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New Mainland movies feature realism

Ten new Mainland productions with wide-ranging themes and individualistic styles will be showcased in the forthcoming "Chinese Film Panorama 2007".

They include the thriller "Gun of Mercy", an affectionate true story "Postman In Shangri-la", award-winning films "A Big Potato", "One Foot Off The Ground", "The Forest Ranger" and "Two Women In Red Scarves", romantic comedy "Call For Love", and documentary "Yuanmingyuan Park".

The screenings will be from September 17 to October 14 at the Grand Theatre of Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Cinema of Hong Kong Film Archive, the Lecture Halls of Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum.

"Chinese Film Panorama 2007" is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and South China Film Industry Workers Union, in association with Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd and Southern Film Co. Ltd. It is also one of the HKSAR 10th Anniversary Celebrations programmes.

There is realism among most of the 10 selected films. Presented with varying styles: from solemn to humorous, from realistic to ridiculous, from auteur expressions to commercial oriented, the films see contemporary China from different perspectives.

A prison warden, three inmates, a woman and five bullets in a flooding disaster make up a suspense thriller of love, hate and death. Based on an award-winning story, the opening film "Gun of Mercy" (2007) features cast members from Hong Kong and the Mainland, with special effects cinematography by Australian and Hong Kong behind-the-scene talent and the post-production being conducted in New Zealand.

Based on a true story in Sichuan, "Postman in Shangri-la" (2007) features a postman who serves villagers with a pure heart despite all obstacles. With a clumsy mail bag and a slender horse, he roams the exquisite mountains to deliver messages to people who live a minimal life with traditional virtues untouched for centuries. The film participated in the Montreal World Film Festival 2007, Canada.

Performed and directed by the straight face comedian Feng Gong, "A Big Potato" (2007) is a comic and satirical rendering of contemporary factory politics and the apparently trivial matters that happen around "the nosy party cadre". The film won the Most Popular Director Award at the 14th Beijing Student Film Festival.

"One Foot Off The Ground" (2006) contains humour with melancholy, laughter within bitter callousness. A group of laid-off opera actors in a historic town in Henan Province try hard to adapt to the new environment by performing in a new city, selling dogs, rearing fighting cocks, starting a photographic studio... but lose their footing because of fear. The film participated in The San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain and Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy. It also won the Best Actor Award at the 14th Beijing Student Film Festival.

Not to be missed is "The Forest Ranger" (2006), featuring a stunning confrontation between a crippled army veteran who swears to guard the forest against illegal poachers but results in fierce attacks from the locals. With the set-up like a "Western" movie, the film comes in between fantasy and realism with a dose of suspense. It won the Jury Grand Prix at the 9th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Starring actresses Xu Zheng, Liu Yiwei, Ning Jing, Yi Nengjing, Fan Bingbing, Qin Hailu, Huang Shengyi and Qu Ying, "Call For Love" (2006) is a bittersweet urban romantic comedy. A fantasy too good to be true, a man who wants to divorce his wife for more freedom is given a chance to meet 10 different pretty ladies, from a materialistic girl to a desperate housewife, an unmarried mother to an iron lady.

"Two Women In Red Scarves" (2006) tells a story about striving for harmonious relationships, with a distinct northeastern snow country customs and flavour. The film won the Jury Special Prize in the 8th Changchun Film Festival.

Three experimental ways of storytelling, of people living on the edge of the metropolis; aided by extensive use of actual locations, "3 City Hotshots" is shot by three young directors with independent but related stories. Each with its own unique styles, the anthology drama is a lively but wry critique of the society.

Using digital technology and based on research by Beijing experts, the documentary "Yuanmingyuan Park" (2006) reconstructs the 150-year-old Qing Imperial Palace from its creation to its destruction. A brilliantly constructed portrait of nature and humanism "My Long March" (2006) takes the audience on a journey through the major events of the 25,000-mile Long March and the "Journey of Faith" as seen through the eyes of a young soldier in the Red Army.

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 each purchase of six to 10 tickets and Friends of LCSD performing venues, and a 20% for each purchase of 11 or more tickets.

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

Ends/Friday, August 24, 2007
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