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Pearl River Delta Exhibition recaptures popular culture
Various aspects of popular Pearl River Delta culture and lifestyle such as comic stalls, wanton noodles and "airwave novels", as well as the films of martial arts master Wong Fei-hung, and Cantonese opera performances on rooftop fairgrounds will be featured at the Pearl River Delta: Movie ? Culture ? Life Exhibition.

The exhibition, part of the Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA's) programme to mark the celebration of the Centennial of Chinese Cinema, runs from today (March 18) to June 5 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA.

Hong Kong and Guangzhou are not only closely related but there are also similarities in their culture. Apart from business dealings, there are frequent exchanges in artistic and creative fields as well as interactions in everyday life and customs.

In addition to the multimedia exhibition, the "Pearl River Delta" series will screen more than 40 film programmes from 1898 to 2004, organise seminars and release a new publication "The Hong Kong-Guangdong Film Connection" to showcase the land, lifestyle and folklore of the people of the Pearl River Delta.

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to see interesting exhibits including the costumes of Cantonese opera star Yim Kim-fai; opera scripts of "many-sided actor" Sit Kok-sin; and the costumes, double blades and whip used in Wong Fei-hung's movies.

Other items on display include handbills and screenplays; the diary, "Pioneer of China Cinema" Lai Man-wai; newly restored radio drama narrated by radio host Ngai Mun, old cinema magazines of the 1920s like "Ling Sing" and "Artland" and tabloid newspaper "Pioneer" as well as photo stills of famous Cantonese opera actors.

The exhibition traced the life story of film pioneer Lai Man-wai, his life-long efforts to develop the Chinese film industry, the building of his dream factory, the rise of China's Garbo, Ruan Lingyu, in his films and his making of wartime documentaries.

Film images of old street scenes and city landmarks are featured. These included the renowned Ko Shing Theatre, Tai Ping Cinemas and the former Lee Theatre. The exhibition also recaptures the faded sound of the songstress from the teahouses, street comic stalls, bustling housing compound and radio broadcast of popular stories.

As Cantonese Opera dominated the popular culture of the region, we see its influence on film and life, the exhibition pays tribute to the stage heroes of Guangdong and Hong Kong.

It displays opera troupes like "red boat troupes", "patriotic troupes", "all-male and all-female troupes", "rooftop troupes" and the opera camps of Sit Kok-sin and Ma Si-tsang, the two renowned opera stars who reformed Cantonese opera and raised it from crude performances to an artform.

The film programmes in the "Pearl River Delta" series will be shown from April 1 to May 29 at the Cinema of the HKFA.

The films include "Early Sights of Guangdong & Hong Kong", "Independent Vision of Pearl River Delta", blockbuster "Seventy-two Tenants" and "The Kid" starring a young Bruce Lee, "The Story of Wong Fei-hung, Part I", outstanding films from China made in the 1980s and 1990s such as "Yamaha Fish Stall", "Sunshine and Showers" and "Swan Song", while "Long Arm of the Law" and "Her Fatal Ways" made by local directors focus on urban change.

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. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

In addition, two seminars will be held respectively on April 16 and May 15 - "Pearl River Delta: Popular Culture & Film" and "Pearl River Delta: Humanities & Sociological Perspective". The former is conducted in Cantonese while the seminar on May 15 is conducted in Cantonese and English.

Programme information is available in the HKFA's "Profolio". For programme enquiries, call 2734 2900/ 2739 2139 or browse the website .
Ends/Friday, March 18, 2005
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