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October
Film retrospective showcases Mainland-HK co-productions of the 80s-90s
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"A Retrospective of Mainland-Hong Kong co-productions of the 80s-90s", to be shown next week, will showcase 12 notable award-winning films.

The films include director Li Han-hsiang's masterpiece "Reign Behind a Curtain", Kung Fu film "The Holy Robe of Shaolin Temple", Leslie Cheung's "Farewell to My Concubine", director Wu Tianming's "The King of Masks", director Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qiuju" and Jiang Wen's "In the Heart of the Sun".

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the South China Film Industry Workers Union and in association with Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd. and Southern Film Co. Ltd., the retrospective will show 32 screenings from October 17 to November 5 at the Theatre of the Hong Kong City Hall, the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive, the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Space Museum.

The other films being shown include Maggie Cheung and Brigitte Lin's "Dragon Inn", Stephen Chow's "A Chinese Odyssey Part One - Pandora's Box", "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two - Cinderella", Gong Li's "The Terracotta Warrior", director Ann Hui's "Eighteen Springs", and director Yim Ho's "The Day the Sun Turned Cold".

The signing of CEPA in 2002 has attracted more film investors and filmmakers to make films in China. Co-productions between the Mainland and Hong Kong date back to the late 70s when film companies like Great Wall Movie Enterprises Ltd. and Fenghuang Motion Picture Company - which had a close connection with the Mainland - started to look for the opportunity of collaboration after 1976.

In 1979, the Cultural Ministry set up the China Film Co-production Corporation (CFCC) as a contact point to administer and co-ordinate Chinese-foreign co-productions. While director Li Han-hsiang's "The Burning of the Imperial Palace" with the sequel "Reign Behind a Curtain" was not the first Mainland-HK joint production as many thought, the news of Li shooting film on the Mainland was momentous. The films were not just box-office winners but also brought great popularity to actress Liu Xiaoqing and actor Tony Leung Ka-fai.

The retrospective kicks off with the "Reign Behind a Curtain" (1983), which reveals the acute power struggle in the imperial palace after the death of the Emperor Xianfeng of Qing Dynasty. The film won the Best Actor and the Best Art Direction at the Hong Kong Film Awards 1984.

Directed and screenplay by Tsui Siu-ming, martial arts film "The Holy Robe of Shaolin Temple" (1984) is another opening film. It features how the Shaolin Temple, a Buddhist site well- known for its tradition of martial arts practice and helping the peasants, tried to preserve its reputation when the minister wanted to expel the abbot and also stole the holy robe. The film won the Best Feature Film of The Ministry of Culture 1984.

Directed by Chen Kaige, the "Farewell to My Concubine" (1993) is one of the best films of the late Leslie Cheung. With Gong Li and Zhang Fengyi as co-actors, the film won many international awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize and Golden Palm Prize in Cannes Film Festival 1993 and the Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards USA 1994.

Another notable film acted by Gong Li, director Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qiuju" (1992) is based on Chen Yuen-bin's novel "The Wan Family's Lawsuit", featuring the clash between the village Chief and Qiuju in lawsuits for her husband. The film won awards in various film festivals including the Golden Lion Award, the Best Actress, the Youth Director and Film Award at the Venice Film Festival 1992.

Well-known actor Jiang Wen made his director debut in "In the Heart of the Sun" (1994) to feature the life of a light-hearted youth during the Cultural Revolution. The film won the Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival 1994 and six awards at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 1996.

Director Yim Ho's "The Day the Sun Turned Cold" (1994) which won the Best Director and Tokyo Grand Prix of the Tokyo International Film Festival 1994 is a complex mystery based on a real-life Chinese criminal case.

Not to be missed is Wu Tianming's "The King of Masks" (1995) which features a heart-breaking yet funny adventure on a wandering life between a lonely artiste and his adopted grandson who shall inherit his art and is found to be a girl. The film won the Best Actress and the Best Feature at the Cannes Junior 1997 as well as the Best Director and the Best Actor at the Tokyo International Film Festival 1996.

Adapted from film master King Hu's classic, the new "Dragon Inn" (1992) played by Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Ka-fai and scripted by Tsui Hark is a new style of martial arts film. It won the Best Martial Arts Direction of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 1992.

Adapted from Eileen Chang's novel, director Ann Hui's "Eighteen Springs" (1997) features a love story of a couple forced to separate and who met again 10 years later. The film won the Best Supporting Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards 1998 as well as the Best Actress and the Film of Merit at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards 1998. "The Terracotta Warrior" played by Gong Li and Zhang Yimou is another love story linking the present to the Qin Dynasty more than 2000 years ago.

"A Chinese Odyssey Part One - Pandora's Box" (1994) and "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two - Cinderella" (1994) are both under the directorship of Jeff Lau, unearthing the adventures and affairs experienced by the Monkey King, acted by Stephen Chow. The former won the Best Actor and the Best Screenplay at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards 1995 while the latter won the Best Actor at the Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Awards 1996.

All films are in Putonghua, except "Dragon Inn", "A Chinese Odyssey Part One - Pandora's Box" and "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two - Cinderella". Other than "The Holy Robe of Shaolin Temple" and "The Terracotta Warrior", all films 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.

For programme information call 2734 2900, 2780 5355 or 2527 7284, or visit http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp . Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the internet at http://www.urbtix.hk .

Ends/Thursday, October 12, 2006
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