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Films to commemorate victory in war against Japanese aggression

To mark the 60th anniversary of the victory against Japanese aggression, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) will showcase feature films and archival documentaries in its new programme, "The War against Japanese Aggression - History & Memories".

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, 17 films produced from 1937 to 2002 will be screened from July 1 to 30 at the Cinema of the Film Archive. The films are grouped in three series, "Protecting China", "Life Under Fire" and "The Morning After" depicting not only the lives destroyed, but also human nature in wartime.

Japan invaded China in 1931 with the "September 18 incident". "The Eight Hundred Heroes" (1938) is one of the best war films about China in the 1930s. A combination of wartime realism and patriotic valour, it tells the heroic story of the 800 soldiers who swore to defend a Shanghai warehouse, a battle that caught international attention. The screenings will be accompanied by live music and a choral arrangement.

An archival documentary by Lai Man-wai, "The Battle of Shanghai" (1937), records Japan's attack on Shanghai on August 13. The footage was rediscovered in 1995."Protect My Country" (1939) is a story about guerilla warfare in northeast China while "Scenes of Yan'an" (1938) contains precious footage of Mao Zedong and the Communists' base at Yan'an. The three silent films will be shown together. "The Battle of Shanghai" has Chinese and English subtitles.

Two films produced in the 1990s provide a comprehensive look on Japan's invasion of China. "The War Against Japan" (1996) provides valuable footage and historic visual materials from Japan's advance on Manchuria in 1931 and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7 in 1937 to the Pacific War and Japan's surrender after the dropping of the atomic bombs.

A US-made documentary co-directed by Hong Kong-born Nancy Tong and Christine Choy, "In the Name of the Emperor" (1995), presents an objective and humane view of the Rape of Nanking with interviews of the victims, Japanese soldiers and rare footage shot by an American missionary. The film was awarded a special jury prize in the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Also with the notorious Nanking massacre as its background, Raymond To's "May and August" (2002) focuses on the suffering of two orphans. Actor Chow Yun-fat won a number of awards for his role in "Hong Kong 1941" (1984), a film that examines the human condition and survival during the city's fall to the Japanese. The film will be screened together with "The Fall of Hong Kong" (1941), a newsreel seen from the perspective of the Japanese army.

The popular romantic film classics, "Spring River Flows East" (Part I & II), "Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon", "An All-consuming Love" starring China's "Greta Garbo", Zhou Xuan and "Flora", a black comedy based on Guy de Maupassant's "Boule de Suif", look at morality and personal integrity before, during and after the war.

These four classics are in Mandarin while director Lee Sun-fung's masterpiece, "It was a Cold Winter Night", which is based on Ba Jin's novel, "Wintry Night", is in Cantonese. A short documentary, "The Liberation of Hong Kong", will be screened together with "An All-Consuming Love".

"In the Name of the Emperor", "The Fall of Hong Kong" and "The Liberation of Hong Kong" are in English, while "The Eight Hundred Heroes", "Hong Kong 1941" and "May and August" have 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 patrons purchasing any three tickets of this programme, they will be given a bilingual CD-Rom containing war movie footage, oral history interviews, and other related archival information at the HKFA box-office from July 1 to 30 while stocks last.

Programme details are in the HKFA's booklet, "Profolio 27". For programme enquiries, call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the websites: .

Ends/Friday, June 10, 2005

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