HK Film Archive presents "Care for Our Community" series
Films on changes in Hong Kong society, living conditions, cityscapes, family relations, teenage problems and law and order, and made by filmmakers of different generations, will be shown at the Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) new "Care for Our Community" series from June 21 to July 19.
The programme complements the Hong Kong Public Libraries' forthcoming event, the 7th Hong Kong Literature Festival, whose theme is "Scent of Books, Scenes of Hong Kong". The programme will screen 16 films made from the 1950s to 2008 at the Cinema of the HKFA.
The films are Ann Hui's "The Way We Are" and "ICAC: The Investigation"; Radio Television Hong Kong's productions: "Heritage: Village Song", "Faces and Places: The Diviner" and "Faces and Places: See You on the Other Side"; young Bruce Lee in "The Kid"; Fruit Chan's "Little Cheung"; Allen Fong's "Father and Son" and "Ah Ying"; Alex Cheung's "Man on the Brink"; Jacob Cheung's "Cageman"; Patrick Lung Kong's "The Call Girls"; and Lawrence Ah Mon's "Queen of Temple Street"; and classic films "Save Your Water Supply", "Mud Child" and "Lonely Fifteen".
Co-presented by the Leisure and Cultural Service Department (LCSD) and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of Lingnan University and curated by the HKFA, three seminars will be held during the "Care for Our Community" film series. Seminars on "Hong Kong People" and "Hong Kong City" will be held at 7pm on June 28 and 29 respectively at the Lecture Theatre of Hong Kong Central Library.
Another seminar on "Hong Kong Life" will be held at 4.30pm on July 19 at the Cinema of the HKFA. All seminars will be conducted in Cantonese and admission is free.
The films relate the main concerns of each generation: typhoons and landslides in resettlement estates in the 1970s, family tragedies in today's Tin Shui Wai, the transformation of the New Territories' vast swathes of rural land into new towns in the last few decades.
Tin Shui Wai, which has been dubbed "the city of sadness", is just another average community in Ann Hui's new film "The Way We Are" (2008), which takes a drama-documentary approach. The lives of a widowed mother and her teenage son are nothing more special than the day-to-day routine of ordinary people in other communities: work, school, dinner, hospital visits and mutual support among people at times of difficulty.
In "Mud Child" (1976), a couple living in a temporary housing area save a child during a landslide and run around in search of his parents. The film delves into the lives of the struggling masses in minute detail while making cutting comments on the housing policy.
A housing shortage has always been a major problem in this overpopulated city. "Faces and Places: The Diviner" (1983) features the down-and-outs who live on Temple Street. Director Lawrence Ah Moon weaves together the life stories of the unloved and uncared for with economical and lyrical strokes. "Cageman" (1992), an absurd tale with a realist edge, shows that homeless people, abandoned by their families, can have egos too big for their humble "cage apartment" abodes where they are crammed together. A decade after the release of the film, it is still hard to believe that "cage apartments" still exist today.
In the 1970s, Hong Kong was plagued by social issues of prostitution, gambling, drug abuse and corruption. Alex Cheung's "Man on the Brink" (1981) is an intriguing tale about an undercover police officer and his walking the tightrope between good and evil. The film is probably a forerunner of "Infernal Affairs" in 2002.
With Sylvia Chang playing a washed-up prostitute running a brothel on Temple Street and trying to put her rebellious daughter on the right track, "Queen of Temple Street" (1990) portrays sex workers as ordinary people who can also have integrity, dignity and a need for acceptance.
The post-war baby boomers emerged as the major force behind Hong Kong's modernisation. The improving economy gave teenagers a taste of independence. Material riches and the increasing influence of Western culture also spurred them on to search for self-identity in defiance of traditional family values, thus widening the generation gap. Different films in different eras show teenage problems and their family relationships.
Adapted from a popular comic, "The Kid" (1950) chronicles economic and social inequalities in post-war Hong Kong. The film extols childlike innocence as an effective means to counter evil forces. The bracing performance by a young Bruce Lee deserves special mention. Shot in 1999, Fruit Chan's "Little Cheung" is set against Hong Kong in the midst of the handover. It also deals with the sense of belonging, cultural identity, and the predicament of the poor and the needy.
Also about teenage growth, "Lonely Fifteen" (1982) adopts a bold and sensational approach on runaway girls who resort to prostitution to earn a living. The story was reportedly based on the real experiences of its young cast and publicised as such, making the film more controversial.
"The Way We Are", "Mud Child", "Cagemen", "Man on the Brink", "Queen of Temple Street", "The Kid", "Little Cheung", "Lonely Fifteen" and "Faces and Places: The Diviner" have English subtitles. "Cagemen" and "Queen of Temple Street" are classified as Category III and only ticket holders aged 18 and above will be admitted.
Tickets priced at $30 for all screenings are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-priced tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009, or on the internet at http://www.urbtix.hk
Detailed programme information can be obtained in "ProFolio 42" distributed at all performing venues of the LCSD. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website: http://www.filmarchive.gov.hk
Ends/Thursday, May 29, 2008