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HK Film Archive's "Morning Matinee" to showcase charms of popular young starlets (with photos)

     Popular young starlets of classic Hong Kong cinema including Jeanette Lin Tsui, Kong Suet, Lucilla You Min, Suet Nei and Kitty Ting Hao played various types of young beauties in numerous films. Their sprightly personas, attractive looks and acting talents are particularly memorable to film buffs. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) "Morning Matinee" series, which is held at 11am on Friday mornings, will present a retrospective entitled "Dating Nana" in January and February next year for audiences to recapture the charms of these five young beauties on the big screen.

     The films to be shown respectively on January 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 will be "Lilacs in Bloom" (1956), "Sister Long Legs" (1960), "The Rich and the Poor" (1962), "The Happy Bride" (1963) and "Song Without Words" (1961), while "One Queen and Three Kings" (1963), "Hotel Lavender" (1968) and "Beauty Parade" (1961) will be shown on February 6, 13 and 27 respectively. A screening of "Happily Ever After" (1960) will be held on January 31 at 2pm.

     To complement the screenings, the seminar "Dating Nana", hosted by guest curator Honkaz Fung and the comic artist who illustrated the portraits of the five starlets for the programme, Elphonso Lam, will be held on January 31 at 4.30pm at the Cinema of the HKFA. It will be conducted in Cantonese with free admission.

     The sexy and reckless Jeanette Lin Tsui was just like the lilac in "Lilacs in Bloom" who enjoys teasing her suitors. After an accident, Lin meets a young fisherman who deeply enchants her as a refreshing antithesis to her suitors. Lin, "the students' sweetheart", plays an outgoing and bright young girl in "Sister Long Legs", in which her smiling eyes and cute gestures are in stark contrast to those of elder sister Julie Yeh Feng's snobbery. The playful young girl mischievously flirts with her suitors and creates lots of trouble.

     In "The Rich and the Poor", Kong Suet portrays a pair of twin sisters with distinctly different characters; the elder sister is adorable while the younger is defiant. Filming the dual roles played by the same actress concurrently in the same scene brought technical challenges to both the actress and the production team at the time. In "The Happy Bride", Kong is a nurse with a pure heart and a tough character. She looks after a physically disabled patient, played by Patrick Tse Yin, who has lost hope in life. They subsequently fall in love despite Tse being engaged to his fiancee. Kong's dedication to love makes her role one of the most touching among those in the many love dilemmas featured in Cantonese films.

     Playing a mute orphan in "Song Without Words", Lucilla You Min entirely relied on her facial expressions and physical movements to express the character's emotional roller coaster, vividly portraying her dramatic life in the film. In "Happily Ever After", You appears to be cold outside but warm inside, and exudes extraordinary beauty with her kind and gentle nature. Roy Chiao, playing a painter, is attracted by her inner beauty and they develop a fantastic journey to love.  

     In "One Queen and Three Kings", Suet Nei has a refreshing image with multiple looks, such as a Shanghainese lady in a qipao, a modern city girl and a shy factory queen. The three male leads, Cheung Ying-choi, Cheung Ching and Cheng Kwan-min, totally fall head over heels for her. Suet in "Hotel Lavender" plays a good and honest hotel receptionist, whereas the handsome yet resentful male lead, Kenneth Tsang Kong, has trust issues with people. Tsang is touched by Suet's great virtues as they meet in the hotel and begins to regain hope in humanity.

     "Beauty Parade" was a film tailor-made for Kitty Ting Hao, known as the "young lover", and she exhibits her sweet, playful and lively persona at its charming best. Ting plays a young farm girl whose athletic success has come at the sacrifice of her grades at school, prompting her to leave the sports world behind under her father's pressure. Ting's pure and innocent character makes the film all the more pleasant and refreshing.

     The "Morning Matinee" series is guest-curated by Honkaz Fung. "The Rich and the Poor", "The Happy Bride", "One Queen and Three Kings" and "Hotel Lavender" are in Cantonese and all the other films are in Mandarin. "Hotel Lavender" has both Chinese and English subtitles, while the other films are without subtitles.

     Tickets priced at $20 are now available at URBTIX. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities (and one accompanying minder), full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999 or on the Internet at

     For programme enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900 or browse the website at

Ends/Friday, December 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:59


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