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HK Film Archive's "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" to screen classics on love, ghosts and martial arts (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s flagship "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" series has generated widespread interest since its launch last year. From October to December, the series to be screened at the HKFA and Broadway Cinematheque will include films on love, ghost movies and the new martial arts genre.

     In addition, a "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies Marathon" will be held on October 1 and 2 at the HKFA's Cinema to screen seven very popular titles from the "Must-See" series in the past year, so that cinephiles who missed the past screenings can enjoy the films. Films to be shown on October 1 are "Man on the Brink" (1981) with director Alex Cheung meeting the audience after the screening, Shu Shuen's "China Behind" (1974), Yim Ho's "Homecoming" (1984) and Tsui Hark's "Shanghai Blues" (1984). Films to be shown on October 2 are Chor Yuen's "The Pregnant Maiden" (1968), Ann Hui's "The Spooky Bunch" (1980) and Wong Kar-wai's "Days of Being Wild" (1990).

     "China Behind" is in Mandarin while all other screenings are in Cantonese. All films have Chinese and English subtitles.  

     Two urban comedies produced by the MP & GI studio and featuring a "between father and lover" theme will be shown in October's "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" series. Directed by Doe Ching and starring Julie Yeh Feng, Jeannette Lin Tsui, Dolly Soo Fung and Mu Hong, "Our Sister Hedy" (1957) will be shown on October 6 and 14, while director Wong Tin-lam's "Father Takes a Bride" (1963), which stars Lucilla You Min, will be shown on October 20 and 28.

     Adapted from Cheng Wai's novel, the heart-warming comedy "Our Sister Hedy" was ahead of its time in exploring sisterhood and marriage. Four of the greatest starlets of Hong Kong's Mandarin cinema era co-star as four sisters: Mu Hong as the traditional, leader-like eldest daughter, Julie Yeh Feng as the promiscuous second daughter, Jeannette Lin Tsui as the spunky third daughter and Dolly Soo Fung as the adorable, marriage-hungry youngest daughter. Unlike the social realist works being made in Mandarin and Cantonese films at the time, the film depicts its young characters as hip, strong-willed urbanites, making it a classic among MP & GI's productions.

     Another MP & GI film, "Father Takes a Bride" also features women's views on love and the father-daughter relationship. The daughter hesitates leaving her widower father and two younger brothers behind to get married, and her father worries his new marriage may raise misunderstandings among his children. The film was Eileen Chang's sixth script for MP & GI. It depicts a caring and mutually reliant relationship between a widower father and his filial daughter, and Chang intentionally avoided the "evil stepmother" clichˆm, often used in other family melodramas, when she created actress Wang Lai's character. Film critic Wong Ain-ling will host post-screening talks on October 6 and 20, and Peter Dunn, who is one of the actors in "Father Takes a Bride", will share his experience with the audiences on October 14 and 28.

     To coincide with the HKFA's "Haunted Screen: Hong Kong Ghost Films" programme in November, the "100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies" series has selected two Hong Kong-style ghost cinema films to be screened in the same month. Director Lau Koon-wai's "Mr. Vampire" (1985), which inspired a fad for vampire films, will be shown on November 3 and 11, while director Stanley Kwan's "Rouge" (1988), starring Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, will be shown on November 17 and 25.

     The vampire film classic "Mr. Vampire" features Maoshan Taoist rituals being used to catch a female ghost and vampires, and takes a pop culture approach to the vampires of ancient Chinese folk legends and historical literature. The plot is blended with martial arts action scenes, comedy treatment and an early Republican setting and characters. The film launched leading actor Lam Ching-ying to become a star playing Taoists in vampire films. Dr Neky Cheung will host a post-screening talk on November 3, and a Ghost Film Festival Seminar will be held after the screening on November 11 on the first floor of Broadway Cinematheque.

     "Rouge", which won six awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, centres on an alluring female ghost who comes back to modern times to search for her old lover. As her story moves between the present and the past, it reflexively comments on the passage of time and the cultural changes that have taken place in Hong Kong. The mise-en-scˆone, exquisite composition and delicate expression of emotions from Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui make the film a classic to be seen over and over again. Film critic Natalia Chan will speak at the post-screening talk on November 17, while Giorgio Biancorosso and Bede Cheng will share with audiences their views after the screening on November 25.   

     In December, two films showcasing Chang Cheh's new martial arts genre will be featured. "The Golden Swallow" (1968), starring Jimmy Wang Yu and Cheng Pei-pei, will be screened on December 1 and 9 and "The Blood Brothers" (1973), starring Ti Lung, John Chiang, Chan Koon-tai and Ching Li, will be shown on December 15 and 23.

     With picturesque scenery, "The Golden Swallow" impresses audiences with a formidable killer, played by Jimmy Wang Yu, always dressed in white and displaying powerful warrior expertise with the sword and a stone-faced persona. Even though the film has a traditional wuxia theme, it is at its core a complex romance triangle. The result is a lyrical martial arts masterpiece that director Chang Cheh himself once said marked the first time he was satisfied with his own work. Based on the infamous assassination of a Qing dynasty official, "The Blood Brothers" features a tragic tale of war, lust and the code of brotherhood. Ti Lung's performance as a man rising from young bandit to corrupt general is especially remarkable. Film critics Lau Yam and Matthew Cheng will host the post-screening talks on December 1 and 15 and December 9 and 23 respectively.

     "Mr. Vampire" and "Rouge" are in Cantonese while all other screenings are in Mandarin. All films have Chinese and English subtitles.

     Tickets for the screenings in October are now available while tickets for screenings in November and December will be available from October 3 and November 1 respectively. Tickets for screenings at the HKFA are priced at $40 and are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999 or on the Internet at

     Tickets for screenings at Broadway Cinematheque are priced at $55 and are available at Broadway Cinematheque and its website. Tickets priced at $40 are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, full-time students and children aged 11 or below. There is a 20 per cent discount for Broadway Cinematheque VIP members. Phone ticketing can be made on 2388 3188 or on the Internet at

     Detailed programme information can be found in leaflets distributed at all performing arts venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and at Broadway Cinematheque. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage at

Ends/Friday, September 28, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:53


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