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Cathay classics on screen to celebrate return to HK for heritage preservation

Agreement has been made with the Cathay Organisation in Singapore, after two years of negotiation, to donate a large amount of precious film classics to the Hong Kong Film Archive for permanent preservation.

Archive specialists travelled to Singapore to catalogue, pack and ship the collection of 214 film titles, 2,499 reels of film prints and about 4,000 items of film-related materials including posters and stills. The historical mission was completed with the arrival of film relics to Hong Kong on April 1.

To commemorate this special event, from June 18 to 27 in its cinema, the Archive will showcase 13 Cathay classics, including the award-winning masterpiece "Sun, Moon and Star", "Our Sister Hedy", "Mambo Girl", "The Wild, Wild Rose" and "Her Tender Heart".

With MP & GI/Cathay no longer in film production, it had been a difficult task over the years to screen Cathay films produced in the 50s and 60s.

In 2002, the Hong Kong Film Archive organised the "Back to Dreamland: Cathay Showcase" retrospective with exhibitions, seminars and a publication "Cathay Story" displaying the distinctive features of Cathay's productions.

The retrospective was such an immediate success that it also raised hopes of being able to transfer the archival treasures back home for restoration and preservation.

The return of these film relics has marked a significant step in the preservation of the Hong Kong film heritage, providing valuable information and study material for the researchers.

The films to be screened in June include the most famous epics of Cathay's production, "Sun, Moon and Star" with Julie Yeh Feng as the tough and radiant "Sun", Grace Chang the pure and gentle "Moon" and Lucilla You Min the delicate and self-sacrificing "Star".

One of Cathay's trademarks is its musical productions. Grace Chang's "Mambo Girl" and "The Wild, Wild Rose" simply showcase Chang's talent, establishing her as the premium star of the genre's golden years.

Not to be missed are Cathay's light comedies such as Chang's "Our Dream Car", which features the middle-class lifestyle and "The June Bride", which is possibly one of the best of Eileen Chang's screenplays.

Lucilla You Min, who died in 1996, is forever remembered for her untainted divine image on the silver screen. Her first appearance in "Her Tender Heart" had earned her the first title of "Best Actress" at the sixth Asian Film Festival. Repeating the success of "Her Tender Heart", she was once again cast as a young adult daughter in "Father Takes a Bride".

Other highlights include one of the best Mandarin comedies "Sister Long Legs" with Julie Yeh Feng giving a marvellous deadpan performance; "Air Hostess", which portrays the working life and romance of air hostesses, "Our Sister Hedy", which is a mix of Western sentiments with traditional Chinese family ethics; "Death Traps", a Hitchcock-type thriller, and "Torrents of Spring", a love tragedy starring Jeanette Lin Cui.

All films in Mandarin with the exception of "Torrents of Spring" which is in dubbed Cantonese.

Tickets priced at $30 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.

For programme information call 2739 2139, 2734 2900 or visit Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

Ends/Monday, May 24, 2004
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