When she starred in the film "Nobody's Child" (1960) at the age of 11, Josephine Siao gave a remarkable performance as a child living alongside a street performer, a monkey and a dog. The film's rendition of a popular ballad on motherly love, sung by Siao, remains well known to this day. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) will screen "Nobody's Child", its newly restored treasure, in April, and audiences will be able to enjoy this exquisite film directed by Bu Wancang at the premiere of the restored print during the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets.
The HKFA recovered a 16mm print of "Nobody's Child" from Taiwan last year and sent it to L'Immagine Ritrovata film restoration laboratory in Italy for a high-definition scan and digital restoration. Most of the flares, scratches, spots and background noise were subsequently removed and some of the frames that were in various stages of decomposition were also restored. A 2K digital master of the film as well as 35mm positive prints were created. The remastered screening prints of this restored treasure have much better audio and picture quality.
The first screening will be held at 3pm on April 1 at the Theatre of Hong Kong City Hall. This screening is being 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, Chu Shu-hwa, will meet with the audience before the screenings. 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.
"Nobody's Child" was one the famous films that made Josephine Siao a household name. Having started her filming career at the age of 7, and after winning a "Best Child Star" award for "The Maiden Girl" at the age of 8, Siao was cast by producer Chu Shu-hwa to perform in "Nobody's Child" as a wandering girl looking for her long-lost mother. In the film, the story begins 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.
Siao was so dedicated to giving an outstanding and spirited performance in the film that she even performed all her own stunts. The film was produced with such high standards that it was not only partly shot in snowy Hokkaido in Japan, but also had some snow scenes re-created in the studio in Hong Kong with artificial snow shipped from Japan. In addition, Bu Wancang's interpretation of the oft-adapted tale emphasised the orphan girl's strong will to survive her hardships. 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 1 at Hong Kong City Hall are priced at $65 and the ticket arrangements will follow those of the HKIFF. 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. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999 and Internet bookings at www.urbtix.hk.
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.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2013rtnc/2013rtnc_index.html.
Ends/Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:06
A film still of "Nobody's Child" (1960).
A film still of "Nobody's Child" (1960) before restoration.
A film still of "Nobody's Child" (1960) after restoration.