars, to be conducted in Cantonese, will be held at the HKFA. Co-founder of Golden Harvest Mr Raymond Chow will grace the retrospective by talking in the first seminar entitled "The Mastermind Behind: Raymond Chow" on March 23, while four critics, Mr Stephen Teo, Mr Lam Chiu-wing, Mr Thomas Shin and Mr Lau Yam, will talk in the "Genres Explorations of Golden Harvest" seminar on March 30. Another exciting seminar will see two senior film company executives, Mr Albert Lee and Ms Winnie Tsang, joining a discussion entitled "International Visions of Golden Harvest" on April 6. To drill more into the Hui brothers' achievements in the 1970s, director Michael Hui and critic Mr Shin will join a seminar entitled "Aspirations of the Hui Brothers" on April 20.
Post-screening talks are also planned to be hosted by film critics and directors including Yim Ho, Alfred Cheung, Fruit Chan and Mabel Cheung. Admission to the exhibition and seminars is free.
Golden Harvest rose in the 1970s and its founders, Raymond Chow and Leonard Ho, had a keen eye for potential talent and allowed great flexibility in their film financial model. In addition to allowing a great degree of creative freedom, the duo took Hong Kong cinema to the world with their global distribution. Golden Harvest has produced and financed over 600 films covering an assortment of genres and seen by audiences around the globe. Its operation model has enabled many renowned directors like John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Sammo Hung and Stanley Kwan to produce creative works under its auspices.
The retrospective will examine Golden Harvest's three major development strategies: ingenuity as the result of careful long-term planning, its international visions, and creative endeavours in a wide range of genres. The various screenings will allow audiences to revisit the studio's great variety of works on the big screen.
The screenings will be presented in six categories with early directorial works from Jimmy Wang, Huang Feng, John Woo and Michael Hui, as well as cutting edge films made by young visionary filmmakers in the 1980s and 1990s. These six chapters include the sections "The Legend of the Dragons", featuring martial arts films of Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, Jimmy Wang Yu and Jackie Chan; "Action Rejuvenated", which showcases a number of classic action movies; "Comedic Schemes", a selection of comedies covering a variety of themes, styles and treatments; and "Talents Abound", displaying an assortment of works in different genres including John Woo's Cantonese opera movie "Princess Chang Ping" (1976), Patrick Tam's first film "The Sword", Tony Ching Siu-tung's directorial debut "Duel to the Death", Mabel Cheung's "The Soong Sisters" (1997) and Ann Hui's "Summer Snow" (1995). In the "Dare to Differ" section, works that were daring and unique and strived to be different will be featured.
Golden Harvest has always had the ambition to open up overseas markets and to learn from Hollywood experience, and it produced around 20 Western films. The "International Visions" section features a number of Golden Harvest works which were produced by Western filmmakers, including "High Road to China" (1983); the globally popular film "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1990); the war film "Boys in Company C" (1978); "Battle Creek Brawl" (1980), with Jackie Chan making his first attempt at the US market; and "The Cannonball Run" (1981).
Most of the films are with Chinese and English subtitles. Tickets are priced at $40. 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. Ticket arrangements for the screenings during the HKIFF 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 for all screenings are available at URBTIX outlets, Internet bookings at www.urbtix.hk and credit card bookings at 2111 5999 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/Friday, February 22, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:41
A film still of "Fist of Fury" (1972).
A film still of "Hap Ki Do" (1972).
A film still of "A Queen's Ransom" (1976).
A film still of "The Pilferers' Progress" (1977).
A film still of "Encounter of the Spooky Kind" (1980).
A film still of "The Young Master" (1980).
A film still of "The Cannonball Run" (1981).
A film still of "A Fishy Story" (1989).