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Introduction

Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered④

New year, fresh start - the best time to reflect on our past efforts and look forward to the future. As the saying goes, "The best prophet of the future is the past". Perhaps by retracing the footprints of our predecessors, we can gain insights into the future of Hong Kong cinema.

The 1930s was the earliest golden era of Hong Kong cinema which saw the blossoming of diverse genre films; however sadly, only very few prints were able to survive. In 2012, Hong Kong Film Archive salvaged from San Francisco's Palace Theatre a treasure trove of rare nitrate films, all long-lost Hong Kong films from the 1930s and 40s. The films not only are documentation of the livelihood and urban landscape back in time, they also reflect audiences' tastes and social ideologies, and fill in the historic voids during the war period.

Re-presenting 25 early cinematic rarities, this chapter of Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered highlights the films' qualities as both entertainment products and preaching tools of the mass media, 6 of which have been missing for many years and reappear at theatre for the first time. Seminars will also be conducted by film specialists to share their thoughts with audiences from various perspectives.

Last January, we sadly lost Ms Wong Ain-ling, former Research Officer of the Archive. During her tenure, Ain-ling organised a retrospective of director Zhu Shilin but was unable to cover one of his early films Changing Hearts in the programme. This time, Changing Hearts can finally be included, and through which, we hope to continue her legacy of studying and promoting early Chinese cinema, and to extend our deepest gratitude to her invaluable contribution.

A special thank you to Mr Jack Lee Fong, founder of Palace Theatre in San Francisco, USA in the 1970s and our valued donor of the nitrate film prints of most films selected for this chapter. These rare heritages of Hong Kong cinema would not have been able to survive without Mr Fong's tireless effort over the decades as their guardian.

The image and sound quality of the historical screening materials is short of ideal. We appreciate your understanding.

The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter.
The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.