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Nostalgia buffs will enjoy "Cityscape in Films"

Kai Tak Airport, the old Peak Tower and train terminal, the Tiger Balm Garden -- gems of the past like these -- can be rediscovered in old movies to be shown in the Hong Kong Film Archive's new programme, "Cityscape in Films".

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and in association with the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and Hong Kong Film Critics Society, "Cityscape in Films" will showcase 11 films shot in Hong Kong at different periods.

Whether it is local productions of the 1950s like "Our Dream Car" and "Laughter and Tears" or "Father and Son" from the 1980s, "PTU" from 2003 or foreign productions that view Hong Kong through a different perspective like "The World of Suzie Wong", these films are sure to bring back memories. The films will be shown at the Cinema of the Archive from February 18 to March 5.

Also, from February 18 to March 9, an exhibition on the 1/F of the Archive will display photos of Hong Kong's cityscape from different historical periods. Admission is free.

Seminars, conducted in Cantonese, will be held on February 19 and February 26 with discussions on "Architecture, Film and the City" and "Texture of a City in Hong Kong Cinema", hosted by architect, Ms Corrin Chan and film critic, Bryan Chang respectively. Art director Mr Bill Lui, architectural designer Mr Gary Chang, architect Mr Ronald Tam, film critics Athena Tsui and Bono Lee, writer Natalie Chan and the programmer of the Archive Mr Law Kar will share their views on various aspects of film and architecture.

Starring Linda Lin Dai, and directed by Li Han-Hsiang, "Laughter and Tears" (1958) features a city dweller's story of the 1950s. The cityscapes in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour and the Peak become the story's movie set.

In the genre of a Hollywood romantic sitcom of the 1950s and 1960s, "Our Dream Car" (1959) with Grace Chang and Chang Yang as the newlyweds, paints a picture of a middle-class lifestyle that was yet to occur in Hong Kong.

Through more than four decades, the world's most famous Chinese call girl is still the Orient's prima exotica. In "The World of Suzie Wong" (1960), Wan Chai, Central, Star Ferry and Aberdeen became a giant movie set in portraying the love affair between the American protagonist and the feisty China doll.

"The Quarrelsome Couple" (1959) is a romantic comedy with Patrick Tse Yin and Jia Ling taking audiences on a tour of Hong Kong cityscape to rediscover the Victorian style architectures in Central, the old buildings along the streets and colonial Repulse Bay. With Josephine Siao Fong-fong as the blind girl and Patrick Tse Yin as the thief, "Window"(1968) is a socially conscious drama that captures the bright pastel aura of the city in the late 1960s.

New Waver Allen Fong Yuk-Ping's "Father and Son" (1981), Fruit Chan's "Little Cheung" (1999) and the 100% "Made in Hong Kong" piglet animation, "My Life as McDull" (2001) present different facets of the city.

Fong's semi-autobiographical story about a young man who wants to fulfil his celluloid dream is a sincere portrait of a post-war generation who lived through Hong Kong's transition from a subsistence society to emerging economic powerhouse. In the movie, one can see again the old film house, Kai Tak and the old housing estates.

A bunch of collective memories, coupled with the cityscape of Hong Kong in 1997, help weave the world of a nine-year-old Little Cheung while McDull's childlike eyes take audiences on a rediscovery tour of a gradually fading cityscape including the old district of Sham Shui Po and Hong Kong skyline.

Not to be missed is the extraordinary short film, "Island Stories series: Castle of Sand" (1981), directed by Alex Law and starring Leslie Cheung as the little monk. The film will be shown together with "Father and Son".

In the genre of cops and gangsters, Ringo Lam's "Full Alert" (1997) and Johnnie To's "PTU"(2003) capture the dynamism and quiescence of Hong Kong. "Full Alert" is an ambitious project in a critical historical period of Hong Kong. Not only has it managed to build up climax after climax in the psychological struggle between two main characters, the car chase in the busiest streets is simply breathtaking.

In "PTU", the deserted urban streets have turned into a huge set for a modern film noir. The cool, remote facades of concrete and aluminum structures of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui become a daunting maze where a dark humour is played out. The film won the Best Director of the 23th Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards 2003 and the 9th Golden Bauhinia Film Award.

"Laughter and Tears" and " Our Dream Car" are in Mandarin; "The Quarrelsome Couple", "Window", "Father and Son" and "Island Stories Series: Castle of Sand" are in Cantonese. "The "World of Suzie Wong" is in English. "Full Alert", "My Life as McDull", "Little Cheung" and "PTU" have Chinese and English subtitles.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Reservations can be made by phone at 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

For programme information call 2734 2900 or 2739 2139 or see the website: or .

Ends/Wednesday, January 26, 2005
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