Photographer, producer and director Peter Yung is one of the few Hong Kong filmmakers who have found success in both documentaries and traditional dramatic narratives. Yung was already a renowned photographer by the 1970s when he came to specialise in making documentaries on the drug trade after his participation in investigations into the topic. Yung, who started to make commercial films with the successful drug trade drama "The System" (1979), has made eight documentaries and his commercial films show the strong influence of his documentary work. This Saturday (July 26), Yung will share his filmmaking and globetrotting photo-taking experiences during a talk at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA).
Curated and hosted by veteran film researcher Law Kar, the HKFA's "Movie Talk" series will feature Yung. The series, which started last year, has previously featured directors Ivy Ho, Chiu Kang-chien, Fruit Chan, Herman Yau and Stanley Kwan. A student and lifelong friend of well-known cinematographer James Wong Howe, Yung has specially chosen the film "The Rose Tattoo" (1955), which earned Howe his first Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and the documentary "The Rickshaw Boy" (1981), which Yung made to complete Howe's work as a tribute to the great film master.
"Movie Talk VI: Peter Yung Wai-chuen" will be held at 4.15pm on July 26 at the HKFA's Cinema. Yung, who has been retired from the film world for years, will share his interesting encounters in making documentaries and his colourful life. The talk will be conducted in Cantonese with free admission.
Two films he produced or directed, "Opium: The White Powder Opera" (1976-77) and "The Rickshaw Boy", will be screened together on Saturday (July 26) at 2pm and "Journey to the Cossacks" (1989) will be shown at 7pm. On Sunday (July 27), "The Rose Tattoo" and "James Wong Howe: Cinematographer" (1973) will be shown as a double feature at 2pm and "Warlords of the Golden Triangle" (1987) will be screened at 5pm.
To complement the screenings, an exhibition entitled "Artifacts of Cinematographers James Wong Howe and Peter Yung" will be held from July 25 to September 29 at the l/F Foyer of the HKFA, displaying precious photos, artefacts and photography works of Yung and Howe.
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 and learn about the inspirations and processes behind the featured guest's work.
Commissioned by a British television station, Yung formed his own company to produce the dramatic documentary "Opium: The White Powder Opera". It traces drug traffickers and drug addicts who are forced to become drug dealers, depicting the workings of the drug trade and also showing the cruel realities of those being forced into the business. "The Rickshaw Boy", which will be shown in the same screening, is Yung's tribute to his late mentor, in which he went to Beijing in 1980 to capture the life of rickshaw drivers for this documentary.
Blending a dramatic narrative with documentary footage, "Journey to the Cossacks" is the re-edited version of Yung's early work "Souls of the Wind" (1982) which offers the audience a glimpse of the history and traditions of people in Xinjiang through the eyes of an archaeologist. The new footage features the local traditional culture and psychological struggle of the Uyghur people as well as breathtaking shots of the desert.
Adapted from a play by Tennessee Williams, "The Rose Tattoo" tells of a widow who is still reeling from her unfaithful husband's untimely death. Cinematographer James Wong Howe reflects the inner turmoil of the actress through striking black-and-white images. The film not only earned Anna Magnani the Academy Award for Best Actress, but also brought Howe his first Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Not to be missed is the short documentary "James Wong Howe: Cinematographer" being shown in the same screening. It is a colour film with Howe speaking on camera about lighting techniques in the art of cinematography.
"Warlords of the Golden Triangle", co-directed by Yung and Adrian Cowell, is a powerful and fascinating documentary on the drug trade in the Golden Triangle, from the planting of opium to production of heroin and its transportation. The film captures the operations of drug cartels in the area and includes interviews with their members, and also makes use of archival footage and photos of the drug trade. The Cantonese-language version being screened is narrated by actor John Sham.
"Journey to the Cossacks" is in Mandarin without subtitles. "The Rose Tattoo" and "James Wong Howe: Cinematographer" are in English with English subtitles. The other films have both Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX with half-price concessionary tickets 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 73", 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 www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2014mt2/2014mt2_index.html .
Ends/Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:31
A film still of "Opium: The White Powder Opera" (1976 - 77).
A film still of "The Rose Tattoo" (1955).
A film still of "James Wong Howe Cinematographer" (1973).
A film still of "Warlords of the Golden Triangle" (1987).