Special showings from Kong Ngee Film Studio
With a strong line-up of outstanding film directors, Chun Kim, Chor Yuen, Lung Kong and stars Patrick Tse Yin, Patsy Kar Ling, Kong Suet and Nam Hung, the Kong Ngee Motion Picture Production Co. was the leading force in Cantonese film production in the 1950s and '60s.
From the drastically changing cityscape to the increasingly prosperous lifestyle, films from Kong Ngee captured the emerging city culture and modernisation through compelling drama or comedy.
Forty titles from this important studio will be shown from April 4 to June 11 in the Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) new programme, "The Glorious Modernity of Kong Ngee" at the Cinema of the HKFA.
As a contributory programme to the 30th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), 21 films including Chun Kim's comedies, "Let's be Happy", "My Intimate Partners" and "Chase", Lung Kong's classic work, "Story of a Discharged Prisoner" and Chan Man's "The Dreadnaught" will be shown from April 4 to 19. The second part of the retrospective will be shown from April 19 to June 11.
At the seminar, "The Kong Ngee Star Shines Again" at 4.30pm on April 9, film stars including Patsy Kar Ling, Patrick Tse Yin, Nam Hung and Chow Chung will share with film buffs their film-making experience at Kong Ngee. Free tickets are available in April on a first-come, first-served basis.
Another seminar, "Courting ModíXthe Films of Kong Ngee" will be held at 4.30pm on April 14 with associate professor of the National University of Singapore Mr Yung Sai-shing as guest speaker. Both seminars, conducted in Cantonese, will be held at the Cinema of the HKFA.
The HKFA's new publication, "The Glorious Modernity of Kong Ngee" will be published in April, with in English and Chinese editions. The monograph will have essays by film scholars, critics and interviews with Kong Ngee personalities. An exhibition will also be held at the first floor of the Archive to complement the retrospective.
From 1955 to 1968, Kong Ngee produced more than 100 films, mostly urban romantic comedies, melodramas, detective films and psychological thrillers. On each of the cherished genres, Kong Ngee managed to leave its own memorable imprint, enriching Hong Kong cinema.
Kong Ngee offered a remarkable look at Hong Kong's changing lifestyle, together with the Westernised set designs and Hollywood editing style, its films revealed a modernism that seldom featured in other Cantonese films.
Stars like Patrick Tse Yin and studio diva Patsy Kar Ling were trendsetters who provided evocative interpretations of the trends.
An important filmmaker and a co-founder of Kong Ngee, director Chun Kim had great influence on other young film directors, Chor Yuen and Lung Kong. Kong Ngee's first film, "The Rouge Tigress" (1955) by Chun is a film of outstanding craftsmanship that sets the standard for quality Cantonese films.
Regarded as a Cantonese classic, Chun's "My Intimate Partners" (1960), offers evocative comments on the emerging urban culture. In the same genre, "Let's be Happy" (1959) is a great comedy playing on class issues with battle-of-the-sexes humour while the delightful comedy, "Chase" (1961) offers witty takes on office politics.
Chun's "Moon Over Malaya" (1957) is about a man torn between his dedication to education, his love and the demands of his job in the business world. Patrick Tse Yin's nuanced performance establishes himself as Kong Ngee's top star.
"Prince of Broadcasters" (1966) is Lung Kong's debut as director-scriptwriter. He presents an old-fashioned melodrama with a modern twist. His "Story of a Discharged Prisoner" (1967), a Cantonese classic, has had a great influence on many films including John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow" (1986).
Not to missed are "Sisters in Crime" (1958) in which Patrick Tse Yin plays a heartless womaniser, and "The Dreadnaught" (1966), which features a love triangle with the woman caught between the upstanding police inspector and the dangerous mobster.
All films are in Cantonese. Films with English subtitles include "The Rouge Tigress", "Moon Over Malaya", "Sisters in Crime", "Let's Be Happy", "Chase", "The Happy Bride", "The Dreadnaught", "Story of a Discharged Prisoner" and the "Incredible Rumour".
Tickets for all screenings are priced at $30. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.
Ticket arrangement for films screened during the HKIFF will follow those of the Festival with postal bookings from March 3 to 14. Internet bookings can be made at http://www.urbtix.hk
from March 3. Counter bookings for all films are available at URBTIX outlets from March 23.
Detailed information and various discounts during the HKIFF can be obtained in the 30th HKIFF booking folder or the "Profolio" (issue 31 available in mid-March). For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the websites: http://www.filmarchive.gov.hk
Ends/Thursday, March 2, 2006