"More than a Villain: Sek Kin" retrospective at Film Archive
A character actor specialising in villain roles, Sek Kin, known affectionately as "Bad Guy Kin", has been one of the most recognisable faces of Hong Kong cinema for more than 50 years. He has appeared in more than 300 films and whether he is playing the White Brow Monk, Master All Mercy or Golden-Haired Lion King, he is full of powerful charisma and has an amazing presence on screen.
The retrospective "More than a Villain: Sek Kin" to be held from December 30 to February 11, 2007 at the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive, will showcase films in which "Uncle Kin" has appeared, as well as his first TV appearance in Radio Hong Kong Television's drama series "Below the Lion Rock - Boat People".
The 13 selected films include Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon"; the famous Wong Fei-hung series, "Wong Fei-hung: The Duel against the Black Rascal" and "Wong Fei-hung's Combat with the Five Wolves"; films in the 1950s and 60s "Spring", "Everlasting Love", "Road", "A Teacher's Reward", "Seven Swordsmen from Tianshan", "Homely Affection"; the New Wave work "The System" and films in the 1980s "Lady in Black", "A Friend from Inner Space" and "A Better Tomorrow III" in which he shines playing the good guy.
Suffering poor health as a child, Sek Kin practised martial arts to improve his physique. He entered the film industry not as an actor but as a make-up artist, a turn that lasted only a mere two months. He then worked in the dubbing team to dub Mandarin films into Cantonese.
His acting career started in 1940 when he played a spy in "Flower in a Sea of Blood". Because of his martial arts training, he was cast as White Brow Monk in the "Fong Sai-yuk" series and is best remembered for his portrayal of the villain in the popular "Wong Fei-hung" series which was a box hit.
Audiences loved to hate the villain character Sek played during the height of the Cantonese cinema. From 1970s, he gradually became the man audiences loved to love, when his films were regularly shown as television re-runs.
He has worked with virtually every big name in the history of Hong Kong film, his stunning performances have complemented the stardom of many artists. "Uncle Kin" became known as a term of endearment that expressed the audience's recognition of the gentle soul behind the many menacing screen appearances.
Sek was being recognised on the streets of United States after playing the arch villain in Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon" (1973). Being Lee's first Hollywood project, Sek's formidable and memorable presence made a much bigger and wider impression around the world.
"Spring" (1953), "Everlasting Love" (1955) and "Road" (1959) are quality films produced by The Union Film Enterprise Ltd. In "Spring", Sek gave a captivating performance as a patriarch who finds himself incapable of lording over his faltering family.
In "Everlasting Love", he played the draconian father-in-law complementing his outstanding performance of Ng Chor-fan. His effortless performance as a collaborator in "Road" was an effective embodiment of the character's opportunistic villainy and pathetic cowardice.
Whether he was a mighty crook or the arch villain, Sek's stunning performances and the great kung-fu duels with Master Wong in the "Wong Fei-hung" series, including "Wong Fei-hung: The Duel against the Black Rascal" (1968) and "Wong Fei-hung's Combat with the Five Wolves" (1969), portrayed him as a typical villain actor.
In the post-Cantonese cinema era, his acting skills were put to test in "The System" (1979) when he played a complex character as a mob consigliere who turns police informant. For this demanding role, Sek turned in a touching performance seldom found in his 1950s and 1960s' work.
By the 1980s, Sek Kin was a household name, a fame that was ironically endearing. Playing the lead in a comedy "A Friend from Inner Space" (1984), 40 years after he entered the industry, Sek shone in his new role as the good guy. In "Lady in Black" (1987), he was the kind father left with caring for his grandson after his daughter disappeared.
Directed by Tsui Hark, with Chow Yun-fat, Tony Leung Ka-fai and Anita Mui as cast, "A Better Tomorrow III" (1989) was another indication that Sek had shed the bad-guy image which shaped his career for decades. He played the elderly owner of a medicine store, who had to abandon his business to flee the city about to fall.
Other films include "A Teacher's Reward" (1955), "Seven Swords from Tianshan" (1959) and "Homely Affection" (1967).
All films are in Cantonese. "Enter the Dragon", "Lady in Black", "A Friend from Inner Space" and "A Better Tomorrow III" have Chinese and English subtitles.
Tickets priced at $30 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 on 2734 9009, credit card telephone booking on 2111 5999 or on the internet at http://www.urbtix.hk
Detailed programme information is available in the "ProFolio 35" distributed at all performance venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department or call 2734 2900, 2739 2139 or browse the websites: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp
Ends/Tuesday, December 19, 2006