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Mainland movies showcase China's cinematic development

Ten recent Mainland films will be showcased in the forthcoming "Chinese Film Panorama 2005". They include the documentary, "For Victory"; director Wang Xiaoshuai's acclaimed film, "Shanghai Dreams"; and award-winning films "Letter from an Unknown Woman", "Huayao Bride in Shangri-la", "Eat Hot Tofu Slowly" and "A Bright Moon".

There will be a total of 30 screening from October 18 to November 15 at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive to mark the centennial celebration of Chinese films.

"Chinese Film Panorama 2005" is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and South China Film Industry Workers Union, in association with Sil-Metropole Organisation Limited and Southern Film Company Limited.

Throughout the past century, Chinese films have made remarkable progress under China's film industry system. There are currently 36 national film studios on the Mainland and the number of private production units has shot up to more than 200.

In 2004, there were 212 Chinese feature productions, 110 telemovies, 44 documentaries, educational films and animations and the gross box office takings of Mainland films was about $1.5 billion renminbi, indicating that a diversity in film genres were taking a firm hold.

Launching "Chinese Film Panorama 2005" is the documentary, "For Victory" (2005), which unearths valuable historical information with scenes from the War against Japanese Aggression.

Director Wang Xiaoshuai's "Shanghai Dreams" (2004) features a dilemma involving family and love for 19-year-old Qing Hong, played by young actress Gao Yuanyuan. Like many intellectuals in the 1960s, Qing's parents left the city to settle in a poorer region. With modernisation in the 1980s, they plan to move back to Shanghai to give their children a better future. Yet, Qing, with her first taste of love and friends at Guizhou, prefers not to go. The film won the Prix du Jury at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and was the opening film at the India International Film Festival 2005.

"Huayao Bride in Shangri-la" (2005) features a beautiful and wild village girl of the Hua Yao Yi minority tribe in Yunnan. Dancing with flying dragons, she has to choose between love and her passion for the colourful dances. The film won the Best Feature Film and the Best New Comer in the 11th Huabiao Awards, and the Best Actress in the 12th Beijing Undergraduate Students' Film Festival.

With no knowledge about a previous affair, a middle-aged man suddenly receives a letter from a stranger on her deathbed. "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (2005) is a passionate story of intense love and sacrifice adapted from a short story of the same title by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. The director, Xu Jinglei, who also plays the leading role in the film, was awarded the Best Director Award at the 52nd San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain.

Adapted from a novel "Hardly Call Daddy", "Eat Hot Tofu Slowly" (2005) is a story about an unemployed tricycle rider, his adopted son and three women. It shows the bittersweet life of small-town people with a humorous touch. The film won the Best Comedy and the Most Welcomed Actor in the 12th Beijing Undergraduate Students' Film Festival.

"A Bright Moon" (2005) features the legendary life of Master Hung-I, a presentation of his life as a monk, also his patriotism. The film won the Best Feature Film and the Best Actor in the 11th Huabiao Awards.

"Lu Xun" (2004) features the emotional life of the great Chinese intellectual in the 20th century, Lu Xun. With emphasis on his last three years of life, the film portrays in detail the intricate sensitivities and feelings between a husband and a wife, a father and a son and the dichotomy between life and death.

With an artistic expression similar to the film, "My Memories of Old Beijing" yet innovative in direction, "My Bittersweet Taiwan" (2005) portrays vividly life in rural Taiwan during the turbulent years of an ordinary Taiwanese family. The film won the Best Feature Film in the 10th Huabiao Awards.

"Beautiful Homeland" (2005) focuses on the difficult choice faced by the Kazak people -- the peaceful, quiet, nomadic life or the sophisticated, civilised, modern world. It also reveals the bittersweet side of life and the grandeur of humanity.

"Autumn Rain" (2004) is a love story between a Japanese girl and a Chinese young man while they are learning Chinese opera. However, the girl's grandfather reveals that he was the Japanese soldier who killed the man's grandfather during the Japanese invasion. The film was shown at the 41st Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and the 12th Beijing Undergraduate Student's Film Festival.

All films are in Putonghua with English and Chinese subtitles.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. There will be a 10% discount for Friends of LCSD performing venues or each purchase of 6 to 10 tickets, and a 20% discount for each purchase of 11 or more tickets.

For programme information, call 2734 2900/ 2780 5355/ 2527 7284 or browse . Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

Ends/Monday, September 26, 2005

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