The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s flagship series "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" will feature six classics from the 1950s and '60s with romance and social realism for the screenings from August to October. Some of the selected films will complement another upcoming retrospective programme, "Merry-Go-Movies • Star Kids", which will celebrate the brilliant performances of Cantonese child stars including Yuen Siu-fai and Shek Sau.
The first two films in the series are "Story of Father and Son" (1954) and "Parents' Hearts" (1955), in which Yuen Siu-fai gives dazzling performances as sons within not-so-well-off families. The other four films are a classic on morality, "The Prodigal Son" (1952); the masterpiece "In the Face of Demolition" (1953); director Tso Kea's "Love Lingers On" (1957), a rare masterwork transforming classic literature into film language; and "Father is Back" (1961), starring Shek Sau as the child actor. The films will be shown on August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at the HKFA and from August to October at the Broadway Cinematheque (BC). In addition, "The Prodigal Son" will also be screened at Cine-Art House on September 14.
With his natural talent and having learnt his opera stage skills at a young age, renowned opera star Yuen Siu-fai garnered a reputation as a child prodigy. In the poignant father-son comedy "Story of Father and Son", Cheung Wood-yau desperately tries to place his son in a prestigious school and give him a chance to make friends with the rich. At just 8 years old, Yuen gives a dazzling lead performance as the naive young boy. Using wonderful sets, director Ng Wui keeps this contemporary tragicomedy moving at a light, brisk pace that showcases Ng's outstanding artistic accomplishments.
"Parents' Hearts" which is considered the peak of director Chun Kim's directorial career, also features parental sacrifice. On the stage, Ma Si-tsang makes the audience laugh as a Cantonese opera performer, but off the stage he undergoes constant hardships as he struggles to make a better life for his two sons, Lam Kar-sing and Yuen Siu-fai. The film is made all the better with the two young actors' heartfelt performances.
"The Prodigal Son" is the first production of the Sun Luen Film Company. The spoiled son played by Cheung Ying looks to strike great fortune, only to find his father relegated to working as a poor labourer in a laundry shop. Cheung only picks himself up once he loses everything. This film was the career highlight for Cheung, playing a stubborn young man spoiled by his mother. The movie may appear to be a comedy, but director Ng Wui explores social ills through the downward spiral of one man's life, making its social commentary as sharp as ever.
With the famous slogan "All for one and one for all", the neo-realist Cantonese classic "In the Face of Demolition" approaches social and economic issues from a humanist perspective. Using precise framing, director Lee Tit masterfully builds a claustrophobic environment of tight spaces that enhances both the physical and mental closeness of a tiny community and the camaraderie among the people living in it.
Also directed by Lee, the powerful drama "Father is Back" has a star-studded cast with Ng Cho-fan, Kong Suet, Cheung Ying and Shek Sau. In the film's tight and poor living environment, a young woman is vulnerable to all the gravest dangers associated with cohabitating with gamblers and procuresses. Using a set of partitioned space, director Lee explores the difficulties an ex-convict faces in turning over a new leaf. The young Shek Shau, a natural talent, gives a fine, nuanced performance as a son following his heart to restore harmony to the family.
Director Tso Kea's "Love Lingers On", an adaptation from the literary classic "Wuthering Heights", was an official selection of the fourth Asian Film Festival. It is a successful example in Cantonese cinema of translating classic literature into pure cinematic language. As the couple Cheung Ying and Mui Yee destroy their own relationship with their selfishness and indecisiveness towards each other, Tso visually enhances the characters' inner emotional struggles with the use of light effects and complex tracking shots, and creates layers in the frames to emphasise the barrier between the characters' tortured minds and the rest of the world.
All the above titles are in Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles. Post-screening talks in Cantonese will be hosted by Yuen Siu-fai for "Story of Father and Son" and Shek Sau for "Father is Back". Hosts for the post-screening talks for other films include David Chan, Jack Ng, Eric Tsang and Sean Yim. Admission to the talks is free.
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. Ticketing can be carried out by phone on 2388 3188 or on the Internet at www.cinema.com.hk . Tickets for Cine-Art House are priced at $50 and are available at Cine-Art House's box office from August 15. Ticketing can be carried out by phone on 2317 6666 or on the Internet at www.cityline.com .
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/Friday, July 19, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:24
The film still of "Story of Father and Son" (1954).
The film still of "Parents' Hearts" (1955).
The film still of "The Prodigal Son" (1952).
The film still of "In the Face of Demolition" (1953).
The film still of "Love Lingers On" (1957).
The film still of "Father is Back" (1961).