Writer, director and cinematographer Herman Yau is best known as a director of violent cult films. He admits that he can be an "excessive" filmmaker, but he has made some highly regarded films during his career. "Reunion" (1988), which has been largely overlooked by audiences, and the horror film "Ebola Syndrome" (1996) are some of Yau's pioneering quality works. Yau is a man with a passion for life and a concern for social causes, and his films reveal a devotion to capturing reality and engaging in debates about the world at large.
Curated and hosted by veteran film researcher Law Kar, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Movie Talk" series which started in April this year, will feature Yau in January 2014. Previously the series has invited director Ivy Ho, the avant-garde movie director Chiu Kang-chien, who passed away on November 27, and director Fruit Chan. Three long films and two short films will be shown for audiences to gain an in-depth understanding of Yau's work.
"Movie Talk IV: Herman Yau" will be held at 4.15pm on January 19 at the HKFA's Cinema. Yau will share with guests his filmmaking experience, the inspiration behind his work and his philosophy on life. The talk will be conducted in Cantonese, with free admission.
The films Yau selected to be shown are "The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake" (2011) on January 18 at 2pm; a double bill of "Reunion" (1988) and "This is My Home" (2008) on January 18 at 4.30pm; "Ebola Syndrome" (1996) and "Fried Glutinous Rice" (2010) will be shown together on January 19 at 2pm followed by the talk.
Each instalment of the "Movie Talk" series focuses on a filmmaker who will select films made by themselves or filmmaking counterparts for screening. During the discussion sessions the audiences join the host in watching clips from selected films as well as listening to the inspirations and processes behind the featured guest's work. Director Chiu Kang-chien agreed to join "Movie Talk II" in July, but failed to come due to health reasons. The HKFA would like to express its deepest condolences to his family.
The action-packed historic epic "The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake", which was produced in commemoration of the Xinhai Revolution's 100th anniversary, depicts the life of Qiu Jin - possibly one of the first feminist revolutionary fighters in contemporary Chinese history. Like Ip Man in Yau's "The Legend is Born: Ip Man" (2010), Qiu is a great warrior and a progressive thinker. While "The Legend is Born: Ip Man", "Ip Man: The Final Fight" (2013) and "The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake" are all stories about the development of modern China, Mirror Lake is the only film among the three to be overlooked by audiences. As a result the director has specially chosen this film for in-depth discussion.
Yau worked as cinematographer on "Reunion", which was produced 27 years ago. He turns his eye on the struggles of immigrants from Mainland China in this neorealist drama, which depicts the plight of a woman forced into prostitution after her husband becomes unemployed, leading to an unflinching story about the problem of domestic violence among families living in poverty. Also focusing on the difficult reality faced by immigrants, "This is My Home" features two sisters born on the Mainland to Hong Kong parents as they move to Hong Kong for a better life and end up being involved in social movements, including the right of abode in Hong Kong. Both films depict the battle against injustices with a humanist touch.
The "Ebola Syndrome", which Yau directed, exposes the worst side of human nature. The paranoid psychopath Anthony Wong flees to South Africa after committing murder, only to murder again and contract the Ebola virus. He brings the virus back to Hong Kong and spreads the disease in the most diabolical ways possible. Yau pushes bad taste to the extreme in this gruesome, nihilistic horror film. The 13-minute short "Fried Glutinous Rice", which will be shown together with "Ebola Syndrome" is Yau's sentimental ode to old Hong Kong. Revolving around the long-lost street delicacy, the film laments the loss of local traditions in the face of modernisation and globalisation.
"This is My Home" has Chinese subtitles; the other films have Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX. Half-price 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 or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be obtained in the "ProFolio 70" leaflet, which is distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website at http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2013mt4/2013mt4_index.html.
Ends/Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:31
Film still of "The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake" (2011).
Film still of "Reunion" (1988).
Film still of "Ebola Syndrome" (1996).