The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s flagship series "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" has received a very enthusiastic response since its launch. To complement the HKFA's retrospective programme, "The Cinematic Matrix of Golden Harvest", the 100 Must-See series will feature five Golden Harvest classics from May to July directed by Sammo Hung, Johnny Mak, Jackie Chan, Tsui Hark and Peter Chan, as well as a great Fruit Chan film, for audiences to enjoy films of different genres made in the 1980s and 1990s.
To bring more focus to the programme, this year's HKFA screenings will be condensed into quarterly showcases, while the screenings at Broadway Cinematheque (BC) will maintain the twice-monthly schedule. The films to be screened are Sammo Hung's "The Prodigal Son" (1981), Johnny Mak's action feature "Long Arm of the Law" (1984), Jackie Chan's "Police Story" (1985), Tsui Hark's "Once Upon a Time in China" (1991), Peter Chan's "Comrades, Almost a Love Story" (1996) and Fruit Chan's "Made in Hong Kong" (1996). The films will be shown on May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 respectively at the HKFA and from May to July at BC.
"The Prodigal Son" is a masterpiece of Sammo Hung's early career and is also the last kung fu film he directed at Golden Harvest. Following "Warriors Two" (1978), Hung turned the story of Liang Zhan into "The Prodigal Son". Through two young martial arts fanatics, one good and one bad, Hung reflects his own growing pains. The film demonstrates Hung's mature skill as a director, while the plot is solidly structured with a combination of Chinese opera and martial arts. In the final section, the master teaches Liang the movements of wing chun, alternating between strength and grace, solemnity and comedy.
The acclaimed crime thriller "Long Arm of the Law" is the story of a group of robbers from China looking to strike it rich in Hong Kong by robbing a jewellery shop, only to experience betrayals that lead to their downfall. Director Johnny Mak captures the chase between the police and the robbers with terrifying realism, and the explosive climatic standoff in the Kowloon Walled City remains one of the best finales in Hong Kong cinema history. The film was produced during the period of Hong Kong's rapid economic development, during which Mainland China's new "open door" policy suddenly made the city a new land of opportunity for its northern neighbours and exposed cultural differences between the two societies. The film won numerous awards including Best Supporting Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Best Director at the Golden Horse Awards.
"Police Story" marks an important turning point in Jacky Chan's career as he successfully morphs from early kung fu to the cop thriller genre and turns slapstick acrobatics and life-threatening stunts into large-scale action spectacles. He combined as script-writer, director, actor and action choreographer and designed each scene with meticulous attention. Including large-venue scenes and car stunts on a housing estate, extreme performances such as jumping from a high-rise, crashing into glass and falling from heights, his ruthless aesthetics and grassroots heroism look incredible.
Starring Jet Li, director Tsui Hark revives kung fu Master Wong Fei-hung in "Once Upon a Time in China" and takes the Wong Fei-hung myth to new heights with his masterful choreography. With this film, Tsui won Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards with this film. Its far-reaching influence can still be seen in the film "Ip Man" (2008).
In addition to the martial arts genre, the series will screen Peter Chan's "Comrades, Almost a Love Story", one of his best works and among Golden Harvest productions the film with the strongest sense of Chinese modernity. With Hong Kong's anxiety as the background, it features a romantic love story between Mainland couple Leon Lai and Maggie Cheung, both of whom drift to Hong Kong from the Mainland and then to New York. After meeting in Hong Kong, the couple spend time together as the Hong Kongers around them move on or break up with loved ones. The two meet again in New York in front of a shop playing a song by the legendary Teresa Teng. The film won nine awards including Best Feature Film and Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards as well as Best Film and Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Also high on the list for Hong Kong sentiment, "Made in Hong Kong" is a Fruit Chan classic and the first of his "97 Trilogy". Chan made this film on a very low budget with a five-man crew, a non-professional cast and film negative leftovers from various film companies. Despite the poor conditions and materials the film was very well-received and won Best Film and Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards and gained recognition overseas. The film features four teenagers who face their respective destinies with different attitudes, ranging from suicide at one extreme to high risks at another. In addition there are some unforgettable cemetery scenes that serve as an emotional outlet for the young protagonists.
All the films are in Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles. Post-screening talks will be held and hosted by David Chan, Eric Tsang, Honkaz Fung, Shu Kei, Timmy Chen, Fruit Chan and Sean Yim respectively after the screenings at the HKFA. All the talks are in Cantonese with free admission.
Tickets for screenings at the HKFA are priced at $40 and are now available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, 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 . Tickets for screenings at BC are priced at $55 and are now available at BC and its website. Tickets priced at $40 are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, full-time students and children aged 11 or below. There is a 20 per cent discount for BC VIP members. Phone ticketing can be made on 2388 3188 or on the Internet at www.cinema.com.hk .
For enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or 2739 2139. Detailed programme information can be found in leaflets distributed at all performing arts venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and at BC or browse the webpage at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011ms100/2011ms100_film.html .
Ends/Monday, April 22, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:46
A film still from "The Prodigal Son" (1981).
A film still from "Long Arm of the Law" (1984).
A film still from "Police Story" (1985).
A film still from "Once Upon a Time in China" (1991).
A film still from "Comrades, Almost a Love Story" (1996).
A film still from "Made in Hong Kong" (1996).