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Exhibition shows filmmakers on location

Filming on location can be a challenge, but done well, the entire mood of a film can be set. The portrayal of Temple Street as the street of emotion in Derek Yee’s “C’est La Vie”, the impressive car-rolling scene in John Woo’s “The Killer”, the high-tech police station in “Infernal Affairs” and “Crime Story” are all great examples.

A new exhibition, “@ location”, opened today at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) with a demonstration of the filming of stunt scenes involving gun-shots and various other action scenes.

Presented by the HKFA of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and supported by the Film Professional Training Programme of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Kwun Tong), Hong Kong Movie Production Executives Association, Hong Kong Film Arts Association and the School of Film and Television of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the “@ location” exhibition will be held from today (February 18) to June 4 at the Exhibition Hall of the Archive.

The exhibition displays mock-up scenes of famous film locations including Temple Street, a backstreet, a police station and old Hong Kong landmarks, together with film clips and interviews of various filmmakers. Visitors to the exhibition will be told behind-the-scene stories of Hong Kong’s many interesting film locations.

Ever since movie productions started moving out of the studios, film directors, cinematographers and art directors have risen to the challenge of filming on location.

In fact, many filmmakers choose to shoot at locations they want to keep on record. Examples are Ann Hui’s old Western District tenement buildings in “The Secret”, Fruit Chan’s childhood world of Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok in “Little Cheung” and Ringo Lam’s portrait of 1997 Wan Chai and Central in his series of staged car races.

In the 1980s and 1990s, art direction in Hong Kong films went beyond imitating reality to strengthen visual and artistic elements. Hence we could see
different impressions of Tsim Sha Tsui, interpretations of Victoria Harbour, tea restaurants in different moods and rooftops commanding different views.

The exhibition comprises four sections featuring a classic Temple Street set, Andy Lau’s motorbike used in “Full Throttle”, film clips and interviews with filmmakers including Ann Hui, Yee Chung-man, Gordon Chan, Bill Lui and others on their experience in finding locations and to achieve their “missions impossible”.

The high-tech police station in “Crime Story” mixing romanticism and realism, is a breakthrough from the old location set with a photograph of the Queen or a statue of the police’s patron saint. The exhibition will feature police stations and roof terraces that are popular location sets.

Not to be missed are old photographs of Hong Kong landmarks like Tsim Sha Tsui train station, Yucca de Lac, Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park, the bright red double-decker buses which no longer exist and can only trigger nostalgia with the moving images imprinted on black and white film.

To supplement the exhibition, the Archive has published a catalogue, “@ location”, revealing interesting facts about location shooting. Various filmmakers, cinematographers, directors and stunt directors will share their experiences on finding locations that suit their movies, and how the same places are shot with different aesthetic input to heighten the visual and artistic effects. The 188-page catalogue, priced at $125, is in Chinese and English and is on sale at the HKFA.

The exhibition opens daily from 10am to 8pm except Thursdays. For enquiries, call 2739 2139 or visit .

Ends/Saturday, February 18, 2006
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